Soldier of Orange (1977) Poster

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Certainly worth viewing
MinneapolisJane22 September 2004
This film hit a grand slam by successfully achieving all of the things I hope for in a movie: it entertained me, it educated me, it charmed me, and it provoked me. I have lived in the Netherlands and love the Dutch people, so I was happy to view this film and see many familiar sites and understand some of the Dutch dialogue. It provided me with a sense of deja vu. I also learned things about the Dutch World War II experience that I previously was unaware of. The vast majority of the world only has one thought when it comes to WWII and the Dutch: Anne Frank. It's heartening to watch a film that explores many other facets of the Dutch experience during occupation, and that doesn't promote an all-rosy view wherein everyone is heroic. It is a realistic film that showed the complications of war and occupation, the desire for self-survival, the limits of patriotism, the fragility of war-time romances, and the bravery and sacrifices that some, but not all, are willing to exhibit. My heart was in my throat many times as I wondered what would happen and, although the movie is almost two and a half hours, I was sorry to see it end.
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Excellent war drama
FilmFlaneur5 September 2002
Paul Verhoeven's Soldaat van Oranje (aka: Soldier Of Orange), the religious excesses of his Flesh + Blood (1985) not withstanding, is probably the closest the director has come to an epic. At the equivalent of $2.5 million, it was the most expensive Dutch feature film made at that time. It was also the film which brought him to the attention of Hollywood, exemplified by Spielberg's phone call to him after seeing the film: "What are you doing in Holland? Come to the USA, things are better there!"

During his childhood in The Hague, Verhoeven had been witness to the activities of the occupying Nazis, which made a great impression on him. He remembers vividly his father hiding in a cellar and seeing dead bodies in the street, for example. As one biographer has noted, Soldier Of Orange "was a theme he could taste, feel, and breathe," a film shot with of honesty and verisimilitude, if less of the director's characteristic excess, though still with his distinctive vision and style. There are some familiar faces in the large cast: Jeroen Krabbé (as Guus Le Jeune) who took the lead in De Vierde Man (aka: The Fourth Man) is a key protagonist, and the svelte and good-looking Rutger Hauer, as the central character Erik Lanshof. The blond Hauer, who had until now been utilised by Verhoeven as a working class hero in such films as Turks Fruit (aka: Turkish Delight, 1973), and afterwards in Spetters (1980) is here transformed into a prosperous war hero, modelled on Erik Roelfzema, the author of the original dramatic memoir. Much of the fraught virility usually associated with Hauer is suppressed here, although it briefly reappears during his dalliance with Susan (Susan Penhaligon).

That Erik/Hauer is the focus of the film is suggested by his first appearance, although the episodic nature of much that follows in the narrative sometimes sidelines his significance. He is inserted, Zelig-like, into opening newsreel footage, the 'single aide' at the post war return of Queen Wilhemina. Like so many of his Dutch contemporaries, Erik is comfortably well off, a man to whom (if only at first) the conflict seems just another grand adventure. Previously the middle class had been presented in Verhoeven's work as exploiters (as in Keetje Keeple, 1975) or as sexually ludicrous in Wat Zen Ik? (aka: Business Is Business, 1971). Such boisterous social irony is, in the present film, conspicuous by its absence, as if the contemplation of war forced a different responsibility upon the filmmakers. Erik and his class of 1939-40 may sometimes be made effete, but never risible. Made at a time when Netherlanders were starting to face the realities of their wartime existence, unpleasant facts about home collaboration and acquiescence to occupation, Verhoeven's film confronts these issues with a tale of student friends torn apart by war, having to face moral dilemmas and choices. Soldier Of Orange, complete with its stirring title music, is a title with a singular subject, implying a monolithic view of an individual at war. But the film actually focuses on a plurality of men, an ensemble of half a dozen privileged students, each of them responding to the conflict in a different way. Although Erik is the nominal hero, his actions are often ineffectual and have dubious results. His counterweight is Alex (Derek de Lint). Having served in the Dutch army, he sees his mother interned and decides to join the Waffen SS. The two meet only twice after: at a parade, where the Dutch civilians give flowers to the Germans, and at a dance where the two tango face to face, with obvious connotations of identity and mutual resemblance. Of the other friends, Robby (Eddie Habbema) betrays his colleagues to save his girlfriend, while another stays out of it entirely - one of only two surviving out of the initial group picture.

