Jan de Bont: “When you light in a different way, you can make the characters more interesting”

Jan de Bont (b. 1943) has always been a very accomplished and one of the most creative and innovative cinematographers of his generation. Later on, when he also began directing and producing films, he became one of the most successful filmmakers of his era.

Although he directed only a handful of films—“Speed” (1994), “Twister” (1996), “Speed 2: Cruise Control” (1997), “The Haunting” (1999) and “Lara Croft Tom Raider: The Cradle of Life” (2003)—they grossed about $570 million in the U.S. and over $1.3 billion worldwide. Some of them are among the best, most exciting and thrilling actions films made in the past decades. Mr. de Bont also produced six films, including Steven Spielberg’s “Minority Report” (2002), and over the years, he worked with actors such as Rutger Hauer, Julia Roberts, Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, Madonna, Bruce Willis, Sean Connery, Sharon Stone, Mel Gibson, Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, and numerous others.

Yet, to this day, the Dutch-born filmmaker has always been highly regarded as a much sought-after cinematographer in Hollywood. After his basic training in the Netherlands, where he shot screen classics including “Turks Fruit” (1973, a.k.a. “Turkish Delight,” nominated for an Academy Award as Best Foreign Language Film), “Keetje Tippel” (1975, a.k.a. “Katie Tippel”), “De Vierde Man” (1983, a.k.a. “The Fourth Man”)—all three films directed by Paul Verhoeven—and “Max Havelaar” (1976), directed by Dutch Academy Award-winning filmmaker Fons Rademakers, he was equally successful in the U.S., and he was praised as DOP of films such as “Die Hard” (1988), “The Hunt for Red October” (1990), “Flatliners” (1990) and “Basic Instinct” (1992) which includes Sharon Stone’s controversial interrogation scene.

Mr. de Bont is a cinematographer pur sang, passionate about photography and cinematography, and inspired by Dutch painter Rembrandt (1606-1669). He is also an avid collector of photographs that were taken by photographers he admired. Last year, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam had organized an exhibition “Ed van der Elsken Through the Eyes of Jan de Bont” with a series of twenty-six original prints by Mr. van der Elsken (1925-1990), a Dutch photographer and filmmaker. They were donated to the museum by Mr. de Bont and belonged to his huge private photograph archive, which he and his wife once discussed with Denise Bethel in a 2015 interview at The Frick Collection, a museum and research center based in New York.

Since Rembrandt died exactly 350 years ago, 2019 has been—and still is—an extraordinary year for the Rijksmuseum with various exhibitions and events celebrating the work of one of the world’s greatest artists. And it just so happens that Mr. de Bont is a huge fan of Rembrandt’s work. How convenient, so I got to ask him all about Rembrandt as his main source of inspiration.

Mr. de Bont has been living in Los Angeles for over four decades now, and that’s where he graciously allowed me to meet him for a most interesting interview earlier this year, to focus on his craft as a very knowledgeable and inspiring cinematographer. What he sees through his very own eyes and through the camera is what we get to see on the screen.

This is his most fascinating story behind it.

Jan de Bont directing the action thriller “Speed” (1994), which won Academy Awards for Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing | 20th Century Fox

Mr. de Bont, could you tell something about how you got involved in films and about your early work as a cinematographer?

I started my career when I was very young, making little movies and documentaries with my little camera when I was about twelve years old. As I moved on, I really knew for sure that I wanted to initially become a cinematographer because I felt that there was so much story to be told by visual means. After all, I am a very visual person. Therefore I needed to develop my skills because cinematography is not just a way to duplicate reality. There’s so much more you can do with it; the visual side has to be as important a storytelling element as the screenplay and the direction. In most of the films I had seen in my life up until then, the camera was often used as a documentary device. They showed what was happening in front of the camera without doing anything with it. But if you make it look that somebody is actually looking around, when there’s sometimes a little motion, a little to the left or a little to the right, and you get the sense that there’s a third person involved who takes in reality and decides there’s more to it than just a stationary image, and then it becomes very important. So after I had finished my studies at the [Netherlands] Film Academy, I started working in Holland, and a lot of the films were about the visual elements. I did “De Blinde Fotograaf” [1973, a.k.a. “The Blind Photographer”] about how you film something—what would that world look like, is there even a world that you could make visible to the audience? Those challenges I really like. When I worked with Paul Verhoeven on “Turkish Delight” [1973], I wanted to give a sense of a very contemporary observation of the world that we lived in at the time. There was so much happening, the culture was changing—and really very fast—people were interested in so much more than everything that surrounded them. All those different movements, the activities, daring cultural projects in theater, I wanted to make sure that all this energy ended up on the screen as well. It wouldn’t have been a truthful film if you didn’t feel that energy. Basically that whole film was shot with a hand-held camera, unless there was no other way, and it made you feel that there was so much going on, so many emotions brought on the screen, just by the motion of the camera, so it felt more real. The actors [leading characters played by Monique van de Ven and Rutger Hauer] were first-time actors, more or less, and because of that, there was not a build-in automatism how to act in front of a camera. I wanted the characters to be your friends, people you would like to have a drink with, and the more you made that real, and the more it came across as real, the more it helped to make it interesting for an audience. Yeah, that’s also how I walk through the street and move around, that’s also how I ride my bike. If you look back at it now, it was exactly how people were behaving at the time. It was not a creative image; it was a real image.

And “Turkish Delight” became a phenomenal success. What was it like in those days for you to work as a cinematographer in Holland?

