Spetters (1980) - Rotten Tomatoes

Spetters (1980)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Spetters further elaborates on the themes of sexual obsession previously probed in director Paul Verhoeven's Turkish Delight (1973). Hans Van Tongeren, Toon Agterberg and Maarten Spanjer play, respectively, Reen, Eve and Hans, a closely-knit group of teenage motorcycle lovers who idolize local cycling champion Witkamp (played by Rutger Hauer, the star of Delight). Unfortunately, the adolescents' attempts to rebel take a dark and brutal turn when Van Tongeren is permanently injured in a road accident and Agterberg is gang raped by a group of homosexuals. While the other two young men lust after Fientje (Renee Soutendjik), a promiscuous hashhouse waitress, Agterberg responds to the rape by coming out and taking Fientje's gay brother as a lover. Verhoeven is artistically and sexually graphic in juxtaposing "cycle love" with the friends' carnal interrelations. The title of Spetters is an indigenous triple-entendre -- it refers to the Dutch vernacular for "grease spatterings" (both the oily renderings left behind by the motorcycles commandeered by the film's central characters and the grease slung by Soutendjik), is a slang term for male ejaculate, and was frequently used in the seventies and eighties to refer to people who are sexually appealing ("That girl is a spetter.") ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Art House & International , Drama
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Rutger Hauer
as Witkamp
Jeroen Krabbé
as Henkhof
Peter Tuinman
as Fientje's brother
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Spetters

All Critics (9) | Top Critics (2)

Imagine a Mike Leigh film set in Holland with motorbike stunts, packed with authentic action sequences and sexual frankness...

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

A resolutely humorless (though sometimes unintentionally funny) Dutch movie about three young men who dream of finding fame and fortune in motorcycle racing and, instead, find themselves. The search is unrewarding and seems interminable.

Full Review… | August 30, 2004
New York Times
Top Critic

[Verhoeven] demonstrates his penchant for startling visuals, explicit sex, and graphic violence, though his intelligent direction is anything but careless or irresponsible.

Full Review… | January 23, 2011
TV Guide

Remember when Paul Verhoeven made good movies?

July 8, 2004
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

An unflinching drama, Spetters is as shocking as any other film in the Verhoeven cannon and bares comparison with his best native movies such as Soldier Of Orange.

Full Review… | May 24, 2003

Audience Reviews for Spetters


Paul Verhoeven's Spetters is a bit like Saturday Night Fever minus the dancing. In this film we follow three young men with an interest in motorcycle racing (and the same woman). As usual for Verhoeven, very emotional and very explicit.

Anatoly Shashkin
Anatoly Shashkin

In "Spetters," Rien(Hans van Tongeren), Eef(Toon Agterberg) and Hans(Maarten Spanjer) are young motorcross enthusiasts who worship the ground that Gerrit Witkamp(Rutger Hauer), Dutch national champion and dentist, walks on. While Hans can barely get his motorbike going, Rien actually shows a lot of promise and unlike his two friends, actually has a girlfriend, Maya(Marianne Boyer). As dated as "Spetters" is by its hair, clothing, music and attitudes, it is even worse that it never stands on its own or generates any genuine emotions. It also goes beyond simply referencing the movies of its era like "Saturday Night Fever" with a plot that has some close similarities with the previous year's "Breaking Away." Of course, maybe if the execution had been there, "Spetters" would have had a chance of turning out differently. But here, like his newer movies, Paul Verhoeven often crosses the narrow line between provocation and simply being crass in introducing explicit material that also includes a literal measuring contest, another sign of the times, and not a good one.

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

An interesting concept does not help with the absolute boredom of this film. The film is sensationalistic the brutal and detalied homosexual rape is harsh but is more harsh and cruel when in retrospect in which the victim of rape becomes involved with his rapist.

Greg Beck
Greg Beck

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