Thai Cave Rescue (2018)

‘Thai Cave Rescue’ (2018) seals our faith in humanity

This is the first of several films and documentaries about the dramatic Thai Cave Rescue that gripped the world in June-July, 2018. Director Tom Stubberfield presents all the facts of the story for PBS’s Nova TV series, narrated by Eric Meyers.

For nightly news broadcast recordings, details, and helpful graphics, this 52 minute TV documentary is a good place to start. Until I watched this film, I did not understand the dangers involved, the scope of the rescue operations, and the level of cave diving expertise required to bring everyone out.

There are no interviews of the 12 soccer players and their coach, who were trapped in a water-logged cave for as long as 18 days. Of the thousands involved in the rescue operation, some of the Thai and international rescuers are interviewed, along with a friend of a parent.

There is no coverage of the post-rescue aftermath, such as the boys’ worldwide fame and their appearances on the Ellen DeGeneres Show and at LAFC and ManU games. 

Stories like the Thai cave rescue inform us how important international cooperation is, and how the collective will to do good adds to our faith in humanity. Retired Thai Navy Seal diver Saman Kunan lost his life in the rescue operation, and the film acknowledges him and his sacrifice.

There is no soccer in this TV documentary. I’m reviewing it on my website because the drama brought so much visibility to soccer in general. 

Update on Apr-26-2020: For a gripping account on how a small team laid the lines that helped find the boys, see the documentary 13 Lost.

Update on Jan-4-2022: The Rescue (2021), by the makers of the Oscar-winning Free Solo may be the best film about the Thai cave rescue.

6 Soccer Movie Mom Rating = 6


  • Released: 2018-11-14 (USA Nova on PBS TV)
  • In English and Thai with English sub-titles
  • I watched this on DVD, but it is also available on Netflix in the USA
  • IMDB
  • WIKI
  • Director: Tom Stubberfield
  • Stars: Narrated by Eric Meyers
  • PBS Website