Soldier Of Orange begins, aptly enough, with an initiation ceremony. Cowed, humiliated, then celebratory, Erik and the others have to undergo rituals to be accepted into the student body. Of course the mocking cruelties they undergo echo the Nazi repression of later on: the fear, the anal torture and the firing squads. More immediately the process confirms for us the circle of friends, frozen in a group photograph, set to be tested further as what begins as a student's club ends as a man's struggle. This opening initiation is the coming conflict in microcosm. Soon it will be the flames of war, rather than the soup comically poured over Erik's head, that offer a definitive rite of passage. Verhoeven manages some exciting set pieces during the course of the film: the bombing attack on the barracks, the beach shootings scene, the initiation and the aborted seaplane rescue being standouts. There are also some quieter, poetic moments, such as the overhead and point-of-view shots of Jean's white shirted execution in the dunes. (A striking scene which makes one regret Verhoeven's recent descent into the special effects laden un-subtlety of the Hollow Man.) The episodic nature of the narrative is both a blessing and a curse: while the number of characters and subplots makes it possible to examine a society from a range of viewpoints, the lack of a single, strong momentum leads to occasional slacking of tension.

The abiding impression gained at the end of this long (167 minutes) film is that nothing in this war has been black and white, and Verhoeven has faithfully suggested the historical revisionism of the time. Out of these moral uncertainties, he has crafted an exciting and engrossing work, one that he now considers his best Dutch project. Although the ambiguities helped make Soldier of Orange's initial critical reception lukewarm, it was exceptionally well received by the Dutch public. Interestingly, for overseas release the film was renamed Survival Run - a change that suggests a work much less of a complex national portrait than it actually is.
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An underrated classic
mentalcritic23 February 2002
Paul Verhoeven films are notorious for everything except what they should be known for: portraying reality in a frank, no-lies manner that few other filmmakers even dare to attempt. It's nice to know that, in this era of Hollywood churning out films that look more like video games or music videos, Verhoeven continues to make films that push envelopes and give the audience something to think about.

Soldaat van Oranje, like its American counterpart twenty years later, is a film about war that takes its subject by the horns and doesn't let go at any moment. As we are introduced to the group of Dutch students whose eyes we see World War II through, we see a reflection of one rarely acknowledged truth: that numerous ordinary, everyday people, ignorant of what was really going on in Nazi Germany, couldn't have cared less about what was going on. It was only when the reality of the war was brought to them, as the Germans invaded Holland, that these students sat up and took notice of what the war was doing to ordinary people. Indeed, early on in the film, Hauer's character even says that a spot of war would be "exciting".

Another reality that this film prefers to hit the viewer square in the face with is that while the war changed a lot of aspects of everyday life for everyone, there were some things that stayed the same regardless. In the scene where Hauer's character is attempting to board a boat bound for England, the German army's refusal to let the sailors on board prompts a quick "back to the pub" response from the working-class sailors. Business as usual in that respect.

Considering that this is a Paul Verhoeven film, it is actually quite surprising how little violence there is to be found here. Granted, it is not a family film, and some of the torture scenes will make your blood boil as well as make some sick people like myself chuckle, but unlike the film that Verhoeven made with numerous references to this one twenty years later, there is surprisingly little blood and gore. Indeed, unlike the sarcastic satire of Starship Troopers, Soldaat Van Oranje tells its story in a restrained, almost documentary-like manner that is surprising as well as creative.

