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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Collaborate, Resist or Acquiesce.
It is easy to see why this very impressive war film helped to pave the way for Dutch film director Paul Verhoeven to work in Hollywood, where he made more typically mainstream offerings like "Robocop" and "Total Recall". I honestly believe that "Soldier of Orange" is a better film than any he made in America. Verhoeven challenges the long accepted notion that the Dutch...
Published on 27 Jan 2012 by Bob Salter

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed Messages
This is an odd film, very much of its era, a number of chums at university in the Netherlands go down many different paths over the years of the war. At times it is a love story, then it is a spy story and then it is a war story. Entertaining enough but not something that you would go out of your way to see. War seems curiously bloodless (though still fatal) in this pre...
Published on 25 May 2008 by Charles Vasey


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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Collaborate, Resist or Acquiesce., 27 Jan 2012
By 
Bob Salter "Captain Spindrift" (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Soldier Of Orange [DVD] (DVD)
It is easy to see why this very impressive war film helped to pave the way for Dutch film director Paul Verhoeven to work in Hollywood, where he made more typically mainstream offerings like "Robocop" and "Total Recall". I honestly believe that "Soldier of Orange" is a better film than any he made in America. Verhoeven challenges the long accepted notion that the Dutch nation had resisted the Nazis honourably. If so why was the Dutch section of the Waffen SS the largest non German one? Why had 100,000 out of a total of 140,000 Dutch jews been deported? Collaboration on a huge scale was clearly required for such an operation! Times of occupation bring out the best and the worst in people. Decisions are taken on whether to collaborate, resist or quietly acquiesce. The distinction between hero and villain so often becomes a blurry line, and it is these themes that Verhoeven explores so subtly.

In the film Verhoeven cleverly uses a group of Dutch students to explore all these difficult anomalies. One man joins the Waffen SS after his German mother is interned by the Dutch authorities. Another betrays his friends to protect his Jewish girlfriend. One man simply keeps his head down in the hope everything will blow over quickly. A sensible approach some might argue! Others take terrible risks working for the resistance, where capture inevitably meant horrific torture at the hands of the Nazis. The unpleasant truths about torture are certainly not avoided. Rutger Hauer plays Eric Lanshof, who is based on a real character, and shows us the acting intensity that was to forge him a long and lucrative acting career. He is backed up by a strong cast including Jeroen Krabbe, and British heavyweights Edward Fox and the attractive Susan Penhaligon, who was the stiffest competition around at the time to the earthy charms of Susan George. The young Penhaligon was certainly not shy about revealing her charms in this film! The film has a surprisingly erudite script which has some purple patches of dark humour. On one occasion a resistance fighter is given cyanide tablets to use as a last resort. He chirpily asks if they come in orange or lemon flavours. There are also a few memorable scenes including one daring party tango between Hauer and his uniformed Waffen SS friend. We also find out that the British Army is happy to ruthlessly sacrifice Dutch agents in order to divert attention away from invasion plans.

At the time the film was the most expensive Dutch production ever costing 3.5 million guilders. During filming the money ran out causing a five month delay. Verhoeven later successfully went back to very similar Dutch war time themes with "Black Book", drawing inspiration from his earlier film. The film was ahead of its time in its honest depiction of some of the more unsavoury aspects of war. It was made way back in 1977 when boys own style war movies were only just starting to peter out. It has taken me a long time to catch up with this film but it was well worth the wait. I enjoy a good war film, and this one proved to be very good indeed. Verhoeven is a much more talented director than I had realised!
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62 of 64 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars By far the best Paul Verhoeven film I've seen, 14 May 2007
Despite being made in the 1970s, before he became famous, this is by far the best Paul Verhoeven film I have ever seen. Based on an autobiographical account, it chronicles the fate of six Leiden University students (one of them Jewish, one of them half-German) after the Germans invade, concentrating on the experiences of Rutger Hauer's character, who eventually becomes an ADC to Queen Wilhelmina. A lot of Verhoeven's concerns in other films are evident here, notable unpleasant violence, betrayal within the Resistance (not surprisingly given the Dutch experience - if I remember rightly much of the Resistance was compromised by German intelligence fairly early on) and women getting their tops off, but unlike 'Black Book' the story is relatively plausible and, like 'Black Book', the period atmosphere is, barring a few errors, pretty good.

British viewers will be glad to know that a significant part of the middle of the film is in English (with Edward Fox and Susan Penhaligon as a British and his ATS aide), and that the subtitling is, apart from one whopping great mistake, decent.

