The Abyss

Corrected entry: When Lindsay is being revived after Bud towed her back to Deepcore, I understand why the CPR being done isn't exactly correct (due to the fact the actress isn't really dead) but the filmmaker neglected to notice that when the crew proceeds to shock Lindsay, she is wet and on a metal floor. Not only would she be shocked, the entire crew around her would be shocked as well.


Correction: Tests on the dangers of shocking a patient on a wet or metal surface have been conducted and test prove there is no significant danger, as long as you are not touching the body that is being shocked (but that's standard safety protocol). A maximum of 3.0 volts was recorded around the simulated patient when sea water was used (compared to a maximum of 0.12 V with chlorinated pool water). It was their findings that it is unlikely these voltages would cause a risk or be considered hazardous to a rescuer or bystander and the rescuer or bystander would not be exposed to any hazardous voltages.


Correction: The shock doesn't travel that far.

Corrected entry: After the nuke is disarmed, Lindsey pleads with Virgil to drop his weights and ascend back to the rig. Not possible - at extreme depths the pressure is so intense that even oxygen bubbles will not rise to the surface, being compacted to a density as great or greater than the surrounding water (water cannot be compressed to a higher density, no matter how much pressure is exerted upon it). Dropping his weights would have no effect. (02:22:30)

Correction: Water (and liquids in general) do compress under pressure, albeit not to the same extent as a gas. The Bulk Modulus of water predicts that at a depth of 36000 feet (approximately the maximum depth of Earth's oceans), water will be compressed to a density of approximately 5% more than water at sea level. Furthermore, buoyancy is not limited to that of gas bubbles, many deep sea vehicles use a liquid ballast (such as gasoline) for positive buoyance. Although a liquid ballast subjected to great depths would be slightly compressed, the surrounding sea water would be similarly compressed, and if the ballast was positively buoyant near the surface, then it would be positively buoyant at extreme depths as well.

Corrected entry: Why didn't everyone just use the two remaining mini-subs to escape up to the surface?

Correction: They couldn't take the subs to the surface without decompressing first - as Lindsey explains to the SEALs, "the worse news is it takes three weeks to decompress" before they can leave. If they'd taken the subs to the surface they would all have died of decompression sickness.


Corrected entry: The scene in which Lindsay drowns and must be revived using CPR and the defibrillator: the use of the defibrillator is entirely inaccurate. First of all, the body of the subject must be dry. Because an electric current always runs the path of least resistance, the use of a defibrillator on a body covered in water would only result in the current running over the outside of the body, bypassing its intended target, the heart. Secondly, with water covering the body, the floor, and several of the other crew members, there would be a high risk of electrocution for the members of the crew. Finally, even though One Night repeatedly says clear before using the defibrillator, Bud is obviously straddling Lindsay's body and never moves away. He would have been electrocuted each time the defibrillator was used. (02:01:55)

Correction: There is have been no issues found with using a defibrillator in a water filled environment. Danger to the person holding the paddles is minimal, and there is even less risk to the people around the victim. Electricity will only flow between the paddles using the path of least resistance. It will not seek a ground unless that ground provides a good path back to the other paddle. And in that case, there is no reason for a person to be a better circuit back to the other paddle, unless they're touching the victim.

Corrected entry: In the final scene how does the rig end up on top of the alien craft when it was on the ledge to its side?


Correction: It was dislodged from the ledge while the craft was surfacing.


Corrected entry: During the scene after the water tentacle is discovered, the whole crew has a meeting. At this time, Coffee is cutting his right arm under the table. In the following scenes, his arm shows no signs of any cuts.

Correction: The part where they are all together, it's shown that he's cutting his LEFT forearm. These cuts can be seen clearly later on, for example, in the scene where he says "It went straight for the warhead, and they think it's cute," and during the fight at the pool with Bud.

Corrected entry: When the alien city (ARK) is rising to the surface, the deep core ship is right next to it, but when the city is above the water the oil rig (deep core ship) is on top of it near the center which is impossible. (Special Edition Version.) (02:39:05 - 02:41:05)


Correction: The aliens can manipulate the movement of water and everything in it. You see the alien city rising next to the ridge, then off-camera they move the oil rig on top.

BocaDavie Premium member

Corrected entry: The whole scene with the rat and the breathing fluid could never have happened because rats can't vomit, so the poor thing would have died.

Kimberly Fox

Correction: Vomiting is the forceful ejection of stomach contents. It has nothing to do with ejecting substances from the lungs. That would be coughing, which rats *can* do.