I was very adventurous in those days, I wanted to tell stories with my camera. I went to many places, did films and documentaries, and worked a lot for [Dutch TV channel] VPRO that was pretty free-spirited. With Wim van der Linden, I did a lot of music videos as a two-man team—way before music videos even existed. We followed all the best pop bands in the world, and we became just like a private band, that’s how we operated, and they accepted us in the same way. They didn’t see us as people from the press or from the film industry; no, we were there with just two little cameras and an eight-track recorder which interested them a lot: nobody had ever used an eight-track recorder for musicians before. Because we could actually remix it after we had filmed it, the soundtrack was almost as good as their records were. So we became a little bit a part of the band because, for them, the sound is everything, we only had to make sure the sound was perfect. And with every project we did, we tried to do something special, so they were very comfortable with the way we did it. And when they felt you wanted them to look at their very best, you wanted to make sure that you filmed them just the way it was, and not create a fake situation. Everything was real, how they lived, how they practiced, even how they argued—and that was a fantastic experience too.

Those experiences encouraged you to come over to the U.S. and make films over here?

Well, when all those videos were shown on TV, I wanted to make mainstream pictures in the U.S. Some of the movies I did in Holland were very successful; some were very good or were not successful at all. That was pretty painful: after all the hard work you did, nobody went to see the movie because it was out of the theater after two weeks. Nobody was willing to showcase experimental or daring movies, it just didn’t seem to happen anymore. So when I first arrived here, I wasn’t quite aware of how the industry worked. It was actually more conservative: it was exactly what I hoped that it would not be—very organized and very conservative. There were film directors who were fighting against the attitude of the studios, and those were the ones that were most interesting to me. So I met some of them, and I made sure that they knew how I worked. I let them know that I wasn’t just a cameraman they’d hire and would work for them. I told them, ‘Maybe I can make your movie better.’ And when we talked about it, and they saw some of the movies I had done in Europe, they gave me the opportunities I hoped for. The lighting style, the way you filmed and photographed, when to choose a close-up or when a wide shot, when not showing things… quite often when you make a movie, it’s not only about the things that are visible, but also what you can’t see. And sometimes, you can tell a story much better by putting a person in the dark.

And that’s maybe where Rembrandt comes in, because of the way he inspired you?

Exactly, you can learn all of that from the big painters, and there’s a reason why I’m a huge Rembrandt fan: I think I have read every book that has ever been written about him. And people often think—wrongly—even in many of the books, that he always represented reality in his paintings and how real they look. But the more I studied him, the more I found out that there was nothing real about them. He made up his own lighting, he put lights where no light could have been, especially at the time, in the seventeenth century, when they had candlelight or oil lamps. For instance, in “De Nachtwacht” [1642, a.k.a. “The Night Watch”] you don’t see a window at all. Usually, a photographer uses a window or a main light source, but Rembrandt was much more interested in what he wanted to see and didn’t want to see, or what he paid less attention to. So he created a lot of fake lights that were really made up in his mind but could never have been there, especially with this big crew in “De Nachtwacht,” which is a fantastic painting. It looks like the light comes from one side, but if you look closer, the light comes from wherever he wanted it to come, because if you put all these people together, one person will throw a shadow on the other, and then he has to be in the dark, he would block the light for the other person, that is very simple. So he would create light sources that were so subtle and made the person visible, but from a direction where the light could never have come from. He did it in such an amazing way that it still has a feel of realism. That is the most difficult thing to achieve: to create something that isn’t really there, so it makes the reality even more important. It makes it more real than real light ever could have done.

Rembrandt’s “De Nachtwacht” (a.k.a. “The Night Watch”) which he finished by 1642. The painting is on permanent display at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

And that is what you also tried to achieve in your films?

Yes, and I told the directors I worked with, ‘This may not be your regular lighting style as people would expect.’ It was sometimes hard to find crew members who understood that. ‘Ah, the light must come from over here?’ ‘No, no, it may look that way, but the light comes from over there.’ So when you start lighting from every possible angle or direction in a very subtle way, that makes the characters more interesting. For example, when we did “The Hunt for Red October” [1990], all the lights only come from the top; they light up the whole set in that submarine and look as if they belong there, so that I could move the camera around very easily, in every direction and I never had to change the lighting, it looked extremely functional. I also had the blue light for the night, red for an emergency, and white light for the day, because people in a submarine need to know what time of day it is, or else they go totally crazy—that’s what all submarines do, by the way. But by doing that, it gives you so much liberty to embody what you want without ever having to change the lights. And that’s why I refer to Rembrandt: he put the lights in all different spots, and you don’t see them because they look natural in the painting, even though it’s completely illogical where he positions them. The same kind of principle is that you can take this light away and make it more interesting. Taking light away as a cinematographer is as important as putting lights on. I learned that from Rembrandt: if he didn’t want to see somebody or just a fraction of this person, he took the light away, even though a window was right there.

How or why did he impress you so much?

Simply because to me, his work is so incredibly exciting: the first paintings he made as a professional painter were all self-portraits, and in the first painting, you could only basically see one of his eyes. Then he put the light somewhere else. There is a series of fifteen to twenty paintings, and only in the last painting, you see his whole face for the first time. And you always see the same person, always himself. So he basically told you, ‘I can create a story with light.’ He could make it serious, or beautiful, subtle, almost abstract, dramatic, or more dramatic even. If you look at those first fifteen portraits, you’ll see what I mean. That is so fantastic, and in “The Hunt for Red October,” when Sean Connery walks around in the submarine, quite often it’s less important to have his character say something dramatic, but rather hide one side of his face a little bit, and then you’ll listen even more so to what he has to say. If you put the light on his face and he would say the same line, then you look more at his face and get distracted by what he is saying. What he is saying is really important, but the best thing is to keep the light away from the actor [laughs]. Then you listen to his voice, and you really understand the meaning of it. And as soon as he’s finished, then the light comes on his eyes: that is storytelling. It’s also really important for directors and writers, because if they write some really important lines of dialogue and the lights are always fully lighting the face of the actor—and keep in mind Rembrandt’s self-portraits—the mystery and the drama become a lot more important by taking the light away.

