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Basic (2003)

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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.


4,957 ( 186)
3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Georgia Hausserman ...
Margaret Travolta ...
Nurse #1
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


Back to Basic [Denmark] 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 USA:

$11,511,960, 30 March 2003, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$26,536,120, 4 May 2003

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$15,999,250, 31 May 2004
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Company Credits

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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, director John McTiernan had her wear a fifty-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 »


After interviewing Kendall, while Osbourne is driving the Humvee she motions as if she is turning the steering wheel. The steering wheel does not move indicative of the spokes. 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...
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Featured 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

Full of Twists - And yes they work pretty well too!
23 December 2006 | by See all my reviews

Basic engages your attention pretty early on and keeps you guessing throughout with the twists and turns in the storyline and its refreshingly unexpected ending.

As you would expect Travolta and Jackson are both superb, as is Connie Neilson. The characters build well, the writing is very solid, and the story is quite original.

All in all 'Basic' is a good thriller that is a little complex and confusing for the casual movie fan.

Definitely worth watching, but not a classic


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