One of the better war films of the 1970s, I heartily recommend this film to anyone interested in the war, Holland or the careers of Verhoeven or Hauer.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a great dutch war movie ....., 18 Sep 2007
i had heard a lot about this movie before i bought it , but that can be a real negative as expectations often let one down , but i did really enjoy this movie . i thought the story built up the characters very well indeed and then took enough time to let you live the paths that they or fate had chosen for them , i do not believe in telling you the general plot as the last reviewer has already done so better than i could have , but if you are after a good story centred around world war two then this is another one i would recommend , again another side of suffering and destiny of people caught up in world war two this time from the dutch perspective , especially for me the experiences of the dutch resisitance that was infiltrated so well by the germans , all in all another one for the dvd collection .
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Even if they die, it will keep the Germans busy for months", 29 Jun 2005
By 
Mary Whipple (New England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Winner of the Los Angeles Film Critics Award as Best Foreign Film in 1979, Soldier of Orange is based on the memoir of the same name by Erik Hazelhoff Roelfzema, one of the founders of the Dutch Resistance, aide to Queen Wilmelmina during her exile in England, and RAF Pathfinder pilot in the last days of the war. Directed by Paul Verhoeven, the film dramatizes the traumatic effects of the German occupation of Holland, and the often futile attempts to form a local Dutch Resistance.
Location scenes provide stunning realism--from the pre-war hazing of students in Leyden, where Hazelhoff (known in the film as Lanshof) was a law student, to small residences in the countryside, the beach of Scheveningen, where Lanshof and his friends attempted to cross the Channel to England by small boat, and the streets of The Hague, where one of Lanshof's friends is seen late in the war.
Usually credited as the best film ever made in Holland and the best film ever made by Paul Verhoeven, the film is also the best film ever made by Rutger Hauer, who plays the role of Lanshof with great panache. Jereoen Krabbe, playing his best friend, Guus LeJeune, is equally good in his role as a long-time friend from Leyden and hero of the Resistance. Beautifully photographed by Jost Vacano, the film gives a sense of the helplessness of Holland's small army against the Nazi juggernaut, the beauty of the countryside, and the victimization of the Dutch people as they faced subjugation. The film is so well done and so exciting that one forgets that the film is in Dutch, with subtitles.
Hazelhoff's book of the same title, like the film, is an homage to the heroes of the Resistance, not merely the story of Hazelhoff. In real life Hazelhoff made at least seven or eight attempts, not just the two we see in the film, to get to England across the Channel, and his work for Queen Wilhelmina lasted for several years. His own role is underplayed, rather than overplayed, in the book, and his love for his friends, most of whom died in the attempt to defend their country through the Resistance, pervades the entire account. Of 144 agents dropped into Holland during the war, many of them personal friends, only 28 survived.
Hazelhoff continues his story in his recent autobiography, In Pursuit of Life, the best and most exciting autobiography I've ever read, and I strongly recommend it, not only to fans of this film and the book which inspired it, but to anyone who wants to "meet" a genuine hero. Mary Whipple
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars milestone in Dutch cinema, 26 Dec 2003
This review is from: Soldier Of Orange [DVD] (DVD)
I remember first seeing this film as a schoolboy, when it came out in Holland. An unforgettable experience, not least because it featured a full woman's breast in one of the opening scenes (attached to the beautiful Belinda Meuldijk). The action is so gripping, the dialogue so convincing and the setting so authentic that I still enjoy watching it today. The film impresses particularly in the first half hour, when we witness the shock of peaceful, sleepy Holland being overrun by the Nazis and how ordinary people's lives are turned upside down, including brief but indelible scenes of torture with a great role by (comedy actor) Rijk de Gooyer as a sadist Gestapo collaborator.
The pace and setting change in the London scenes, with some amusing moments featuring Andrea Domburg as Queen Wilhelmina receiving the 'heroes of the resistance' for tea in the residence garden. It picks up again when Lanshof and co are sent back to Holland on special missions to aid the local resistance, with suspenseful action scenes on the beach, which has been turned into a minefield as part of the Atlantikwall. They manage to get through it unhurt, only to find that the old phone tokens are no longer in circulation so they can't contact the resistance leaders. The end of the film is perhaps a bit rushed.
This was at the time of production by far the largest budget Dutch film ever (meanwhile only surpassed by Verhoeven's Black Book). It is also the most impressive one, and should rank alongside (if not above) some of Paul Verhoeven's best Hollywood movies. Notwithstanding the typical Verhoeven explicitness in matters of 'flesh and blood', it is a film made with great integrity. This year, apparently there was talk of doing a sequel but it hasn't materialized yet. If it does, I don't think it will have the freshness and authenticity of the original.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars VERY GOOD FILM DESERVES WIDER RECOGNITION, 25 July 2002
This review is from: Soldier Of Orange [DVD] (DVD)
I must admit i`d never heard of this film until a few years ago but what an absolute gem-one of the few films which shows what life in occupied Holland was like under the nazis during world war 2.
The plot revolves around a group of students who have their whole lives ahead of them until May 10th 1940-some choose to resist-others prefer an uneasy acquiescence-others have no choice.
U.K. audiences will be familiar with Rutgar Hauer and Jeroen krabbe who are both excellent here -particularly effective is the perverted gestapo agent whose name escapes me-
Pacing is perfect apart from the last 10 or 15 minutes where everything seems suddenly rushed-Hauer joins the air force in record time and suddenly becomes a veteran flyer complete with pipe(totally unconvincing)
I don`t recall this film ever being on terrestrial so jumped at the chance of a dvd release-the u.k. version is actually region 0 and is the correct widescreen(1.85:1) and anamorphic too-sound seems to be plain old stereo as nothing is given away on the box-I cannot complain about the picture because it isn`t bad at all but what`s annoying is for some reason there is approximately 45 seconds of footage missing-this occurs just after the intermission and before the layer change which makes me think it`s a technical error-missing footage includes krabbe and hauer aboard the swiss ship joking if it might sail to Russia and the arrival of the British warship with the British officer asking to see the captain-hopefully the manufacturers can shed some light on this and perhaps release a complete version.
Thankfully the main dialogue is in Dutch with English subtitles or these can be turned off if you`re bi-lingual-unfortunately the dvd doesn`t have the region 1 commentary but a few trailers(curiosly the film is a.k.a. survival run)and talent profiles.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best dutch movie made., 18 Jan 2005
By 
J. Spiegelenberg (Copenhagen, Denmark) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Soldier Of Orange [DVD] (DVD)
As a dutch man I have seen this great movie several times. It's what has been mentioned in one of the previous reviews: Dutch cultural heritage. Finally I have bought this movie on DVD now from Amazon. I have tried to buy the DVD in The Netherlands which to my knowledge is impossible at the moment. Probably sold out. Anyways, the movie: for a low-budget movie making country, this is an unusual movie which falls in the category 'great 2nd world war epics' and is to be compared with movies like 'A Bridge too far'. One of the remarkable parts about this movie is that it is showing the thin line between being one of the 'good guys' and one of the 'bad guys' which you did not see that often in those days. One of the negative aspects for non-dutch people whatching this movie is that some scenes might not be fully understandable, because it is 'typically dutch' and not explained to the viewer in any way. I hope the sequel will be made.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Paul Verhoeven's best film (in fact, his only really good one apart, perhaps, from 'Starship Troopers', 14 May 2007
This review is from: Soldier Of Orange [DVD] (DVD)
Despite being made in the 1970s, before he became famous, this is by far the best Paul Verhoeven film I have ever seen. Based on an autobiographical account, it chronicles the fate of six Leiden University students (one of them Jewish, one of them half-German) after the Germans invade, concentrating on the experiences of Rutger Hauer's character, who eventually becomes an ADC to Queen Wilhelmina. A lot of Verhoeven's concerns in other films are evident here, notable unpleasant violence, betrayal within the Resistance (not surprisingly given the Dutch experience - if I remember rightly much of the Resistance was compromised by German intelligence fairly early on) and women getting their tops off, but unlike 'Black Book' the story is relatively plausible and, like 'Black Book', the period atmosphere is, barring a few errors, pretty good.

