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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.



2,364 ( 16)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 8 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Captain Kidd Brewer Jr. ...
Lew Finler (as Capt. Kidd Brewer Jr.)
George Robert Klek ...
Dwight Perry (as Richard Warlock)
Jimmie Ray Weeks ...
Leland McBride


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


A place on earth more awesome than anywhere in space. 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


$70,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$9,319,797, 13 August 1989, Wide Release

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (special edition)

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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Did You Know?


The first feature film to have used an early version of Adobe Photoshop. See more »


When the rig is pulled to the edge of the abyss by the crane the rig can be seen tilted, yet interior scenes and later exterior scenes remain level. See more »


[first lines]
USS Montana Captain: Sixty knots? No way, Barnes. The Reds don't have anything that fast.
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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 The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998) 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.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

S10 Reviews: The Abyss (1989)
17 April 2005 | by 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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