What Do You Remember About the Movie, "The Abyss" (1989)?

By: J. Reinoehl
Image: 20th Century Fox

About This Quiz

"The Abyss" (1989) cost $70 million to make because of leaking water tanks and breaking edge technology, but it grossed only $90 million worldwide. Although critics were put off by its sappy storyline, no one could complain about its incredible special effects, which helped the movie win an Oscar for Best Visual Effects. How well do you remember "The Abyss" (1989)? Find out by taking this quiz.

What was the name of the submarine that went down at the beginning of the film?

“At 0922 today, an American nuclear submarine, the U. S. S. Montana, with 156 men aboard, went down about 22 miles from here… There’s been no contact with the sub since then.”

What was the regular purpose of the rig that was sent to rescue the submarine?

They shot the underwater scenes in the A and B containment tanks of the Cherokee Nuclear Power Station near Gaffney, S. C. Although they filmed in a nuclear power plant, the plant had been abandoned before being put to use, and there was no real radioactive material on the site.

Why did the Navy want to use the civilian rig?

"By the time we get our rescue submersibles here, the storm will be right on us. Now, you can get your rig in under the storm and be on site in 15 hours, and that makes you our best option right now."

What relationship did Lindsey and Bud have?

In the ‘80s, when they made this movie, most of the permanent undersea habitats had been brought to the surface because of the excessive cost of maintaining them. They recycled the habitats into diving saturation systems—divers will live on a ship inside these chambers for weeks at the pressure level of the depth where they are working. Diving bells transport them from the chambers to the depth and make it so they only have to decompress once after the entire mission is complete.

What does H. P. N. S. stand for?

"High Pressure Nervous Syndrome—muscle tremors, usually in the hands first, nausea, increased excitability, disorientation—" “—And a partridge in a pear tree.”

What kind of pet did Hippy have?

Total immersion liquid oxygen breathing systems have only worked on animals up to this point. The rat in the movie was actually submersed in the liquid and survived.

Finish the quote: "We all see what we want to see. Coffey looks, and he sees _____________________."

"We all see what we want to see. Coffey looks, and he sees Russians."

Why did Bud’s hand turn blue?

James Cameron first conceived and wrote the short story, “The Abyss,” when he was still in high school, after hearing a lecture about diving and decompression. It wasn’t until he had success with "The Terminator" and "Aliens" that he was finally able to develop the story and bring it to the big screen.

Why did Jammer freak out inside the submarine?

"Everybody’s dead! They’re all dead."

Who played Virgil “Bud” Brigman?

To film the scenes in the special navy suit, Ed Harris (born November 28, 1950) was in a suit filled with regular water. When he needed to breathe, he had to lower the faceplate and wait for a scuba diver to give him a breath from his spare regulator (octopus).

What happened to escalate the situation between the United States and Russia while the crews were exploring the submarine?

"Little is known this hour about the events leading up to the collision. The U. S. Navy guided missile cruiser Appleton apparently struck the Soviet Udaloy-class destroyer in low visibility conditions."

When the aliens got near to the ships, what happened?

One of the biggest problems encountered while filming under water was lighting the sets. Not only did lighting have to be consistent between scenes shot underwater and scenes filmed on a soundstage, but they also had to develop a special waterproof housing for HMI lights because the existing underwater lighting options were not powerful enough.

Why didn’t the rig crew disconnect the umbilical during the storm?

“No problem, except your boys went sightseeing with Flatbed. My people need Flatbed to get unhooked at their end.”

How did the crane endanger the rig?

Currently, there are three types of deep divers. Of these, SCUBA divers with a basic diving certification and minimal experience should go no deeper than 59 ft (18 m). Maurice Fargues died at 390 ft (120 m) attempting to determine the maximum depth a SCUBA diver could go on compressed air alone.

What was the name of the hurricane?

"Fred, huh? I don’t know man. I think hurricanes should be named after women, don’t you?"

Who was the first, non-Seal person on the rig to discover what the Seals were doing?

