Rutger Hauer, the Dutch actor perhaps best known for a series of 1980s action and fantasy films, passed away on Wednesday at the age of 75. In honor of the late actor, writer, and environmentalist’s lengthy and accomplished career, here are the Top 5 Rutger Hauer movies, in no particular order.
Blade Runner (1982)
Hauer was little-known outside of Europe before 1981’s Skyhawks, in which he played one of the most deliciously evil terrorists ever portrayed on film. However, it was his next film credit, Ridley Scott’s 1982 sci-fi/noir classic Blade Runner, that catapulted Hauer to stardom, at least within his genre.
Again, Hauer played the villain, but as BBC Two explains, Hauer wanted to play the villain with some humanity. To that end, as Hauer’s character, Batty, dies, he gives a soliloquy that is largely considered one of the best death scenes in cinematic history. And Hauer improvised it.
For the role, Hauer was nominated for the Saturn Award (the Sci-Fi/Horror/Fantasy equivalent of the Oscars) for Best Supporting Actor.
For this role, Hauer stuck to his genre roots, but this time eschewed the role of the villain in favor of a more sympathetic character. DenOfGeek writer Wil Jones calls the largely forgotten flick “pretty damn cheesy – especially to modern eyes – but… a hell of a lot of fun.”
Words can never fully express how much I loved LADYHAWKE growing up. It was one of the first movies I obsessed over, and because of that, for a time, to me Rutger Hauer was the biggest star in the world. We lost a great actor today. I lost my childhood knight. He will be missed. pic.twitter.com/k5Wel9ULmj
— Michael Varrati (@MichaelVarrati) July 24, 2019
Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1992)
Not everyone knows that the acclaimed TV series was inspired by a rather mediocre early-1990s comedy-horror flick. By this time, Hauer’s days of being a bankable lead actor in a genre film were behind him; and indeed, his campy performance in Buffy was nearly a parody of Hauer’s earlier ouvre.
Not that Hauer didn’t have a blast with his role; Jones says that it’s obvious that Hauer was playing the campy villain with nothing short of glee.
Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind (2002)
By this point in his career, Hauer’s glory days were decades in the past. But when director George Clooney needed a European actor with villain cred to play a German-American agent in East Berlin, who better than Rutger Hauer?
Hauer’s appearance in an Oscar-worthy, big-budget film was a departure from his earlier work in schlockier roles, but Jones says that Hauer took on his small role and “knocked it out of the park.”
Hobo With A Shotgun (2011)
Again, as with Buffy, Hobo… sees Hauer playing a parody of himself. This time, not as a campy villain, but as a campy hero. On its surface, this film, in which Rutger Hauer plays a hobo with a shotgun, is grindhouse schlock like Sharknado. But Hauer, again doing the best with what he’s been given, elevates his seemingly one-note character and plays him with heart and pathos.