In 1973, Rutger burst onto the European film scene in Verhoeven's 'Turkish Delight'. Based on a controversial novel by Dutch writer Jan Wolkers, the film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Film in 1974.
In that period he also starred in 'Keetje Tippel', 'Spetters' and 'Soldier of Orange'. In the latter film, he played the role of a brave, underground fighter, which brought him well deserved success and international recognition.
His U.S. "adventure" started in 1981, when he played opposite Sylvester Stallone in 'Nighthawks'.
It was this film that brought him to the attention of American audiences.
Rutger now saw new possibilities of expressing himself in front of a camera, and so he hired the well-known dialogue coach, Dr. Robert Easton, and learnt to speak the American language without a hint of a European accent, thus becoming the only European actor (except British ones, of course) in a position to play American characters.
Back home for a short while in September 1981, he was presented with the "Gouden Kalf" (Golden Calf) award for Best Actor.
A year later he starred in the critically acclaimed role of the tragically touching replicant Roy Batty in Ridley Scott's 'Blade Runner'.
This film became a science fiction classic, a real 'cult-movie', and the first version was added to the National Film Archives maintained by the U.S. Library of Congress.
In 1982 he also turned in a stunning performance as Albert Speer in 'Inside the Third Reich', once more showing his audiences his ability to reveal beauty and tragedy in all of the characters he portrays.
Rutger is one of the very few internationally successful actors whose body of work is appreciated and praised by fans of blockbuster action films as well as devotees of the art-house circuit throughout the world.
In 1985, he acted in the Warner Bros. magical, medieval film 'Ladyhawke' opposite Michelle Pfeiffer.
That very same year he starred also in 'Flesh & Blood', that won two Dutch "Gouden Kalf" awards, as Best Film and Best Director.
This remains to date the last film he has shot with Paul Verhoeven.
He then played two important roles: the dark-hearted John Ryder in 'The Hitcher', and the bounty hunter Nick Randall in 'Wanted - Dead or Alive'.
The latter was his first American movie featuring his name above the film title.
By this time he had definitely moved to the U.S., he had bought a villa on the Californian coast (although he prefers to live on his boat) and a motorhome, which he frequently uses while working on location.
In 1987 he impressed British households with what became a milestone in TV commercials - the Guinness adverts, very unusual and funny. In his 'Pure Genius' role he succeeded in turning a merely commercial operation into a strange, memorable piece of art. The Company's sales also increased by 22% in only three months!
In 1988 for his role as a compassionate Russian officer in the CBS miniseries 'Escape From Sobibor', he received a "Golden Globe" award from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
his performance as a homeless man in Ermanno Olmi's 'The Legend of the Holy Drinker' won him the "Best Actor" Award at the 1988 Seattle International Film Festival.
The film was awarded the prestigious Golden Lion at the 1988 Venice Film Festival and in 1990 was voted by Japanese audiences as "Best Movie of the Year" and the Andreas character is still considered by Rutger his best, most intense role ever.
At the end of the '80s Rutger was classified amongst the fifty most "bankable" actors in the world, in a list made by the important "Hollywood Reporter".
1944-1969 1990-1999 2000-2006 2007-2019