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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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Popularity
2,733 ( 333)
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

Bud and Lindsey's rocky relationship may have been an unconscious mirror of the divorce James Cameron was going through at the time with producer Gale Anne Hurd. See more »

Goofs

The steel pipes that Coffey reaches behind to get a duffel bag full of guns shift as he brushes them with his shoulder. 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 was a dedication for Captain Kidd Brewer Jr. added at the beginning of the end credits of the special edition. See more »

Alternate Versions

The airline version of "The Abyss" was supervised by Cameron himself and runs 118 minutes. Since you can't show a vehicle crashing in a movie shown on an airplane, all of the opening scenes of the submarine incident had to be removed and the title sequence changed (the airline version begins with shots of helicopters landing at the rig). The same version has been used for network TV showings. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Why Horror? (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Too Much Pressure
(uncredited)
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 »

User Reviews

 
Awe Inspiring Spectacle
7 March 2010 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

The story of The Abyss starts with a mysterious crash of a US nuclear submarine that is armed with the appropriate nuclear weaponry for its time. With reports of it down, we want to get it before the Russians do.

When it rains it pours, literally in this case. A fast moving storm forces the Navy to use the crew and equipment from a nearby underwater deep sea drilling platform and the oil roughnecks are promised some big government checks for their help.

Crew chief Ed Harris gives his reluctant consent, made even more reluctant by the fact that his estranged wife Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio has designed some new equipment for use in the really deep waters of The Abyss of the Atlantic Ocean.

The Navy people and the oil people are a bad fit to start with, but when the deep depths effect Navy SEAL Michael Biehn by bringing out the worst aspects of the military authoritarian personality things get real interesting down in the deep.

The spectacle does dwarf the story which is the only real criticism I can make of The Abyss. What the submarine made accidental contact with is some incredible alien life form which I can't go into further because that's the whole point of the film. Of course Biehn still believes it's all a Russian plot of some kind and therein lies the conflict exacerbated by the extreme paranoia he develops.

Unlike Cameron's Titanic, the spectacle at the end just overwhelms the human players in this film. But it was those special effects that go The Abyss its Academy Award recognition. The Abyss was also nominated for Sound and Art&Set Direction and Cinematography. It could have been a winner in any of those categories. In fact the biggest mistake you can make which is the one I did make, to see The Abyss on the small screen and formatted. This film is what IMAX was developed for.

Though the story does get lost somewhat in the special effects the point is still made about man being ready and open to all kinds of possibilities of life that can exist anywhere. See The Abyss, but wait for a revival showing at a theater.


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