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The Abyss

4.3 12
Director: James Cameron

Cast: Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Michael Biehn


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Director James Cameron's deep-sea sci-fi epic recovers nearly half an hour of footage chopped from the original theatrical release with this director-approved re-edit. Starring Ed Harris, The Abyss follows a crew of scientists as they descend to unprecedented depths in the ocean. After pursuing a mysterious glowing light, they make an unbelievable discovery.


Director James Cameron's deep-sea sci-fi epic recovers nearly half an hour of footage chopped from the original theatrical release with this director-approved re-edit. Starring Ed Harris, The Abyss follows a crew of scientists as they descend to unprecedented depths in the ocean. After pursuing a mysterious glowing light, they make an unbelievable discovery. The extended version of the film is included on this DVD in full-screen with the soundtrack in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. Dubbed studio tracks are available in French and Spanish and subtitles are provided in English and Spanish. A double-disc special edition is also available, as is a widescreen version of this single-disc package.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
James Cameron's spectacular underwater adventure The Abyss, which cost a then-unheard-of $50 million and was dismissed by many as a shipwreck of a movie, has nonetheless been a hit with home viewers. The Special Edition incorporates 28 minutes of footage excised from the theatrical release and restores the Titanic director's original vision, filling plot holes left by the studio cuts. Ed Harris is an undersea oil-rig engineer hired by the Navy to investigate the mysterious immobilization of a nuclear submarine. His estranged wife and fellow specialist, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, comes along on the mission, as does paranoid naval lieutenant Michael Biehn, whose deteriorating mental health endangers them all. The discovery of alien life-forms underwater adds to the tension, which is further enhanced by Cameron's claustrophobic settings. The restored footage answers most criticisms of this picture, enabling The Abyss to finally take its rightful place among the modern classics of sci-fi movies.
All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
Turning away from the dystopias of The Terminator (1984) and Aliens (1986), James Cameron marshaled innovative special effects (and a motley crew of oil drillers) to assert that love is the answer in The Abyss (1989). Reportedly inspired by underwater footage of the recently located Titanic wreckage, Cameron decided to transfer his science-fiction-spectacle expertise to the deep sea. Shot underwater in a seven million gallon nuclear reactor tank, this extended yarn about nuclear subs, oil rig divers, and the interpersonal relations between the oddball Deepcore crew, their fearless leader Bud, his prickly almost ex-wife Lindsey, and gung-ho Navy SEALS feels authentically claustrophobic and other-worldly. The seraphic NTIs complete the sub-terrestrial wonder. Praised for its visual splendor and strong performances from Ed Harris and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, if not always for its plot, The Abyss was not quite the blockbuster it needed to be. But the ground-breaking, Oscar-winning special effects -- particularly the exploratory water node -- set the stage for the 1990s' explosion in CGI effects, beginning with Cameron's molten-metal T-1000 in Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991). Despite The Abyss's warm message about marital bonds, Cameron and producer-wife Gale Anne Hurd split during production.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
20th Century Fox
Region Code:
[Full Frame]
[Dolby Surround, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]

Special Features

Closed Caption; Features the Special Edition version of the Abyss with 28 minutes of additional footage

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Ed Harris Bud Brigman
Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio Lindsey Brigman
Michael Biehn Lt. Coffey
Leo Burmeister Catfish De Vries
Todd Graff Alan "Hippy" Carnes
John Bedford Lloyd "Jammer" Willis
Kimberly Scott Lisa "One Night" Standing
J.C. Quinn "Sonny" Dawson
Kidd Brewer Lew Finier
George Robert Klek Wilhite
Chris Murphy Seal Schoenick
Adam Nelson Ensign Monk
Richard Warlock Dwight Perry
Jimmie Ray Weeks Leland McBride
J. Kenneth Campbell DeMarco
Ken Jenkins Gerard Kirkhill
William Wisher Bill Tyler
Joseph C. Nemec Crew Member
Chris Elliott Bendix
Peter Ratray Captain
Michael Beach Barnes
Brad Sullivan Executive
Frank Lloyd Navigator
Phillip Darlington Crew Member
Joe Farago Anchorman

Technical Credits
James Cameron Director,Screenwriter
Scott E. Anderson Special Effects
Clay Boss Stunts
Brett Jones Stunts
Conrad Buff Editor
Michael Cassidy Stunts
Peter Childs Art Director
Russell Christian Art Director
Chris Columbus Screenwriter
Leslie Dilley Production Designer
Deborah Everton Costumes/Costume Designer
Howard Feuer Casting
Gershon Ginsburg Set Decoration/Design
Joel Goodman Editor
Marcia Holley Stunts
Gale Anne Hurd Producer
Loren Janes Stunts
Kathryn Miles Kelly Makeup
David Kirk Special Effects
Anne Kuljian Set Decoration/Design
Joseph C. Nemec Art Director
Alan Oliney Stunts
Billy Oliver Stunts
Robert Olmstead Special Effects
Lee Orloff Musical Direction/Supervision
Denney Pierce Stunts
Andrew Precht Set Decoration/Design
Patrick Romano Stunts
Kerry Rossall Stunts
Mikael Salomon Cinematographer
Alan Silvestri Score Composer
Dennis Skotak Cinematographer
Charles Skouras Production Designer,Production Manager
Howard E. Smith Editor
Joe Unsinn Special Effects
Roberto Viskin Special Effects
Richard Warlock Stunts
Gene Warren Special Effects
Richard Washington Stunts
Thomas D. Wilkins Set Decoration/Design
Matthew Yuricich Special Effects