Light and especially shadows are crucial to a cinematographer, much more so than the viewer can imagine?

If you film a reality, all the shadows would be visible. In “De Nachtwacht” there’s not a single shadow, apart from two right in the middle on the ground of the two main characters, and Rembrandt basically says, ‘I know how to paint shadows, but I don’t care about it. So I’ll give you two, but don’t look anywhere else because they don’t exist.’ So there’s not a single shadow there. Once you realize that, you understand what a genius he was. Shadows can completely distract too. If I stand here and make a shadow on your face, but for the scene I need to see your face, then the shadow is annoying, so Rembrandt would simply ignore the shadow completely or move the light to this side. He had what I call a moving light that was good for every person in all of his paintings. That makes him one of the most amazing painters that ever lived, you know. Of course, you also have Michelangelo and Peter Paul Rubens, but none of them were like him. Rubens also had one light source; he made it a little softer. But Rembrandt was the most inventive painter, I think.

So basically, he was trying to find out what the meaning of light really is?

Yes, and that is something you don’t learn in film schools. It’s something any student should learn more than anything else because quite often, now, people learn from other movies, those big movies where everything needs to be seen, and that is not necessarily the way cinematography should work. I mean, clearly you can, because many of them do, but it’s not the most dramatic or creative way of cinematography. So it’s very important to know who you work with. And most of the time you find those people because they have seen your movies. In my case, “Turkish Delight” was released in the U.S., “Max Havelaar” [1976] did very well internationally, so a number of directors got in touch with me—not the studios. But when they saw my work, they liked it. They said, ‘That’s a different point of view.’ And not only that, I also used to work with very little light and a smaller crew. American film crews are always very big, and the studios don’t always like that. In a way, it was economically attractive for them to hire me. Big crews often get in the way of doing great work; everybody wants or has to do something, and basically, the bigger the crew, the more generic the look of a movie becomes. They often start duplicating other movies, or scenes they have seen in other movies with a spotlight from the top or a smoky light from the back; these are things we have already seen. Don’t get me wrong: American crews are great, they really are, but they are also great in duplicating what we have already seen. So to me, that’s not the right way to do it. If painters would start duplicating the work of other painters, that would really be a bad thing, and it’s the same thing for photography and cinematography.

In a way, Rembrandt was the first cinematographer?

Exactly, he was the first director of photography. That’s why I love his work, and that’s the reason why I wanted to give a lecture about him at the Rijksmuseum to explain it. People always talk about natural lighting till you tell them how light really works. If your face is lit, a little bit of light bounces back on that wall, and there’s a little bit of light from the backside, and you can see immediately where that all comes from. But a person who looks at a painting, doesn’t see where it comes from or how it was created. If you look at the work of [Belgian painter] Frans Hals [1582-1666], he had one source, and it was the same for everybody else, with relatively flat lighting. But if Rembrandt would do the same, it would look completely different, much more dramatic, full of life, full of energy. Because of all the imaginary shadows, people became more interested. When he painted women, he did everything to make them look as good as possible. Not so much the males; they were okay, they could look a little bit unattractive [laughs]. But when he painted women, he was really making choices where to use light or where to ignore light. That’s so brilliant, and that’s basically my whole style of photography, which is based on his principles. I’m not copying him, you can’t do that. But I use the same principle he did.

Over the years, you have worked with some of the best film directors of your generation. How did that work out?

I was very lucky to work with people like Ridley Scott, John McTiernan and of course Paul Verhoeven. They let me do my thing, and they always liked it. Paul Verhoeven was there from day one, and he totally let me go my own way; he knew it could make him look better, it could make the movie look better. Ultimately that was the only goal: the movie comes much more alive, and so do the actors to emphasize the most important sequences in a movie and make sure that you’re not only there stationary.

“Speed” (1994, trailer)

To what extent do you use the camera when you’re telling your story?

The camera is a storyteller. If you look at the first scenes of “Speed” [1994], I had the camera on my shoulder, and I was really close to the actors and whispered to them, ‘Now move to the left, and I’m gonna come close to you,’ things like that. Very often, on a set, people don’t know when the best moment of an actor is. You have to stand almost next to them and make them extremely comfortable with your presence. Just make them very aware, talk to them, explain to them, ‘This is what I am going to do, and don’t worry, if it doesn’t look good, we’ll do it again.’ So you have to be very daring as a cinematographer, and you can’t be afraid of the director. You work with him, and you have to understand him as good as you can. The whole thing on a movie set is working as a team, like a rock band: the drummer is as important as the bass player. And if you have a lot of respect for everyone, then you’re like a team, and you can make a really good piece of work together. So the bottom line is, I was lucky to work with directors who gave me a lot of freedom, and it all comes down to what I learned from the self-portraits of Rembrandt: he taught me what to do and especially what not to do.

Don’t you think the craft of a cinematographer is underrated?

I think it is highly underrated; it all has to do with the execution of cinematography. I think there are a number of cinematographers who do not execute it very well or have not been able to really learn it. Most of the work that I see is kind of a copycat style of lighting and shooting. The effect is quite often wrong for the scene or they don’t think about what light can make a scene better, what would improve the drama, what would be creating more suspense. Suspense does not only have a shadow; you can create suspense in many different ways. But it has to be the right way, so you have to invest a lot of time and think about that. But it is an amazing job, and you often have more luck with smaller movies where you have a lot more freedom than films with a big budget, at least that is my experience. Even though you have a lot more money with big-budget movies, and all the lights you want to have, but it’s more than that. As I told you before, big crews slow down the work dramatically. You have no idea what it means to work with a crew of three hundred people, like I had many times when I did those big movies: one person is in the way of the other person, one person can only do this, and the other one can only do that. One person fixes the light, another one the cables, while the small crews in Europe that I was used to working with, we did everything ourselves [laughs], much quicker and much more effective. That’s what I missed a lot. I tried to do that here in the U.S., but you can only do that with some directors. When they really like it, it becomes very effective.

