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The 4th Man (1983)

De vierde man (original title)
A man who has been having visions of an impending danger begins an affair with a woman who may lead him to his doom.


Paul Verhoeven


Gerard Reve (novel), Gerard Soeteman
4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Jeroen Krabbé ... Gerard Reve
Renée Soutendijk ... Christine Halsslag
Thom Hoffman ... Herman
Dolf de Vries Dolf de Vries ... Dr. de Vries
Geert de Jong Geert de Jong ... Ria
Hans Veerman ... Begrafenisondernemer
Hero Muller Hero Muller ... Josefs
Caroline de Beus Caroline de Beus ... Adrienne
Reinout Bussemaker ... Eerste echtgenoot
Erik J. Meijer Erik J. Meijer ... Tweede echtgenoot
Ursul de Geer Ursul de Geer ... Derde echtgenoot
Filip Bolluyt Filip Bolluyt ... Surfer
Hedda Lornie Hedda Lornie ... Verkoopster boekhandel
Paul Nygaard Paul Nygaard ... Violist
Guus van der Made Guus van der Made ... Treinkelner


The morbid Catholic writer Gerard Reve who is bisexual, alcoholic and has frequent visions of death is invited to give a lecture in the literature club of Vlissingen. While in the railway station in Amsterdam, he feels attracted to a handsome man who embarks on another train. Gerard is introduced to the treasurer of the club and beautician Christine Halsslag, a wealthy widow who owns the Spider beauty shop, and they engage in a one night stand. On the next morning, Gerard sees the picture of Christine's boyfriend Herman and recognizes him as the man he saw in the train station. He urges her to bring Herman to her house to spend a couple of days together, but with the secret intention of seducing the man. Christine travels to Köln to bring her boyfriend and Gerard stays alone in her house. He drinks whiskey and snoops through her safe, finding three film reels with names of men; he decides to watch the footage and discovers that Christine had married each; all of whom died in tragic ... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil revised by S. Alan Fann, N. Decatur, GA USA

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Christine is young, beautiful and rich. Her three husbands all died tragically. It's time for Christine to find her fourth man.


Unrated | See all certifications »

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Did You Know?


Paul Verhoeven wanted Thom Hoffman to do his own stunt driving, which meant making a sharp turn with 50 mph. After several failed attempts, Verhoeven took Hoffman's place and showed him how to do it. In order to help him even more, he ordered Hoffman to try and hit him with the car, jumping out of its way just before Hoffman made the turn. See more »


At the beginning of the movie, as Gerard is getting out of bed, the boom mic is visible in a mirror behind him. See more »


Dr. de Vries: Do your thoughts often relate to death?
Gerard Reve: Constantly.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Italian version is largely censored. It runs 98 minutes (more than 5 minutes shorter than the original version). See more »


References Macabro (1980) See more »

User Reviews

Stylish, challenging and intriguing
21 December 2004 | by The_VoidSee all my reviews

Paul Verhoeven's predecessor to his breakout hit 'Basic Instinct' is a stylish and shocking neo-noir thriller. Verhoeven has become known for making somewhat sleazy trash films, both in his native Holland and in America and this film is one of the reasons why. The Fourth Man follows the strange story of Gerard Reve (played by Jeroen Krabbé); a gay, alcoholic and slightly mad writer who goes to Vlissingen to give a talk on the stories he writes. While there, he meets the seductive Christine Halsslag (Renée Soutendijk) who takes him back to her house where he discovers a handsome picture of one of her lovers and proclaims that he will meet him, even if it kills him.

Paul Verhoeven twists the truth many times in this film, and that ensures that you never quite know where you are with it. Many of the occurrences in The Fourth Man could be what they appear to be, but they could easily be interpreted as something else entirely and this keeps the audience on the edge of their seats for the duration, and also makes the film work as this narrative is what it thrives on. Paul Verhoeven is not a filmmaker that feels he has to restrain himself, and that is one of things I like best about him. This film features a very shocking scene that made me feel ill for hours afterwards (and that doesn't happen very often!). I wont spoil it because it needs the surprise element to work...but you'll see what I mean when you see the film (make sure you get the uncut version!). There is also a number of other macabre scenes that are less shocking than the one I've mentioned, but are lovely nonetheless; a man gets eaten by lions, another one has a pipe sent through his skull, a boat is smashed in half...lovely.

The acting in The Fourth Man isn't anything to write home about, but it's solid throughout. Jeroen Krabbé holds the audience's attention and looks the part as the drunken writer. It is Renée Soutendijk that impresses the most, though, as the femme fatale at the centre of the tale. Her performance is what Sharon Stone would imitate nine years later with Basic Instinct, but the original fatale did it best. Paul Verhoeven's direction is solid throughout as he directs our attention through numerous points of view, all of which help to create the mystery of the story. Verhoeven has gone on to make some rubbish, but he obviously has talent and it's a shame that he doesn't put it to better use. Of all the Verhoeven films I've seen, this is the best and although it might be difficult to come across; trust me, it's worth the effort.

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Release Date:

24 March 1983 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

The 4th Man See more »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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