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The Abyss | 1989 | PG-13 | – 4.5.5

content-ratingsWhy is “The Abyss” rated PG-13? The MPAA rating has been assigned for “language and some scenes of action.” The Kids-In-Mind.com evaluation includes a couple of scenes of nudity in pictures and a drawing, as well as during a life-saving procedure, and a couple of kisses; a heavy storm that causes damage to seagoing vessels and several people are killed by drowning, a submarine sinks and kills all aboard, a few fights that end with bloody faces, a drowning by choice, and many scenes of extreme peril and impeding doom; and 1 F-word and other strong language. Read our parents’ guide below for details on sexual content, violence & strong language.”


When a US nuclear submarine is lost in extremely deep waters, a group of experienced deep-sea oil-rig workers are recruited to find it. Accompanied by a SEAL team that may have an entirely different mission in mind, they encounter ever present dangers but they are also on the cusp of an incredible discovery. With Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Michael Biehn, Leo Burmester, Todd Graff, John Bedford Lloyd, J.C. Quinn and Kimberly Scott. Directed by James Cameron. [Running Time: 2:25]

The Abyss SEX/NUDITY 4

 – A magazine page with a picture of a scantily clad woman is shown hanging on the wall of a bathroom (we see bare breasts and bare buttocks). While performing CPR on an unresponsive woman, a man tears her shirt open to expose her flesh for a defibrillator (we briefly see her bare breasts). A man wears a T-shirt with a drawing of a fully nude man and woman on it (we see bare breasts and abdomen and pubic region on the woman, and bare chest, abdomen and genitals on the man). A man’s shirt hangs open in a couple of scenes and we see his upper chest.
 A husband and his wife hug and kiss in a few scenes.


