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The Abyss (1989)

PG-13 | | Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi | 9 August 1989 (USA)
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 8 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Jammer Willis
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'Sonny' Dawson
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Captain Kidd Brewer Jr. ...
Lew Finler (as Capt. Kidd Brewer Jr.)
George Robert Klek ...
Wilhite
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Schoenick
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Ensign Monk
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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

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Believe your eyes. 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)

Opening Weekend:

$9,319,797 (USA) (13 August 1989)

Gross:

$54,461,047 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (special edition)

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)

Color:

(DuArt)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

James Cameron declared this the worst production he was ever involved with, a sentiment shared by many of the cast members. The difficulties of filming around and under water put a great strain on both cast and crew, further complicated by Cameron's notorious perfectionism. Many of them have been quoted as saying that they would never do a sequel or movie like 'The Abyss' again. For Cameron, a director known to often collaborate with the same cast and crew members, this movie had suspiciously few people who worked with him again, including almost the entire cast (save for Michael Biehn), composer Alan Silvestri and director of photography Mikael Salomon. See more »

Goofs

Even if the wind force on the Benthic Explorer is enough to drag the massive rig along the seabed, it could never be enough to accelerate it from rest to at least 1 mph in less than a second when transmitted over an umbilical cord at least 2,000 feet long. No matter how strong the cord is, over that length it would have to stretch to some extent and this would limit the acceleration. 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 Under Pressure: Making 'The Abyss' (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

The Walk To The Gas Chamber
(uncredited)
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

 
"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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