The Assault (1986 film)

The Assault (Dutch: De aanslag) is a 1986 film adaptation of the novel of the same name by Harry Mulisch. The film was directed and produced by Fons Rademakers. The main character is played by both Derek de Lint (in the present) and Marc van Uchelen (as a youth), whereas Monique van de Ven plays two different roles, one after the war (his first wife) and one in the war (a woman who participated in the assault and whom he meets later the same night in a dark police cell).

The Assault
Theatrical release poster
Directed byFons Rademakers
Produced byFons Rademakers
Screenplay byGerard Soeteman
Based onThe Assault
by Harry Mulisch
StarringDerek de Lint
Marc van Uchelen
Monique van de Ven
Music byJurriaan Andriessen
CinematographyTheo van de Sande
Edited byKees Linthorst
Fons Rademakers Produktie
Distributed byCannon Films
Release date
  • 6 February 1986 (1986-02-06)
Running time
144 minutes


In January 1945, as the Second World War in Europe is reaching its end, much of the Netherlands remains under Nazi occupation. One night, a Nazi collaborator is shot dead on his bicycle. The family whose house he falls down in front of moves the body in front of the neighboring house, where the Steenwijk family lives. The Nazis, assuming that the Steenwijks killed the collaborator, execute the parents and older brother together with a large number of hostages. Burning the Steenwijk's house to the ground, they imprison the younger brother, Anton. The other person in his unlit cell is an older woman. Anton can see only her mouth. She spends the next few minutes comforting him until he is removed from the cell.

After the Netherlands are liberated from Nazi occupation, Anton remains shaken by what has happened. The story moves between the end of World War II and the 1980s, following Steenwijk's often reluctant quest for the truth about the events of that traumatic night.


  • Derek de Lint as Anton Steenwijk
  • Marc van Uchelen as Young Anton Steenwijk
  • Monique van de Ven as Saskia de Graaff / Truus Coster
  • John Kraaijkamp as Cor Takes
  • Huub van der Lubbe as Fake Ploeg
  • Elly Weller as Mrs. Beumer
  • Ina van der Molen as Karin Korteweg
  • Frans Vorstman as Father Steenwijk
  • Edda Barrends as Mother Steenwijk
  • Casper de Boer as Peter Steenwijk
  • Wim de Haas as Mr. Korteweg
  • Hiske van der Linden as Young Karin Korteweg
  • Piet de Winj as Mr. Beumer
  • Akkemay Marijnissen as Sandra
  • Kees Coolen as Gerrit-Jan


The film won the 1986 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film,[1] the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film and the Golden Space Needle of the Seattle International Film Festival.

See also


  1. "The 59th Academy Awards (1987) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved 16 August 2015.
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