Soldier of Orange

Soldier of Orange

Infobox Film
name = Soldier of Orange

caption = International DVD cover
director = Paul Verhoeven
producer = Rob Houwer
writer = Erik Hazelhoff Roelfzema Kees Holierhoek Gerard Soeteman Paul Verhoeven
starring = Rutger Hauer Jeroen Krabbé Derek de Lint Edward Fox
music = Rogier van Otterloo
cinematography = Jost Vacano
editing = Jane Sperr
distributor =
released = 1977
runtime = 149 min.
country = Netherlands
awards =
language = Dutch, English, German
budget = NLG 5,000,000 (€2,300,000)
preceded_by =
followed_by =
amg_id = 45513
imdb_id = 0076734

"Soldier of Orange" ( _nl. Soldaat van Oranje) is a 1977 Dutch film directed by Paul Verhoeven and produced by Rob Houwer, starring Rutger Hauer and Jeroen Krabbé. The film is set during the German occupation of the Netherlands during World War II, and shows how individual students have different roles in the war. The story is based on the book "Soldaat van Oranje" by Erik Hazelhoff Roelfzema, who lived the story himself.

The film had a budget of NLG 5,000,000 (€2,300,000), at the time the most expensive Dutch movie ever. With 1,547,183 visitors, it was the most popular Dutch film of 1977. [ Soldaat van Oranje] at] The film received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Foreign Language Film in 1980. [ Soldier Of Orange] at the website of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association] The film is considered to be one of the two best Dutch films made in the 20th century. [ Turks Fruit gekozen tot Beste Nederlandse Film van de Eeuw] ]


The film is about a group of students from Leiden, the Netherlands, amongst whom Erik Lanshof (Rutger Hauer), Guus LeJeune (Jeroen Krabbé), Jan Weinberg (Huib Rooymans), and Alex (Derek de Lint). Robby Froost (Eddy Habbema) is a friend of Erik's and Esther (Belinda Meuldijk) is Robby's girlfriend. Each of them happens to follow a different path and therefore has a different role in the Second World War, either as a collaborator or in the resistance. Part of the story is set in London, where Queen Wilhelmina (Andrea Domburg) has her residence. The students Erik and Guus fight alongside Colonel Rafelli (Edward Fox) and soldier Susan (Susan Penhaligon) of the allied forces in London.

The film begins with a flashforward in the form of a newsreel with a voice-over. Queen Wilhelmina is accompanied by Erik arriving in the Netherlands from London shortly after the Second World War.

After the newsreel the film starts in the late 1930s in Leiden, where freshmen undergo the humiliation of the initiation rites of their fraternity. Erik is picked out by Guus, the chair of the fraternity, who throws a bowl of soup over his head and injures him with the bowl. After this accident the two become close friends and Guus offers him a room in his private student apartment in the center of Leiden. In this house the students (Erik, Guus, Jan, and Alex) have a drink which confirms their new friendships.

An English radio broadcasting interrupts the students in a tennis match and announces the declaration of war by the United Kingdom against Germany. In the beginning the students seem to take things lightly, the Netherlands will probably be neutral again, like in World War I. Jan and also Alex, who has a German mother, immediately join the Dutch army. Then German bombs start to fall, and Erik and Guus try to join the army but they are not accepted by a traumatized army officer. Shortly after the Netherlands capitulate. Erik has an affair with Esther.

Robby has a radio transmitter in his garden shed from where he contacts the Dutch resistance in London. He arranges for Erik a flight to London. The Jewish Jan, student boxing champ, gets into trouble by fighting with two anti-Semitic collaborators, who were bullying a Jewish salesman. Because of this Erik offers his place on the airplane to Jan, but during the pick up they get into a fight with nazi soldiers, and Jan gets captured. Erik is able to escape.

When Erik meets Alex during a military parade, he finds out he is now fighting on the German side for the SS. Later Erik is also captured. In prison he hears from Jan that "Van der Zanden" is the traitor in London. Jan is executed. Robby's radio installation is discovered and he is forced by the Gestapo to cooperate as a spy, because his fiancée Esther is Jewish.

Erik and Guus try to flee to London again, this time on a Swiss boat and they get picked up by a Royal Navy ship. In London Erik meets Van der Zanden (modelled after general François van 't Sant) and tries to kill him, but he appears not to be a traitor but head of the Dutch Central Intelligence Service and a trustee of the Dutch Queen. Guus has an affair with the British soldier Susan. Erik and Guus agree with the Queen to pick up some resistance leaders who could play an important role in the Netherlands after the war. Guus is dropped on the beach and tricks himself into a party near the beach. Now Erik has an affair with Susan.

Erik comes back to the Netherlands to pick up Guus and the resistance leaders. But Robby is with them on the beach and the Germans have followed the group who is about to escape over sea. Erik tried to warn them about Robby, but couldn't reach them. On his way to the beach Erik runs into Alex at a Nazi party close to the beach and dances ballroom tango with him in the middle of the party. Erik is able to flee from the party onto the beach and meets the others. When Robby sees that Erik knows about his collaboration, he flees. Then the group who tries to escape is under fire. The resistance leaders get killed, Guus escapes over land, and Erik is able to escape on the British ship and returns to London, and to Susan.

When Guus meets Robby he shoots him in the middle of the street. Guus gets caught and is beheaded. Alex gets killed by a hand grenade thrown by a kid he was bullying. Erik becomes an RAF pilot and drops bombs over Germany.

Later Erik is appointed as adjudant to the Dutch Queen, and accompanies her back to the Netherlands after the war is over, as shown in the newsreel in the beginning of the film. In the end Erik meets Esther again, and celebrates the end of the war with one of his fellow students who also survived the war.


*Rutger Hauer as Erik Lanshof. A student in Leiden, joins the resistance, graduates, travels to London and becomes an RAF pilot.
*Jeroen Krabbé as Guus LeJeune. A student and friend of Erik, graduates, joins the resistance, travels to London, gets killed by the Germans.
*Susan Penhaligon as Susan. British soldier, secretary to Colonel Rafelli, has an affair with both Guus and Erik.
*Edward Fox as Colonel Rafelli. British colonel, is head of the missions of Erik and Guus to the occupied Netherlands.
*Lex van Delden as Nico. Student friend of Erik, he was called "pietje precies" by his friends because he was always annoying them with details. Is machine-gunned to death on Dutch beach by German soldiers.
*Derek de Lint as Alex. A student with a German mother. At the war's start, he's drafted into the Dutch army, after Nazi victory joins the Waffen-SS. Dies by a hand grenade in Russia.
*Huib Rooymans as Jan Weinberg. A student, Jewish, student boxing champion, gets executed by the Germans.
*Dolf de Vries as Jack ten Brinck. Student friend of Erik, the one who survived the war and with whom Erik drinks a glass wine in the last scene.
*Eddy Habbema as Robby Froost. Friend of Erik, radio amateur for the resistance, becomes a traitor the Gestapo treatens to send his fiancé Esther to Poland. Gets shot by Guus.

*Belinda Meuldijk as Esther. Fiancée of Robby, has an affair with Erik, and helps out Erik several times.
*Peter Faber as Will Oostgaarde. Man who accompanies Erik and Guus to London, becomes a RAF pilot together with Erik.
*Rijk de Gooyer as Gestapo-man Breitner. He is the man that beats up Jan, follows Erik around, and he is also the one who threatens Robby and makes him collaborate.
*Reinhard Kolldehoff as Geisman. He is the German senior officer who gives orders to Gestapo-man Breitner, who questions Jan and tells him about "Van der Zanden".
*Andrea Domburg as Queen Wilhelmina. Queen of the Netherlands, fled to London, tries to get in touch with people from the resistance and sends Erik and Guus on a mission to get them.
*Guus Hermus as Van der Zanden. He is the man who Erik keeps for a traitor at first. He is the head of Dutch Central Security Service and trustee of Queen Wilhelmina in London.
*Bert André as Gekke Dirk. The man who fools the Dutch forces about German parachutists behind a farm, where only a couple is having sex.
*Hugo Koolschijn as the Sicherheitspolizei-leutenant. The man that inspects the Swiss ship and gets bullied by the drunken crew.
*Bruni Heinke as NSB squeaker. She is the woman who helps Gestapo-man Breitner in finding Robby.


The film won the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Foreign Film in 1979. [ [ Previous Years' Winners 1979] at the website of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association] One year later, in 1980, it received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Foreign Language Film, but the French-Italian film "La Cage aux Folles" won the award. [Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film [] ]

In the election for best Dutch film of the twentieth century at the Netherlands Film Festival in 1999 "Soldier of Orange" reached the second place, right after another Paul Verhoeven film "Turkish Delight".

External links

*imdb title|id=0076734|title=Soldaat van Oranje
*amg movie|id=1:45513|title=Soldier of Orange
*rotten-tomatoes|id=soldier_of_orange|title=Soldier of Orange


* [ Review] by Janet Maslin at New York Times
* [ Review] by Bill Warren at [ Audio Video Revolution] Rating|4.5|5 (4.5/5)
* [ Review] by Scott Weinberg at [ Apollo Movie Guide] rating-10|7.9 (79/100)


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