The Abyss

August 9, 1989 0 By Fans
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Still of Ed Harris in The AbyssStill of Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio in The AbyssStill of Michael Biehn in The AbyssThe AbyssStill of Ed Harris and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio in The AbyssThe Abyss


A civilian diving team are enlisted to search for a lost nuclear submarine and face danger while encountering an alien aquatic species.

Release Year: 1989

Rating: 7.6/10 (69,353 voted)

Critic's Score: 62/100

James Cameron

Stars: Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Michael Biehn

An American nuclear submarine encounters an alien species, which coincidentally causes massive electrical and hydraulic malfunctions, causing the sub to crash into an underwater cliff and sink. The navy asks the workers of a nearby underwater oil rig who are joined by a number of navy SEALS to locate and investigate the cause of the crash. As the crew embark on their mission, they encounter a number of difficulties and discover that they may not be alone. There is something else down there.


Ed Harris

Virgil 'Bud' Brigman

Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio

Lindsey Brigman

Michael Biehn

Lt. Hiram 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


Christopher Murphy


Adam Nelson

Ensign Monk

Dick Warlock

Dwight Perry

(as Richard Warlock)

Jimmie Ray Weeks

Leland McBride

J. Kenneth Campbell


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

Release Date: 9 August 1989

Filming Locations: Harbor Star Stage, San Pedro, Los Angeles, California, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $69,500,000


Gross: $54,222,000

Technical Specs


(special edition)

Did You Know?


During the resuscitation scene, Ed Harris wasn't acting to Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio in many of the shots. He was yelling at thin air. During the scenes she did appear in, Mastrantonio stormed off the set because the experience was so traumatic. She learned afterwards the camera was out of film and had to do it over again.


Crew or equipment visible:
When Coffey is assembling a sub-machinegun there are only two people in a small room, but a third person can be seen on the right for a moment.


[first lines]

USS Montana Captain:
Sixty knots? No way, Barnes. The Reds don't have anything that fast.

User Review

Patience is Required


James Cameron is mostly known for his blockbuster hits like The
Terminator(1984), Aliens(1986), Terminator 2:Judgement Day(1991), True
Lies(1994), and Titanic(1997). Those films contained fast paced action as
well as tense moments of human emotions. One film by Cameron that doesn't
seem to get the same kudos as the films mentioned above is the beautifully
crafted, The Abyss(1989). A more character driven and humanistic film than
any of the blockbuster features of James Cameron. Seeing it in the Special
Edition version is the best way because situations and people become filled
with more depth. Low Key epic picture that is driven by the excellent
acting of its cast. Certain scenes like the reviving and "Bud"'s
commuication with aliens moments make the film into an interesting
constructed vision of human nature. In some ways The Abyss(1989) follows
some ideas that echos The Day the Earth Stood Still(1950). Especially true
in the film's message about the dangers of nuclear weapons. Michael Biehn
perfects his sterotype persona in The Abyss(1989) as the battle and take
charged obsessed Lt. Coffey. Maybe the finest directed feature film James
Cameron has put forth. The Abyss(1989) is way better than the overrated and
less than average Titanic(1997). Minor weakness is that the film at times
drags towards the end. Ed Harris produces a performance of human depth and
quality as Virgil Brigman. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Lindsey Brigman
is the perfect counterpart to Ed Harris's Virgil Brigman(which is why the
two characters make a good couple). The Abyss(1989) is a very good Scifi
film from the 1980s that is a pleasure both emotionally and visually to