All in all, I'd give Soldaat Van Oranje a qualified ten out of ten. It is not going to appeal to everyone, and some just won't get it at all, but it delivers a powerful story about the loss of innocence and freedom that should be required viewing in all schools, not just Dutch ones. Oh, and I cannot remember who said it, but they are right about one thing: the footage of the Queen returning to Dutch soil made me want to shout "Oranje boven!", and I am not even Dutch.
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An exciting, true story
Lee-6515 January 1999
This is the self-penned true story of the Dutch war hero Erik Hazelhoff Roelfzema, and his college friends from Leiden who endured the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands and, who eventually, lived to see the Liberation. Some of his friends were not so lucky. The best version of this picture to see is the original version, in Dutch, German and English, with literally-translated subtitles. The dubbed-English version, particularly the one released in the U.S., is HORRIBLE! The most-commonly available subtitled version is one that has only the script of the dubbed version as subtitles, some of which don't make any sense. Beware this version! This is a great film, with stellar performances, most notably those of Rutger Hauer and Jeroen Krabbe'. Derek de Lint (Alex) is also magnificent as the Dutch youth of German descent who joins the SS-volunteers. The scene where Erik and Alex meet by chance at the Scheveningen dance-hall after Alex's return from the Russian front (the tango scene) is wonderfully done! The most touching part is set in May, 1945 at the moment of the Liberation. The part where Queen Wilhelmina steps onto Dutch soil after a five-year absence is an extremely emotional one. Don't miss this film, for it is the best one told about the Dutch view of the war, and will make you shout "Oranje Boven!" even if you aren't Dutch! Highly recommended!!
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A first rate war movie that has just about something for everyone. Great stuff!
Infofreak17 June 2003
Apparently when Spielberg saw 'Soldier Of Orange' he phoned Paul Verhoeven congratulating him and urging him to come to Hollywood. That took about ten years but in retrospect in might have been a big mistake. Despite an excellent Hollywood debut (the savage science fiction satire 'RoboCop', still one of Verhoeven's best), the directors movies have been mostly disappointing ever since. Just compare his most recent movie, the lame 'Hollow Man', to this one. There's no denying that there has been a major drop in quality. 'Soldier Of Orange' is worth mentioning in the same breath as such classic war movies as Kubrick's 'Paths Of Glory', Fuller's 'The Big Red One' and Peckinpah's 'Cross Of Iron'. It's that good. Considering it was made by a director with a reputation for provocation and general outrageousness, it plays it surprisingly straight, and in my opinion is all the better for it. There is some violence, but it is appropriate for the subject matter, and there is very little sex. This is quite an epic story dealing with the fates of six University friends in Holland after the outbreak of WW2. The ensemble cast is excellent, but Verhoeven favourites Rutger Hauer and Jeroen Krabbe are particularly outstanding. Hauer still has a strong cult following despite appearing in a string of b-grade movies for many years. Krabbe is best remembered by most movie fans as a Bond villain, if he's remembered at all. It's such a shame neither actor achieved the international success they both deserved. Check out their performances in 'Soldier Of Orange', Krabbe's in 'The Fourth Man', and Hauer's in 'Flesh & Blood'. Verhoeven certainly got the best out of them both. The supporting cast also includes dependable Brit Edward Fox ('The Day Of The Jackal') and Susan Penhaligon of cult Aussie thriller 'Patrick'. 'Soldier Of Orange' will be quite an eye opener for anyone unfamiliar with Verhoeven's pre-Hollywood output. It's a first rate war movie that has just about something for everyone. Highly recommended, as is the equally good (but very different) 'Spetters' and 'The Fourth Man'.
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Paul Verhoeven's War Movie
Alex-3721 March 2003
Soldaat van Oranje is Paul Verhoeven's war movie, one that already shows his early leaning towards grungy realism - graphic torture, debased human nature and plenty of bare boobies - which is why it had a pretty mixed reception when it came out here in Holland.

This story is told from the point of view of a number of well to do Leiden University students. For clarification, very few people before the war had the finances to go to university.

Highlighting some now internationally famous Dutch actors - Rutger Hauer, Derek de Lint, Jeroen Krabbé as well as locally known actors like Belinda Meuldijk, Rijk de Gooyer and this is also a showcase of acting talent during the seventies and early eighties. British seventies actors Susan Penhaligon and Edward Fox (A Bridge Too Far) also have interesting performances.

Based on the memoirs of Erik Hazelhoff Roelfzema (Erik Lanshof in the movie), this is a reasonably realistic and truthful recounting of war and resistance during world war two. Roelfzema, a genuine war hero, first joined the student resistance, then the SOE, then joined the RAF and finally became an adjudant (aide) to queen Wilhelmina. He is still spritely and alive, living in Hawaii with his English wife.