JC Fernandez

Corrected entry: Ed Harris had such a miserable time making the film that after it's release, he disowned the picture and refuses to talk about it.

Correction: Nonsense. He's done publicity for the film, including being interviewed for the DVD documentary. He has publicly stated there are things that happened during filming that many of the crew didn't want to talk about, but he's never "disowned" the film.

Jason Hoffman

Corrected entry: Near the beginning there is a scene where they are launching a submersible with Lindsey and the seal team in it. Lindsey waits until the sub is dangling over the water then pulls a lever and the sub drops about 10 feet into the water with a big splash. Several problems: 1) Those subs are hugely expensive. They put them in the water very gently. 2) Those subs are so expensive that they don't risk having a release mechanism as depicted. They use a standard screw shackle to ring and would have to have a swimmer let them go. 3) Due to the buoyancy of the sub, falling that far to the water would give all passengers back injuries due to the sudden deceleration when the sub hits the water.

Correction: They're on an emergency rescue mission and don't have time to be delicate with the equipment. Also, everyone in the sub is shown being thrown around when the sub hits the water. Hence the angry looks toward Lindsey.

Jason Hoffman

Corrected entry: Early in the movie, when they're going to search the sub, Jammer asks how big the drop-off is and Catfish replies by saying it's "2.5 miles [13,200 ft] straight down". When Bud went over the drop-off to disarm the bomb, he went well past 13,200 ft.


Correction: 2.5 miles must be as far as anyone's measured reliably. We saw the pressure destroy Little Geek when Bud is descending showing that a submersible can only go so far. Catfish is just giving him the best answer they currently have.

Grumpy Scot

Corrected entry: During the scene where Bud is falling into the abyss to disarm the warhead, Hippy states that he's 12,000 ft below. Just a few seconds later, Catfish says he's now at 17,000 ft. There is no time in between the 12,000 and 17000 ft that makes you think it's been more than a few seconds of him falling. It's not possible for him to fall 5,000 ft in just a few seconds. If it were, then it would have taken Bud less than a minute to get to the warhead. Later, Hippy says that it took Bud 30 minutes to get down there. So it doesn't add up.


Correction: The sequence is obviously not in real time. Just because the film doesn't make it obvious where the breaks are, it doesn't mean that they aren't there. It's sloppy editing, sure, but that doesn't make it a mistake.

Tailkinker Premium member

Corrected entry: In the scene where Bud is about to sneak up on Coffey, it cuts to a part where one of the Seals is unloading a magazine that was in the assault rifle. Later, when Coffey jumps into Flatbed, Hippy tries to fire at Coffey with the assault rifle, but the safety is on. Then Catfish takes the gun and shoots bullets at Coffey. Didn't they unload the bullets from the magazine?


Correction: The magazine the Seal emptied was from Coffey's pistol, which is why when he tried to shoot Bud nothing happened. The Seal was simply showing them he'd disarmed Coffey.

Jason Hoffman

Corrected entry: When Lindsey and the Seals first descend to the rig, the Seals get off of the top of the submersible and walk across the sea floor to the rig. There is sediment on the surface they're walking on (as evidenced by the marks the nuke sub left) yet none of it is stirred up. Deep sea sediment is very very fine (small clay particles) and walking across it would create large clouds of sediment.

Correction: This is akin to those postings about not getting the gravity of the moon or Mars right. Yes, there should have been big clouds of sediment. If James Cameron was making a documentary, there would have been. However, filming though a cloud of swirling mud would have been impossible. This is a concession to film making procedure, not a mistake.

Corrected entry: Just before Bud descends to disarm the warhead Lindsey asks him why it's he who has to go. His response is, "if not me, then who?" The answer's obvious: the Navy SEAL right next to him who's been thoroughly trained in deep-sea diving with the special breathing liquid and who would certainly know more about disarming nuclear warheads than a commercial diver.

Correction: As Bud says later - he 'always knew it was a one way trip'. It's a suicide mission and the Navy Seal, trained in the use of the liquid breathing gear, knows that too. So when Bud says 'If not me, then who?' he is asking who is willing to die in his place (though he doesn't want Lindsey to know that) and nobody is.

Also I believe that the seal injured his leg.

Corrected entry: When they are filling Bud's suit with the pink liquid and he panics, one of the seals says "we all breathed liquid for 9 months, his body will remember" or something like that. But this is incorrect. In the womb our lungs may well be filled with amniotic fluid but we don't use them to breathe at all, all the oxygen comes from the mothers bloodstream via the umbilical cord.

