The Early Life of Rutger Hauer

Rutger Hauer's reputation stands mostly on his work done since Blade Runner, when his portrayal of replicant Roy Batty brought him to international attention. After that, he appeared in some of the most entertaining films of the 1980's, such as The Hitcher and Wanted: Dead or Alive, as well as the unparalleled Guinness adverts which he helped to create. But before Blade Runner, he'd already been starring in European films for ten years, mostly in his native Netherlands. Some of this early work is quite famous: Soldier of Orange gained significant rep, being nominated for the Golden Globes as Best Foreign Film, while Turkish Delight [a.k.a. Turks Fruit] was nominated for the Oscars and won a Netherlands Film Festival award as Best Dutch Film of the Century. However, others are not so well known - so let's go back in time....

1973: Turkish Delight
1974: Dandelions
1975: Das Amulet des Todes
1975: Keetje Tippel
1977: Soldier of Orange

These films do not represent the sum total of Hauer's pre-Hollywood career. Spetters, another Verhoeven movie, has been previously reviewed in TC, and he played Blane Van Neukirk in The Wilby Conspiracy, made in 1975. There's also Max Havelaar - or to give it's full Dutch title, Max Havelaar of de Koffieveilingen der Nederlandse Handelsmaatschappij. I've never seen my spell-checker so totally perplexed: wonder if they made the posters especially broad so they could fit the name on?

If there's a conclusion to be drawn, it's that you can see Hauer experimenting with his various personas. You can detect flashes of Roy Batty, John Ryder, Nick Randall and Stone in these early roles. Of course, as films like The Legend of the Holy Drinker show, Hauer is not restricted to genre parts, but it is probably these that guarantee his status as one of the leading cult actors of our time.

See also:
  • Other Rutger Hauer reviews

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