Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Basic Instinct (1992)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Basic Instinct (1992)

In Paul Verhoeven's erotic thriller, controversial for its overt sexuality and depiction of a bisexual female as a murderous psychopath, and for its outrageous dialogue and twisting plot by scriptwriter Joe Eszterhas:

  • the opening scene - a couple making love under a mirrored ceiling - the unidentified female with her face obscured (the film's brutal ice-pick murder suspect) atop retired rock star Johnny Boz (Bill Cable), and elements of S&M revealed when she tied his arms to the bedpost with a length of sheet - before reaching back and stabbing him to death with an ice-pick hidden in the sheets - later the cops noted the come stains on the bed: "He got off before he got off" - and there were 31 stab wounds on the body
  • the infamous police interrogation scene when ice-pick murder suspect/millionaire mystery novelist and bi-sexual 30 year-old Catherine Woolf-Tramell (Sharon Stone) first smoked in the no-smoking area: ("What are you going to do? Charge me with smoking?") and then openly crossed her legs - a full underwear-free view - to flirtatiously tease a panel of policemen facing her; she was a prime suspect because she was Boz's frequent 'f--k-partner,' and her most recent novel Love Hurts was a copy-cat alibi story about a rock star who was murdered by his girlfriend with an ice-pick: "The person who wrote this book is your murderer and acted out the killing described in ritualistic, literal detail"; she denied any guilt: "I'd have to be pretty stupid to write a book about killing and then kill somebody the way I described it in my book. I'd be announcing myself as the killer. I'm not stupid";
  • during the interrogation, Catherine's oversexed taunting line to Detective Nick Curran (Michael Douglas) - "Have you ever f--ked on cocaine, Nick? (long pause) It's nice" - and she also asked a question that revealed her knowledge of his past: "Didn't you ever f--k anybody else when you were married, Nick?"
Revealing Police Interrogation Sequence
"Have you ever f--ked on cocaine, Nick?"
Leg-Crossing Show
  • Catherine's revelation of her open lesbian relationship with Roxanne "Roxy" Hardy (Leilani Sarelle) in her home, and the following nightclub dance scene when Det. Curran spotted Catherine snorting cocaine in a toilet stall with Roxy, then watched as she seductively danced with Roxy to taunt him, but eventually partnered with him
  • the scene of Nick's therapy session with his own Internal Affairs police psychiatrist Dr. Beth Garner (Jeanne Tripplehorn) for accidentally shooting some tourists while high on cocaine; Beth had been his previous girlfriend and she was still in love with him: "I still miss you, Nick"
  • the controversial, aggressively-brutal, misogynistic, near-rape love-making sequence when Detective Curran forced himself on Beth, pinned her arms up on the wall, kissed her forcefully, ripped her dress open in the front, draped her over the sofa as she protested: "Nick, stop, no!", and approached her from behind; afterwards she set the record straight: "You weren't making love to me"; as they spooned together, Beth confessed that she had known Catherine as a college classmate: "I met her at Berkeley. We were in some of the same classes" - (both Beth and Catherine blamed each other for becoming obsessed during their relationship)
Nick's Near Rape of Beth Garner
  • the gunshot-to-the-head murder of Nick Curran's aggressive antagonist Lt. Nilsen (Daniel von Bargen) who had earlier convinced Beth to show him Curran's private psychiatric file (Curran also suspected that Nilsen had shared the file with Catherine: "She knows things about me that I only told you (Beth)"); Nick seemed to have a clear motive to eliminate Nilsen
  • the scene of Catherine's description of her own bad-luck college-days (UC Berkeley grad 1983) and her lesbian affair with a miffed and obsessed female ("There was this girl I met when I was in college. I slept with her once. She started following me around, taking my picture. She dyed her hair, copied my clothes. Lisa something, Oberman. It was awful"); during their attendance at Berkeley as psychology majors, one of their psychology professors was murdered with an ice pick; later Catherine specified that the name of the other student was not Oberman - but Hoberman!
  • the sequence of Dr. Garner speaking to Nick and similarly blaming Catherine for their obsessed relationship during college: "I slept with her once in school. I was just a kid. I was experimenting. It was just that one time. She developed a fixation on me. She styled her hair like mine, she wore the same kind of clothes I did. It scared me" - Nick became suspicious of Beth's credibility - Did Beth kill Johnny Boz to frame Catherine? - he discovered through DMV records that she was the elusive "Lisa Hoberman" who had lived in Salinas in 1987 where the drive-by, gun-shot murder of her husband Dr. Joseph Garner remained unsolved
  • the words of partner Det. Gus Moran (George Dzundza) who gave advice to Nick about Catherine: "Well, she got that magnum cum laude pussy on her that done fried up your brain!"
  • and later the near-ending scene of the ice-pick stabbing-murder of Gus during a planned meeting with Catherine's 'college roommate' in an Oakland office building; coincidentally at the same time as the murder, Beth was in the hallway (claiming she had a message to meet Gus there) - overly-suspicious Curran shot her to death when she innocently reached for something in her pocket (a key chain with a Bart Simpson ornament - the key to his own apartment!)
Deaths of Gus and Beth
  • in the conclusion, incriminating evidence was found in Beth's apartment: a .38 revolver (used to kill Beth's husband and Lt. Nilsen?), copies of Trammel's two books (The First Time, and Love Hurts), magazine clippings and photos of Johnny Boz with Catherine Tramell, and an icepick (used to kill Johnny Boz and Gus?) - although questions were still raised about her complicity
  • the film's final scene - paralleling the opening sex-murder sequence, in which Catherine was making love to Nick, and the question of whether she had picked up an ice-pick conveniently located under her side of the bed to murder him
Final Scene: The Ice-Pick Under the Bed

Unidentified Blonde's Ice-Pick S&M Murder of Rock Star Johnny Boz

Catherine's Lesbian Relationship with Roxy

Curran's Police Therapist and Obsessed Ex-Girlfriend Beth Garner (Jeanne Tripplehorn)

Death of Lt. Nilsen
(Daniel von Bargen)

Detective Nick with Catherine Tramell

Car Crash Death of Jealous Roxy

Gus to Nick: "...Fried Up Your Brain"

Name of Berkeley Student in 1983: Mis-spelled

Catherine to Nick: "I said Hoberman"

Revelation: Lisa Hoberman = Elizabeth Garner

Incriminating Evidence (?) in Beth's Apartment


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