Could you give an example, a film or a sequence when that worked out really well?

Sure. If you take the helicopter scenes in “Die Hard” [1988], that was all done in one take, with twenty-eight cameras. No director could ever do that, set them up, and still tell the story and understand where all the cameras were. We had about five blocks, and we needed more light to get at least some exposure. So I had lights all over Century City to be able to see what was really going on: we had cameras on the top of the building, at the bottom of the building, cameras at the helicopters, where the helicopters passed… No director in the world who is not educated in light could have done that; I think it would have been impossible—especially if you do it in one take. We were allowed to do one part a second time, but that was because one of the helicopters took the wrong path, unfortunately [laughs]. So after we had permission to film there, they had to close down Century City, which is a very big area, a lot of people working there, also at night, and we had never tried it before. We only went over it with the helicopter pilots and told them to be above the light post level because otherwise there would be a major accident. But the thing is, we didn’t rehearse it; we were afraid that if we did, the police would immediately say, ‘No.’ Fortunately, nothing happened, and it looks more dangerous than it really is. On top of that, those pilots were excellent; a number of them had been in Vietnam, they were used to the most dangerous situations, also when flying low. Once you see those three helicopters, thirty feet above the light posts, they make a turn, then another turn, and then they climb all the way back up to the top of the building, that was really freaky for many people. The people who lived there, wanted us to stop immediately, they thought it was way too dangerous. But it wasn’t really that dangerous, the pilots did exactly what we wanted, they knew what they were doing. And that is all about storytelling. If you think of cinematography as just a technical job and how to understand the exposure—that is not cinematography, then you lower yourself to the level of a regular house painter. Which is still good, of course, because you want your house to be painted well, but it’s nothing extraordinary. The studio later was extremely happy; they couldn’t believe that we had done all of that in less than two hours.

“Die Hard” (1988, trailer)

As a viewer, you’d never notice that you did all of this in just one take.

The key thing is you want nobody to see how it is done. It was the same with Rembrandt: he didn’t anybody to see how he did it. He was also very secretive about it; he never told anybody what colors he used or how he mixed them. People who criticized him mostly didn’t understand what he was doing, and he didn’t want them to understand [laughs], he only wanted them to look at the painting. He didn’t want to be analyzed.

Was it a big step for you, going from cinematography to directing?

Well, actually, it wasn’t such a big step. I had already directed quite a few things in Holland, mostly shorts, but the way I did the cinematography, I almost became like a co-director, and especially young directors became very dependent on me. But like I said, you can’t have an ego, you can only make a movie as a team, and every instrument is as important for the film. It’s like the acting, the screenplay or sound—they’re all equally important, and if there’s any malfunction in the relationship between them, you can be sure there will be a malfunction on the screen later on. It simply won’t work, and as a viewer, you don’t always know that it doesn’t work, although I can immediately see why—in a split second, I see if something went wrong. So when everything is equally important, only then you can make a movie as good as it possibly can be. If a movie is not that good, then one of those elements has failed—either the writing or the directing, the cinematography, the acting… You can see that almost right from the beginning.

Ronald Neame [1911-2010], also a cinematographer who became a film director, once said to me that he was brought up in a school that said, ‘There is no camera,’ while in his later years, it was more like, ‘I am the camera.’ Is that something you recognize?

I never want that to happen. We’re all very aware of the camera, and what I like the actors to feel is me, without the camera, as if I am just standing there: whatever I see through my eyes, the camera will see exactly the same thing. So when they see that I’m always in the right spot, during rehearsals, for example, they realize, ‘Okay, he understands what we’re trying to say, or what we’re trying to show, or what this scene means.’ Quite often, you see that when you hire a second unit crew. They have such different opinions. Because they have not been on the set throughout the rest of the movie, they have no understanding of the relationship between the characters, they have no understanding of the visual storytelling, they just try to get it all technically right. I have seen that for fifty years, and it should never be visible that the viewer starts thinking, ‘Oh, did you see that shot? That was not good.’ Because it is not about the shot; it’s never about the shot.

You made several movies with film director Paul Verhoeven. Your other films as a cinematographer are with different filmmakers, except for two films with John McTiernan and Lewis Teague. Was that by choice to work with as many different directors as possible?

Yes. I worked with Ridley Scott on “Black Rain” [1989]; he’s such a wonderful film director, but he is always very intense in doing what he wants, and not so much what the cinematographer or anybody else wants. So the problem is that his movies start to look the same. That happens a lot. Take another incredible director like Ingmar Bergman, for example. Visually his movies look all the same because he had total say in where the camera would be, how it moves, and so on. That makes those movies very repetitive in a way. I mean, he tells amazing stories, but visually they are quite repetitive in style. I think it’s not a good idea when you copy yourself, but it happens when you do too many movies as a cinematographer with the same director. So my advice would be, ‘Don’t make too many movies with the same director.’ I think two is enough, and then you should move on.

