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Sanctum (2011) More at IMDbPro »

Photos (See all 43 | slideshow) Videos (see all 13)
Sanctum -- An underwater cave diving team experiences a life-threatening crisis during an expedition to the unexplored and least accessible cave system in the world.
Sanctum -- Clip: Josh And Frank Discover A Sinkhole
Sanctum -- Interview: "James Cameron On The 3D Being Less Difficult Than Other Elements Of Production"
Sanctum -- Demo trailer
Sanctum -- Clip: The Group Plans Their Escape As The Water In The Cave Rises


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John Garvin (written by) and
Andrew Wight (written by) ...
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Release Date:
4 February 2011 (USA) See more »
The only way out is down
An underwater cave diving team experiences a life-threatening crisis during an expedition to the unexplored and least accessible cave system in the world. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
1 win & 1 nomination See more »
(563 articles)
User Reviews:
Take it from a caver, the details are very accurate See more (207 total) »


  (in credits order)

Richard Roxburgh ... Frank McGuire

Ioan Gruffudd ... Carl Hurley

Rhys Wakefield ... Josh McGuire

Alice Parkinson ... Victoria Elaine

Dan Wyllie ... Crazy George

Christopher James Baker ... J.D. (as Christopher Baker)
Nicole Downs ... Liz

Allison Cratchley ... Judes
Cramer Cain ... Luko
Andrew Hansen ... Dex
John Garvin ... Jim Sergeant

Sean Dennehy ... Chopper Pilot
Nea Diap ... Kastom Shaman

Directed by
Alister Grierson 
Writing credits
John Garvin (written by) and
Andrew Wight (written by)

