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?


Filming took place over the course of 71 days in the summer and fall of 1996. 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 The 79th Annual Academy Awards (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

In this film we are confronted with a perfect script if there ever was one!
22 May 1999 | by (Quito, Ecuador) – See all my reviews

In this film we are confronted with a perfect script if there ever was one! Once again, talented screenwriters have proved that a fine novel can be transformed into a great film, without losing any depth in philosophical understanding or psychological subtlety. In 'Character', the paired tension between pride and guilt, as well as between pride and love, or guilt and love, or love and power, gives birth to an astounding and magnificent lesson in human character and behavior. The fact that Mike van Diem and Laurens Geels, two of the film's three writers, were at the same time -respectively- its director and producer, plays no small role in the success of the script, since the novel by Bordewijk was read -and rewritten- from the perspective of cinema, and not the other way around. The psychological themes are treated as variations in a symphony, presented in one of the characters and later developed in another, or presented in one form and then transmuted into another, as the brilliant treatment given to the self-destructive tendencies in the Dreverhaven character, or the extreme laconism in the mother-son relationship. Seen at a tropical country as Ecuador (my own), surrounded by a teenage audience that was led to expect something else; an audience which was only very slowly won by the tense and restrained 'northern', 'iceberg' pace of the film, 'Character' transformed the screen into a gigantic and painful mirror filled with reflections of the sorrows and sufferings of human nature. And finally those teenagers stopped crunching chips and sipping sodas, and started thinking. A '10' by any standard.

31 of 36 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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