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Basic (2003)

R  |   |  Action, Crime, Drama  |  28 March 2003 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 47,831 users   Metascore: 34/100
Reviews: 286 user | 130 critic | 33 from Metacritic.com

A DEA agent investigates the disappearance of a legendary Army ranger drill sergeant and several of his cadets during a training exercise gone severely awry.


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1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Georgia Hausserman ...
Margaret Travolta ...
Nurse #1
Dena Johnston ...
Nurse #2
Helicopter Pilot


Tom Hardy, an ex-Army Ranger turned DEA agent, is drawn into an ever-widening mystery surrounding the disappearance of the feared and often hated Sgt. Nathan West, as well as several of his elite Special Forces trainees on what appears, at first, to have been a routine training exercise during a hurricane in the jungles of Panama. Only two survivors are found, Dunbar, and a badly wounded Kendall, the son of a high-profile Joint Chiefs of Staff official. Neither is willing to cooperate with Capt. Julia Osborne's investigation. So base commander Col. Bill Styles calls in ex-Ranger Hardy, an old friend and a persuasive interrogator. Osborne disapproves of Hardy who is on leave from the D.E.A. after having come under suspicion of accepting bribes from local drug traffickers. She is also uneasy when she learns that Hardy once trained under West and hates him almost as passionately as his current recruits. With time running out, Hardy and Osborne call a temporary, if uneasy, truce. Hardy ... Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


There are degrees of truth. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

28 March 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Básico y letal  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$11,511,960 (USA) (28 March 2003)


$1,196,015 (Italy) (7 November 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


It's raining almost the entire movie. See more »


When Osborne is driving the Hummer during the rain, she moves her hands as though to take a bend, but the steering wheel stays in the same position. See more »


[first lines]
Osbourne: [narration] The French tried to build a canal here before the Americans. At the height of their effort, 500 workers were dyin' a week from malaria and yellow fever. They couldn't come up with cemetary space fast enough. Not to mention the morale problem all those crosses would have made. So they bought shiploads of vinegar in Cuba, and in each barrel, they sealed one corpse, and then they sold them as medical cadavers all over Europe. And for a while, that was their principal source...
See more »


Referenced in Basic Ingredients: A Writer's Perspective (2003) See more »


Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen
Performed by John Travolta
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Still shaking my head...
28 July 2003 | by (l.a.) – See all my reviews

I'm still shaking my heads hours after seeing this lousy movie. First of all, the acting was great. End of compliments. It's one of those movies where something mysterious happens. By way of flashback, we see one soldier's version of the story, and then another soldier's. But then Soldier #1 changes his story to defend himself against what #2 had said. The writer/director at this point hope to get you to go, "Hmmmm, now THIS is getting interesting. I wonder what REALLY happened out there?" At this point, you really do wonder. But then both soldiers change their stories, they implicate a doctor who tells (then changes) HIS story. They implicate a colonel who tells(then changes) his story. Then both soldiers, for the 42nd time, change their stories. By this point, you'll be like "Who the hell cares what happens." You'll no longer wonder...you just won't care. It's a good thing that you don't care what happens, because the ending makes no sense whatsoever.

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huh? can someone explain this movie to me :-/ Mic21
What's with Giovanni Ribisi's funny voice! dominodamsel
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