Thirteen Lives movie: true story of Thai cave rescue film


Thirteen Lives is a dramatization of the 2018 mission to rescue 12 children and their soccer coach from a cave in Thailand

Thirteen Lives is an Amazon Prime drama film based on the 18-day international operation to rescue 13 people from a cave in Thailand during a monsoon.


Colin Farrell and Viggo Mortensen lead the film’s cast and play the real cave divers who risked their lives to rescue those trapped in the cave.

What happened during the Thai cave rescue, was Elon Musk involved and how to watch Thirteen Lives? Here’s everything you need to know:

Thirteen Lives

Is Thirteen Lives based on a true story?

Thirteen Lives is a dramatization of the 18-day mission to rescue 12 boys aged 11-16 and their 25-year-old football coach from Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Thailand.


The group entered the cave on June 23, 2018 after a football practice session, but were trapped after heavy rain blocked their exit.

Early attempts to rescue the group by Thai Navy SEALs failed and a team of cave divers recommended by Vern Unsworth, a British expat caver who lives near the site, was chosen to join the rescue operation to connect.


Rick Stanton, John Volanthen, Harry Harris and Chris Jewell were directly involved in rescuing all 13 people trapped in the cave.

Eventually a plan was devised to send cave divers to swim the boys out – each child was given ketamine as an anesthetic to keep them unconscious during their rescue to prevent them from panicking and endangering their own lives.

Cave diver Richard Stanton was involved in the rescue

At the time of the salvage, the plan was considered risky, but also the only realistic chance of survival for the 13 cavers.

The rescue was a complete success and all 12 boys and their trainer were safely extricated from the cave.


Saman Kunan, a former Thai Navy diver and rescue mission volunteer, died while placing scuba tanks along the route in the cave.

In December 2019, Beirut Pakbara, a Thai Navy SEAL, died from a blood infection contracted during the operation.


Is Elon Musk in thirteen lifetimes?

Elon Musk isn’t shown or played in the film, but the tech billionaire made headlines during the bailout.


Musk offered to build a mini-submarine to support the operation, but this was turned down by Unsworth on the grounds that it would not be practical.

Following the perceived snub, Musk labeled Unsworth a “pedo guy” in a tweet, sparking outrage as Unsworth led the charge in saving thirteen lives.


Musk’s tweet led to a defamation case, with Unsworth seeking £145million for defamation, although Musk won the case.

Who is in the cast of Thirteen Lives?


Viggo Mortensen plays Rick Stanton, one of the rescue mission’s lead cave divers.

Mortensen is best known for playing Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. His other major roles include Ben in Captain Fantastic, Tony Lip in Green Book and Tom Stall in A History of Violence.


Colin Farrell plays John Volanthen, another British cave diver. Farrell is recognized for his roles as Ray in In Bruges, David in The Lobster and Graves in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Other members of the cast are:

  • Joel Edgerton as Harry Harris
  • Tom Bateman as Chris Jewell
  • Paul Gleeson as Jason Mallinson
  • Teeradon Supapunpinyo as a trainer
  • Girati Sugiyama as Lek
  • Pasakorn Hoyhon as Chai
  • Tanatat Srita as Arm
  • Nophand Boonyai as Thanet Natisri
  • Kaokuson Sorapap as Aat
  • Sukniran Sukcharoen as Poom
  • Ensai O’Haire as Decha
  • Thanhapthai Chanin as Tau
  • Achi Jinapanyo as Prem
  • Thanaphat Topiata as Wit
  • Phitakkhong Boonnet as Rit
  • Joe Chuensawan as Tul

When is the Thirteen Lives release date?

Thirteen Lives received a limited theatrical release in the UK on August 5 and was released on Amazon Prime Video the same day.


Is there a trailer

Yes, there is, and you can watch it right here: