Soldaat van Oranje (Soldier of Orange) (Survival Run) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Soldaat van Oranje (Soldier of Orange) (Survival Run) Reviews

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½ December 7, 2015
Most of the movie is set during World War 2 when Germany invaded Holland. While this movie is historically interesting it has too many characters and thus feels disjointed.
May 2, 2014
Tidlig Verhoeven (1977) med Jan de Bont som fotograf og Rutger Hauer og Jeroen Krabbé i hovedrollerne. Det veloplagte manuskript skildrer Anden Verdenskrig set med hollandske řjne i en elegant balance mellem dokudrama og kulřrt underholdning. Holder fint den dag i dag og er faktisk mere end en tand bedre end Verhoevens senere (og ogsĺ ganske glimrende) krigsdrama Zwartboek..
½ December 30, 2013
A first rate war movie that has just about something for everyone--The essence of naive heroism, unspoilt!!
½ November 5, 2013
Somewhat televisual, but decent enough war film. Rutherford Hauer good as always
July 15, 2013
College friends get caught on the different sides of World War II after Netherlands surrender to Germany. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
½ June 13, 2013
The classic Dutch WWII film. Now I have seen it. And liked it. A bit overly long, but dramatic enough, considering it was based on real life events, however unlikely some of them seem. Fascinating to see young Jeroen Krabbe and Rutger Hauer and some (it seemed) hidden and not so hidden sexual undercurrents, even in hilarious tones. Would have been 4 stars, if it was a bit shorter. Beautiful picture.
½ February 8, 2013
Erik Lanshof (Rutger Hauer), an aristocratic Dutch student from Leiden in the early 30s, is one in a gang of carefree friends who don't care much for politics. The other ones are Guus LeJeune (Jeroen Krabbé), Jan Weinberg (Huib Rooymans), Alex (Derek de Lint) Robby Froost (Eddy Habbema) and Esther (Belinda Meuldijk) who is Robby's girlfriend. When the Nazis invade Holland, however, the group is drawn inevitably into the conflict. While Alex joins the German army, Gus and Erik joins the resistance and eventually flees to England, where they become pawns in a much larger underground movement to restore their country's Queen Wilhelmina (Andrea Domburg) to her rightful throne in Holland...

"Soldaat van Oranje" is based on the book Soldaat van Oranje by Erik Hazelhoff Roelfzema, who lived the story himself. The film had a budget of 5,000,000 (2,300,000), at the time the most expensive Dutch movie ever. With 1,547,183 viewers, it was the most popular Dutch film of 1977. I reckon what also needs to be mentioned is that Rutger Hauer, Jeroen Krabbé, Paul Verhoeven and cinematographer Jan De Bont, all went to Hollywood during the 80s. I reckon what is a bit unique here being a WW2 movie, is that the setting is in Holland, and all speak dutch or german. The setting of students/friends becoming involved in WW2 is not that often seen. Few examples exist, such as the norwegian movie "Max Manus". And the I reckon the fact that Verhoeven shows that the war changed a lot of aspects of everyday life for
everyone, there were some things that stayed the same regardless. The normality existed in Holland despite the german invasion, which is as well maybe seldom seen in warmovies. "Soldaat van Oranje" is uneven, some scenes are not completely balanced, the acting varies between great and too strict/theatrical and the storyline hasn´t got a fully proper flow in my book. Compared to his later movies, we also see very little violence and gore. It´s nice to see a young Rutger Hauer and a young Jeroen Krabbé, even if the acting is maybe not entirely top notch anno 1977. And it´s kind of funny to hear Rutger speaking dutch. "Soldaat van Oranje" has its moments for sure and it´s a powerful story about the loss
of innocence/freedom and the battle to reclaim it.
½ December 30, 2012
A powerful story of trust and betrayal. Soldaat van Oranje delivers a truly riveting story, spanning the war. Following the six Dutch friends through their separate, yet intertwining, paths through World War II. A strong central performance from Rutger Hauer, combined with great scripting, sound and pace, creates a masterpiece of the genre. Truly unique.
Super Reviewer
½ December 6, 2012
A work chronicling the Dutch fight in WWll against the Nazis. What fight, you say? True indeed, there wasn't much of one, and so Verhoeven's film recounts, but in a sort of warm fuzzy way. What you get then is sort of the Dutch equivalent to American propanganda films, but with some little sex thrown in to spice up what ain't much of an action tale. The piece looks good though. If you're Dutch, or know someone who is, then it's probably worth another star.
Daniel Mumby
Super Reviewer
½ November 6, 2012
Paul Verhoeven's career is the living embodiment of 'never judge a book by its cover'. What on the surface appear to be nothing more than exercises in violent, sleazy indulgence bordering on soft-core porn, are in fact some of the most interesting, nuanced and intelligent examples of their respective genres (apart from Showgirls). Even so, you might struggle to defend Verhoeven's works on the grounds that they are entirely subtle - until you've seen Soldier of Orange, a truly great war drama which remains his best film.

What's so striking about Soldier of Orange is how little it conforms to the popular stereotype of what a Paul Verhoeven film is meant to be. Those of us who grew up with his Hollywood films (RoboCop, Total Recall, Basic Instinct and so on) will expect flesh-ripping violence, swearing and full-frontal nudity from the start. But instead we get a subtle ensemble character drama with several intertwining stories, which unfolds very gradually and whose moments of action punctuate the character drama as much as facilitate it.

There is an immediate comparison between this film and its contemporary A Bridge Too Far. Both Verhoeven and Richard Attenborough were striving to depict an aspect of World War II which had been hitherto overlooked - respectively the German occupation of the Netherlands and the failure of Operation Market Garden. Both films have large ensemble casts with characters of all ages, ranks and backgrounds, and both are broadly revisionist in their historical outlook.

Where the films differ is their tone and the way that said characters are presented. Attenborough is a director whose films emphasise respect: his characters are people who should be taken seriously, troubled over and admired - sometimes, as with Gandhi, to the point where we don't actually connect with them emotionally. Verhoeven, on the other hand, is driven by the need to tell the story as honestly as possible - and if that honesty involves showing people being smeared in goose fat or being blown up whilst on the toilet, then all the better.

A good example of this approach comes in the opening scene, where our main character Erik is initiated into his fraternity. The humiliating rituals the freshmen are forced to endure are depicted as something time-honoured, a tradition so entrenched that it has become absurd. You could argue that this is how If.... would have turned out had Verhoeven been in charge instead of Lindsay Anderson. Erik fills in for Mick Travis, and Rutger Hauer is every bit as charismatic as Malcolm McDowell, but instead of verbal taunting followed by a whipping, Erik sings off-key before being knocked out with a soup terrine.

There are several unexpected pockets of comedy throughout Soldier of Orange which prevent the film from drifting into any kind of awards-worthy stodginess. The funniest of these comes early on when a local stops a Dutch patrol, saying he has spotted some paratroopers in nearby farm buildings. The soldiers approach and hear groaning; presuming them to be wounded airmen, they round the corner to find two people having sex in the hay. The camera cuts back to the local, who dances around shouting "April fool!", while the couple explain he's escaped from the local asylum.

Although Soldier of Orange is more refined and understated than Verhoeven's Hollywood work, there are still several pungent layers through which we have to navigate. While the violence isn't as flesh-ripping or visceral as in Total Recall, the firing squad still is still pretty gruesome, for all the right reasons. And then there's the nudity, which is taken so much for granted that it's actually used as a plot point. When Erik finds he is being tailed by a German agent, he goes to the apartment of his best friend's wife, asking her to get undressed and then draw the curtains. The agent presumes the two are having sex, and waits for several hours while Erik escapes.

But once we dig beneath the surface, Soldier of Orange emerges as a really smart and often touching depiction of occupied life and the ethics of organised resistance. It is particularly effective at showing how war impacts on the innocent, and how this response varies across the classes. In an early scene Erik and his university friends are playing tennis when the declaration of war comes over the radio: the match stops, they all crowd round the radio - and then go back to the game as is nothing had happened. Their apathy is contrasted with the fearful faces of the teachers and schoolchildren, who are grilled by paranoid Dutch soldiers to see if any of them are Jewish (giving Hitler a reason to invade).

The story of Soldier of Orange is filled with a number of fairly complex sub-plots, using the copious nudity to set up a series of love triangles between the characters. For instance, Robby and Esther are married and deeply in love, but Esther and Erik have an affair as a result of Robby's absence through working for the resistance. The film never reveals how close the characters really are, leaving us to decide whether their relationship is borne out of love or lonely desperation.

The same goes for the platonic relationships, with the film throwing us off the scent about who the traitors might be. We hear so much about Van der Zanden being the mole that he takes on a reputation akin to Professor Moriarty, so that the true reason for his proximity to the queen comes as a shock. We understand the threat facing Robby which leads to his defection, just as we end up sympathising with Colin Firth in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. It is testament to Verhoeven's skill that he can take something as silly as two men dancing the tango, and turn it into a complex battle of wits, with both parties being guarded with their words while being fully aware of the other's intentions and allegiances.

From a visual perspective, Soldier of Orange is distinctive in its use of photographs. The film opens with what feels like decolourised footage of Erik on Liberation Day: it's a good way to introduce him as a protagonist whom we know will do great things. Hauer plays these opening scenes brilliantly, using his suave yet intimidating presence to make us like Erik without being entirely sure that we trust him, thereby maintaining the suspense around his character. There is also a helpful framing device in the photograph of the six college friends, of whom only two will survive the war.

The reunion of Erik and Jacques, the two survivors, makes an interesting point in itself. One of them survived the war by helping the resistance and fighting for his country; the other survived by carrying on and getting his preliminary in spite of the occupation. Verhoeven is making the point that there is more than one way to serve your country; he pulls back from depicting Erik's heroism as the only kind of heroism that is acceptable or achieves anything.

There are a couple of small problems with Soldier of Orange. While its pacing is generally good, it does accelerate quite rapidly towards the end. This is done to make the opening foreshadowing work, and in the film's defence it resists ending on a lazy, jingoistic note. More problematic is that the women in the film are dealt less of a hand than you might expect from Verhoeven. In Spetters he gave the sexually open characters some kind of symbolic weight, but here neither Esther nor Susan get the screen time or development they deserve.

Soldier of Orange is one of the best films ever made about World War II and remains Verhoeven's finest work to date. Beneath its flaws and excesses lies a riveting and complex tale of loyalty and betrayal, with a strong script, a terrific central performance by Rutger Hauer and a hugely underrated score from Rogier van Otterloo. Above all it is a glowing testament to Verhoeven's directorial abilities and a truly great war film, in its time and in ours.
½ November 6, 2012
Paul Verhoeven's career is the living embodiment of 'never judge a book by its cover'. What on the surface appear to be nothing more than exercises in violent, sleazy indulgence bordering on soft-core porn, are in fact some of the most interesting, nuanced and intelligent examples of their respective genres (apart from Showgirls). Even so, you might struggle to defend Verhoeven's works on the grounds that they are entirely subtle - until you've seen Soldier of Orange, a truly great war drama which remains his best film.

What's so striking about Soldier of Orange is how little it conforms to the popular stereotype of what a Paul Verhoeven film is meant to be. Those of us who grew up with his Hollywood films (RoboCop, Total Recall, Basic Instinct and so on) will expect flesh-ripping violence, swearing and full-frontal nudity from the start. But instead we get a subtle ensemble character drama with several intertwining stories, which unfolds very gradually and whose moments of action punctuate the character drama as much as facilitate it.

There is an immediate comparison between this film and its contemporary A Bridge Too Far. Both Verhoeven and Richard Attenborough were striving to depict an aspect of World War II which had been hitherto overlooked - respectively the German occupation of the Netherlands and the failure of Operation Market Garden. Both films have large ensemble casts with characters of all ages, ranks and backgrounds, and both are broadly revisionist in their historical outlook.

Where the films differ is their tone and the way that said characters are presented. Attenborough is a director whose films emphasise respect: his characters are people who should be taken seriously, troubled over and admired - sometimes, as with Gandhi, to the point where we don't actually connect with them emotionally. Verhoeven, on the other hand, is driven by the need to tell the story as honestly as possible - and if that honesty involves showing people being smeared in goose fat or being blown up whilst on the toilet, then all the better.

A good example of this approach comes in the opening scene, where our main character Erik is initiated into his fraternity. The humiliating rituals the freshmen are forced to endure are depicted as something time-honoured, a tradition so entrenched that it has become absurd. You could argue that this is how If.... would have turned out had Verhoeven been in charge instead of Lindsay Anderson. Erik fills in for Mick Travis, and Rutger Hauer is every bit as charismatic as Malcolm McDowell, but instead of verbal taunting followed by a whipping, Erik sings off-key before being knocked out with a soup terrine.

There are several unexpected pockets of comedy throughout Soldier of Orange which prevent the film from drifting into any kind of awards-worthy stodginess. The funniest of these comes early on when a local stops a Dutch patrol, saying he has spotted some paratroopers in nearby farm buildings. The soldiers approach and hear groaning; presuming them to be wounded airmen, they round the corner to find two people having sex in the hay. The camera cuts back to the local, who dances around shouting "April fool!", while the couple explain he's escaped from the local asylum.



Although Soldier of Orange is more refined and understated than Verhoeven's Hollywood work, there are still several pungent layers through which we have to navigate. While the violence isn't as flesh-ripping or visceral as in Total Recall, the firing squad still is still pretty gruesome, for all the right reasons. And then there's the nudity, which is taken so much for granted that it's actually used as a plot point. When Erik finds he is being tailed by a German agent, he goes to the apartment of his best friend's wife, asking her to get undressed and then draw the curtains. The agent presumes the two are having sex, and waits for several hours while Erik escapes.

But once we dig beneath the surface, Soldier of Orange emerges as a really smart and often touching depiction of occupied life and the ethics of organised resistance. It is particularly effective at showing how war impacts on the innocent, and how this response varies across the classes. In an early scene Erik and his university friends are playing tennis when the declaration of war comes over the radio: the match stops, they all crowd round the radio - and then go back to the game as is nothing had happened. Their apathy is contrasted with the fearful faces of the teachers and schoolchildren, who are grilled by paranoid Dutch soldiers to see if any of them are Jewish (giving Hitler a reason to invade).

The story of Soldier of Orange is filled with a number of fairly complex sub-plots, using the copious nudity to set up a series of love triangles between the characters. For instance, Robby and Esther are married and deeply in love, but Esther and Erik have an affair as a result of Robby's absence through working for the resistance. The film never reveals how close the characters really are, leaving us to decide whether their relationship is borne out of love or lonely desperation.

The same goes for the platonic relationships, with the film throwing us off the scent about who the traitors might be. We hear so much about Van der Zanden being the mole that he takes on a reputation akin to Professor Moriarty, so that the true reason for his proximity to the queen comes as a shock. We understand the threat facing Robby which leads to his defection, just as we end up sympathising with Colin Firth in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. It is testament to Verhoeven's skill that he can take something as silly as two men dancing the tango, and turn it into a complex battle of wits, with both parties being guarded with their words while being fully aware of the other's intentions and allegiances.

From a visual perspective, Soldier of Orange is distinctive in its use of photographs. The film opens with what feels like decolourised footage of Erik on Liberation Day: it's a good way to introduce him as a protagonist whom we know will do great things. Hauer plays these opening scenes brilliantly, using his suave yet intimidating presence to make us like Erik without being entirely sure that we trust him, thereby maintaining the suspense around his character. There is also a helpful framing device in the photograph of the six college friends, of whom only two will survive the war.

The reunion of Erik and Jacques, the two survivors, makes an interesting point in itself. One of them survived the war by helping the resistance and fighting for his country; the other survived by carrying on and getting his preliminary in spite of the occupation. Verhoeven is making the point that there is more than one way to serve your country; he pulls back from depicting Erik's heroism as the only kind of heroism that is acceptable or achieves anything.

There are a couple of small problems with Soldier of Orange. While its pacing is generally good, it does accelerate quite rapidly towards the end. This is done to make the opening foreshadowing work, and in the film's defence it resists ending on a lazy, jingoistic note. More problematic is that the women in the film are dealt less of a hand than you might expect from Verhoeven. In Spetters he gave the sexually open characters some kind of symbolic weight, but here neither Esther nor Susan get the screen time or development they deserve.

Soldier of Orange is one of the best films ever made about World War II and remains Verhoeven's finest work to date. Beneath its flaws and excesses lies a riveting and complex tale of loyalty and betrayal, with a strong script, a terrific central performance by Rutger Hauer and a hugely underrated score from Rogier van Otterloo. Above all it is a glowing testament to Verhoeven's directorial abilities and a truly great war film, in its time and in ours.
September 30, 2012
Awesome pace and dialogue; The only thing that was a little offbeat was the casting. Although they are great actors, it's REALLY hard to believe they're college undergrads.
June 20, 2012
Paul Verhoeven was a brilliant filmmaker in Holland long before he went to Hollywood, and with this one, he touched upon a very personal subject, World War II, something he lived through in Nazi-occupied Holland as a boy. This film is a remarkable true story, and it makes you wonder why Paul Verhoeven doesn't do more films like this?? He shows great confidence with historical tales. This one focuses on one corner of the Dutch Resistance, fighting against the Nazi's, in particular a group of young Dutch students who include Erik Lanshof (Rutger Hauer), Guus LeJeune (Jeroen KrabbĂ (C)), Jan Weinberg (Huib Rooymans), Alex (Derek de Lint). and Robby Froost (Eddy Habbema). The film shows Erik and Guus travelling to London, where Holland's Queen Wilhelmina (Andrea Domburg), is living in exile. They work in co-operation with Colonel Rafelli (Edward Fox) for the Allied Forces, trying to help bring down Nazi occupation in Holland, all for Queen and Country. It's an exciting and entertaining film, capturing the era well. and it is serious with it's subject matter, (of course, knowing Verhoeven, there is the odd splash of nudity and nasty violence here and there.) Verhoeven touched upon the resistance again with the equally brilliant Black Book (2006), he should be making more films if they can be as strong and compelling as this.
June 18, 2012
I am still desperately trying to get my hands on this film. It looks like Amazon is the only place that has it available, for a pretty penny too. Okay the date is June 7, 2012 and I just watched this movie. It wasn't as good as I thought it would be and to me isn't one of Verhoeven's best films.
March 12, 2012
Six university students find themselves at a crossroads when the war starts. Some choose to collaborate, others join the freedom fighters. Rutger Hauer and Jeroen Krabbe perform wonderfully and have great actor chemistry in Paul Verhoeven's war epic. It has suspense, love, espionage, betrayal, all in a story about picking paths in life. The ending is especially poignant.
½ November 30, 2011
Great spy / ww2 / Men-on-a-mission movies, showcases Verhoeven's storytelling skills, great adventure movie
ElCochran90
Super Reviewer
October 19, 2011
As unbelievable as it may seem, it is true: during his Dutch period, Verhoeven had the abilities and the tools to conceive celluloid contributions of the highest class, and Soldaat van Oranje is unarguably his masterpiece. It's a fruitful achievement, an insightful look to the desires, wishes, angsts and ambitions of the intellectual youth during the whole WWII stages and the irreversible turn events take throughout without previous notice: enmities, ironies, friendships, betrayals and forced conditions of action. It does not quite reach the unsurpassed espionage level of Melville or the self-destructive and introspective mastery of a Zulawski, but it's certainly among the greatest European war-related films of the 70s.

99/100
October 16, 2011
Su trama impactante, su elenco admirable y su ingeniosa y fuerte historia sobre traición y espionaje en medio de la Segunda Guerra Mundial hacen de "Soldaat Van Oranje" un admirable e icónico ejemplo del cine alemán.
August 30, 2011
Looks like a good dutch film.
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