• Directors: Adrian Lyne
  • Producers: Don Simpson, Jerry Bruckheimer, Tom Jacobson, Lynda Rosen Obst, Peter Guber, Jon Peters
  • Writers: Tom Hedley, Joe Eszterhas
  • Genres: Drama, Romance, Music
  • Actors: Jennifer Beals, Michael Nouri

Blue-collar worker, eighteen year-old Alexandra (Alex) Owens (played by Jennifer Beals) is a dancer in a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania bar at night and a welder at a steel mill during the day. She lives on her own in a converted warehouse with her pit bull, Grunt. Her dream is to obtain a place at a prestigious dance school, the (fictional) Pittsburgh Conservatory of Dance and Repertory. During one of her performances at Mawby’s, the bar where she works, she attracts the attention of Nick Hurley (Michael Nouri) who is the boss of the steel mill, and he learns that Alex is one of his employees.

Alex’s best friends also work at Mawby’s, and they have their own dreams of fame. Jeanie Szabo (Sunny Johnson) is a waitress who aspires to be a professional ice skater, and Jeanie’s boyfriend Richie Blazik (Kyle T. Heffner) is a cook who wants to be a professional stand-up comedian. Also prominent in the film is Johnny C. (Lee Ving), who runs the local strip club, the Zanzibar, and is invariably accompanied by his strong but dense bodyguard Cecil (Malcolm Danare). Johnny C. visits Mawby’s to check out the dancers, and tries to recruit both Alex and Jeanie to work at the Zanzibar.

At the audition, Alex falls over at the start of her routine, but starts again and completes the routine successfully. In the final scene, Alex runs out of the Conservatory building with a smile on her face and is hugged by Nick, who gives her a bunch of red roses. The ending of the film does not say directly whether Alex wins a place at the Conservatory as a result of her audition.

Basic Instinct

  • Directors: Paul Verhoeven
  • Producers: Mario Kassar, Alan Marshall
  • Writers: Joe Eszterhas
  • Genres: Mystery, Romance, Thriller
  • Actors: Michael Douglas, Sharon Stone, George Dzundza, Jeanne Tripplehorn

In San Francisco, a down-and-out, recovering alcoholic detective, Nick Curran (Michael Douglas), has been involved in a turbulent relationship with Beth Garner (Jeanne Tripplehorn), a psychologist whose work for the police department includes reviewing Nick’s own case.

When a wealthy former rock star named Johnny Boz is brutally stabbed to death with an ice pick while having sex with a blonde woman, Nick is sent to investigate. The only suspect they have is Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone), a crime novelist last seen with Boz on the night he died.

Nick and his partner, Gus Moran (George Dzundza), visit a Pacific Heights mansion, but there they find only Tramell’s lesbian lover, Roxy, at home. Roxy sends them to Tramell’s Stinson Beach beach house, where they find her on a deckchair by the ocean. They ask about her dating relationship with Boz, and she replies, “I wasn’t dating him, I was fucking him.” She shows very little remorse at hearing he is dead. (Curran: “Are you sorry he’s dead?” Tramell: “Yeah, I liked fucking him.”)

Nick and Gus, along with their superiors, discover that Catherine Tramell has written a novel about a former rock star who was killed in the exact same way — tied to the bed with a white scarf and murdered with an ice pick. Catherine agrees to go to police headquarters for questioning. During this interview, she refuses to extinguish a cigarette (“What are you going to do, charge me with smoking?”) and uncrosses her legs, revealing to both her interrogators and to the viewers that she is not wearing underwear. This brings discomfort to the interrogators in the room, especially Nick, whom she continuously addresses by his first name or his nickname, “Shooter.”

In the final scene of the film, Catherine and Nick make love. The conversation soon turns towards their possible future as a couple, with Nick bringing up the issue of marriage and the two having children. While talking, Nick turns his back on Catherine as she slowly reaches for something underneath the bed. But Catherine stops when Nick turns around and tells Catherine that he doesn’t want children nor does he want to pressure Catherine into marriage. The two resume making love, as the camera slowly pans down to show the underside of the bed, an ice pick can be seen lying on the floor.