Correction: He's trying to reassure Bud that it's going to be alright - if he has to stretch the truth to do that, that's what has to be done. Bud would hardly appreciate it if Monk got technical at this point. Anyway, although not for 9 months, we do technically "breathe" in the womb. During the last few weeks before delivery, the fetus begins moving amniotic fluid in and out of its lungs. This matures the lungs and strengthens them for use once born. It also coats them with a surfactant that will prevent lung collapse when the newborn takes it's first breath. That is way babies are sometimes smacked or suctioned to remove the remaining amniotic fluid from their lungs (that was not expelled during delivery - especially in Cesarean section deliveries).

Tailkinker Premium member

Corrected entry: During the flooding of the drill rig, Bud's wedding ring saves the day by preventing the barrier door from closing. Though in reality the ring's soft metal could never actually stop a moving hydraulic barrier.


Correction: Flawed assumption - the rings are not made of soft metal. According to the book, which was written in conjunction with James Cameron both before and during the making of the film, Bud and Lindsey had their wedding rings made of titanium.

Tailkinker Premium member

Corrected entry: Several times in the film it is mentioned that the rig is on the ocean floor some seventeen hundred feet below the surface. Yet Lindsy swims without any protection from the wrecked submersible to the rig, and Bud and others swim from one module to another. The absolute maximum depth the unprotected human body can stand is less than six hundred feet, and that is in the case of superfit divers who spend years training for their record dives (and some die trying). At seventeen hundred feet the water pressure would crush an unprotected human being like a schnitzel.

Correction: As a deep sea SAT diver I have worked on many rigs as in the film. The air pressure in the rig is the same as the water pressure. That's why the sea doesnt pour in through the moon pool. You can swim from the rig without a problem, I have done it many times with just a wet suit to stop the cold killing me. You cant swim to or from the surface though as you would change pressure to fast and your lungs would pop.

Corrected entry: When Coffey steals the sub to take the nuclear warhead down the trench the big bearded worker fires the Seal's submachine gun at the sub. When he does he holds the gun by the extended barrel that Coffey screwed onto it earlier. This extension a suppressor and has holes drilled all along the length of it. The holes allow gas to escape the barrel. That gas is extremely hot and would have burned the worker, but he doesn't even flinch.

Correction: The barrel extension is simply that - an extended barrel with a ventilated shield to allow the firer to use a two-handed grip on the weapon as an automatic weapon that small has vicious recoil, the first one or two rounds would be on target but all the others would decorate the ceiling. It is true that a suppressed weapon has holes drilled into the barrel but they are very small and are used to allow the combustion gases to expand into a CLOSED cylinder thus reducing the noise of the shot.

Corrected entry: When Bud gives Lindsay CPR, every time he gives her a breath, her cheeks puff out. When administering CPR, this is not supposed to happen. The air is supposed to go into the lungs, and the chest will rise and fall. This is how the rescuer knows that he or she is giving breaths correctly. If air is going only into the cheeks, the rescuer must reposition the victim's head and try again. (02:03:51)

Correction: This isn't really a factual error so much as just a special effects thing. Doing correct CPR on a breathing person could seriously injure them. Its just like any time in a movie someone gives chest compressions and barely moves the patients chest. Real CPR is brutal.

Grumpy Scot

Continuity mistake: Early in the film Bud throws his wedding ring down the latrine and then retrieves it with his right hand so it is covered with the blue disinfectant. In a (much) later scene, Bud has a blue right hand, despite not having had one in the intervening period. (01:44:48)

More mistakes in The Abyss

Bud Brigman: The guy is on his own, he's cut off from his chain of command, he's showing signs of pressure-induced psychosis, and he has a nuclear weapon. So as a personal favour to me, could you put your tongue in neutral for a while?!

More quotes from The Abyss

Trivia: The dead sailor harbouring a live crab, spooking Jammer out of his wits in the sunk submarine, is director James Cameron's younger brother Mike. The scene had to be shot several times to get it right, forcing Mike to hold the live crabs in his mouth, until the cry for "action", before releasing them. At one point he had to crush one with his teeth, as it gave him quite a bit of grief. Brotherly love immortalized.

More trivia for The Abyss

Join the mailing list

Separate from membership, this is to get updates about mistakes in recent releases. Addresses are not passed on to any third party, and are used solely for direct communication from this site. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Check out the mistake & trivia books, on Kindle and in paperback.