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Basic Instinct

HD   R Closed Captioning

Paul Verhoven

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About the Movie

This cold, stylish erotic-thriller grossed over $100 million at the box-office despite vigorous protests at its depiction of gays and women. The shocking opening sequence features a graphic sexual encounter involving a rock-star bound with a white Hermes scarf by an unidentified blond woman. Despite the fact that the scene ends with a bloody icepick murder (horrifyingly realized by makeup artist Rob Bottin), Hermes scarves quickly sold out at stores nationwide. This seeming paradox is at the heart of the film's appeal, as it mixes perverse sexuality and erotic bloodshed in a manner common to European thrillers (director Paul Verhoeven had done it himself in 1979's marvelous De Vierde Man) but mostly taboo in America. The plot concerns Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone), a successful bisexual mystery writer who may also be a ruthless murderer. Everyone close to Catherine dies, and troubled policeman Nick Curran (Michael Douglas) must find out why. In the process, Nick becomes sexually involved with both Catherine and police psychiatrist Beth Gardner (Jeanne Tripplehorn), while the bodies begin piling up and Catherine turns the cat-and-mouse game around on Nick. Verhoeven and screenwriter Joe Eszterhas — who was paid $3 million for the script — keep the tension ratcheted up throughout, even during the frequent sex scenes, which carry a violent edge reminiscent of the Italian thrillers of Dario Argento. The film's most notorious scene, a police interrogation in which Catherine makes drooling idiots out of her captors by revealing that she is not wearing underwear, became a cultural touchstone and was widely imitated and parodied. Sharon Stone, meanwhile, was embarrassed to the point that she claimed Verhoeven had aimed lights on strategic locations without her knowledge. George Dzundza and Dorothy Malone co-star.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 60
  • Fresh: 32
  • Rotten: 28
  • Average Rating: 5.8/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: Basic Instinct transfers Mr. Verhoeven's flair for action-oriented material to the realm of Hitchcockian intrigue, and the results are viscerally effective even when they don't make sense. – Janet Maslin, New York Times, Jul 16, 2008

Fresh: Sharon Stone, in her first major-league role, comes on like a postfeminist Grace Kelly. She turns her haughty, slightly blank, cheerleader sexiness into something vampish and ominous -- an all-American beauty mask. – Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly, Mar 25, 2013

Rotten: [The film has] a smug faith in the ability of its own speed, smartness and luxe to wow the yokels. – Richard Schickel, TIME Magazine, Mar 25, 2013

Rotten: Basic Instinct is a reminder of the difference between exhilaration and exhaustion, between tension and hysteria, between eroticism and exhibitionism. The line may be fine, but it is real enough to separate the great thrillers from the also-rans. – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times, Mar 25, 2013

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

Basic Instinct might be my favorite movie

This movie turned me on to thrillers and smart films that make you think. Possibly my favorite movie, actually I think it is. I love this movie, and anyone else will too, just get really into it.

First-Class Thriller!

Itunes!!! Can't believe they'd sell Basic Instinct! Anyway, Basic Instinct, known for its sleaziness and raunchy scenes, is a great thriller with a lot of suspense. The direction is great and the cinemotography is done very well. The acting is great by both leads, Micheal Douglass and Sharon Stone. This is considered the most controversial film of it's decade (90's). Watch it and find out why! Another great asset is it's ability to bring you in, manipulate you, and then twist your mind. Defenitley recommend it to whoever doesn't mind sex, violence, blood, drugs, a vaginal scene, twists, and a great thriller.

Not a bad movie

I don't see how anyone who hasn't seen the movie can judge it. Anyways, this is not a bad movie. It has a structured plot that throws the usual curve balls here and there as well as some new ones. I recommend this film for the people interested in thriller/suspense. Besides, this movie has a very classic scene and I think everyone in their lifetime should see it at least once.

Basic Instinct
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  • $12.99
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Released: 1997

Customer Ratings