Cave, The

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Not suitable under 11; parental guidance to 14 (language, themes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Cave, The
  • a review of Cave, The completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 23 August 2021.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 11 Not suitable due to language and themes. Also likely to lack interest for this age group.
Children aged 11–14 Parental guidance recommended due to language and themes.
Children over the age of 14 Ok for this age group.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Cave, The
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Coarse language
Length: 104 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

One afternoon in Northern Thailand, a football coach takes his team of 12 boys to their favourite hangout at the Tham Luang cave. While inside, a sudden downpour begins to flood the cave and the boys become trapped. Unable to get out, they retreat further into the cavernous depths, trying to escape the rising waters. Huddled in a little pocket 3 miles from the entrance, the boys sit in pitch darkness, catching water droplets on their tongue, waiting for the flood to recede and talking about what they will do when they finally get home. Meanwhile, outside the cave’s entrance, authorities are setting up a rescue centre to try to drain the cave and reach the boys. Local farmers and families drop everything they are doing to come and help and, as the news broadcasts the story nationally, more individuals come forth with skills and services in the hopes of assisting the rescue efforts; yet even those with the best of intentions must battle red tape and bureaucracy. When a specially trained Thai Navy Seal dies attempting to reach the boys, the complexity and seriousness of the situation really hits home. As would-be rescuers battle time and torrential rains, professional cave divers from around the world begin to come forward. These men form a team to do what they are told cannot be done. While the world waits with baited breath, these men will risk everything in a final, desperate effort to reach the boys and bring them back alive.


Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Children separated from parents; Sacrificing a life to save someone else; The powerful and sometimes destructive forces of nature; Political bureaucracy.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie, including:

  • A story is told about a princess and a stable boy who fall in love. The king is unhappy about this turn of events and orders his soldiers to kill the boy. Unable to live without her true love, the princess stabs herself with her pin and legend has it that the rising waters are her lifeblood flooding the cave at the base of the mountain.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • The boys are brought out sedated, in full facial masks and the coach comes in and out of consciousness, shaking and shuddering at one point where he must be sedated again while his rescuer clings to a rope on the side of the cave. They are submerged in murky water, accompanied by the eerie sounds of breathing underwater, while the coach appears to hallucinate. While not exactly scary, the scenes may distress some young viewers.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • The images of the boys huddled together in the darkness, wishing they were home and waiting to be rescued, may be distressing for some young viewers, especially when accompanied with the scenes of emotional relatives waiting at the cave entrance and begging for help to save their children.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

  • Nothing further of concern.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Turbojet water pumps, brought by the manufacturer himself to the cave site.
  • KFC was mentioned while the boys were in the cave talking about what they wanted to eat and reminiscing about a time that they all ate there together. Later rescuers are shown, in a makeshift tent, eating big buckets of KFC.
  • Jack Daniels and Guinness are mentioned by two cave divers.

Sexual references

  • None noted.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • One diver is shown with a bare chest as he helps other divers enter the cave.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • The boys are given horse tranquilisers to keep them sedated while they are extracted from the cave.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Fuck
  • Shit.

In a nutshell

The Cave is a largely subtitled documentary detailing the extraordinary story of heroism and sacrifice that captivated the world and launched a global effort to accomplish the impossible. The film highlights the selflessness of ordinary Thai people whose livelihoods were destroyed by the rescue efforts; who gave everything they had; and who refused to accept any compensation in return. Likewise, the film introduces the heroes who risked their own lives to save the young football team trapped behind a wall of water three miles beneath a mountain.

The main messages from this movie are to have faith; to believe in the impossible; and to believe in each other. Also, that miracles can happen when humanity unites to achieve a common goal.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Persistence
  • Friendship
  • Hope
  • Sacrifice
  • Determination
  • Teamwork.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • The importance of telling people where you are going and when you will be back.
  • Obeying warning signs about potential flooding and dangerous areas.
  • The inherent risks associated with dangerous jobs and the ultimate sacrifice one man made in an attempt to save many.
  • Wanting to save face and to appear to be the most important, regardless of what an expert in the field may be telling you to do. For example, insisting on using the small pumps to try to drain the caves and refusing to use the turbo jets, capable of draining so much more.
  • Refusing to allow international help or expertise and wanting to do things on your own, such as initially refusing to allow international cave divers to assist with the rescue.