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The Abyss (1989)

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 6 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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 ...
Wilhite
...
Schoenick
...
Ensign Monk
...
Dwight Perry (as Richard Warlock)
Jimmie Ray Weeks ...
Leland McBride
...
DeMarco
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Storyline

Formerly married petroleum engineers who still have some issues to work out. They are drafted to assist a gung-ho Navy SEAL with a top-secret recovery operation: a nuclear sub has been ambushed and sunk, under mysterious circumstances, in some of the deepest waters on Earth. Written by Jwelch5742

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

There's everything you've ever known about adventure, and then there's The Abyss. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

9 August 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Abyss  »

Box Office

Budget:

$70,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$54,222,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (special edition)

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)

Color:

(DuArt)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

To create the alien water tentacle, James Cameron initially considered cel animation or a tentacle sculpted in clay and then animated via stop-motion techniques with water reflections projected onto it. Phil Tippett suggested Cameron contact Industrial Light & Magic. See more »

Goofs

Beanie The Rat does not produce visible air bubbles while breathing the oxygenated fluid, yet later, after Bud starts his fluid-breathing dive to the bottom of the trench, he is seen emitting lots of bubbles as he breathes. See more »

Quotes

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

Crazy Credits

In the cast list, Super Seal Rover is credited as Big Geek and Mini Rover Mk II is credited as Little Geek. These are the actual models used for the unmanned submarines. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Sci-Fi Boys (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Too Much Pressure
(uncredited)
Written by N. Davies
Published by Fairwood Music Ltd.
Performed by The Selecter
Courtesy of EMI Records Group/Chrysalis Records, Inc.
By Arrangement with CEMA Special Markets
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Masterpiece
13 October 2003 | by (Portsmouth, England) – See all my reviews

Though I prefer The Terminator and Aliens, this film is James Camerons most artistic film. The visual imagery of this film is stunning, with no half measures taken, it is such a pleasure to watch. The aliens look as beautiful as an alien can do and the underwater scenery is so picturesque that I just wish I could be there.

The special effects are stunning. As with a lot of Cameron's hits, this was an innovator in special effects. If it wasn't for this film, films such as The Matrix and Lord of the Rings would not be here or at least would not have been able to express themselves in a visual sense.

Cameron is the ultimate director. Although he is a pain to work with, he gets his image across and proves why he is such a hit machine. No one compares to him when it comes to picking a cast. Even though most of this cast were, and still are, unknown, the performances in this are fantastic. I know I always praise him but Michael Biehn as Coffey is one of the best acting performances I have ever seen and the fact that Biehn was not even Oscar nominated is a travesty! He is great to watch as the maniac who is irate and just plain horrible. Ed Harris is on par with his good performances in The Rock and Apollo 13. You just want to be his mate in this movie despite the fact he is another pain (see Rock out takes) which is why him and Cameron have not spoken a word since this film. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio was a bit of a fad. She didn't last very long being in good films but she is good as the hard nosed estranged wife who near the end, becomes wonderfully vulnerable and loving.

Cameron is a great writer and The Abyss, along with The Terminator and Strange Days, shows off his talent to a great extent. As with all of Cameron's Sci-Fi screenplays, behind the technology lies a distinctively human element. This enables The Abyss, despite the extra terrestrial goings on, to approach the audience on their level and suck viewers in to the film. The character of Coffey is a great obstacle character because he is losing his mind and is getting engulfed by paranoia to the point where he can not trust anyone. The way Cameron uses Coffey to build up suspense is very effective and the culmination of this is one of the most frantic underwater chases there will ever be. Spectacular is the only word that comes to mind. The ending of this film has been heavily criticised but this is unfair as it carries a decent message regarding humanity and fits the mood of the film. It may have been slightly rushed but the best bits of the film are all under water anyway.

Anyone who likes their special effects, a great story and terrific acting need look no further than The Abyss. The contrast of the breathtaking beauty of the ocean between the claustrophobia of a vessel should be enough to captivate most audiences. A fantastic visionary piece.


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