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File:Rsz 1936full-basic-instinct-poster 6979.jpg
"And then I come to find out that all of the lesbian sex scenes got cut out of that movie because a test audience was, uh..."turned off by them". Boy, is my thumb not on the pulse of America... If I had been in that test audience, the only one protesting would've been Michael Douglas demanding that his part be put back in!"

Basic Instinct is a 1992 American thriller/neo-noir film, directed by Paul Verhoeven and written by Joe Eszterhas, starring Sharon Stone, Michael Douglas, Jeanne Tripplehorn and George Dzundza.

The film centres around police detective Nick Curran (Douglas), who is put in charge of the investigation of a brutal murder of a wealthy former rock star. Beautiful, seductive and wealthy writer Catherine Tramell (Stone) could be involved; over the course of the investigation, Detective Curran becomes involved in a torrid and intense relationship with the mysterious woman--who turns out to be very dangerous.

It was followed by a sequel that was panned by critics and spectacularly bombed at the box office.


This movie contains examples of:

  • All Men Are Perverts: What gets Nick into so much trouble.
  • Anti-Hero: The backstory of the film's protagonist, Nick, includes driving his wife to suicide and killing innocent people due to drinking and drug use while on the job.
  • Anything That Moves: Catherine Tramell.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: See Karma Houdini.
  • Car Fu: Roxy first tries to kill Nick by running him over, and then again by playing chicken. She loses.
  • The Chessmaster: Catherine Tramell.
  • Coitus Uninterruptus:
    • Catherine casually changes her clothes in front of the police detectives sent to escort her to the station for questioning in a show of contempt.
    • Nick has a hostile discussion with Roxy just after having had sex with Catherine as if he were fully clothed.
  • Date Rape: Debatable whether the first scene of Nick and Beth in her flat qualifies as this.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Nick and Catherine.
  • Death by Sex: The killer's modus operandi.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Catherine again.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Catherine is usually barefoot at her house.
  • Downer Ending: Nick clearly doesn't have much longer to live...
  • Drives Like Crazy: Catherine. And Nick, when he's following her.
  • Gambit Roulette: ... but who cares about the plot?
  • Fatal Attraction: Most of the drama.
  • Follow the Leader: In the mid-nineties, pretty much every single thriller was Basic Instinct with some conceit.
    • And this film itself was following Fatal Attraction. They even got Michael Douglas!
  • Four Is Death: When Detective Gus gets into the elevator to meet Beth, he ends up getting stabbed on the 4th Floor.
  • Giallo
  • Going Commando: Catherine, most famously in the interrogation scene.
  • Great Way to Go: "Hey, he got off before he got offed!"
  • Karma Houdini: Catherine Tramell.
  • Narcissist / Sociopath: Catherine.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Wayne Knight's character.
  • Out with a Bang: The movie opens with a woman murdering her partner during sex. With an ice-pick. Ouch.
  • Panty Shot: Famously averted.
  • Psycho Lesbian: Roxy.
  • Quip to Black: "Looks like he got off before he got offed."
  • Self-Made Orphan: Catherine Trammell killed her parents and wrote a book based on the incident.
  • Stealth Parody: Kind of. In his book The Devil's Guide to Hollywood, screenwriter Joe Eszterhas states essentially that he conceived and wrote this film in thirteen days as a cynical exercise in creating the most Lowest Common Denominator screenplay possible. So he could get back his record of being the highest paid screenwriter in Hollywood. And he succeeded.
  • The Unfair Sex: Averted. Catherine is a sociopath, Roxy is a Psycho Lesbian, Hazel Dobkins murdered her husband and children and Beth is a murder suspect. In fact the number of evil females led to accusations of misogyny.
  • Unrated Edition: The movie that basically put the trope into the mainstream.
  • Vapor Wear: Exemplified in the interrogation scene. Lampshaded by Catherine later on.
  • Villain Protagonist: Catherine.
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