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. The Abyss
2. Sinking of the Montana
3. Arrivals (Benthic Explorer)
4. Deepcore
5. Briefing
6. "Virgil, You Wiener"
7. "Willing"
8. Blowing Down
9. "You Need Me"
10. The Ring
11. Dive Briefing
12. Fluid Breathing (Beany Dip)
13. "Two-and-a-Half Miles"
14. Search the Montana
15. Missile Compartment
16. Seeing Things
17. Newscast
18. MIRV Recovery
19. The Crane
20. What a Drag
21. Flooding
22. Cut Off from Above
23. Surveying the Damage
24. Left Behind
25. A Dance of Light
26. "Something Not Us"
27. Coffey Grinds
28. "Heeere's MIRV"
29. Some Huevos
30. "We Could Get Lucky"
31. Pseudopod
32. "Raise Your Hand"
33. Hippy's Discovery
34. Phase Three
35. Free Swim
36. Bud vs. Coffey
37. Launching Geek
38. Sub Chase
39. Drowning
40. A Matter of Death and Life
41. Deep Suit
42. Descent
43. Candles
44. One-Way Ticket
45. Non-Terrestrial Intelligence
46. "How Do You Know?"
47. The Wave
48. "Why Didn't You?"
49. Moderately Poor Shape
50. Back on the Air
51. The Ark
52. "We Should be Dead"
53. End Credits
54. Restoration Credits


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The Abyss 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jacks_Back More than 1 year ago
Outstanding performance by Ed Harris complemented by great visuals and special effects. Script and acting provide a believable and upbeat scenario to the First Contact theme. Shows the good and bad aspects of humanity confronting the unknown - altruism and fear, trust and suspicion. Definitely a great addition to any DVD collection.
JCWilkerson More than 1 year ago
When a nuclear sub goes down in the Pacific Ocean unexpectedly and a hurricane prevents the military from being able to send a team in after it, they subcontract an underwater oil rig team drilling near the area led by Bud Brigman (Ed Harris). To assist the rig team, the military sends in a group of Navy SEALs led by Lt. Coffey (Michael Biehn) accompanied with the underwater oil rig's designer and Bud's on again off again wife Lindsey Brigman (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio). But as they search the nuclear sub, they realize that there might be more to the sinking of the sub than they thought, and while Lt. Coffey believes the Russians to be responsible, the rig crew believes there might be something more... supernatural involved. There are few directors that truly know how to top themselves with each endeavor the way that James Cameron does. His first movie, The Terminator set a precedent for action movies in the 80's, and he only topped that achievement with Terminator 2. With Aliens he made a movie that was at the very least equal to Ridley Scott's Alien by making a sequel that changed the mood and style while still respecting the original. In 1989 James Cameron directed The Abyss, a film that took place mainly underwater, and was filmed in the largest underwater set at the time. The set, built in a half finished nuclear reactor facility, included 7 million gallons of water. So among Cameron's other achievements, how does The Abyss stand up? The Abyss is definitely Cameron's most underrated film. Looking at movies like Avatar, Aliens, The Terminator, and Terminator 2 it's easy to see how a movie like The Abyss can be forgotten, but on closer inspection The Abyss fits right along side the others. Like Cameron's other films, he shows great attention to detail, with amazing special effects. On a technical scale, the movie feels like real life, something that's always great when it comes to a Cameron film. But also like Cameron's other films, it's not about the special effects but rather about the human element. Cameron does a great job of humanizing his characters and fleshing out their relationships. The acting if phenomenal, of course I wouldn't expect anything less from a movie that includes Michael Biehn (The Terminator, Aliens) and Ed Harris (The Truman Show, The Rock). Biehn does great as a military man who's lost communication with the outside world and has to make calls on his own about their next move, and it's driving him insane. Ed Harris is great as the hard ass rig leader who pines for his ex-wife who keeps running off on different jobs without him, and Marry Elizabeth Mastrantonio is great as the aforementioned wife who finds being stuck with Bud and his crew repulsive, but grows close to the husband she had left behind and the crew he manages. If you haven't seen this movie, but you like Cameron's other flicks, I highly recommend you give this shot. I would argue that this movie is possibly even better than The Terminator, and since I think Aliens is better than The Terminator, I find this to be right on par with Aliens. Give it a shot, this is definitely a sleeper classic that deserves more exposure than it's gotten.
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