British viewers will be glad to know that a significant part of the middle of the film is in English (with Edward Fox and Susan Penhaligon as a British and his ATS aide), and that the subtitling is, apart from one whopping great mistake, decent.

One of the better war films of the 1970s, I heartily recommend this film to anyone interested in the war, Holland or the careers of Verhoeven or Hauer.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Soldier of Orange, 16 Dec 2007
By 
Martin Hodges (UK Birmingham) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I found this movie excellent very informative, enjoyable and griping throughout highly recommended. As an English speaker with poor Dutch language skills had no problems following the subtitles. The other reviews say what the general storyline is about so I won't mention that. Easily as good as Black Book also puts other movies such as the Hiding place into context.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Defintely thoughtful, 13 April 2006
This review is from: Soldier Of Orange [DVD] (DVD)
This is no war film in the conventional sense of guns blazing and blood spurting, and its distance from the conventions of Hollywood are what mark it out and also what make it a likely favorite of only those who appreciate a 'thoughtful' film; because it certainly is that.

Instead of polarising clear villains from self-righteous heroes, Soldier of Orange plays up the messy, real-life decisions that were forced on occupied countries during WW2. These were decisions taken during the mundane, tedious and unglamorous struggle that characterised life under occupation so that the cowardice and stupidity of the hero is presented just as much as the self-sacrificing logic of the villain. Hauer plays the hero, but some of his self-aggrandising acts are far from heroic and his early naivity, while understandable, seems ridiculous in retrospect. Meanwhile the traitor of the story is lured into betrayal for the noblest of motives; loyalty (to his partner, rather than his comrades).

This is warfare at the real-life scale of reality and the Dutch population come out of it looking good. Compare and contrast with "The Sorrow and the Pity".

It is thoughtful and thought-provoking. You are forced to realise how unworldly the general population was before Nazi horrors taught so much cynicism; how gradually and insidiously the power of the occupation took people's minds after it had taken their nation. You realise how heroes are reduced to idiots if they cannot comport themselves in front of their Queen. It's a thoughtful film.
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Soldier Of Orange [DVD]
Soldier Of Orange [DVD] by Paul Verhoeven (DVD - 2010)
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