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The Abyss (1989)

PG-13  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi  |  9 August 1989 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 123,264 users   Metascore: 62/100
Reviews: 375 user | 79 critic | 14 from

A civilian diving team is enlisted to search for a lost nuclear submarine and face danger while encountering an alien aquatic species.



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Won 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jammer Willis
J.C. Quinn ...
'Sonny' Dawson
Captain Kidd Brewer Jr. ...
Lew Finler (as Capt. Kidd Brewer Jr.)
George Robert Klek ...
Ensign Monk
Dick Warlock ...
Dwight Perry (as Richard Warlock)
Jimmie Ray Weeks ...
Leland McBride


An American nuclear submarine encounters an alien species, which coincidentally causes massive electrical and hydraulic malfunctions, causing the sub to crash into an underwater cliff and sink. The navy asks the workers of a nearby underwater oil rig who are joined by a number of navy SEALS to locate and investigate the cause of the crash. As the crew embark on their mission, they encounter a number of difficulties and discover that they may not be alone. There is something else down there. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Believe your eyes. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for language and some scenes of action | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

9 August 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Abyss  »

Box Office


$69,500,000 (estimated)


$54,222,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (special edition)

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Very few scenes involved stunt people. When Bud drags Lindsey back to the rig, that's really Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio holding her breath. When the rig is being flooded and characters are running from water, drowning behind closed doors, and dodging exploding parts of the rig, those are all actors, not stunt people. See more »


Soon after Virgil begins his descent into the abyss, Linz informs him that he's broken the world record for the deepest sea dive. He smiles, which causes air bubbles to come out of his nose, even though he's supposed to be breathing liquid oxygen. See more »


[first lines]
USS Montana Captain: Sixty knots? No way, Barnes. The Reds don't have anything that fast.
See more »

Crazy Credits

There are no opening credits, save for the title, which emerges from darkness. The camera then follows down the "Y" of the title, and dissolves into the underwater blue of the ocean. See more »


Featured in Special Effects: Anything Can Happen (1996) See more »


The Walk To The Gas Chamber
From The Seventh Sign (1988)
Music composed and performed by Jack Nitzsche
Courtesy of Tri-Star Pictures, Inc.
Published by TSP Music, Inc. administered by EMI Music, Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

S10 Reviews: The Abyss (1989)
17 April 2005 | by (The Void) – See all my reviews

Towards the end of the Cold War the USS Montana, a nuclear submarine runs straight into an underwater cliff after an encounter with what they believe was a new beyond state-of-the-art Russian submersible. The Navy dispatches a SEAL team (lead by Michael Biehn) to record and survey the situation and to find some answers. The commission a nearby (or is it hijack?) deep sea oil drilling platform run by the estranged Brigman's, Bud and Linsey (Ed Harris and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio). During their mission things aren't quite as they seem as they discover that they are not alone deep in "The Abyss". On the verge of war topside and below with themselves the SEAL and workers struggle to come to terms with an unbelievable situation that could lead them to a nuclear confrontation.

"The Abyss" is a richly constructed story that puts well thought up and executed characters into a situation that looks to be a schmaltzy, love story set under the sea. The aliens or NTI's pretty much take a backseat to the human element and our old conflicting ways, these NTI's are non-violent and they want to teach us the error of our ways and they mean business (especially in the Special Edition cut). The whole cast does a wonderful job and most of the leads give Oscar-caliber performances. Harris and Mastrantonio do it so well you think their actually married. James Cameron establishes his love for the ocean in "The Abyss" will fully succeeds on all the technical levels. The production design is amazing with the full-size Deep Core set that was submerged at the bottom of an unused nuclear reactor building. Cameron shows his affinity for technology as the "pseudo pod "soon championed in the new wave of computer generated imagery. Highly recommended.

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The extended ending is stupid tlhouser88
Good film but doesn't quite hit the bullseye! BrickNash
This movie is so..... boring? TheSelfProclaimedNerd
Rank Camerons Films ufodoubleg
Any info on a Blu-ray release yet? fletch37
The Resuscitation Scene nuajer
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