Divers using carefully planned, several mixed tanks (not just compressed air) have gone to a depth of 1,090 ft, but many have lost their lives trying to beat this record.

What did the Seal team retrieve from the submarine?

"I’m confirming you to go to phase two. You’ll recover one warhead, arm it, and wait for further instructions.”

Why did Coffey go crazy?

H. P. N. S. is a real diving sickness for those who go on deeper commercial and technical dives, but it is not a factor for most recreational dives.

How did Hippy reply when Bud said, “Hippy, you think everything is a conspiracy?”

"Hippy, you think everything is a conspiracy." “Everything is.”

How did Coffey die?

Underwater filming is always difficult, and 40 percent of "The Abyss" was filmed underwater. Cinematographer Al Giddings had a lot of underwater filming experience (The Deep, Never Say Never Again, Never Cry Wolf) and developed an underwater air-filling station to help save time while they were filming in water up to 55 ft deep.

How did Bud and Lindsey get back from Cab 1?

“So, I’ve got a plan… I drown, and you tow me back to the rig.”

What had Coffey strapped to Big Geek?

The Cayman Trench (where the movie took place) contains the deepest point in the Caribbean Sea. It’s 25,216 ft (7,686 m) deep at its maximum depth.

How deep did Bud dive?

“Just listen to my voice, please.” “17,000 ft.”

Why did Bud have to go to the bottom of the trench?

Saturation divers, such as the members of Bud’s crew, have gone to depths of 1,700 ft (534 m). To be a saturation diver, it requires extensive schooling, and only 10 to 15 percent of those who train end up finding jobs.

Finish the quote: “He’s showing signs of pressure-induced psychosis, and he’s _____________."

“Look, he’s operating on his own. He’s cut off from his chain of command. He’s showing signs of pressure-induced psychosis, and he’s got a nuclear weapon.”

What did Bud find on the bottom of the sea floor?

Cameron once stated that the film was about more than the ocean’s depths. He had each character face his or her own abyss—such as Cat having to go the extra distance underwater when he felt he could not.

What was unique about the suit that Bud wore to the bottom of the trench?

"Fluid-breathing system. We just got them. You use it when you go really deep."

What problem did Bud have cutting the bomb's wires?

Atmospheric Diving Suits maintain one atmosphere of pressure and allow divers to reach depths of 2,000 ft. These suits are rigid and have limited movement, but they protect bodies from the immense pressure at depths. If a diver went 17,000 ft deep, as Bud was said to have gone, in a non-rigid suit, he or she would be subject to 515 atmospheres of pressure.

Finish the quote: "I’m coming, baby. Keep _____________."

"I’m coming, baby. Keep your pantyhose on."

How did the aliens save Bud?

Scientists have experimented with total and partial liquid ventilation. Total liquid ventilation (the type Bud’s suit used) has resulted in near-death from pneumonia and broken rib bones in human subjects—and they only had one lung flooded with PFC while the other was receiving pure oxygen. Partial liquid ventilation has some medical applications, but it also comes with several side-effects and has shown the most promise for use with babies born prematurely.

How were the aliens planning to prevent nuclear war?

“Stay on me! Uh, the wave—the wave is, uh, I don’t know—maybe 1,000 ft high already. Getting bigger as I’m watching.”

How did the aliens communicate with Bud?

They constructed the Deepcore set on land before lowering it into the water tanks. Not only did the designers have to overcome engineering problems with the pressure the module would be subjected to underwater, but they also had to find a way to keep the air-filled set at the bottom of the tank.

What saved the people on the oil rig?

“Active is pinging back something really big. It’s huge. And it’s coming up right underneath us.”

Who played Lindsey?

Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (born November 17, 1958) also acted in "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves," "Scarface," and "The Perfect Storm." Cameron is known for being hard on actors, and Mastrantonio once stated, “'The Abyss' was a lot of things. Fun to make was not one of them."

What made the aliens change their mind about destroying humanity?

"Knew this was a one-way ticket, but you know I had to come. Love you, wife."

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