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The Abyss VIOLENCE/GORE 5

 - An undersea vessel loses power and it fills with water trapping a man and a woman inside; one person struggles to stay above the water but succumbs and drowns and the other swims the two of them back to another vessel where attempts are made to revive the unconscious person. Water pours into a compartment and the hatch closes, trapping three men inside and we see them as the water fills the area and we understand that they drowned. Men in a submarine track something moving toward them at a rapid speed, the sub loses power and is struck by turbulence that throws them into a rock wall and then a free fall deep into the ocean; fires break out, water pours into the vessel and men are thrown as the sub sinks out of sight.
 An undersea vessel chases another undersea vessel, they crash together a few times, a fire breaks out in one of them, the operator smashes a tape player using his elbow, the two vessels continue to hit each other until one falls out of sight into the deep and we see the glass break as the man inside screams and he is presumably killed by the pressure and incoming water. Two men swim outside an undersea rig and through frigid water (without protective suits) to get to a hatch that they are unable to open; one man swims outside again to another access point. A hurricane blows on the surface of the ocean throwing vessels around in the water and a crane attached to a cable falls off a platform and into the ocean, it drops directly toward an undersea rig and crashes down very close to it, the crane then falls over a ledge and into a very deep trench and it pulls the undersea rig toward the drop off as well, and fires break out in the rig and sirens blare.
 A heavy door is blown off a hatch and slams into a man; another man is knocked underwater by a submersible. Water floods an area on an undersea rig and a man tries to keep a hatch from closing, catching his wedding ring in the opening until someone else can open the hatch door. Several divers dive in very deep water to find a sunken submarine; they find many dead bodies floating in the water, and one man has small crabs on his face and one crawls out of his mouth. A man jumps off a ledge deep under the sea and drops a great distance; the submersible that he holds onto fails and he continues to the bottom alone, unable to communicate with anyone as his oxygen runs out.
 A man holding a metal pipe moves toward a man who points a gun at him and pulls the trigger (it is not loaded), the two men fight with a knife and the pipe and slam each other around a compartment (one man has a bloody face), one man holds the other man around the throat and the other man bites him on the arm, and one man wraps a heavy cable around the other man's throat and chokes him until another man punches him. A man cuts himself on the arm several times using a long knife (we see the bloody cuts). A man slams a woman against a wall and puts duct tape over her mouth. CPR and defibrillator shocks are performed on an unconscious person after drowning and being pulled through frigid water (we see that the person's lips and eyelids are bluish and the skin is very pale).
 We hear that a nuclear submarine sank and that 156 people were lost. We hear the 7 people were lost on a mission. A woman says that an undersea rig will get to be as "cold as a meat locker" and that the oxygen will last for 12 more hours. 24 Trident missiles are shown on a sunken submarine. A man loads a nuclear warhead onto a submersible and lowers it into the water. A man is instructed to disarm a nuclear warhead and he is unable to decipher the colors of the wires.
 A man demonstrates the use of a liquid that can be breathed during very deep water dives by using a pet mouse; we see the mouse put in a box filled with the liquid, it thrashes trying to breathe and then takes the liquids into its lungs and seems to be breathing until it is pulled out by the tail and it seems unharmed. A man puts on a diving suit and his helmet is filled with fluid that he breathes in after thrashing and he then breathes normally. We hear that it will take three weeks to decompress after having been deep under the sea. Pressure sickness is described to include hand tremors, nausea and hallucinations. A man panics when he sees many dead bodies in a sunken sub and says, "They're dead, they're all dead." A man sees a glowing creature (we see it reflected in his diving mask), he panics and crashes into a hatch, knocking his breathing mechanism and causing him to convulse from an improper air mix and we see him in a coma onboard an undersea rig later and we hear that it could last hours or days. We see a man with his arm in a sling.
 A man yells and slaps an unresponsive person in the face twice. A woman yells at a man and calls him names not knowing that the man has a gun behind his back (there's no gunfire). A woman yells at a man over a radio. A man shows signs of pressure sickness and his hands shake, he perspires and seems agitated.
 A long "water tentacle" moves through an undersea rig and stops when it finds people; they are surprised and watch it, a woman touches it and licks her finger, then makes faces at it and it mimics her until a man on the other end of the tentacle slams a hatch door cutting it and it splats to the floor in a puddle. A glowing being takes a man by the hand and guides him through many lighted passageways. A large glowing being moves behind a woman. A giant glowing platform moves up through the ocean and lifts large vessels out of the water when it reaches the surface.
 A man puts a white mouse near his mouth and says that he would eat the animal. A man puts a white mouse in a plastic bag when water rushes into an undersea rig. A man pours cereal down another man's shirt and he threatens him with his fist. A woman puts her fingers in her mouth to gesture causing herself to vomit (she does not). A man makes a reference to a "sphincter factor" after an encounter with another man. A man puts his hand in a toilet to retrieve a ring and his hand is dyed blue. A man removes his underwater helmet and vomits a torrent of liquid before gasping deeply.


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The Abyss LANGUAGE 5

 - About 1 F-word, 30 scatological terms, 5 anatomical terms, 32 mild obscenities, name-calling (Reds, ugly, Queen [mild obscenity deleted] of the universe, goon squad, pathetic, old bones, rat hole, cheap, wiener, buggo, dumb old boys, cute, jar-head, crazy, insane, cast iron [mild obscenity deleted], hysterical, paranoid, psychotic, Roger ram jet, stubborn), exclamations (oh no, jeez, keep your pantyhose on, I hate that [mild obscenity deleted], oh this is not happening, slicker and snot, shut-up), 11 religious profanities (GD), 24 religious exclamations (e.g. Oh My God, Jesus, Jesus Christ, God, Oh God, Sweet Christ Almighty, Oh Christ). | profanity glossary |


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The Abyss SUBSTANCE USE

 - An unresponsive person is injected with adrenaline. A man chews tobacco in a few scenes and spits tobacco juice into a cup.


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The Abyss DISCUSSION TOPICS

 - Nuclear submarines, aliens, undersea life, Hurricane Frederick, divorce, conspiracies, anti-Russian sentiment.

The Abyss MESSAGE

 - Extreme danger can rekindle love. Human paranoia results in peril and possible destruction.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.



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