Synopsis: The year 1642 marks the turning point in the life of the famous Dutch painter, Rembrandt, turning him from a wealthy respected celebrity into a discredited pauper. At the insistence of his pregnant wife Saskia, Rembrandt has reluctantly agreed to paint the Amsterdam Musketeer Militia in a group portrait that will later become to be known as The Nightwatch. He soon discovers that there is a conspiracy afoot with the Amsterdam merchants playing at soldiers maneuvering for financial advantage and personal power in, that time, the richest city in the Western World. Rembrandt stumbles on a foul murder. Confident in the birth of a longed-for son and heir, Rembrandt is determined to expose the conspiring murderers and builds his accusation meticulously in the form of the commissioned painting, uncovering the seamy and hypocritical side to Dutch Society in the Golden Age. Rembrandt's great good fortune turns. Saskia dies. Rembrandt reveals the accusation of murder in the painting and the consp
Director(s): Peter Greenaway
Production: Kasander Film Company
  6 wins & 5 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
134 min

(suspenseful cello music)

(slow cello music)

(mob shouting)

(man grunting)


- Blind him!

- Fornicator!

- Gouge out his eyes!

- Dauber!

- Scratch out his eyes!

(indistinct comments)

(crowd shouting)

(dog barking)

- Ah! I can't see!

I can't see!


Where's the light?

I'm blind. I'm blind!

I'm blind! Oh!

My eyes...

My eyes!

Open your eyes, you fool!

- Stop fooling!


Stop your shouting!

- Who is shouting?!

- A blind man shouting!

A blind man shouting!

- Who will listen

to a blind man shouting?!

- Blinded.



...and miles...

F*ck. And miles...

of... painted darkness.

Lit by spasms of light.

If you're lucky.

Open your eyes, you fool!

Miles and miles...

...and miles...

...of painted darkness.

(baby crying)



- Are you all right?

- Oh!

Oh! Oh, God!


Was that only a nightmare?

Have l-l-I... Have I woken up?

I've been seeing the night.

I was watching the night.

I was looking...

into Darkness.

Darkness without ending.

I was watching Darkness.

I was...

watching... the night.

I was nightwatching.

- You were only dreaming.

- I am blind.

Do I at least look blind?

- You were having a nightmare.

- Can I, in fact, see...

you, Hendrickje? Hmm?

Red-blooded Hendrickje?


You see, I know...

I know your blood is red.

Do I remember -

your eyes are blue?

I suspect your piss is yellow!

- Be quiet.

Let me get you

something to drink.

- How would you describe...



If you were blind?


describe the colour red to...

to a blind man.

- You just did.

It's the colour of blood.

- Red is thick to touch.

If you could not tell

what it was by its colour,

you could tell what it was

by its touch.

Red is touchable.

- And it's warm.

And when it grows cold,

it crusts over.

- What is yellow?

- The sun?

Yellow smells.


it's the smelling colour!

- Yellow is thinner than red.

It's more transparent.

Yellow moves.

Red is static

and becomes solid.

Yellow always moves.

Yellow could be...

a liquid.

New beer.



It doesn't smell so bad

to begin with.


Then it smells ugly.

- Get dressed.

We're all waiting for you.

(woman singing)

Ineke's pregnant.

- Again?


- You have milk in your beard.

- Why again?

I haven't got a proper beard.

- Because Claus is insatiable.

- Then you should grow a beard.

Successful men wear beards.

- Sanza,

pick up your doll.

- I want to be insatiable...

and wealthy.

(woman still singing)

- Then grow a proper beard.

- You are insatiable.

You could be wealthier.


- Hendrickje, stop singing.

- Oh, no. Let her sing.

It's good for the baby.

- How would you know?

- Hendrickje, you're dripping

all over the floor.

- And what else

is good for my baby?

- Milk.

Gallons of fresh milk,

from a Friesian wet-nurse.

- Well, if Saskia's

not breastfeeding,

we shall have to have

Hendrickje breastfeeding.

- Rembrandt, don't be vulgar.


Poor girl isn't a woman yet.

Besides, I shall have

enough milk to make cheese.

(Rembrandt laughing)

- Saskia, don't be vulgar.

There are students present.

- Students are here to learn

and earn us money.

- You mustn't feed him yourself.

- Of course

I'm going to feed him myself.

Geertje, you're old-fashioned.

We are living

in the 17th century.

Women in the 17th century

are allowed to smoke, write,

correspond with Descartes,

wear spectacles,

insult the pope,

and breast-feed babies.

- If you can find a man to pay

for the first and poke you up

for the last.

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Peter Greenaway

Peter Greenaway, CBE (born 5 April 1942 in Newport, Wales) is a British film director, screenwriter, and artist. His films are noted for the distinct influence of Renaissance and Baroque painting, and Flemish painting in particular. Common traits in his film are the scenic composition and illumination and the contrasts of costume and nudity, nature and architecture, furniture and people, sexual pleasure and painful death. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Nightwatching" STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 4 Mar. 2021. <>.

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