Los Angeles, California
March 26, 2019


DE MINDER GELUKKIGE TERUGKEER VAN JOSZEF KATUS NAAR HET LAND VAN REMBRANDT (1966) DIR Wim Verstappen PROD Pim de la Parra SCR Wim Verstappen, Pim de la Parra CAM Jan de Bont, Wim van der Linden ED Rob van Steensel CAST Rudolf Lucieer, Etha Coster, Barbara Meeter, Nouchka van Brakel, Ferrie Franssen, Roelof Kiers

PARANOIA (1967) DIR Adriaan Ditvoorst PROD Gijs Versluys SCR Adriaan Ditvoorst (novel by Willem Frederik Hermans) CAM Jan de Bont ED Jan Bosdriesz MUS Marco Klein CAST Kees van Eyck, Pamela Koevoets, Rudolf Lucieer, Paul Murk, Mimi Kok, Ab van Ieperen, Ton Vos

OBSESSIONS (1969) DIR Pim de la Parra PROD Wim Verstappen SCR Martin Scorsese, Wim Verstappen (story by Pim de la Parra) CAM Frans Bromet, Hubertus Hagen CAM OPERATOR SEC UNIT Jan de Bont ED Henri Rust MUS Bernard Herrmann CAST Alexandra Stewart, Dieter Geissler, Tom van Beek, Donald Jones, Elisabeth Versluys, Marijke Boonstra, Fons Rademakers

DE BLANKE SLAVIN, a.k.a. THE WHITE SLAVE (1969) DIR Rene Daalder PROD Gijs Versluys SCR Rene Daalder, Rem Koolhaas, Harry Kümel CAM Jan de Bont, Oliver Wood MUS Antoine Duhamel CAST Günther Ungeheuer, Andrea Domburg, Rijk de Gooyer, Ad Noyons, Tonny Huurdeman, Henny Alma, Izzy Abrahami

DROP-OUT (1969) DIR Wim Verstappen PROD Pim de la Parra SCR Wim Verstappen, Pim de la Parra, Herman Groeneveld CAM Theo van de Sande, Frans Bomet, Jan de Bont ED Rob van Steensel CAST Roeland Windig, Boudewiene Scheepmaker, Lucas Boeke, Kees Hulst, Frits Happel, Cornelius Beekman van Westmaas

BLUE MOVIE (1971) DIR Wim Verstappen PROD Pim de la Parra, Dieter Geissler SCR Wim Verstappen, Charles Gormley CAM Jan de Bont ED Jutta Brandstaedter MUS Jürgen Drews CAST Hugo Metsers, Helmert Woudenberg, Bruni Heinke, Ine Veen, Ursula Blauth, Kees Brusse, Bill van Dijk

WAT ZIEN IK, a.k.a. ANY SPECIAL WAY and DIARY OF A HOOKER (1971) DIR Paul Verhoeven PROD Rob Houwer SCR Gerard Soeteman (novel by Albert Mol) CAM Jan de Bont ED Jan Bosdriesz MUS Jack Trombey, Julius Steffaro CAST Ronnie Bierman, Sylvia de Leur, Piet Römer, Jules Hamel, Bernard Droog, Eric van Ingen, Wim Kouwenhoven, Ton Lensink

JOÃO EN HET MES, a.k.a. JOÃO AND THE KNIFE and JOHN, THE KNIFE AND THE RIVER (1972) DIR George Sluizer PROD Anne Lordon, Roberto Bakker SCR George Sluizer (novel by Odylo Costa Filho) CAM Jan de Bont ED Jan Dop CAST Joffre Soares, Ana Maria Miranda, Joao-Augusto Azevedo, Douglas Santos, João Batista, Áurea Campos

KAPSALON (1972) DIR Frans Rasker CAM Jan de Bont CAST Henry Alma, Ronnie Bierman, Wim de Meijer, Karin Kilian, Rudolf Lucieer, Monique Smal, André van den Heuvel

TURKS FRUIT, a.k.a. TURKISH DELIGHT (1973) DIR Paul Verhoeven PROD Rob Houwer SCR Gerard Soeteman (novel by Jan Wolkers) CAM Jan de Bont ED Jan Bosdriesz MUS Rogier van Otterloo CAST Monique van de Ven, Rutger Hauer, Tonny Huurdeman, Wim van den Brink, Hans Boskamp, Dolf de Vries, Manfred de Graaf, Dick Scheffer, Bert André

THE FAMILY (1973) DIR Lodewijk de Boer PROD Rob du Mee SCR Lodewijk de Boer (also play) CAM Jan de Bont ED Jan Bodriesz MUS Louis Andriessen CAST Huib Broos, Martine Crefcour, Gees Linnebank, Cocki Boonstra, Wim Kouwenhoven, Pieter Lutz, Willeke van Ammelrooy

DE BLINDE FOTOGRAAF (1973) DIR Andriaan Ditvoorst SCR (novel by Willem Frederik Hermans) CAM Jan de Bont CAST Elizabeth Hoytink, Pamela Koevoets, Gees Linnebank, Roelant Radier, Frans Vorstman

DAKOTA (1974) DIR Wim Verstappen PROD Pim de la Parra SCR Jan Verstappen, Harrie Verstappen, Charles Gormley, Johnny Rankin (idea by Wim Verstappen) CAM Jan de Bont, Theo van de Sande ED Jutta Brandstaedter MUS Antoine Duhamel CAST Kees Brusse, Monique van de Ven, Willeke van Ammelrooy, Diana Dobbelman, Dora van der Groen, Harcourt Curacao, Frank Davelaar, Helmert Woudenberg, Wim de Meijer

KEETJE TIPPEL, a.k.a. KATIE TIPPEL (1975) DIR Paul Verhoeven PROD Rob Houwer SCR Gerard Soeteman (novel by Neel Doff) CAM Jan de Bont ED Jane Seitz MUS Rogier van Otterloo CAST Monique van de Ven, Rutger Hauer, Andrea Domburg, Hanna de Leeuwe, Jan Blaaser, Eddie Brugman, Peter Faber, Fons Rademakers, Gerard Thoolen, Dora van der Groen

DE LAATSTE TREIN, a.k.a. THE LAST TRAIN (1975) DIR Erik van Zuylen PROD Jan Mey, Hans Klep SCR Erik van Zuylen, Rene Daalder CAM Jan de Bont ED Ton de Graaff CAST Monique van de Ven, Han Bentz van den Berg, Kitty Courbois, Helmert Woudenberg, Ward de Ravet, Elizabeth Hoytink, Peter Faber

