Character (1997)
"Karakter" (original title)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery  |  27 March 1998 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 9,002 users  
Reviews: 67 user | 51 critic

Jacob Katadreuffe lives mute with his mother, has no contact with his father who only works against him and wants to become a lawyer, at all costs.



(short story "Dreverhaven en Katadreuffe" and novel "Karakter") (as F. Bordewijk) , (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 15 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Betty Schuurman ...
Tamar van den Dop ...
Lorna Te George
Victor Löw ...
De Gankelaar
Hans Kesting ...
Lou Landré ...
Bernard Droog ...
Frans Vorstman ...
Inspecteur de Bree
Fred Goessens ...
Jasper Gottlieb ...
Jacob 6 jaar
Marius Gottlieb ...
Jacob 6 jaar
Pavlik Jansen op de Haar ...
Jacob 12 jaar
Marisa Van Eyle ...
Jiffrouw Sibculo
Wim Van Der Grijn ...
2e Inspecteur


J.W. Katadreuffe is the son of Joba Katadreuffe and A.B. Drevenhaven. Though fully neglected by Joba, Dreverhaven ensures the succesfull career of his son. Mostly unseen, though he sues his son a few times. The son Katadreuffe succeeds, but at great costs. Written by Klaas van Gend <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




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Release Date:

27 March 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Character  »

Box Office


$4,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$37,268 (USA) (27 March 1998)


$713,413 (USA) (5 June 1998)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Although the story takes place in the Dutch city of Rotterdam, many scenes were filmed in other cities across The Netherlands and Europe. This was because Rotterdam has very little buildings left following heavy bombing during the Second World War. Filming locations included: Hamburg (Germany), Wroclaw (Poland), Antwerp and Gent (Belgium) and The Hague (The Netherlands). See more »


In one of the street scenes, you can see an extra in modern outfit and with no headwear on. See more »


[first lines]
Jacob Katadreuffe: I came to tell you. Today I have been sworn in as a lawyer. You must be sorry but I am sworn in and this is the last time I'll come here. Farewell for ever. You no longer exist for me.
Dreverhaven: Congratulations.
Jacob Katadreuffe: You congratulate me? I can't take your hand. The hand of someone who always opposed me.
Dreverhaven: Or helped.
Dreverhaven: Or helped.
See more »


Featured in Allemaal film: De amerikaanse droom (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

5 January 1999 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Karakter is quite stunning on several levels. The cinematography is gorgeous - without the use of any noticeable special effects or surrealistic dream sequences. The quality of the filming surpasses that of most movies.

One of the best things for me (as an American) about watching foreign films is not knowing who most of the actors are, and this makes it easier to completely accept them as the characters they play. The two leads were outstanding, and the supporting characters (particularly Betty Schuurman as Joba, and Nans Kesting as Jan Maan) were very effective.

I found the story to be engrossing and - more than anything, the pacing amazed me. A person accustomed to reading classic novels would probably appreciate the way this film unfolded. There is a desire to reach the end, but no hurry.

For sure, this film wouldn't interest everyone, but I rank it among my favorite films. It deserved to win the Academy Award for Best Picture last year: for the story, for the performances, for the direction ... it's rare that one finds a movie so well-put together.

35 of 44 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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