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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 and directed by Paul Verhoeven. The film follows the lives of three young men who have little in common but their love for dirt-bike racing. Set on the outskirts of Rotterdam each of the three characters is hoping that their passion will help them escape this dead end working class town.

Each of the boys are seduced by a young woman who, with her brother, sells French fries and hot dogs at the races. Everyone is looking for a better life. She wants out of the business and away from her brother and is looking for the person who will help her do this. The motocross racers want to make their marks as professional racers, but it doesn't all quite work out to plan.

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.

The film was a small success in the United States but it did help the launching of the careers of Verhoeven and the careers of actors such as Jeroen Krabbé, Rutger Hauer and Renee Soutendijk in Hollywood.[1]


Two young motocross racers, Rien (Hans van Tongeren) and Hans (Maarten Spanjer), and their mechanic, Eef (Toon Agterberg), dream of fame, fortune and loose women. Their hero is legendary motocross champion Gerrit Witkamp (Rutger Hauer), who fuels their competitive drive. Their lives are changed when they meet a young seductress named Fientje (Renée Soutendijk). Eventually, she makes the three men face the reality of success, defeat and homosexuality.


The word "spetter" (plural: "spetters") is a (now outdated) word with the same meaning as the English word "hunk".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. And then they make love to each other.

Film rating[edit]

  • The film is classified as R18 in New Zealand.


  1. ^ Dutch Centre for international cultural activities website: Dutch cinema: less sex and violence, published 2008, visited 9 October 2010

External links[edit]