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The Abyss (1989)

PG-13 | | Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi | 9 August 1989 (USA)
2:47 | Trailer

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



1,651 ( 52)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 6 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?


Ed Harris and Michael Biehn also appear together in The Rock (1996). Biehn also played a Navy SEAL in that film, but their parts are reversed, with Harris playing the antagonist, and Biehn being one of the 'good guys'. See more »


When Coffey's submersible bumps into Lindsay's, she, Virgil and the submersible are shaken violently, however, the yellow rope coiled in the background remains stationary indicating the effect was achieved by shaking and tilting the camera. See more »


[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 »


Referenced in American Dad!: Rough Trade (2006) See more »


Too Much Pressure
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

"These guys are about as much fun as a tax audit."
29 April 2005 | by (King of Prussia, PA) – See all my reviews

The Abyss was a movie of destiny. First off, this movie either began or was the result of a lifetime obsession James Cameron has the ocean (see later Titanic and his IMAX deep sea movies). The Abyss is also full of echos of claustrophobic thriller/adventure movie Alien, in which Cameron directed the sequel. So combining one of Cameron's old movies with his new obsession, we get The Abyss, a solid sci-fi thriller starring Ed Harris and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. Ed Harris plays Bud, the head of an undersea oil rig where very little actually happens and the people on the rig are only there in case something goes wrong. Well, wouldn't you know it, but an American nuclear submarine patrolling the US coast near the oil rig suddenly sinks, killing the sailors on board. The Americans suspect it's the Soviets, but we know better. Something pink and glowing does something to the submarine causing it to sink. A team of Navy seals, ferried down to the rig by Bud's ex-wife Lindsey (Mastrantonio), boards the oil rig and uses it as a command base for their mission to recover the submarine. And that is when the fun begins. Of course a hurricane has to enter into the plot, in movies like this, there is always a hurricane, but beyond, The Abyss is a solid sci-fi thriller, where the oil rig becomes a character in the movie. Much like the Nostromo in Alien or The Discovery in 2001, the tight spaces adds flavor to the movie, bringing the setting in as another character of the movie. The special effects were groundbreaking at the time and hold up well today. The scene of a column of water snaking its way through the oil rig still creeps me out to this day.

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How manysaw this in theaters when it was 1st released? theredhairedcrow
The extended ending is stupid tlhouser88
The drilling rig crew Josef_Schweik
This movie is so..... boring? TheSelfProclaimedNerd
Any info on a Blu-ray release yet? fletch37
Rank Camerons Films ufodoubleg
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