It is also pretty unique as it features what must be cinema's first and only drive-by-shooting from a bicycle. And one with wooden tires at that. And a great yarn too. It has heroism and cowardice, loyalty and betrayal, relativism, principles and pragmatism. Recommended.
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Simply the best Dutch movie ever made
Roelio31 May 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Successful war movies almost always depend on tone. We've seen so many battle films, so many soldiers and so many tanks, so many landings and invasions and spies dropped behind the lines that the actual subject matter itself is no longer enough for us. Movies like A BRIDGE TOO FAR may cost untold millions and be years in the making, but for the most part we're just not moved. Good war movies don't necessarily need a message, but they need a feeling: We want to sense what the war experience was like for a specific group of people at a particular time. Thi movie creates that feeling as effectively, probably, as it can be created. It traces the stories of six Dutch soldiers through the years before and during World War II, and at the movie's end we feel we know these people and have learned from their experiences.

Although the film contains a great deal of suspense and a fair amount of violence, it's not a garish adventure movie, it's a human chronicle. And it involves us. That's all the more remarkable because this isn't a profoundly serious little film with a somber message, but a big, colorful, expensive war movie-the most costly production in Dutch film history. Expensive war movies tend to linger forever on their great special effects; they have a tendency to pose their heroes in front of collapsing buildings and expect us to be moved. SOLDIER OF ORANGE is big, but it's low-key. It's about how characters of ordinary human dimension might behave against the bewildering scale of a war.

The movie's based on the memoirs of Erik Hazelhoff, a Dutch war hero who escaped from Nazi-occupied Europe, landed in England, was attached to the then hopelessly disorganized and ineffectual Dutch government in exile, and spent the war on a series of espionage missions before finally joining up with the Royal Air Force and flying many missions. What's interesting is that the Hazelhoff character is shown doing all of these things, and yet he doesn't emerge as a superhero; he's just a capable, brave man doing the next right thing. The film mostly follows Hazelhoff, but it begins in the pre-war years with six friends-college students, playing tennis, hanging out together, doubting war will really come-and it follows all six through the war. Four of them die, one in a particularly horrible way in a concentration camp.

