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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.


4,554 ( 309)
3 nominations. 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)


$26,536,120 (USA) (2 May 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


This is the second movie both Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta appeared in together. The first one being Pulp Fiction (1994). See more »


The movie claims that the Provost Marshal is "the closest thing we have to an investigator". Not only was there a Criminal Investigation Divison field office in Panama at the time the movie was set in, the Provost Marshals office has it's own Military Police Investigations office. 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 »


Featured in Basic: A Director's Design (2003) See more »


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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

it could have been real good but...
20 May 2005 | by (Lisbon, Portugal) – See all my reviews

now a days, you see a movie and in the middle of it, you already know the ending, so it's really refreshing to see that 'basic' defies that! i was really having a blast, was loving it, and when the end came i was blown away, but for only one second, because then the brain kicked in, and realize that the plot was wrong, didn't made sense! there were so many twists (and i love that in a movie) that even the editors got confused, if that ending was meant to be, than there were things that happened earlier on, that don't make sense, that are just wrong.

despite all that i liked the movie, i enjoyed't when i was watching and even more when i came out of the theater room and debated with my friends, trying to make sense on why some scenes happened, i bought the DVD only to get to the sad conclusion that i was right and there's something wrong with the story. if only the story would have matched, it would be, one of my favorite action movies!

36 of 55 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Worst Ending EVER?!? tstone-4
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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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