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The Abyss (1989)

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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.

Director:

James Cameron

Writer:

James Cameron
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Popularity
1,536 ( 155)
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:

There's everything you've ever known about adventure, and then there's The Abyss. 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

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

Since the "Benthic Explorer" model ship was so large and filmed on open seas, the production company was required to register it with the Coast Guard. See more »

Goofs

The divers are supposed to be at 2000ft, however this is twice the depth recorded using open-circuit scuba equipment, something that took weeks of planning, a large team of support divers, and caused severe HPNS (High Pressure Nervous Syndrome) in the diver. 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

The opening 20th Century Fox logo doesn't have the usual fanfare, only the sound of sonar pings in the background. See more »

Alternate Versions

The R2 Special Edition DVD contains all extended/altered scenes mentioned before, and includes the following extra scenes:
  • Before Bendix asks Hippy over the radio to get Bud, he mentions to the guy next to him that Lindsey will probably freak out if Bud agrees to hand over the rig and crew to the Navy.
  • One Night and Sonny are fooling around with Cab One's grappling arm before being called back to the moon pool by Bud.
  • In the briefing scene, Hippy's reluctance to go near the submarine because of the radiation is extended. Coffey comments they will not be in danger because of continuous radiation monitoring. Hippy finally agrees to go when he hears someone else will be appointed to operate his ROV then. The scene returns to normal with Coffey's sudden outburst.
  • There is a short close-up shot of Lindsey's face after Coffey gives Hippy a reprimand.
  • The scene where the Deepcore crew is transported to the USS Montana is extended. After passing the Montana's propulsion system, Monk's team is seen opening up an outer hatch, and Hippy sends his ROV through it and confirms that radiation levels are below tolerance levels. After Coffey's explanation of the nuclear warhead's power, Lindsey responds that "it's World War 3 in a can". Coffey's team then proceeds to the ruptured front of the Montana.
  • The Montana search has been extended, with Coffey's team passing through several more compartments before arriving in the command centre. Coffey removes the nuclear arming key from the dead captain. After splitting up into two teams, Bud and Jammer pass through the torpedo room before Jammer panicks and stays behind.
  • Immediately after the flooding of Deepcore has started, crewman Perry is seen being overwhelmed by the sudden flow of water (his body is discovered in a new scene). -A new scene during the flooding shows Lindsey and Catfish saving the trapped Monk from the fire.
  • Bud comforts Sonny who tries to contact Benthic Explorer after the flooding, and then makes a short inspection tour before he arrives at unconscious Jammer's bed.
  • A new shot of Lindsey bringing a drink to Monk, who thanks her for saving his life.
  • During Bud's descent, power is suddenly running low, causing all crewmembers to quickly shut off all non-essential equipment.
  • Just after the Deepcore crew leaves the rig, there is a low-angle overview shot of the NTI ship with Deepcore and all the other ships on it.
  • As the credits start, the movie is dedicated to the memory of captain Kidd Brewer, who played Finler in the movie and died in a diving accident some years after the original release.
  • Extra credits on the 'Special Edition'.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Event Horizon (1997) 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

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User Reviews

 
Epic original sci-fi adventure with a lot of heart, action, suspense, and brains
5 July 2005 | by mstomasoSee all my reviews

The Abyss is one of my all-time favorite sci-fi films. It mixes hard science with abject fantasy to make moral and philosophical points about the human condition and our place in the universe without the usual clichés. And it does so with good dialog, strong characterization, and intensely emotional acting. Harris and Mastrantonio are absolutely electric together and dominate the screen, but the entire cast deserves plenty of credit. The production itself is mesmerizing despite its vast scale and tastefully used special effects. The film is long, but worth every second of the experience, and the slightly lengthier, more detailed Special Edition version is even better than the original.

Ostensibly, this is a film about first contact with non-terrestrial intelligence. But the story allegorically deals with an amazing array of themes common to great dramas - violence, love, capitalism, war, courage and cowardice. The hardest, most obedient soldier in the film, played spectacularly by Michael Biehn, is a coward, and a man who is hopelessly in love with his estranged wife (Harris) turns that love into an act of suicidal heroism which might unintentionally save the world. And yet nothing is exactly as it seems to be, and there are really no spoilers in this review. There are so many subtle and sensitively developed themes in this film that it is hard to imagine a more epically human drama in the sci-fi genre. Even so, this is a film which entertains at every level, and will satisfy the action fan as much as the wannabe film critic. ;-)

Most of the film takes place on an experimental submarine drilling platform owned by a petroleum company. A nuclear sub has been lost in "the abyss" - a subduction trench near the Caiman Islands - after encountering an impossibly fast object. Soon, the US military commandeers the platform and its command ship - The Benthic Explorer - to attempt a rescue mission. As everything begins to go wrong, and the encounters with strange phenomena continue, the Navy SEAL in charge of the rescue attempt begins to crack. Meanwhile, on the surface, accusations concerning the sub are escalating between the USSR and USA, and nuclear war seems immanent. This describes just a small segment of the deliciously complex plot that unfolds in The Abyss. You'll have to see it to enjoy the rest.


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