The Abyss (1989)



Critic Consensus: The utterly gorgeous special effects frequently overshadow the fact that The Abyss is also a totally gripping, claustrophobic thriller, complete with an interesting crew of characters.

Movie Info

The crew of an experimental, high-tech submersible is called into action to investigate a mysterious nuclear submarine crash. A series of strange encounters leads the crew to suspect the accident was caused by an extraterrestrial craft, and that they may be participating in an encounter with an alien species. However, in order to make contact, they must not only brave the abyss, an exceedingly deep underwater canyon, but also deal with the violent actions of one of their own crew members, an … More

Rating: PG-13
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By: James Cameron, Chris Columbus
In Theaters:
On DVD: Nov 7, 2000
20th Century Fox Film Corporat

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as Bud Brigman

as Lt. Coffey

as Catfish De Vries

as Catfish De Vries

as Alan `Hippy' Carnes

as Jammer Willis

as `Sonny' Dawson

as Lisa Standing

as Seal Schoenick

as Seal Schoenick

as Ensign Monk

as Dwight Perry

as Leland McBride

as Gerard Kirkhill

as Bendix

as Captain

as Barnes

as Executive

as Navigator

as Anchorman

as Bill Tyler

as Crew Member, Crew Me...

as Crew Members
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Critic Reviews for The Abyss

All Critics (44) | Top Critics (8)

Colossally ambitious, this logistically boggling and technically brilliant film from writer-director James Cameron is a visual tour de force, featuring overall, the greatest underwater sequences ever seen on film.

Full Review… | March 10, 2015
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

A firstrate underwater suspenser with an otherworldly twist, The Abyss suffers from a payoff unworthy of its buildup.

Full Review… | June 19, 2008
Top Critic

The attempt to extract the essences of several genres (cold-war submarine thriller, love story, Disney fantasy, pseudomystical SF in the Spielberg mode) and mix them together ultimately leads to giddy incoherence.

Full Review… | June 6, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

This overlong concoction is scuppered by dire dialogue, histrionic performances and maudlin sentimentality.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Anyone looking for a discouraging word about this stupendously exciting and emotionally engulfing film should read no further. The Abyss confirms James Cameron as a world-class filmmaker.

May 12, 2001
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

The Abyss gains in some ways from its own Achilles heels, in a way most movies don't... its formal technique, its reckless obsessiveness, and its gutsy emotionalism are what I can't stop turning over in my mind.

Full Review… | August 4, 2010
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Audience Reviews for The Abyss


What makes this film even more absorbing than its spellbinding visual effects is the strong sense of urgency and danger created in such a suffocating underwater scenario, and the special edition is also more meaningful in times of so much war and mindless destruction.

Carlos Magalh„es

Super Reviewer

After the phenomenal action classic, Terminator, James Cameron pushed the boundaries yet again with astounding special effects with The Abyss. This is a special effects milestone that helped advance the use of CGI in film. The result is a very good looking film that has breath taking special effects. Cameron has always been keen on delivering a visual spectacle with his films and The Abyss definitely emphasizes that. In terms of special effects, The Abyss delivers some astounding effects. Where the film lacks slightly is in the story, the plot starts off well enough, but it ends somewhat on a dismal note. The film has an impressive cast of talented actors that are able to carry the film well enough to make it watchable, but halfway through the film; the story looses its fire and becomes a little silly. Of course that's a minor speed bump as you're more focused on the astounding visuals. The visuals are what really makes this film watchable, and this one of the films that James Cameron has made. The cast do a fine job with the script, and luckily the story manages to work for more than half of the film, but like I stated, it loses its fire slightly and some elements feel out of place. This is still a worthy film to watch despite its small flaws. There are more great things going for this film than bad things. Cameron crafted a fine special effects wonder that remains one of the best he's ever done.

Alex roy

Super Reviewer

The Abyss is one of the Wonderful and Beautiful Alien Movies I have ever seen. I liked the Idea Aliens Underwater.

Wahida K

Super Reviewer

The Abyss Quotes

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