The Abyss

1989, Adventure/Sci-fi, 2h 19m

49 Reviews 100,000+ Ratings

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critics 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. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

Ed Harris and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio are formerly married petroleum engineers who still have some issues to work out. They are drafted to assist a gung-ho Navy SEAL (Michael Biehn) 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.

Cast & Crew

Ed Harris
Virgil "Bud" Brigman
Michael Biehn
Lt. Hiram Coffey
Leo Burmester
Catfish DeVries
Todd Graff
Alan "Hippy" Carnes
J.C. Quinn
"Sonny" Dawson
Kimberly Scott
Lisa "One Night" Standing
Christopher Murphy
Schoenick, SEAL Team Member
Adam Nelson
Ensign Monk, SEAL Team Member
Dick Warlock
Dwight Perry
Ken Jenkins
Gerard Kirkhill
Alan Silvestri
Original Music
Mikael Salomon
Cinematography
Conrad Buff IV
Film Editing
Joel Goodman
Film Editing
Howard E. Smith
Film Editing
Leslie Dilley
Production Design
Anne Kuljian
Set Decoration
Deborah Everton
Costume Design
Kathryn Fenton
Makeup Artist
Emanuel Millar
Hair Stylist
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Critic Reviews for The Abyss

Audience Reviews for The Abyss

  • Jun 05, 2020
    From James Cameron comes the exciting sci-fi adventure The Abyss. When a Navy submarine is lost a deep sea research team is tasked with assisting in the emergency recovery effort, but during their operations they encounter a mysterious alien life form. Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, and Michael Biehn lead the cast and give excellent performances. And the special effects are especially good; creating a fascinating vision of the ocean floor and the creatures that inhabit it. Also, the sets are incredibly well-done; giving a real sense of a lived-in, confined underwater space. Additionally, Cameron's directing does an extraordinary job at heightening the tension and suspense. Full of mystery and intrigue, The Abyss is a thrilling journey into the unknown fathoms of the deep.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Feb 17, 2018
    A classic film from James Cameron that I am only seeing for the first time. Engaging and suspenseful, with a great cast. The groundbreaking CG also helps and would serve to be later perfected in Terminator 2. Very enjoyable.
    Ian W Super Reviewer
  • Feb 17, 2016
    [Director's Cut] -- Moments of brilliance only draw attention to what could have been, rather than what is. The focus of the movie on the relationship of the two main characters really eats away at the much more interesting prospect of encountering the unknown.
    Kyle M Super Reviewer
  • Jun 24, 2014
    I hadn't remember this one very well but I still have it in glorious VHS format. I checked the extended version of it, and let's just say it became quite clear what was added or removed. I didn't remember any of the russian tension going on and that awesome wave scene at the end. The Abyss transformed into a great looking, claustrophobic underwater thriller, with a nice alien mistery to a cautionary tale with decent results, albeit heavy handed (this is James Cameron after all). Maybe the whole SEALS business is excused but The Abyss is still a very entertaining and well made sci-fi thriller flick.
    Francisco G Super Reviewer

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