Andrew Wight  story

Produced by
Ben Browning .... executive producer
James Cameron .... executive producer
Michael Finley .... producer
Leesa Kahn .... associate producer
Ryan Kavanaugh .... executive producer
Michael Maher .... executive producer
Brett Popplewell .... line producer
Peter Rawlinson .... executive producer
Aaron Ryder .... co-producer
Andrew Wight .... producer
Original Music by
David Hirschfelder 
Cinematography by
Jules O'Loughlin (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Mark Warner 
Casting by
Gregory Apps 
Production Design by
Nicholas McCallum 
Art Direction by
Jenny O'Connell 
Makeup Department
Katherine Brown .... special makeup effects artist
Gail Kane .... makeup & hair artist
Wizzy Molineaux .... makeup artist
Production Management
Troy Clarke .... unit manager
Marc van Buuren .... post-production supervisor
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Joe Popplewell .... fourth assistant director
Wade Savage .... first assistant director
Jo Suna .... third assistant director
Ian 'Thistle' Thorburn .... second unit director
Art Department
Dominic Ackland-Snow .... construction manager
Joshua Black .... set finisher
Julian Borbidge .... steelworker
Graeme Callander .... storyboard artist
Gary Cameron .... set designer
Steven Carroll .... set sculptor: Melbourne
Jeremy Ford .... carpenter
Jonathon Hannon .... set dresser
Matthew Hood .... art department accountant
George Kabot .... graphic designer
Sam Lukins .... props
Sam Lukins .... set dresser
Ross Murdoch .... locations foreman
Melinda Neoh .... construction coordinator
David Russell .... storyboard artist
Steven Sallybanks .... head scenic artist
Darrin Smith .... construction leading hand
Steve Taylor .... action props
Dillon Yeats .... key stand-by props
Sound Department
Kami Asgar .... adr supervisor
Steve Burgess .... sound effects editor
Damian Candusso .... sound effects editor
Paul Clark .... production sound recordist
Adam Connelly .... foley assistant
Fabrice Galli .... assistant sound editor
Brendan Geaney .... sound effects editor
Chris Goodes .... adr mixer
James Harvey .... supervising dialogue editor
Dan Johnston .... foley artist
Robert Mackenzie .... sound re-recording mixer
Peter Mills .... sound effects editor
Chris Navarro .... adr mixer
Glenn Newnham .... sound effects editor
Liesl Pieterse .... adr mixer
Paul Pirola .... sound designer
Paul Pirola .... sound re-recording mixer
Paul Pirola .... supervising sound editor
John Simpson .... additional foley artist
Mario Vaccaro .... foley artist
Andy Wright .... sound re-recording assistant
Special Effects by
Rob Heggie .... on set supervisor
Alar Hordern .... special effects technician
Jake Ingram .... special effects technician
Ceri Nicholls .... special effects technician
Ali Pearce .... special effects technician
Brian Pearce .... special effects supervisor
Cassie Pearce .... special effects technician
Julian Summers .... special effects technician
Visual Effects by
Aaron Auty .... lighting technical director: Iloura
David Booth .... visual effects supervisor
Paul Buckley .... lead 3D matte artist: Iloura
Genevieve Camilleri .... digital artist: Iloura
Eoin Cannon .... digital artist: Iloura
Laura Dubsky .... digital compositor: Iloura
Chris Dwyer .... data manager: Iloura
Alan Fairlie .... lead compositor: Iloura
Jonathan Freisler .... effects artist: Iloura
Jason Gilholme .... lead matchmover: Iloura
Avi Goodman .... 3D matte artist: Iloura
Shane Hall .... animator: Iloura
Mark Hawthorne .... visual effects editor
Dominic Hellier .... compositor: Iloura
Samuel Jensen .... lead 3D matte artist: Iloura
Tom Kenneally .... match mover: Iloura
Alan S.L. Lam .... visual effects artist: Iloura
Ineke Majoor .... visual effects producer: Iloura
Glenn Melenhorst .... digital environment supervisor: Iloura
Keith Meure .... digital artist
Jay C. Miller .... visual effects artist: Iloura
Matt Omond .... digital compositor: Iloura
Matthew Pascuzzi .... digital compositor: Iloura
Jason Pomerantz .... production supervisor (IMAX Version)
Paul Pytlik .... digital artist: IMAX version
James Robison .... technical director: Iloura
Simon Rosenthal .... visual effects executive producer: Iloura
Simon Ross .... effects animator: Iloura
Josh Simmonds .... lighting technical director: Iloura
Georgia Smith .... visual effects coordinator: Iloura
Evann Tjokrosetio .... digital artist
Nicholas Tripodi .... lead animator: Iloura (as Nick Tripodi)
Jordan Walsh .... lighting technical director: Iloura
Peter Webb .... visual effects supervisor (Iloura)
Tom Wild .... visual effects production manager: Iloura
Drew Wood-Davies .... lighting technical director: Iloura
Andrew Allen .... dive supervisor
Chris Anderson .... stunt coordinator
Dave Apperley .... dive double: Frank (as David Apperly)
Dave Apperley .... safety diver (as David Apperly)
Jimmy Baines .... stunt assistant
Dave Brownrigg .... safety diver: Dunk Island Additional Crew
Rhye Copeman .... stunt double: Frank
Stephen Daddow .... stunt double: Local Trader 1
Stephen Daddow .... stunt double: Motorbike Rider 1
Steve Daddow .... stunt double: Luko
Josh Elkington .... stunt double: Local Trader 2 (as Josh Elkinton)
Jared Faulkner .... safety diver
Kyle Gardiner .... stunt double: Josh
Jacqueline Geelan .... stunt double: Victoria
Ken Greenbury .... dive double: Carl
Ken Greenbury .... safety diver
Barry Holland .... dive double: Josh
Barry Holland .... safety diver
Troy Hunter .... stunt double: Truck Driver 2
Brendan Jakins .... head stunt rigger
Nathan Lawson .... stunt double: Carl
