Now, the box office doesn't bear this out, and reasonable minds can differ, but if you were to ask me, James Cameron's career through the 80s and its holdover years in the 90s was one of unstoppable ascent, each picture being better than his last. But even if his fourth film didn't stay his best film (though it gives his fifth, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, which did remain his best, a very serious run for its money), then, for the sheer difficulty of its achievement, The Abyss remains Cameron's most impressive work—and his most personal.
1989 (theatrical release)/1992 (the proper, finished film, as people watch it today)
Written and directed by James Cameron
Spoiler alert: severe