MAX HAVELAAR OF DE KOFFIEVEILINGEN DER NEDERLANDSE HANDELSMAATSCHAPPIJ, a.k.a. MAX HAVELAAR (1976) DIR – PROD Fons Rademakers SCR Gerard Soeteman (novel by Multatuli) CAM Jan de Bont ED Pieter Bergema, Victorine H. van den Heuvel CAST Peter Faber, Sacha Bulthuis, Ruther Hauer, Andendu Soelisaningrat, Maruli Sitompul, Krijn ter Braak, Carl van der Plas

PRIVATE LESSONS (1981) DIR Alan Myerson PROD R. Ben Enright SCR Dan Greenburg (also novel) CAM Jan de Bont ED Fred A. Chulak CAST Sylvia Kristel, Howard Hesseman, Eric Brown, Patrick Piccininni, Ed Begley Jr., Pamela Jean Bryant

NIGHT WARNING, a.k.a. BUTCHER, BAKER, NIGHTMARE MAKER (1981) DIR William Asher PROD Steve Breimer SCR Alan Jay Glueckman, Boon Collins, Steve Breimer (story by Alan Jay Glueckman, Boon Collins) CAM Jan de Bont [uncredited], Robbie Greenberg ED Ted Nicolaou MUS Bruce Langhorne CAST Jimmy McNichol, Susan Tyrrell, Bo Svenson, Marcia Lewis, Julia Duffy, Britt Leach, Steve Esatin, Bill Paxton

ROAR (1981) DIR – SCR Noel Marshall PROD Noel Marshall, Tippi Hedren CAM Jan de Bont MUS Terrence P. Minogue SUPERVISING ED Jan de Bont CAST Tippi Hedren, Noel Marshall, Melanie Griffith, John Marshall, Jerry Marshall, Kyalo Mativo, Frank Tom, Steve Miller

I’M DANCING AS FAST AS I CAN (1982) DIR Jack Hofsiss PROD Scott Rubin, Edgar J. Scherick SCR David Rabe (book by Barbara Gordon) CAM Jan de Bont ED Michael Bradsell MUS Stanley Silverman CAST Jill Clayburgh, Nicol Williamson, Dianne Wiest, Joe Pesci, Geraldine Page, Albert Salmi, James Sutorius, Ellen Greene, Daniel Stern, Dan Hedaya, John Lithgow

BREACH OF CONTRACT (1982) DIR Andre R. Guttfreund PROD Phillip J. Roth SCR Phillip J. Roth, Robert Eisele, Jeanne Rosenberg CAM Jan de Bont ED Michael Goldman MUS John E. Davis CAST Scott Beach, Peter Coyote, George DiCenzo, Dana Elcar, John F. Kearney, Michael Margotta, Cindy Pickett, Monique van de Ven

DE VIERDE MAN, a.k.a. THE 4TH MAN (1983) DIR Paul Verhoeven PROD Rob Houwer SCR Gerard Soeteman (novel by Gerard Reve) CAM Jan de Bont ED Ine Schenkkan MUS Loek Dikker CAST Jeroen Krabbé, Renée Soutendijk, Thom Hoffman, Dolf de Vries, Geert de Jong, Hans Veerman, Hero Muller

CUJO (1983) DIR Lewis Teague PROD Daniel H. Blatt, Robert Singer SCR Lauren Currier, Don Carlos Dunaway (novel by Stephen King) CAM Jan de Bont ED Neil Travis MUS Charles Bernstein CAST Dee Wallace, Danny Pintauro, Daniel Hugh Kelly, Christopher Stone, Ed Lauter, Kaiulani Lee, Billy Jayne

ALL THE RIGHT MOVES (1983) DIR Michael Chapman PROD Stephen Deutsch, Lucille Ball [uncredited] SCR Michael Kane (article by Pat Jordan) CAM Jan de Bont ED David Garfield MUS David Campbell CAST Tom Cruise, Lea Thompson, Craig T. Nelson, Charles Cioffi, Gary Graham, Paul Carafotes, Chris Penn, Sandy Faison, Dick Miller

AMERICAN DREAMER (1984) DIR Rick Rosenthal PROD Doug Chapin SCR David Greenwalt, Jim Kouf (story by Ann Biberman) CAM Jan de Bont, Giuseppe Totunno ED Anne Nicita MUS Lewis Furey CAST JoBeth Williams, Tom Conti, Giancarlo Giannini, Coral Browne, James Staley, Christopher Daniel Barnes, Lucas Belvaux

GROWING PAINS, a.k.a. BAD MANNERS (1984) DIR Robert Houston PROD Kim Jorgenson SCR Robert Houston, Joseph Kwong CAM Jan de Bont ED Chemin Sylvia Bernard MUS Michael J. Lewis, Ron Mael, Russell Mael CAST Martin Mull, Karen Black, Anne De Salvo, Murphy Dunne, Pamela Adlon, Georg Olden, Michael Hentz, Joey Coleman, Edy Williams, Robert Houston

FLESH + BLOOD (1985) DIR Paul Verhoeven PROD Gijs Versluys SCR Paul Verhoeven, Gerard Soeteman (story by Gerard Soeteman) CAM Jan de Bont ED Ine Schenkkan MUS Basil Poledouris CAST Rutger Hauer, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tom Burlinson, Jack Thompson, Fernando Hilbeck, Susan Tyrrell, Ronald Lacey

THE JEWEL OF THE NILE (1985) DIR Lewis Teague PROD Michael Douglas SCR Mark Rosenthal, Lawrence Konner (characters created by Diane Thomas) CAM Jan de Bont ED Peter Boita, Michael Ellis MUS Jack Nitzsche CAST Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito, Spyros Fokas, Avner Eisenberg, Paul David Patterson, Holland Taylor

