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Basic Instinct Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 2.0

    out of 100

    Generally unfavorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 25

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Dave Kehr

    Verhoeven does not explore the dark side, but merely exploits it, and that makes all the difference in the world. [20 Mar 1992, Friday, p.C]

  • 50

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    The film is like a crossword puzzle. It keeps your interest until you solve it. Then it's just a worthless scrap with the spaces filled in.

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  • 63

    out of 100

    USA Today Mike Clark

    The film never makes total sense, but at its best (the first half-hour), it comes closer to solidly junky titillation than the hapless Final Analysis. [20 Mar 1992, Life, p.1D]

  • 67

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    Beneath its heavy-breathing fripperies, though, Basic Instinct is mechanical and routine, a muddle of Hitchcockian red herrings and standard cop-thriller ballistics.

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  • See all Basic Instinct reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 16+

Excessive whodunit is definitely not for kids.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this film is about a murderer who kills people with an ice pick. There are many scenes involving full female nudity and male-female intercourse. The main characters drink heavily and use cocaine, and the male protagonist sexually assaults a main female character.

  • Families can talk about the choices that Detective Curran makes in the film. How might his drinking and drug use have influenced his decision-making? Families might also discuss Detective Curran's relationship with Dr. Garner. Did he treat her fairly? Was she right to risk her job for him? Parents could also talk about the depiction of Catherine Trammell. Do you think she "did it"? Do you think she cared about the detective or was just manipulating him?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Characters manipulate one another repeatedly, heavy drug use.

What to watch for
  • violence false5

    Violence: Graphic depictions of stabbings and gun violence. A rape.

  • sex false5

    Sex: Female nudity (including full frontal), male buttocks, several instances of intercourse, S&M, stereotypical lesbian characters.

  • language false5

    Language: Mostly sexual in nature.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false5

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Main characters drink and use cocaine.