When Rutger Hauer died at the age of 75, cinema lost one of its iconic genre actors. He set the world on fire with his electric speech in the science-fiction classic Blade Runner, kicking off on a successful career lasting four decades.
Through the years, Hauer appeared in a mishmash of genre movies that most people have never heard of. Along the way, Hauer also appeared in several must-see films. These are notable for his performances, as well as the fact that they were some of Hollywood’s most successful genre films. Here are 10 must-watch Rutger Hauer movies to celebrate the actor’s legendary career.
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10 BLADE RUNNER
Rutger Hauer started his career in Dutch television and movies. While he made his American debut in the Sylvester Stallone movie Nighthawks, it was his role in Blade Runner that made him a star. In that sci-fi classic, Hauer starred as the lead replicant rebelling against their lives of servitude, Roy Batty.
Hauer starred opposite Harrison Ford, the Blade Runner hunting him down, and turned a villain into one of the most complex and, in the end, sympathetic anti-heroes in sci-fi history. His “tears in rain” monologue remains one of cinema’s most iconic.
9 THE HITCHER
Four years after Blade Runner, Rutger Hauer took on a more sinister role in the horror-thriller The Hitcher. Roy Batty was an anti-hero battling morally ambivalent humans. His villain in The Hitcher was a violent hitchhiker who killed anyone who got in his way.
The main targets of Hauer’s John Ryder was the young couple portrayed by C. Thomas Howell and Jennifer Jason Leigh. The Hitcher was remade years later, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the original, which has one of the most shocking and disturbing death scenes in cinema history.
8 BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER
One of the greatest genre television shows in history was Buffy the Vampire Slayer in the 90s. While the show revolutionized urban fantasy on television, it was based on a movie from 1992, written by Joss Whedon and starring Kristy Swanson, Luke Perry, and Donald Sutherland.
Rutger Hauer starred in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie as Lothos, the local vampire king that Buffy has to defeat along with his chief henchman, Amilyn. In the film, Amilyn is portrayed by Paul Reubens, which means Pee-Wee Herman and Rutger Hauer were the big bads in the Buffy movie.
7 SURVIVING THE GAME
Released in 1994, Surviving the Game was an action-thriller that took on both racial and class prejudice and threw it into a chase movie. Rutger Hauer and Gary Busey starred as two of the bad guys, while Ice-T (in one of his earliest movie roles) stars as a man they chose off the streets to hunt for sport.
The movie saw several wealthy businessmen who all paid $50,000 apiece for the right to hunt down human prey in acres of privately owned woods. Ice-T portrays a homeless man who attempted suicide and is offered the job as a “hunting guide,” but ended up as the prey.
6 CONFESSIONS OF A DANGEROUS MIND
Released in 2003, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind was George Clooney’s directorial debut and proved that he was as strong behind the camera as he was in front of it. The movie starred Sam Rockwell as real-life game show host Chuck Barris, who claimed to work for the CIA as an assassin.
The movie shows the CIA adventures he allegedly took on. Joining him in the cast was Clooney, Julia Roberts, and Drew Barrymore. Rutger Hauer portrays a German-American CIA agent known as Keeler, a trained assassin himself who works with Barris on one of his early missions.
5 SIN CITY
One of the most visually striking and entertaining comic book movies of the early 2000s was the Robert Rodriguez film Sin City. Shot in stunning black and white and all filmed in front of green screens, Rodriguez took panels from the comic books and lovingly recreated them on the big screen.
While Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis, and Clive Owen stole the show with their lead roles, the movie featured a who’s who of Hollywood talent throughout.
4 BATMAN BEGINS
Sin City was a big movie for Rutger Hauer, but he got a chance to appear in an even larger comic book adaptation the next year. Christopher Nolan not only resurrected the Batman franchise with Batman Begins but he ended up creating one of the greatest comic book trilogies of all-time in the process.
The first movie in the series saw Bruce Wayne disappear from Gotham City to train to become Batman, leaving Wayne Enterprises in the hands of people who he trusted. Sadly, most of those people were untrustworthy, including Rutger Hauer’s William Earle, who oozed corruption in running Wayne’s late father’s company.
3 HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN
In 2011, Rutger Hauer took on one of the craziest roles of his career in the thriller Hobo with a Shotgun. The film started life as a fake trailer during the Quentin Tarantino-Robert Rodriguez Grindhouse double-feature, and along with Machete, ended up as a real movie.
Hauer stars as a hobo who shows up in a new town with dreams of starting his own lawnmower business. However, a crime lord known as The Drake rules the city, controlling the police and torturing homeless people. Hauer’s character sets out to right a few wrongs, with extreme prejudice.
2 SALEM’S LOT
Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot was initially adapted into a movie in 1979 by Texas Chainsaw Massacre director Tobe Hooper. Salem’s Lot tells the story of Ben Mears going back to his hometown to write a new book, only to find the town overrun with vampires.
Twenty-five years later, TNT produced a remake of the horror film, this time with Rob Lowe starring as author Ben Mears. Rutger Hauer took on the role of the head vampire Kurt Barlow and the key antagonist that Mears has to battle to save the town from its ultimate demise.
1 THE SISTERS BROTHERS
The most recent theatrical release for Rutger Hauer was the western comedy The Sisters Brothers. The film stars John C. Reilly and Joaquin Phoenix as Eli and Charlie Sisters, assassins who are seeking out two men (Jake Gyllenhaal and Riz Ahmed) in a search for gold.
This was the last film that Rutger Hauer appeared in that was released before his death. Sadly, Hauer only appeared in the movie as a dead body, that of The Commodore, the mysterious man behind the scenes who hired the Sisters Brothers to kill a man before betraying them.
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