Sharon Stone says famous Basic Instinct scene tame by today’s standards


More than 30 years removed from the release of Basic Instinct, Sharon Stone says her crotch shot doesn’t seem so controversial.

It’s considered one of the most paused moments in movie history, the scene in Basic Instinct where Sharon Stone – as Catherine Tramell, a revamp on the femme fatale – uncrosses her legs during an interrogation, revealing she has nothing on underneath. It made Sharon Stone and pushed boundaries on what could be shown in mainstream cinema. But today? That moment in the 1992 icy-cold thriller may not even register as risque to many.

Appearing on Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace, Sharon Stone said that Basic Instinct scene pales in comparison to what can be found while flipping through the channels. “You see so little of anything in this film, actually. And now we see men with full frontal nudity on television. But still we look at that film as such a scandalous, controversial moment in filmmaking. And really, it’s quite benign by comparison to almost anything you see now.”

Even if you haven’t seen Basic Instinct, that iconic moment is still one that is immediately recognizable and remains Sharon Stone’s trademark scene in an up-and-down career. Part of this may be because of the dozens of parodies that followed – usually with zero subtlety. One that immediately jumps to mind is National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon 1, which jabbed at the necessity in a spoof that found Kathy Ireland in a similar situation, turning around to reveal a beaver puppet accompanied with the caption, “Gratuitous Beaver Shot”. Other works that parodied it include Hot Shots! Part Deux, Scary Movie and The Simpsons (oh, Willie!).

As far as how the moment – which could have helped it initially land an NC-17… – came about, there are conflicting stories between both Sharon Stone and her director, Paul Verhoeven. One story goes that Verhoeven urged his star to remove her white underwear because it was reflecting the light, later resulting in Stone slapping him. (For more behind-the-scenes stories from the making of Basic Instinct, check out our episode of “WTF Happened to This Movie?!” embedded below.)

What are your memories of Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct? Do you agree that it doesn’t feel controversial 30+ years on?

Originally published at

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