Find industry contacts & talent representation
Manage your photos, credits, & more
Showcase yourself on IMDb & Amazon
Sign in with Facebook
Other Sign in options
Own the rights?
The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags are used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.
For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Basic Instinct can be found here.
Former alcoholic Detective Nick Curran (Michael Douglas) of the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) is assigned to investigate the murder of retired 1960s rock star Johnny Boz, who was found tied to a bed with a white scarf and stabbed multiple times with an icepick during sex. The primary suspect is Boz's girlfriend Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone), a beautiful, rich, and seductive crime novelist who just happened to describe the exact same murder some years ago in her crime-thriller book Crime Hurts. Nick must now figure out whether Catherine committed a crime that she actually planned years earlier or whether someone is copycatting Catherine's story. Certain from the start that Catherine is the murderer, things get complicated when Nick becomes infatuated with her.
Basic Instinct is based on a screenplay by Hungarian-born writer Joe Eszterhas. It was followed by Basic Instinct 2 (2006)
An instinct is defined as "an inborn pattern of activity or tendency common to a given biological species," such as the monarch butterflies' instinctual drive to overwinter in specific areas in Mexico. In most animal species, the most basic instinct is to survive. In the film, the basic instinct is to mate.
When Nick and his partner Gus (George Dzundza) first interview Catherine at her house, Nick notices an old newspaper with a headline clearing him in the shooting of some tourists. It's also brought out that Internal Affairs (IA) investigator Nilsen (Daniel von Bargen) provided Catherine with a file containing IA psychologist Beth Garner's (Jeanne Tripplehorn) psychological profile on Curran, all of this suggesting that Catherine targeted Nick from the beginning.
After speaking to the cop in Salinas, Nick goes to Catherine's house where he sees her unpublished manuscript for Shooter being printed out. He reads a few lines that describe how Shooter finds his partner dead, his feet sticking out of the elevator door. Later, while Nick waits in the car as Gus go to talk with the person who called Gus with information about Catherine Tramell and Lisa Hoberman, Nick realizes that Gus must take the elevator up to the meeting place in Suite 405. He suddenly realizes that Gus has been set up to die just as it was written in Catherine's manuscript.
After investigating Beth's apartment, Nick returns to his apartment to find Catherine waiting for him. In a distraught manner, Catherine begins to babble about how she can't allow herself to care about anyone and how she doesn't want to do 'this' and lose Nick. They end up making love, Catherine collapsing into Nick's arms afterwards. Catherine asks Nick what they do now, and he replies: 'Fuck like minks, raise rugrats, and live happily ever after.' As Catherine's hand slowly slides down the side of the bed, she admits that she hates 'rug rats', so Nick says, 'Forget the rug rats.' She slowly, almost menacingly, turns toward him, then suddenly grabs him with both arms and kisses him torridly. As they kiss, the camera pans down the side of the bed, revealing an icepick lying on the floor.
Basic Instinct is most often compared to Body Heat, a 1981 movie in which a sexy woman targets a lawyer with a shady past to play a role in her nefarious plan to murder her rich husband but then falls in love with him.
The film's controversially discussed sex scenes had to be censored in order to achieve an R rating for the theatrical release. Later, two versions were released in the US: the cut theatrical version and an unrated director's cut featuring the censored material.
A detailed comparison between both versions can be found here.
Find showtimes, watch trailers, browse photos, track your Watchlist and rate your favorite movies and TV shows on your phone or tablet!