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The Abyss (1989)

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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.

Director:

James Cameron

Writer:

James Cameron
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2,400 ( 903)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 8 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ed Harris ... Bud Brigman
Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio ... Lindsey Brigman
Michael Biehn ... Lt. Coffey
Leo Burmester ... Catfish De Vries
Todd Graff ... Alan 'Hippy' Carnes
John Bedford Lloyd ... Jammer Willis
J.C. Quinn ... 'Sonny' Dawson
Kimberly Scott ... Lisa 'One Night' Standing
Captain Kidd Brewer Jr. ... Lew Finler (as Capt. Kidd Brewer Jr.)
George Robert Klek George Robert Klek ... Wilhite
Christopher Murphy ... Schoenick
Adam Nelson ... Ensign Monk
Dick Warlock ... Dwight Perry (as Richard Warlock)
Jimmie Ray Weeks ... Leland McBride
J. Kenneth Campbell ... 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:

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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 August 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Abyss See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$70,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

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

Gross USA:

$54,461,047

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$90,000,098
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (special edition)

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Dolby (35 mm prints)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

James Cameron described his creative process as "what I'm good at is working with actors to create scenes and then editing their performances to get the absolute best vibrating version of that scene and then share that with the audience. It's an amazing process to go through. Sometimes you think it's not going to work when you get started and then the characters come to life." See more »

Goofs

The door that Bud, Catfish, and Sonny close after saving Bud from drowning appears to be hinged on one side of the hatchway then the other. 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

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 »

Alternate Versions

When Bud writes back to the crew telling them he's "back on the air", different music, namely keyboard composition, was composed to replace the original score and to accomodate the added scenes of the ship rising from the abyss. The original score picks up again when the crew on the ships above go to see the alien ship rise out of the water. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The 70th Annual Academy Awards (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

WILLING
Written by Lowell George
Performed by Linda Ronstadt
Courtesy of CEMA Special Markets and Capitol Records, Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Ambitious and "deep" undersea adventure
30 June 2009 | by Quebec_DragonSee all my reviews

This review is for the special edition of Abyss that adds 28 minutes of footage especially near the end according to Wikipedia. I had seen it many years ago but although I remembered it was underwater and had a particularly cool and original creature, I didn't remember much else from it. After watching it again recently, I wonder why. This is one of the best undersea adventures I've seen, certainly the most ambitious. This was made before computer effects became so prevalent so most of the action underwater is actually shot underwater on sets and in diving suits. State-of-the-art computer effects (at the time) are used to portray most of the strange deep-sea creatures and they still look great today. The Abyss starts as the rescue operation of a nuclear submarine but veers more into good first encounter science-fiction as it goes along.

What struck me was the great underwater setting that at times made you feel claustrophobic and isolated as if you were deep underwater yourself. It's not the most action-packed film and it can feel slow at times so try to be relatively awake before watching it. The first half sometimes somehow made me feel contemplative and relaxed but it might bore some people. You should be warned that most of the film takes place in a relatively confined location so there's no undersea exploration a la Cousteau per say. It's also a character-driven conflict between reason and open-mindedness (the rig crew) VS ignorance and destructive impulses (the military). As it went along, my appreciation of the film went from only good to remarkable. There are strong suspenseful and dramatic character moments extremely well played by Ed Harris (rig captain), Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (creator of the rig and future ex-wife of the rig captain) and Michael Biehn (leader of the navy seals). I particularly liked the shuttle scene between the captain and his future ex-wife. Because of the creatures, there's also a feeling of mystery and sense of wonder at the unknown which is rarely seen in modern sci-fi but that I often enjoy. The characters are not the type to shoot first and ask questions later which I found refreshing.

What I also found noticeable is that there are several "false" endings, as in it might stop there but it doesn't, going further into the "abyss" as it were. This is a great humanistic and human sci-fi flick that gets better as it goes along. It's closer to 2001 than Aliens but it's not really like either one. The extra footage in the ending makes for a more satisfying conclusion that helps things make sense. However, your appreciation might vary on how cynical you are, I can see it ruining the film for a minority. In my opinion, it's worth owning but be careful of which DVD version you pick, the "special editions" don't necessarily have a second disc with the extras and the covers don't tell you how many discs there are (you want the 2-disc version).

Rating: 8 out of 10


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