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Black Book (2006)

Zwartboek (original title)
R | | Drama, Thriller, War | 18 May 2007 (USA)
1:53 | Trailer

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In the Nazi-occupied Netherlands during World War II, a Jewish singer infiltrates the regional Gestapo headquarters for the Dutch resistance.


3,965 ( 113)
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 13 wins & 21 nominations. See more awards »



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Director: Paul Verhoeven
Stars: Hans van Tongeren, Renée Soutendijk, Toon Agterberg


Cast overview, first billed only:
Dolf de Vries ...
Van Gein
Ronald Armbrust ...
Tim Kuipers
Xander Straat ...


Israel 1956. Rachel, a Jew, rather unexpectedly meets an old friend at the kibbutz where she is working as a teacher. It brings back memories of her experiences in The Netherlands during the war, memories of betrayal. September 1944. Rachel is in trouble when her hiding place is bombed by allied troops. She gets in contact with a man from the resistance and joins a group of Jews who are to be smuggled across the Biesbosch by boat to the freed South Netherlands. Germans from a patrol boat murder them all however. Only Rachel is able to escape. She is rescued by a resistance group under the leadership of Gerben Kuipers. When Kuipers' son is captured after trying to smuggle weapons, he asks Rachel to seduce SS-hauptsturmführer Ludwig Müntze. Soon she will find out the attack in the Biesbosch wasn't a coincidence. Written by Arnoud Tiele (imdb@tiele.nl)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


To fight the enemy, she must become one of them.


Drama | Thriller | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some strong violence, graphic nudity, sexuality and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




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Release Date:

18 May 2007 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Black Book  »


Box Office


$21,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

€682,184 (Netherlands), 17 September 2006, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$112,521, 8 April 2007, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$4,398,392, 19 August 2007
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Among the actresses considered for the lead role were Angela Schijf, Esmée de la Bretonière, Katja Schuurman, Thekla Reuten and Halina Reijn. See more »


The B-17 is dropping "slick" bombs at low altitude. They would need to use high drag "retarded" bombs to prevent them from detonating under the plane. See more »


Rachel Stein aka Ellis de Vries: [SPOILER]
[Hans Akkermans is locked in the coffin, as a punishment for his murderous treason, struggling to get out by kicking and screaming]
Rachel Stein aka Ellis de Vries: We should actually get up and open the coffin.
Gerben Kuipers: Yeah. We should...
[both Rachel and Gerben remain seated, gazing at the river]
Gerben Kuipers: What should we do with all the money?
Rachel Stein aka Ellis de Vries: It doesn't belong to us.
Gerben Kuipers: It doesn't belong to anybody.
Rachel Stein aka Ellis de Vries: To the dead...
[the sound of Hans Akkermans's screams stops, meaning he is now dead. Gerben raises his finger]
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Referenced in Verhoeven Versus Verhoeven (2016) See more »


Haoto Shelanu
Lyrics: Fania Bergstein
Composer: Traditional
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Unexpectedly Good Film
8 April 2007 | by See all my reviews

I seem to be the first in the US to comment on this film after having seen it at a regular theater.

There's no sense in talking about the movie's plot as so many others have already done so.

My fiancée is German and tends to be interested in those artsy foreign films. Tonight she decided we should go see this one. I'm glad we did.

I've seen a number of Paul Verhoeven's films and have found some of them quite entertaining, if a bit tacky and unrealistic. I wasn't expecting much from a Dutch film by a guy known for making big budget, tacky films.

I was pleasantly surprised by this film.

Yes, it most certainly IS a Paul Verhoeven film. Gratuitous nudity and violence seem to be his hallmarks and they're certainly not lacking. Do they detract from the movie? A little, but not enough to lose sight of the message of the film - or to make it any less enjoyable.

We had recently seen "The Lives of Others" which starred Sebastian Koch. It made his character oddly familiar. I'm certainly a fan of his after seeing his performance in both of these movies.

As for Carice van Houten... well, one of the marks of a true STAR is that you just can't take your eyes off of him or her. It isn't just beauty; there are plenty of beautiful women in the world who don't possess that same star quality. It isn't just talent, either; there are many very talented actresses out there who just don't draw you in in the same way. Carice van Houten has it all: she's beautiful in a very real way and an amazing talent - and has that something special that makes you look at her every second she's on screen. I hope the directors of the world take note of her because she deserves the stardom she has exhibited in this film.

It is good to see a film that depicts how the hunted can easily turn into the hunter. My fiancée's mother was a young girl during WWII who's family lived in Poland (near Gdansk aka Danzig). Towards the end of the war, they were forced to leave their home in fear for their lives - both from the advancing Russians and the local Poles exacting revenge for what other Germans had done. The film said it in a slightly different sentence, but it is right in bringing across the message that people seem to never learn: that it is NEVER right to hurt others no matter what they might have done in the past.

I wonder if Paul Verhoeven's family is Jewish because he really seems to identify with the never ending succession of attacks against the Jewish people. It saddens me that only ONE other review even mentioned the scene at the end where Rachel's community (in Israel) was being attacked. Part of the film's message is that we seemed doomed to repeat our inhumanity to our fellow man.

Was this a perfect movie? Certainly not. Is it a masterpiece ala "Schindler's List" or "Full Metal Jacket" or "Saving Private Ryan?" Probably not. But I'll say that in the several hours since I've seen it, I can't stop thinking about it. And I certainly enjoyed every minute of that 2-1/2 hour film while watching it. I'd watch it again if I had it on DVD.

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