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The Abyss (1989)

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2:47 | Trailer
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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Popularity
1,495 ( 76)
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:

The Abyss See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$70,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$9,319,797, 13 August 1989

Gross USA:

$54,461,047

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$90,000,098
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(theatrical) | (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

Director James Cameron was determined to actually film major portions of the movie underwater, as he felt that the conventional way to shoot such scenes (slow-motion filming on a set filled with smoke, or in the ocean with stunt divers) looked unconvincing. While searching for a suitable tank for filming during pre-production, he was advised of a half-completed nuclear reactor facility in Gaffney, South Carolina that was intended to be used as a movie studio. When Cameron was given a tour of the location, the unfinished turbine pits were suggested to serve as the tank for principle photography. However, when he saw the facility's nuclear reactor housing (a 55-foot tall bowl, 240 feet in diameter) he decided that this structure was ideal, as it could accommodate huge sets and its walls would not be visible on screen. The reactor, designated 'A tank', thus became the largest underwater set in the world at 7.5 million gallons, and the turbine pit was used as 'B tank' for miniature special effects filming. See more »

Goofs

Soon after Virgil begins his descent into the abyss, Linz informs him that he's broken the world record for the deepest sea dive. He smiles, which causes air bubbles to come out of his nose, even though he's supposed to be breathing liquid oxygen. 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

The UK television premiere (Channel 4) included the rat in breathing fluid sequence. When the film was reshown the sequence had been removed again. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Forget About It: Titanic (2011) 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

 
Masterpiece
13 October 2003 | by Lt_Coffey_182See 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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