By following all six lives over a period of years, the film suggests the historical sweep of the war for many millions of lives; SOLDIER OF ORANGE isn't just episodes strung together (although it is episodic), but a suggestion of how long the war must have seemed, and how easily it must have seemed endless. The narrative structure is interesting. Instead of giving us a tightly knit plot, with characters assigned to particular roles and functions, it gives us a great many specific details. There are the scenes involving Queen Wilhelmina, for example. In exile in England, the dowager queen walks stiffly in her garden, gravely absorbs the advice of her ministers, receives delegations, and conveys a dignity upon the situation through her very bearing (for, of course, she had no real authority then at all). A subplot involving an underground Dutch radio operator is clothed in similar detail; we know enough of his character to know why he turns informer and his decision is not simply cowardly, but is almost understandable. Unforgivable, but understandable. The movie is filled with perceptions like that.
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Excellent, forgotten movie!
JAM-3115 May 2000
This is one of the best and only accurate depictions of espionage in WWII. The script and direction by Verhoeven are very clever and exciting, and Rutger Hauer is excellent. We see that it takes serious, quick wit and nerves of steel to be a secret agent, and that one can rarely count on the plan (the phone that no longer took dimes was an exceptional and realistic surprise!) It is also one of the only films I have seen to take a look at the war from the Dutch perspective. The people of the Netherlands were conquered by the Nazis, and thus could strike back only by forming a resistance movement. It is a great film, and although miracles rarely happen, I PRAY FOR THIS MOVIE'S RELEASE ON DVD!!! Grade; A.
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A look inside the wartime OSS
LONESOLO15 May 2004
SOLDIER OF ORANGE is a film about a group of friends who encounter the occupation of Holland by the Germans in different ways. The film splits up it's time dealing with the stories of the friends and that of one of them who becomes a high ranking member of the OSS and close political ally to the queen of Holland. The film, set during WW2, is even handed in it's approach. SOLDIER OF ORANGE is a unusual film and was made with a high degree of quality. The film goes for a sense of realism not often seen in cinema, the film,made in Holland is in dutch yet in the sequences in england it is in English. I recommend this film to WW2 buffs and fans of art-house cinema alike. Both groups will be pleased as will foreign film fans who can be assured of finding something worthwhile.
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Great story of courage and determination
tyguy-213 August 2002
True story of Erik Hazelhof, a young university lad who becomes involved in the Dutch resistance movement during WWII. We follow him and some of his close friends as they take different paths during the early occupation of Nederland by the Nazis. One of them becomes a nazi collaborator, another is Jewish and does his best to defy the occupational troops, the others join the resistance in varying degrees. The story gets complex in its telling and you get an in depth look at how some civilians did their best to stay alive and help the war effort. The story focuses mostly on a Hauer's character. I thought it was great that he was not a 'John Wayne-Rambo' type of character. Instead we find a chap who is a bit reluctant to do his part and is more concerned with surviving the war years. This movie works on several levels. I love espionage and this has plenty of it. You also can look at it as a human drama to see how the war affects the comradery of the lads. And for you gals out there, there are some love scenes. There are some great scenes that capture the spirit of the time. This movie can be added to the likes of Schindler's List, Das Boot, and Saving Private Ryan as great WWII movies.
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Outstanding story of people in war
Don P Mitchell23 July 2001
Warning: Spoilers
I've seen a lot of good reviews from Dutch fans, and let me say as a viewer in the USA, I also thought this was one of the best portraits of people during war. Unlike most Hollywood war movies, the characters are complex and not exaggerated heros or villains. You have people who act, people who are passive, people who agree with the German side, people who are traitors. But even the principle traitor is someone forced into a difficult dilemma, as Verhoeven says about him in the commentary "let him without sin cast the first stone". I thought the character of Alex was interesting (yes the tango scene was remarkable), also a sympathetic character, who being half German, decided to join the German army (he tank infantry, not SS by the way, an important moral distinction). Verhoeven expresses regret about portraying him as a jerk in his final scene (throwing the bread in the mud), because once again he was not meant to be a villain, just a person making personal decisions during time of war.
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Superb dramatization of a dark time in our history.
james.rankin7 February 2001
This is an excellent adaptation of a true story of university students reacting to World War II. The population of Holland lived a naive existence, believing that they were not involved. When the war came to them, they were horribly naive and unprepared. The only possibility was to work with the resistance. By wars end, only two of the original group (Erik and Jack) were still alive. The whole story is there: danger, how people were forced into collaborating, how others willingly collaborated, torture at the hands of the Gestapo, death the penalty for getting caught, how Erik survived.

The best Verhoeven movie readily available in the USA, what a contrast to the trash he turned out in the 1990s. Hauer is in top form as Erik. Krabbe is excellent as the fraternity president Guus, so in charge of the games at the beginning, so naive as to the reality of their situation at the end. Their friendship was at the core of this film. Their relationship with authority throughout was complex and compelling.

There are two subtitled versions, the original is far the best if you can find it. The other subtitled version available is a version of the dubbing script for the US version for those parochial people who have to have it in English because they can't be bothered to increase their cultural horizon and listen to a movie in its original language. Stay as far away from the dubbed in English version as you can.
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An eye-opening film about Dutch resistance against the Nazi German occupation.
Deusvolt26 May 2006
I was told by a Dutch priest friend that his country's soldiers responded to the German invasion riding on bicycles. And they were confronted by Panzer divisions.

Apart from the films about the Ten Boom family and their heroic exploits in saving Dutch Jews from the death camps (e.g. The Hiding Place), there are few cinematic efforts portraying Dutch resistance against the Nazis. Soldier of Orange was therefore an eye-opener. One would have thought that the Dutch, because of their proximity to Germany, with their cognate languages would have succumbed to Anschluss as did Austria. The stoic courage of Queen Wilhelmina in insisting on staying with her people even after it was clear that Dutch forces had collapsed in the face of the German Blitzkrieg was touching. Only reluctantly did she accept the advice of her ministers that she would be more effective as a symbol of resistance abroad persuaded her to accept the British offer to fly her out of her beloved country.