MISCHIEF (1985) DIR Mel Damski PROD Jere Henshaw, Sam Manners, Michael Nolin SCR Noel Black CAM Donald E. Thorin ADDITIONAL CAM Jan de Bont ED O. Nicholas Brown MUS Barry De Vorzon CAST Doug McKeon, Catherine Mary Stewart, Kelly Preston, Chris Nash, D.W. Brown, Jami Gertz, Margaret Blye

THE CLAN OF THE CAVE BEAR (1986) DIR Michael Chapman PROD Gerald I. Isenberg SCR John Sayles (novel by Jean M. Auel) CAM Jan de Bont ED Wendy Greene Bricmont MUS Alan Silvestri CAST Daryl Hannah, Pamela Reed, James Remar, Thomas G. Waites, John Doolittle, Curtis Armstrong, Martin Doyle

RUTHLESS PEOPLE (1986) DIR Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker PROD Michael Peyser SCR Dale Launer (story ‘The Ransom of Red Chief’ by O. Henry) CAM Jan de Bont ED Arthur Schmidt, Gib Jaffe MUS Michel Colombier CAST Danny DeVito, Bette Midler, Judge Reinhold, Helen Slater, Anita Morris, Bill Pullman, William G. Schilling

WHO’S THAT GIRL (1987) DIR James Foley PROD Bernard Williams, Rosilyn Heller SCR Andrew Smith, Ken Finkleman (story by Andrew Smith) CAM Jan de Bont ED Pambroke J. Herring MUS Stephen Bray CAST Madonna, Griffin Dunne, Haviland Morris, John McMartin, Bibi Besch, John Mills, Robert Swan, Drew Pillsbury, Stanley Tucci

LEONARD PART 6 (1987) DIR Paul Weiland PROD Bill Cosby SCR Jonathan Reynolds (story by Bill Cosby) CAM Jan de Bont ED Gerry Hambling MUS Elmer Bernstein CAST Bill Cosby, Tom Courtenay, Joe Don Baker, Moses Gunn, Pat Colbert, Gloria Foster, Victoria Powell, Anne Levine, Jane Fonda

DIE HARD (1988) DIR John McTiernan PROD Lawrence Gordon, Joel Silver SCR Jeb Stuart, Steven E. de Souza (novel by Roderick Thorp) CAM Jan de Bont ED Frank J. Urioste, John F. Link MUS Michael Kamen CAST Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia, Reginald VelJohnson, Paul Gleason, William Atherton

BERT RIGBY, YOU’RE A FOOL (1989) DIR – SCR Carl Reiner PROD George Shapiro CAM Jan de Bont ED Bud Molin MUS Ralph Burns CAST Robert Lindsey, Robbie Coltrane, Jackie Gayle, Bruno Kirby, Cathryn Bradshaw, Anne Bancroft

BLACK RAIN (1989) DIR Ridley Scott PROD Stanley R. Jaffe, Sherry Lansing SCR Warren Lewis, Craig Bolotin CAM Jan de Bont ED Tom Rolf MUS Hans Zimmer CAST Michael Douglas, Andy Garcia, Ken Takakura, Kate Capshaw, Yûsaku Matsuda, Shigeru Kôyama, Luis Guzmán

THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER (1990) DIR John McTiernan PROD Mace Neufeld SCR Larry Ferguson, Donald E. Stuart (novel by Tom Clancy) CAM Jan de Bont ED John Wright, Dennis Virkler MUS Basil Poledouris CAST Sean Connery, Alec Baldwin, Scott Glenn, Sam Neill, James Earl Jones, Joss Ackland, Richard Jordan, Peter Firth, Tim Curry, Stellan Skarsgård, A.C. Lyles

FLATLINERS (1990) DIR Joel Schumacher PROD Michael Douglas, Rick Bieber SCR Peter Filardi CAM Jan de Bont ED Robert Brown MUS James Newton Howard CAST Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, William Baldwin, Oliver Platt, Kevin Bacon, Kimberly Scott, Joshua Rudoy

SHINING THOUGH (1992) DIR David Seltzer PROD Carol Baum, Howard Rosenman SCR David Seltzer (novel by Susan Isaacs) CAM Jan de Bont ED Craig McKay MUS Michael Kamen CAST Michael Douglas, Melanie Grifiith, Liam Neeson, Joely Richardson, John Gielgud, Francis Guinan, Patrick Winczewski

BASIC INSTINCT (1992) DIR Paul Verhoeven PROD Alan Marshall SCR Joe Eszterhas CAM Jan de Bont ED Frank J. Urioste MUS Jerry Goldsmith CAST Michael Douglas, Sharon Stone, George Dzundza, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Denis Arndt, Leilani Sarelle, Bruce A. Young

LETHAL WEAPON 3 (1992) DIR Richard Donner PROD Richard Donner, Joel Silver SCR Jeffrey Boam, Robert Mark Kamen (story by Jeffrey Boam; characters created by Shane Black) CAM Jan de Bont ED Robert Brown, Battle Davis MUS Eric Clapton, Michael Kamen, David Sanborn CAST Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Joe Pesci, Rene Russo, Stuart Wilson, Steve Kahan, Darlene Love, Traci Wolfe, Damon Hines, Lauren Shuler Donner, Jan de Bont (Dutch Cameraman)

SPEED (1994) DIR Jan de Bont PROD Mark Gordon SCR Graham Yost CAM Andrzej Bartkowiak ED John Wright MUS Mark Mancina CAST Keanu Reeves, Dennis Hopper, Sandra Bullock, Joe Morton, Jeff Daniels, Alan Ruck, Glenn Plummer, Richard Lineback

