Laurence Fishburne and Ryan Phillippe put on bad accents to confront (without really resolving) stereotypes in this tense (but not tense enough) thriller about one supremely long and painful conversation between a Dutch pianist and a Moroccan “terrorist.” However, the twist ending bumps this international effort up a few notches.
Campy international spy sexploitation in its full ‘60s glory. View it like an Austin Powers movie and you’ll understand why it made the top 20.
19. Max (2002)
John Cusack fans, rejoice -- here you have proof he’s set foot in Amsterdam! Cusack apparently wanted this film made so badly he did it for free. Too bad he’s not enough to save this tepid drama about the (fictional) Jewish art dealer who taught Hitler everything he knew about painting. Amsterdam is a stand-in for ‘20s Berlin.
Four Mormon missionaries from the USA try to convert the Dutch in this lighthearted and surprisingly accessible look at one of the Western world’s least understood religions. It’s mostly set in Haarlem (the city between us and the coast), but they come to Amsterdam, too.
This is “that one James Bond film.” Too bad it’s not the best one, but it does have the distinction of being Sean Connery’s last (official) time playing Bond. In this one, Bond infiltrates a global ring of diamond smugglers to save the world from a giant laser beam, but you can tell Connery (and everyone else) has mentally checked out. Still worth watching for the canal-porn cinematography.
16. Hawks (1988)
In this “buddy comedy,” the buddies in question are two terminally ill patients (illegally) on the loose in Amsterdam. Par-tay. But it’s got another one of the Bonds (Timothy Dalton).
From Amsterdam to internment camp, a little boy narrates his 1942 Jewish life. It’s touching, poignant, and you’ll totally cry. It’s worth it though.
Of the (not?) surprising number of drug-smuggling movies in this list, this would-be stoner comedy gets some bonus points for getting in on the trend early and blending two genres. The Irish cast works hard to compensate for a clearly rock-bottom budget. Fun Lovin' Criminals fans will love the soundtrack, though.
The Oude Kerk gets some solid screen time here (since the filmmaker Peter Greenaway was banned from Cologne’s cathedral because the archbishop thought his previous film was smutty) in a deliciously sharp and smutty indictment of religion and morality, starring a startlingly young Julia Ormond and Ralph Fiennes. Get ready for things to get weird, and naked.