And yet, despite the exciting episodes of Dutch resistance and espionage against the German occupiers, what proved more interesting to me was the depiction of student life at the universities. I was both fascinated and appalled at the extent and brutality of the hazing undergone by the lower classmen which included the character of Rutger Hauer. In my country, the Philippines, such hazing have led to several deaths and although condemned in general, they go on.
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Noble and exciting
Andy4410 February 2006
I have enjoyed seeing this movie more than twice because:

It's true. It includes humor and absurdity along with fighting the good fight. It doesn't flinch from the ugly. Great music. Fine acting. Well crafted in creating the historic atmosphere. Dense with character. Entertaining pace.

The first time I saw it I was a little bothered by the way it seemed to just "walk along" -then he did this then they did that then this happened- like a diary. But I later came to like that style, maybe because war, like life, is "just one damned thing after another".

I'd love to read the memoir it's based on, but the last time I looked it hadn't been translated into English.

I wonder if Verhoeven ever looks back and wishes he could have/would have made more like this instead of Showgirls, Robocop, and such.
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Watching it back when it was released, who would have ever guessed that Paul Verhoeven would later make "Robocop"?
Lee Eisenberg17 August 2006
In "Soldaat van Oranje" (called "Soldier of Orange" in English), Paul Verhoeven brilliantly tells the story of several Dutch students resisting the Nazi occupation. One of the really interesting aspects is life before the war. We see the college cafeteria, where the students abuse Erik Lanshof (Rutger Hauer). But after the invasion, everyone sees their duty to defend the Netherlands.

All in all, I think that most people would have to agree that Paul Verhoeven's movies in his native Holland were just better (he's made some good ones here, but they have all been popcorn movies). This is certainly one to see. Also starring Jeroen Krabbe and Derek de Lint.

For the record, I've heard that for many years after WWII, it was considered rude to speak German in the Netherlands. I don't doubt it.
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the best
sabjur4 February 2004
a movie about world war II it seems to be the best dutch movie of all time. in mine opinion the best dutch movie ever have been made. with a lot of humor, good acting and a real life story.
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Choices made
jftevers17 November 2002
The film Soldier of Orange is based on the book Soldaat van Oranje written by Erik Hazelhoff Roelzema which is an memoire. Because of his activities in the second world war, Erik was awarded by the Queen to become her personal adjudant, a soldier of orange (orange being the house colour of the dutch royal family).

The fact that this movie is so good is that it clearly shows how people (and in this movie: students) make choices in the war and how these choices made affect relationships between these people. There are a few key-figures in this movie, Erik being the main character and the rest of his student friends (e.g. Alex, Guus). During his study of law in Leiden the Germans invade the Netherlands. After a five days of fighting the Germans occupy the Netherlands completely. After a few months some students (including Erik) start a resistance against the Germans. After a few amateuristic attempts most of them get arrested by the Germans and the rest of the band keeps quiet. Not all of the band have joined the resistance, some favour the Germans like Alex. Alex starts to fight for Germany and therefore turns away from Erik and the rest. In the movie this can be seen as Erik sees him again in the Hague during a fare well parade of the dutch SS volunteers which are going to fight in Russia. The parade turns to the right of the screen and Erik goes the other way (Erik joined the resistance). The band of students which was so close at the start of the war falls apart during the war.

Another thing that makes the movie that good is the fact that it shows that the collaboration in the Netherlands was massive during the Second World War and most of the resistance was amateurism. When all London activities are cancelled to start a network of resistance in the Netherlands, Erik joins the RAF. Not because he is convinced that Germany is wrong but because he has the opportunity to do so, he likes the adventure (in the movie he says; little bit of war, always fun - een beetje oorlog, altijd leuk). For the same reason Erik could have joined the luftwaffe if the opportunity to do so was there.

