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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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An attorney defends an officer on trial for ordering his troops to fire on civilians after they stormed a U.S. embassy in a third world country.

Director: William Friedkin
Stars: Tommy Lee Jones, Samuel L. Jackson, Guy Pearce


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?


It's raining almost the entire movie. 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...
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References Aliens (1986) See more »


Black Betty
Adapted & Arranged by Peter Beckett
Performed by Player featuring Peter Beckett
Produced by Peter Beckett for Right Hook Productions
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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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