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Basic (2003)

R  |   |  Action, Crime, Drama  |  28 March 2003 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 47,851 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


Seeing is deceiving. 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
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Did You Know?


In order to give Roselyn Sanchez the proper posture, John McTiernan had her wear a 50-pound bag of sand on the front of her belt while at the same time told her to imagine herself as a Las Vegas showgirl. See more »


During the first platoon inspection scene, Sergeant West is wearing Specialist rank on his uniform collar, four ranks lower than the Master Sergeant ranks he is wearing on the epaulets of his sweater. 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 »


Comparsa de Los Muertos
Written & Performed by Bruno Coon
Performed by The Africowboys
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

I liked it...
22 February 2004 | by (Nowhereman, Norseland) – See all my reviews

There's a whole lot of deep analysis going on here, but in the end, since so many others have analyzed this to death, I would recommend just watching it with an open mind and seeing if you find it entertaining.

I thought it original to a point, well acted out, and while predictable on a couple points, for the most part, leaving me wondering when we would find out the absolute truth of what the heck was going on...

Maybe later I will put something more in depth here, but for now, beware of the critics and their "plot holes," because in the end, aside from a couple very small glitches, this was pretty well done.

20 of 28 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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What's with Giovanni Ribisi's funny voice! dominodamsel
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