Date of Birth: July 18, 1938
"People seem to have this strange idea that films can influence people to be violent, but in my sincere opinion, film only reflects the violence of society."
Famous for his extremely violent, yet intelligent, science fiction films, Paul Verhoeven was born in Amsterdam during the dark years of WWII. He became interested in movies during his six years at the University of Leiden, where he earned a doctorate in math and physics in 1964 and did early short films.
Serving with the Royal Dutch Navy, he was assigned to the Marine Film Service as a documentary filmmaker. The grand scale result was The Marine Corps, a stunning 23 minute documentary honored with the Silver Sun for military films in France.
Returning to civilized life, Verhoeven decided to dedicate his life to the director's chair behind the camera starting with Dutch television.
It was Floris, a 12-episode television adventure series about a medieval Dutch Ivanhoe that established him as a popular national scale director. Featuring actor Rutger Hauer (who has appeared in many of Verhoeven's later films), the series became a phenomenon.
The director then started to make feature films.
It was his second film, Turkish Delight, which started him on a roll that would never seem to stop.
With its combination of raw sexuality and a poignant story line, the film gained him great popularity in the Netherlands, especially with male audiences. Other films were to follow such as Business is Business, a 1971 comedy that remains the fourth highest grossing Dutch-made film, and Soldier Of Orange which was regarded as one of the finest Dutch films ever made.
Also in 1993, he took a turn at American TV and directed an episode of the HBO Hitchhiker series.
Following his first American financed film, Flesh + Blood, he hit international gold with the mega-hit RoboCop. The sci-fi saga of a police officer turned into a destructive machine struck a chord with the audiences around the world. Verhoven continued to ride the success wave he had created with his follow up film, Total Recall. Opening in 1990, it also became the hit of the summer.
His success continued with the film Basic Instinct, the number one worldwide box office smash of 1992.
His next film, Showgirls, was his first hiccup in years as it stirred up much controversy. The film looked at the dark side of Las Vegas and was panned by critics.
It was later insulted with a whole bag of Razzie Awards.
He returned to the sci-fi genre with two more films - Starship Troopers (1997) and The Hollow Man (2000).
Hollow Man (2000)
Starship Troopers (1997)
Basic Instinct (1992)
Total Recall (1990)
Flesh & Blood (1985)
The Fourth Man (1983)
Soldier of Orange (1977)
Cathy Tippel (1975)
Turkish Delight (1973)
Business Is Business (1971)
The Wrestler (1970)
The Royal Dutch Marine Corps (1965)
Let's Have a Party (1963)
De Lifters (1962)
Niets bijzonders (1961)
A Lizzard Too Much (1960)