Paul Verhoeven is a Dutch filmmaker who has had a long and varied career, with a number of highly acclaimed and influential films to his name.

He is perhaps best known for his work in the science fiction and action genres, and his films often feature sharp social commentary and a willingness to push boundaries. Below are some of his most notable works:

RoboCop (1987): This classic sci-fi action film tells the story of a Detroit police officer who is brought back to life as a cyborg after he is killed in the line of duty.

It’s a satirical take on American consumer culture and corporate greed, and features some of the most memorable action sequences of the 1980s.

Total Recall (1990): Another science fiction classic, Total Recall stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as a construction worker who discovers that his memories may not be his own.

The film explores themes of identity and reality, and features some of Verhoeven’s most imaginative and visually stunning set pieces.

Basic Instinct (1992): This erotic thriller made a star out of Sharon Stone, who plays a seductive and enigmatic novelist who becomes the prime suspect in a murder investigation.

Basic Instinct is a provocative and often controversial film that pushes the boundaries of on-screen sexuality.

Starship Troopers (1997): Based on a novel by Robert A. Heinlein, Starship Troopers is a satirical take on the military and political structures of a future society.

The film features a young and talented cast, as well as some of the most impressive visual effects of the late 1990s.

Elle (2016): Verhoeven’s most recent film is a psychological thriller that stars Isabelle Huppert as a successful businesswoman who becomes the target of a mysterious stalker.

The film explores themes of power, trauma, and revenge, and features a complex and compelling performance from Huppert.

Best Paul Verhoeven Movies

Verhoeven’s films are known for their boldness and audacity, and for their willingness to challenge audience expectations and norms.

Whether you’re a fan of science fiction, action, or psychological drama, there is something in Verhoeven’s filmography to captivate and surprise you.

1. Any Special Way (1971)

“Any Special Way” is a song by the American R&B/soul group, The Spinners. It was released in 1971 as a single from their album “2nd Time Around”.

   

The song was written by Joseph B. Jefferson, Charles Simmons, and Joseph B. Jefferson.

The song features the signature harmonies and smooth vocals of The Spinners, with a lively instrumental arrangement that includes horns, guitar, bass, and drums.

The lyrics tell the story of a man who is eager to please his lover and willing to do anything to make her happy.

“Any Special Way” was a moderate hit for The Spinners, reaching #32 on the US R&B chart and #83 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The song has since become a favorite among fans of the group, and is often included in their live performances.

2. Turkish Delight (1973)

“Turkish Delight” is a 1973 Dutch drama film directed by Paul Verhoeven. The film follows the tumultuous love affair between an artist named Eric (played by Rutger Hauer) and a young woman named Olga (played by Monique van de Ven).

The film is known for its graphic depictions of sex, violence and drug use, as well as its frank exploration of themes such as love, obsession, and self-destruction. It was a controversial film upon its release, but it was also critically acclaimed and commercially successful.

“Turkish Delight” is considered a landmark in Dutch cinema and one of Verhoeven’s best films. It won the Golden Calf award for Best Dutch Film in 1973 and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1974.

It’s also notable for being the film that launched Rutger Hauer’s international career.

Turkish Delight
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

3. Katie Tippel (1975)

“Katie Tippel” is a Dutch drama film directed by Paul Verhoeven and released in 1975. The movie is based on the true story of a young woman named Catharina “Katie” Tippel, who lived in Amsterdam in the late 19th century.

The film follows Katie’s life as she moves from her rural home to Amsterdam to work and support her family.

She takes on various jobs, including as a seamstress and a maid, but struggles to make ends meet. Along the way, she becomes involved in the women’s suffrage movement and begins a romantic relationship with a socialist journalist.

   

The film was controversial at the time of its release due to its explicit sexual content and portrayal of prostitution, but it was also lauded for its depiction of the working-class struggle and feminist themes.

The lead role of Katie Tippel was played by Dutch actress Monique van de Ven, who was praised for her performance. The film was also notable for featuring a young Rutger Hauer in a supporting role.

“Katie Tippel” was a commercial success in the Netherlands and was submitted as the Dutch entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 48th Academy Awards. However, it did not receive a nomination.

Katie Tippel [DVD]
  • Monique van de Ven, Rutger Hauer, Andrea Domburg (Actors)
  • Paul Verhoeven (Director) - Gerard Soeteman (Writer)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)

4. Soldier of Orange (1977)

“Soldier of Orange” is a 1977 Dutch war drama film directed by Paul Verhoeven, based on the memoirs of Erik Hazelhoff Roelfzema, a Dutch resistance fighter during World War II.