Summary, the movie gives a nice picture of the dutch people during the Second World War, some people joined the resistance, much people collaborated and alas the most of the dutch people kept quiet and hoped to live to see the end of the war (in the most possitive case they performed passive resistance against the Germans). In the movie there was a nice scene at the end. Erik finds a band brother who tells him he is so proude that he gratuated during the war, he took clandestine exams.
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Rutger Hauer snubbed by the Oscars in '78
PVOM25 May 1999
After seeing this film, anyone who has seen anyting Rutger Hauer has done over the past decade are bound to be scratching their heads. His versatility and charisma carries the film, as does Verhoeven's pointed direction. Watching him go from speaking Dutch, to English, to French, to German and back to Dutch again is quite compelling. He never misses a beat and is quite a dashing hero as he single handedly becomes a hero of hte Resistence in WWII. Perhpas id Verhoeven and Hauer had stuck together once they hit the states, their careers would be in better shape. "Soldier of Orange" is the testimony of what was and could be again. Look for Hauer donning a trenchcoat, soon to become a habit.
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Brilliant performance of Rutger Hauer
pvanoranje28 December 2001
One of Paul Verhoeve's best performances. I personally believe there haven't been such succesfull movies in Holland afterwards. Both Rutger and Jeroen act very natural, an appealing story, well mastered by Paul and I like the different languages used in the movie making it more realistic. It is unfortunate that the movie hasn't had a sequal, although it is hard to find the same level of Dutch actors these days.
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in subtitles a great film about 5 friends fate and the OSS.
orangegreenknight192716 June 2001
SOLDIER OF ORANGE is a dutch film about 5 friends and the roads in life they choose after the nazi blitzkreig tears through holland in 1940. The film is in dutch and german with subtitles yet for the sequences in ENGLAND where RUTGER HAUERS character gets his OSS training all dialogue is in english. The film is an art house film I would like to see again, part espionage thriller, part romance, part bonding and bonding dissintegration tale of five friends the film was a example of good EURPOEAN art films. The film was directed by ROBOCOP director PAUL VERHOEVEN and is different from that genre all together. There is a quality to this film and it's color stock that surpases time, like a rich tapestry of colors in a dream. A good cinematic fable. This film will appeal to espionage drama buffs as well as the art house crowd. 10 stars out of ten.
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Exiled_Archangel6 February 2004
I just watched Soldaat Van Oranje, and I'm absolutely fascinated. It's a typical war flick in many senses, but it's probably one of the best ever made if not THE ONE. My heartfelt thanks and congratulations go to the entire crew who made this masterpiece. For 156 minutes, I was a young Dutchman wanting my country to be saved from the Nazis! After some point, it was like watching a football game. "Come on boy, you'll score, smash the bloody Nazi b**tard!" sort of thing.. I was inside the scene! The acting, camera work, screenplay, all flawless. Especially Rutger Hauger shines starting with the first breath. Unless he actually experienced all this stuff and reincarnated afterwards to make this movie, his was the BEST ACTING I'VE EVER SEEN!!! The rest of the cast is also fabulous. I usually try to mention the slightest flaw in a movie when I write a comment on here, no matter how much I liked it. But this time, I won't be able to, because this movie simply has no flaw at all. It's perfect, marvellous, stunning, any other adjective that addresses perfection! Anyone with a heart will LOVE this movie! A well-deserved ***** from me.
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Incongruous Lack of Involvement
jzappa1 January 2009
Paul Verhoeven's signature ironic detachment from the graphic violence in his work has reasonably been attributed to his experiences as a young Dutch child during the Nazi Occupation. What I've always admired about him has been his use of sardonic indifference with films like RoboCop, Starship Troopers and Spetters, but with Soldier of Orange, there doesn't seem to be anything discerning his vision from that of other war film directors who've had less or no eyewitness or everyday experience with war. Though thankfully it is not without unabashed Dutchness---the Queen is anything but strict with her loyal underlings' sense of manners, sex and exhibitionist affection is in no way taboo in any presented dynamic, and Rutger Hauer's response to his sometime lover spitting beer in his face is "I love you"---its framework is, in a sense, American. It is a spy thriller that begins and ends like a coming-of-age film about a circle of aloof, airy friends, some of whom make it to the end and some of whom don't.