Bernard Ledger .... rigger: 3rd Unit Additional Crew (as Bernie Ledger)
Che McGuinness .... dive double: Crazy George
Che McGuinness .... safety diver
Agnes Milowka .... dive double: Judes
Agnes Milowka .... dive double: Victoria
Tomoki Miyamoto .... fire stunt assistant
Mark Nissan .... safety diver: Dunk Island Additional Crew
Andy Owen .... safety diver
Gulliver Page .... stunt double: Crazy George
Brett Praed .... stunt rigger
Mick Rowen .... stunt assistant
Philip Shirley .... safety diver
Marco Sinigaglia .... stunt department assistant
Yasca Sinigaglia .... assistant stunt coordinator
Carla Thexton .... safety diver
John Walton .... stunt assistant
Malachi Waters .... stunt double: Truck Driver 1
Wilfred Woodrow .... stunt double: Seaplane Deckhand
Lee Adamson .... stunt rigger (uncredited)
Joel Amos Byrnes .... stunt double: Christopher Baker (uncredited)
Tomoki Miyamoto .... stunt rigging assistant (uncredited)
Craig Morgan .... stunt rigging assistant (uncredited)
Andy Owen .... stunts (uncredited)
Neil Stoddart .... stunt assistant/climbing instructor (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Jasin Boland .... still photographer
Peter Bushby .... gaffer
Simon Christidis .... cinematographer: underwater
Chuck Comisky .... 3D supervisor
Tim Cousins .... libra aerials
Rebecca Crowe .... second assistant camera
Sam Davies .... electrician
Tristan Davies .... assistant camera
Scott Dolan .... first assistant camera: "b" camera
Greg Gilbert .... camera operator
Greg Gilbert .... steadicam operator
Billy Harmer .... electrician
Richard Harris .... underwater camera operator: second unit
Dale Hunter .... digital imaging engineer
Luke Jeffery .... convergence puller: underwater scenes
Luke Jeffery .... second assistant camera
Adam Kuiper .... key grip
James Lander .... generator operator
Steven Magrath .... second assistant camera
Jack Moffatt .... electrician
Ricky Schamburg .... first assistant camera: "a" camera
Philip A.T. Smith .... convergence puller: "a" camera
Justin Sykes .... best boy grip
David Thomson .... key rigging grip
Ian 'Thistle' Thorburn .... additional cinematographer
Ian 'Thistle' Thorburn .... b camera operator
John Turner .... hd engineer
David Allen West .... 3d system technician
Fiona Wight .... stereographer
Casting Department
Bud Hopes .... extras casting
Jade Tam .... extras casting
Lauren Bass .... casting associate (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Julie Barton .... key costumer
Michael Davies .... costume supervisor
Amy Mitchell .... costume standby
Kate Smiley .... costume buyer
Joanne Thompson .... set costumer
Editorial Department
George Awburn .... on-line editor
Anthea Charalambous .... post-production coordinator
Ben Joss .... first assistant editor
Brett Manson .... digital colorist
Brett Manson .... digital intermediate colorist
Rachel McKellar-Harding .... digital intermediate producer
Laurie Meade .... digital intermediate on-line editor
Laurie Meade .... on-line editor
Nic Smith .... digital intermediate technical director
Music Department
Craig Beckett .... music editor
Ricky Edwards .... orchestrator
Jason Fernandez .... music editor
Robin Gray .... score mixer
James K. Lee .... orchestrator
Emily Rogers Swanson .... music editor
Other crew
Hillary Bibicoff .... production counsel
Jason Blackwell .... dive instructor: water unit
Ted Cahn .... assistant to: James Cameron
James Cameron .... presenter
Anthea Charalambous .... assistant to producer
Genevieve Clay-Smith .... director's attachment (as Genevieve Clay)
Danny Dade .... boat skipper: Dunk Island Additional Crew
John Dalla-Zaunna .... dive advisor: Mount Gambier/Naracoorte Additional Crew
Kaleb Day .... on-set nurse/medic
Jessica Drake .... dialect coach
Vanessa Edwards .... payroll accountant
John Garvin .... dive coordinator
Jaspar Goodman .... production runner
Rick Grundy .... diver: Mount Gambier/Naracoorte Additional Crew
Judy Hallin .... production coordinator
Richard Harris .... dive doctor
Lou Henry .... first assistant accountant (as Louise Henry)
Daniel Herther .... executive assistant: mr. kavanaugh
Peter Horne .... cave coordinator: Mount Gambier/Naracoorte Additional Crew (as Peter 'Puddles' Horne)
Peter Horne .... diver: Mount Gambier/Naracoorte Additional Crew (as Peter 'Puddles' Horne)
Rachel Knowles .... head of post production
Thomas Loftus .... senior vice president of business and legal affairs
Andrew Macdonald .... epk: director
Troy MacKinder .... dialect coach
Ryan Makepeace .... production runner
Anthony Marriott .... second assistant accountant
Scott Menzies .... helicopter pilot
Antoinette O'Neill .... script supervisor
Rick Pagotto .... unit assistant
Mikki Pallas .... assistant to ioan gruffudd
Grant Pearce .... dive advisor: Mount Gambier/Naracoorte Additional Crew
Eva Quiroz .... vice president of operations
Nathalia Rayfield .... production secretary
Marlaine Reiner .... assistant: mr. kavanaugh
Sean Rigby .... safety supervisor
Liz Rogers .... diver: Mount Gambier/Naracoorte Additional Crew
David Rudduck .... it technical support
Stephen Rutter .... travel manager
Jason Shearer .... boat skipper: Dunk Island Additional Crew
Amit Shekhar .... digital media: India
Steve Spinaze .... helicopter pilot: Dunk Island Additional Crew
Micha Temple .... underwater gaffer/grip/diver
Andrew Wight .... diver: Mount Gambier/Naracoorte Additional Crew
Andrew Wight .... helicopter pilot
Matthew Wollaston .... armorer
Ross Ambrose .... special thanks
Chris Lacey .... special thanks
Wes Skiles .... dedicated to the memory of (as Wesley C. Skiles)
Philip Toomer .... special thanks