The film tells the story of a group of Dutch students who are drawn into the resistance movement against the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.

The film features Rutger Hauer in the lead role of Erik, alongside Jeroen Krabbé, Derek de Lint, and Edward Fox. It was a critical and commercial success in the Netherlands and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

“Soldier of Orange” is notable for its realistic depiction of the Dutch resistance during World War II and its emphasis on the moral complexities of wartime.

The film portrays the resistance fighters as flawed human beings who must make difficult choices in order to survive and fight for their country.

   

The film was also groundbreaking in its use of advanced filmmaking techniques, such as aerial cinematography and special effects.

Its success helped establish Verhoeven as a major figure in Dutch cinema and paved the way for his later international success with films like “RoboCop” and “Basic Instinct”.

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Soldier of Orange [1977] [DVD] [2007]
  • Soldier of Orange ( Soldaat van Oranje ) ( Voor koningin en vaderland )
  • Soldier of Orange
  • Soldaat van Oranje
  • Voor koningin en vaderland
  • Rutger Hauer (Actor)

5. Spetters (1980)

“Spetters” is a 1980 Dutch drama film directed by Paul Verhoeven. The film follows the lives of three young men from a small Dutch town who dream of becoming successful motocross riders.

Their lives become intertwined with a young woman who aspires to become a singer.

The film explores issues such as sexuality, masculinity, and the pursuit of the American Dream. It features a cast of mostly unknown actors, including Hans van Tongeren, Toon Agterberg, and Maarten Spanjer.

“Spetters” was a controversial film upon its release due to its graphic depictions of sex and violence, as well as its portrayal of the seedy underbelly of Dutch society.

However, it was also a critical and commercial success in the Netherlands, and helped to establish Verhoeven’s reputation as a provocative filmmaker with a unique perspective on Dutch culture.

In addition to its controversial subject matter, “Spetters” is also notable for its innovative cinematography and use of pop music, which became a hallmark of Verhoeven’s filmmaking style.

The film has since become a cult classic and is regarded as one of the most important Dutch films of the 1980s.

Spetters (Widescreen Edition)
  • Hans van Tongeren, Rene Soutendijk, Toon Agterberg (Actors)
  • Paul Verhoeven (Director) - Gerard Soeteman (Writer)
  • English, Spanish, French (Subtitles)
  • Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)

6. Voorbij, voorbij (1981 TV Movie)

“Voorbij, voorbij” is a 1981 Dutch television movie directed by Frans Weisz. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Dutch author Marga Minco, and it explores the lingering trauma and memories of a Holocaust survivor named Sonia (played by Beppie Melissen).

The story is set in the Netherlands in the 1960s, and it follows Sonia as she struggles to come to terms with her past and her present.

She is haunted by memories of her experiences during World War II, including the loss of her family and the emotional scars she still carries.

The film is known for its poignant portrayal of the lasting effects of trauma and grief, and for its powerful performances by the cast, especially Melissen’s nuanced and sensitive portrayal of Sonia.

“Voorbij, voorbij” won the Golden Calf award for Best Television Film in 1981 and has been regarded as a classic of Dutch television.

7. The 4th Man (1983)

“The 4th Man” is a Dutch psychological thriller film directed by Paul Verhoeven and released in 1983. The film is based on a novel of the same name by Dutch author Gerard Reve.

The film follows the story of a writer named Gerard Reve, played by Jeroen Krabbé, who is suffering from writer’s block and becomes involved with a woman named Christine, played by Renée Soutendijk.

As their relationship progresses, Reve begins to have vivid dreams and hallucinations that suggest Christine may not be who she seems.

“The 4th Man” is known for its erotic and suspenseful atmosphere and is often cited as one of the best Dutch films of the 1980s.

The film received critical acclaim upon its release and was also a commercial success. It was submitted as the Dutch entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 56th Academy Awards, but it did not receive a nomination.

“The 4th Man” was one of Verhoeven’s last Dutch films before he moved to Hollywood to direct such films as “RoboCop,” “Basic Instinct,” and “Total Recall.”

The 4th Man (1983)
  • Jeroen Krabbé, Renée Soutendijk, Thom Hoffman (Actors)
  • Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)

8. Flesh+Blood (1985)

“Flesh+Blood” is a 1985 historical drama film directed by Paul Verhoeven and starring Rutger Hauer and Jennifer Jason Leigh.

The film is set in medieval Europe and tells the story of a group of mercenaries who are hired by a nobleman to help him reclaim his land from a rival lord.

The film explores themes of power, betrayal, and morality, and features graphic violence and sexual content.

It was a critical and commercial failure upon its release, but has since gained a cult following for its unique take on the medieval genre and its unflinching portrayal of violence and sexuality.

“Flesh+Blood” was also notable for its troubled production, which included budget overruns, multiple rewrites, and clashes between Verhoeven and the film’s producers.

Despite these difficulties, the film features some of Verhoeven’s signature directorial flourishes, such as his use of complex tracking shots and his exploration of taboo subject matter.

Overall, “Flesh+Blood” remains a divisive film in Verhoeven’s filmography, but is widely regarded as a daring and audacious work that pushed the boundaries of what was considered acceptable in mainstream cinema at the time.

9. RoboCop (1987)

“RoboCop” is a 1987 American science fiction action film directed by Paul Verhoeven. The film is set in a dystopian future Detroit, where crime and corruption are rampant, and follows the story of a police officer named Alex Murphy (played by Peter Weller) who is brutally killed in the line of duty.

Murphy’s body is then transformed into a powerful cyborg named RoboCop, who is tasked with cleaning up the streets of Detroit and taking down the criminal organization that was responsible for Murphy’s death.

The film explores themes of corruption, greed, and the ethics of technology, as well as the struggle between human and machine.

“RoboCop” was a critical and commercial success upon its release, and is now considered a cult classic. It spawned two sequels, several comic book series, a television series, and a 2014 remake.

The film’s blend of action, dark humor, and social commentary has made it a beloved and influential part of science fiction cinema.

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Robocop
  • DVD
  • Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned
  • English (Published), English (Subtitled), Spanish (Subtitled)
  • 1
  • 102

3 Reasons Why You Should Watch Paul Verhoeven Films

Provocative and Thought-Provoking Themes: Paul Verhoeven is known for exploring provocative and controversial themes in his films.

From his early Dutch films to his Hollywood blockbusters, Verhoeven has tackled topics such as violence, sexuality, power, corruption, and the darker aspects of human nature.

His films often challenge the audience’s preconceptions and provoke discussion and debate, making them not only entertaining but also intellectually stimulating.

Unconventional Storytelling: Verhoeven is a master of blending genres and subverting expectations, creating films that are both unpredictable and engaging.

He often employs satire and dark humor to explore serious themes, and his films are not afraid to take risks and push boundaries.

Verhoeven’s unique approach to storytelling has made him one of the most distinctive and influential directors of his generation.

Cinematic Style: Verhoeven is also known for his dynamic and visually striking filmmaking style. His films often feature bold colors, inventive camera angles, and elaborate special effects.

He has a keen eye for detail and a talent for creating immersive and memorable cinematic experiences. Whether he is making a sci-fi epic like “Total Recall” or a provocative thriller like “Basic Instinct,” Verhoeven’s films are always visually stunning and thrilling to watch.

Best Paul Verhoeven Films – Wrapping Up

Paul Verhoeven is a celebrated filmmaker known for his unique style and provocative themes. Here are some of his best films:

RoboCop (1987) – This sci-fi action film is a classic of the genre, blending satire, violence, and humor in a way that only Verhoeven could.

Total Recall (1990) – Another sci-fi hit, this film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and is a mind-bending journey through a dystopian future.

Basic Instinct (1992) – This steamy thriller made Sharon Stone a star and pushed boundaries with its explicit content.

Starship Troopers (1997) – A biting satire of militarism and fascism, this sci-fi epic is both visually stunning and intellectually stimulating.

Black Book (2006) – This World War II drama follows a Jewish woman who joins the Dutch Resistance, and is a tense and gripping exploration of loyalty, betrayal, and survival.

While these are some of his most notable films, Verhoeven’s filmography is extensive and worth exploring for any fan of bold, challenging cinema.

3 Characteristics of Paul Verhoeven Films

Provocative and Controversial Themes: Verhoeven’s films often explore taboo subjects and challenge the audience’s preconceptions.

He is known for tackling topics such as violence, sexuality, power, and corruption in his films, and he is not afraid to push boundaries and provoke debate.

Bold and Visually Striking Cinematography: Verhoeven’s films are often visually stunning, with bold colors, inventive camera angles, and elaborate special effects. He has a talent for creating immersive and memorable cinematic experiences, and his films often have a distinctive and striking visual style.

Satirical and Darkly Humorous Tone: Verhoeven is known for infusing his films with satire and dark humor, even when dealing with serious and weighty subjects.

His films often have a subversive and ironic tone that adds an extra layer of depth and complexity to the storytelling.