In some way, upon reflection, I can see how this early effort by Verhoeven, and his two regular pre-U.S. stars Hauer and Jeroen Krabbe, benefits from its incongruous lack of involvement. It is the story of people who don't understand the import of what is truly happening until it literally hits home and find that loyalty grows to be more and more of an illusion. Thus, it seems to aesthetically make a degree of sense for the story to unfold at arm's length, as if we can never quite know who will live, die or turn on us. But still, wouldn't this film be so much better if it did not keep its distance? Isn't it the point for us to feel betrayed and angered by the unraveling of events? In any case, I could still be wrong, as the cliché love triangles, token romantic interests and ignored moral dichotomies of seemingly incidental things certain characters do abound.

Perhaps Verhoeven was not yet ready to make the Dutch Resistance film he knew he should make. His filmography can often look like the work of someone who is cynically desensitized to violence and other sorts of cruelty, but it can also often look like the work of someone's defense mechanism against how it has affected him. It wasn't until 2006 when Black Book was released when we saw his true and personal vision of a story set during this time. We have authentic emotional reactions to everything that happens in that tremendous film, which as it turns out is surely Verhoeven's best work, as if his previous films had all been his way of wrestling with the feelings with which he had to come to terms in order to make it, just as the Dutch in this film seem to remain aloof, perhaps in quiet, ambiguous defense of what could happen to them at any moment.
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The very best war movie of all time
martijn-565 November 2005
Although I am Dutch, I am not nationalistic when I say this is the very best of all war movies I have seen. Though not packed with overwhelming in battle action like Saving Private Ryan movies of our time, the spirit of people in war is depicted better than in any other I have seen. I simply see a group of young men together on a picture, and after the war that swept away many of them, there are only two men still alive: the hero of our story and the anti-hero, who did nothing. Yet, in the end, they raise their glass to the future. It makes you think: maybe all that matters is to stay alive, but I cannot help but feel a terrible loss for those, like Guus, who tried to make a difference and did not make it. It is up to man itself to believe what he wants to believe: just to survive, or live life in a proud way and die for a good cause? Nowhere in the universe it is written how it should be, and this movie shows this in a very good and neutral way. Sometimes I can agree with the somewhat cold Rutger Hauer character, to just survive, and I can understand the student in the end that did nothing in the war, but survived! Also, the people that went along with the Germans, you see it happen and somehow only in this movie they could be just like you and me and making the bad choice as we know it now. As a character of Sartre once said in The roads to freedom, one day is enough to find out whether you are a hero or a coward. Personally, I never got over that picture where all those young men were once alive, but no more. Especially Guus, one of the very best characters ever on the screen, brilliantly depicted by Jeroen Krabbe - I still hate Paul Verhoeven, and the War for not allowing him to make it to peace! A must see!
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Real life beats heroism
OK, i am sooo prejudiced being from Holland. And maybe that's the point. This movie is all about reinventing your prejudices. It tells the story how, at first sight, almost identical lives take different turns under intense circumstances, without it being really (in most cases) clear what drives one person one way and another the other way. This is not really a war story, but a story about evolving personalities. People become heroes or traitors almost by circumstance. The Second World War is merely a catalyst for this evolution.

Please go see it (on DVD, out in sort notice) and prove me right or wrong. PS. one of the best music scores of all time from the late Rogier van Otterloo.
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Arguably best war movie ever !
enricobelfi16 February 2003
I guess this movie loses a lot of it's body when translated. Subtitles will not make up for it either.

The original Dutch version is arguably one of the best war movies ever made. It's very Dutch and the story is completely situated in the Netherlands.

The hatred people felt for the German nazi's and the Dutch NSB'ers is beautifully displayed by the actors. It all seems very "natural" (and I don't necessarily mean the inevitable Dutch nude scenes -by the way, Renee Soutendijk is a true bitch in this movie).

Best phrase: "Schoonmoeder.. Scheveningen, Scheveningen... lul!" Translated: "Mother-in-law... Scheveningen, Scheveningen (Dutch sea-side town)... dick!" The reason the guy had the other guy saying this was to make sure he wasn't German, as Germans can't pronounce the rasping "sch" sound.

Great movie.
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