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Dutch film poster for Spetters
Directed by Paul Verhoeven
Produced by Joop van den Ende
Written by Gerard Soeteman
Jan Wolkers (uncredited)
Starring Hans van Tongeren
Renée Soutendijk
Toon Agterberg
Maarten Spanjer
Marianne Boyer
Jeroen Krabbé
Rutger Hauer
Music by Ton Scherpenzeel
Cinematography Jost Vacano
Edited by Ine Schenkkan
Distributed by The Samuel Goldwyn Company
Release dates
  • 25 February 1980 (1980-02-25)
Running time
120 minutes
Country Netherlands
Language Dutch

Spetters is a Dutch film released in 1980, directed by Paul Verhoeven.

Spetters led to protests about the manner in which Verhoeven portrayed gays, Christians, the police, and the press. Although Verhoeven made one more film in the Netherlands, the response to Spetters led him to leave for Hollywood. Despite the large amount of controversy surrounding it, the film proved to be popular, with 1,124,162 admissions in the Netherlands alone. From a financial perspective, the film proved to be a disappointment,[according to whom?] given that the production ran seriously behind schedule and over budget.

The careers of Maarten Spanjer and Renee Soutendijk were launched by the film, but it did not do much for the other young lead actors. Hans van Tongeren committed suicide in 1982.

The film was a small success in the United States but it did help the launching of the careers of Verhoeven and the actors Jeroen Krabbé, Rutger Hauer and Soutendijk in Hollywood.[2]


The film, which is violent and sexually graphic, is a high-speed coming of age story which centers on three young men dreaming of an escape from their provincial surroundings by means of a motocross career: young motocross racing champion Rien (Hans van Tongeren), another racer who thinks he has the goods, Hans (Maarten Spanjer (nl)), and the son of a Bible thumping Calvinist, the mechanic Eef (Toon Agterberg (nl)). Their only escapes are alcohol, drugs, and weekend visits to a local disco nightclub.

When they run into a young seductress (Renee Soutendijk), her homosexual brother, national motocross champion Witkamp (Rutger Hauer) and the national press that follows in his wake, their futures change drastically.


The word "spetter" (plural: "spetters") is a (now outdated) word with the same meaning as the English word "hunk". It also means "splatters" and thereby refers to motorcrossing with the dirt splatting up and the chips stall where Soutendijk's character works, when she lowers the chips into the frying pan.

Film rating[edit]

  • The film is classified as R18 in New Zealand.


  1. ^ Spetters, de wording van een cynisch sprookje, September 24, 2002; accessed on October 5, 2006
  2. ^ Dutch Centre for international cultural activities website: Dutch cinema: less sex and violence, published 2008, visited 9 October 2010

External links[edit]