TWISTER (1996) DIR Jan de Bont PROD Michael Crichton, Kathleen Kennedy, Ian Bryce SCR Michael Crichton, Anne-Marie Martin CAM Jack N. Green ED Michael Kahn MUS Mark Mancina CAST Helen Hunt, Bill Paxton, Cary Elwes, Jamie Gertz, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Lois Smith, Alan Ruck, Sean Whalen

SPEED 2: CRUISE CONTROL (1997) DIR Jan de Bont PROD Jan de Bont, Steve Perry, Michael Peyser SCR Randall McCormick, Jeff Nathanson (story by Jan de Bont, Randall McCormick; characters created by Graham Yost) CAM Jack N. Green ED Alan Cody MUS Mark Mancina CAST Sandra Bullock, Jason Patric, Willem Dafoe, Temuera Morrison, Brian McCardie, Mike Hagerty, Colleen Camp, Lois Chiles, Bo Svenson

SLC PUNK! (1998) DIR – SCR James Merendino PROD Sam Maydew, Peter Ward EXEC PROD Jan de Bont, Andrea Kreuzhage, Michael Peyser CAM Greg Littlewood ED Esther P. Russell CAST Matthew Lillard, Michael A. Goorjian, Annabeth Gish, Jennifer Lien, Christopher McDonald, Devon Sawa, Jason Siegel, Til Schweiger

THE HAUNTING (1999) DIR Jan de Bont PROD Susan Arnold, Colin Wilson EXEC PROD Jan de Bont, Steven Spielberg [uncredited], Samuel Z. Arkoff [uncredited] SCR David Self (novel by Shirley Jackson) CAM Karl Walter Lindenlaub ED Michael Kahn MUS Jerry Goldsmith CAST Liam Neeson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Owen Wilson, Lili Taylor, Bruce Dern, Marian Seldes, Alix Koromzay, Virginia Madsen

EQUILIBRIUM (2002) DIR – SCR Kurt Wimmer PROD Jan de Bont, Lucas Foster CAM Dion Beebe ED William Yeh, Tom Rolf MUS Klaus Badelt CAST Christian Bale, Sean Bean, Emily Watson, Brian Conley,Taye Diggs, Matthew Harbour, Angus Mcfadyan, Kurt Wimmer

MINORITY REPORT (2002) DIR Steven Spielberg PROD Jan de Bont, Bonnie Curtis, Walter F. Parkes, Gerald R. Molen SCR John Cohen, Scott Frank (short story by Philip K. Dick) CAM Janusz Kaminski ED Michael Kahn MUS John Williams CAST Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell, Samantha Morton, Max von Sydow, Steve Harris, Neal McDonough, Patrick Kilpatrick, Jessica Capshaw, Anna Maria Horsford, Cameron Diaz

LARA CROFT TOMB RAIDER: THE CRADLE OF LIFE (2003) DIR – TITLE DESIGN Jan de Bont PROD Lawrence Gordon, Lloyd Levin SCR Dean Georgaris (story by Steven E. de Souza, James V. Hart) CAM David Tattersall ED Michael Kahn MUS Alan Silvestri CAST Angelina Jolie, Gerard Butler, Chris Barrie, Ciarán Hinds, Noah Taylor, Djimon Hounsou, Til Schweiger

NEMA AVIONA ZA ZAGREB (2012) DIR Louis van Gasteren PROD Louis van Gasteren, Ilja Lammers, Joke Meersman SCR Joke Meerman CAM Jan de Bont, Louis van Gasteren, Bert Spijkerman, Theo Hogers, Olof Smit, Roeland Kerbosch, Milek Knebel ED Ilja Lammers CAST Meher Baba, Timothy Leary, Louis van Gasteren,

THE PAPERBOY (2012) DIR Lee Daniels PROD Lee Daniels, Ed Cathell III, Cassian Elwes, Avi Lerner, Miguel Menéndez de Zubillanga, Hilary Shor EXEC PROD Jan de Bont, Boaz Davidson, Danny Dimbort, John Thompson, Trevor Short SCR Lee Daniels, Peter Dexter (novel by Peter Dexter) CAM Roberto Schaefer ED Joe Klotz MUS Mario Grigorov CAST Matthew McConaughey, Nicole Kidman, John Cusack, David Oyelowo, Scott Glenn, Ned Bellamy, Nealla Gordon, Macy Gray, Lee Daniels


BAH, SEPTEMBER (1966) DIR – PROD Ruud van Hemert SCR Harrie Geelen CAM Jan de Bont CAST Justus Bonn

HEART OF A CHAMPION: THE RAY MANCINI STORY (1985) DIR Richard Michaels EXEC PROD Sylvester Stallone SCR Dennis Nemec CAM Jan de Bont ED Peter E. Berger MUS Mike Post CAST Robert Blake, Doug McKeon, Mariclare Costello, Tony Burton, Ray Butkenica, James T. Callahan, Richard Bakalyan

PARKER KANE (1990) DIR Steve Perry PROD Barry Josephson SCR Peter M. Lenkov CAM Jan de Bont ED Mark Helfrich MUS Jay Ferguson CAST Jeff Fahey, Marisa Tomei, Drew Snyder, Richard Zobel, Chino ‘Fats’ Williams, Gail O’Grady, Patti Labelle, Stellan Skarsgård, David Caruso

THOUGHTCRIMES (2003) DIR Breck Eisner PROD George W. Perkins EXEC PROD Jan de Bont  SCR Thomas Dean Donnelly, Joshua Oppenheimer CAM Chris Manley ED Jay Cassidy MUS Bryan Tyler CAST Navi Rawat, Joe Flanigan, Peter Horton, Joe Morton, Jocelyn Seagrave, Kim Coates, Janet Wright, Paulino Nunes