Directed by Paul Verhoeven and starring Rutger Hauer, it is an adaptation of the 1970 memoirs of a Dutch war veteran and resistance fighter. In pre-war Holland, five friends toast to the future. When the Netherlands is invaded by Germany, they each go their separate ways as some join the resistance and others try to quietly cope with the occupation.
It was adapted for the stage in 2010.
This film provides examples of:
- Bittersweet Ending: The war is over, but only Erik and Jacques have survived it and reunite to celebrate the liberation.
- Black-and-White Morality: The Dutch resistance and their British allies are clearly heroic, the German occupiers and their fascist collaborators are clearly evil. Notably, this contrasts with Verhoeven's later film Zwartboek, which applies Black-and-Gray Morality to the same conflict.
- Bavarian Fire Drill: The film features one of the ballsier examples, when a Dutch Resistance member is able to infiltrate a German officer's party in a British Royal Navy officer's uniform, because it looks similar enough to a Kriegsmarine one "...at a distance". At one point, he bluffs his way right through a German roadblock by looking the guards in the eyes sternly. They are left wondering about the meaning of that strange, crown-like emblem on his hat.
- Camping a Crapper: Alex goes to fight on the eastern front with the Waffen-SS. He's killed when he's busy taking a dump in an outhouse and a Russian boy throws a grenade through the window.
- Les Collaborateurs: Alex joins the Waffen-SS when his other friends join the Dutch resistance. He later dies on the Russian front in rather ignominious circumstances.
- Couldn't Find a Pen: When Erik is arrested by the Germans and put in prison, he writes a letter to the warden asking for his release using toilet paper and his own excrement. The Germans are not amused.Warden: Man, have you gone mad?!Erik: I didn't have a pen.
- Foreign Fanservice: Susan, the British intelligence officer, has sex scenes with several members of the Dutch resistance.
- Kick the Dog: A bunch of local collaborators bully an old Jewish man by throwing his bicycle into the canal. When Jan sees this he punches them both in the face and throws them into the water too.
- The Mole: Robby sold out his friends to the Germans and lured them into a trap during the beach operation. He's later assassinated by Guus, who is himself arrested in the process.
- Pay Phone: The Dutch resistance have just gone out of their way to smuggle a radio from Britain over the channel into the occupied Netherlands, only to find that it was been waterlogged and unusable. To give the freedom fighters a vital transmission, the protagonist, who is still in London, has to wade onshore in Leiden, don a British Royal Navy officers' uniform, use it to infiltrate a German officers' party taking place on the beach promenade, carrying nothing more than some spare change, just to call them from a local public phone which is there. But the phone doesn't accept zinc coins anymore, so he has to bluff his way through a German roadblock, steal a bike, and find an older payphone. He still makes the call too late, and the resistance runs into an ambush.
- Phallic Weapon: The protagonist has just become a bomber pilot and boasts of all the German cities he can bomb, while having sex with his girlfriend. Unfortunately he has a premature 'explosion' before completing his list.
- La Résistance: It's pretty much a heroic tale of the Dutch resistance fighting against the German occupiers.
- Roll in the Hay: A group of Dutch soldiers catches a couple having sex in a hay barrack. The local idiot actually wasted their time by reporting that there were invading German soldiers in the barn.
- Traumatic Haircut: After the war, one of Erik's female friends is forcibly shaved for sleeping with a German soldier. She says she doesn't blame them, though.