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"James Cameron's Sanctum" - USA (complete title)
See more »
Rated R for language, some violence and disturbing images
108 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Argentina:16 | Australia:M | Canada:14A (Alberta/British Columbia/Manitoba/Ontario) | Canada:13+ (Quebec) | Germany:16 | Ireland:15A | Japan:G | Malaysia:18 | Netherlands:16 | Philippines:PG-13 (MTRCB) | Portugal:M/12 | Singapore:NC-16 (edited version) | South Korea:15 | Sweden:15 | UK:15 | USA:R (certificate #46519)

Did You Know?

As of March 2011, the 10th biggest grossing Australian film at the international box office.See more »
Continuity: When Josh first descends into the surface pit, he's Aussie rappelling with his rack attached to his back. When he reaches the gal part way down, his rack's in front.See more »
[first lines]
Dex:Josh? Wow, your old man let you come up for air?
Josh:Oh you're kidding, Dex.
Dex:Oh you're gonna be in the shit.
[big hug]
See more »
Movie Connections:


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
228 out of 284 people found the following review useful.
Take it from a caver, the details are very accurate, 24 February 2011
Author: EHKastning from United States

Sanctum is an action thriller involving exploration of an extensive, world-class cave system in Papua New Guinea. The movie is inspired by an actual flood event in an extensive cave in the Nullarbor Plain of Australia in 1988. It is not a documentary, but designed to be a realistic, albeit embellished, account that includes non-stop action as the team is faced with its deadly situations and decisions. Although released in 2-D, 3-D, and IMAX formats, Sanctum is not a science fiction or horror movie. There are no monsters, weird creatures, on humanoid inhabitants, such as are found in the recent films, The Cave, The Cavern, and Descent (Parts 1 and 2). And it is not a fantasy underground adventure like the recent remakes of Journey to the Center of the Earth and Alice in Wonderland. Sanctum is about caving, an adventure sport that is practiced by knowledgeable and safety-minded people throughout the world.

Most movie goers may not recognize the authenticity of the techniques and equipment used in the film. As one who has spent over 45 years exploring and studying caves in over 35 states and several countries, I am familiar with modern caving in some of the great cave systems on the planet and I personally know many of the cavers who are making new discoveries every year. Therefore, I can attest to the great care that the director Alister Grierson and writer-producer Andrew Wight have taken to provide realism to the cave setting. In fact, Wight was a survivor of the Nullarbor event and is an experienced caver and diver. That having been said, Sanctum takes some liberties to create an exciting story. Nearly every activity in caving is included in this epic, such as climbing, rappelling and other rope work, squeezing and negotiating tight passageways, and of course cave diving. This story shows what can go wrong with each of these if care is not taken or if safety is ignored. Sanctum is an adventure thriller that consists of a long string of incidents, dilemmas, and solutions. Each situation is believable on its own merit and has happened at one time or another in caving. But in Sanctum, all of these have been combined, one after another, and continually pose challenges and demand solutions. It reminds me of the classic and entertaining cliff- hanger movies of old. This makes for an exhausting tale in which the audience feels the tense and claustrophobic situations. It is unlikely that such a string of events would ever be encountered by a single caving expedition. However, individually accidents do happen, although they are relatively rare because cavers strictly abide by established safety rules.

What disturbs me is that many of the reviewers of the movie to date miss the point of the film and show an ignorance of what caves and caving are like. Here are some typically unfair remarks and why these are so.

"There is little character development." Caving is very focused. When you are underground, you only think about your surroundings and mission. You do not think about the outside world and your life there, much less about your interpersonal relationships with your fellow cavers. It is true that when caving, you learn a lot about your compatriots and their personalities (just like in the movie), but you do belabor interpersonal relationships. Team members are selected based on their proved track record underground. If there are challenges and threatening conditions, you focus on those as a team, as in the film. Many reviewers apparently wanted more psycho-drama among the protagonists.

"The dialog is terse, unrealistic, and too loud." I disagree. Under the emergency conditions such as shown in the film, the dialog of the characters would be similar. There would be a leader and a plan would develop, just as we witnessed in 2010 in the case of the trapped Chilean miners. As for loudness and screaming, this is the only way to make yourself heard in the presence of running water in the echoing confines of cave passages. I know this from experience. One's senses in a cave are very much focused on sight and sound and the immediate surroundings.

"It is a tedious tale." Yes, trying to escape through a cave system that is flooding could easily be tedious and, given the extent of the cave in Sanctum, finding routes and traversing them would take considerable time. Cave exploration is not a fast process.

I have been on hundreds of caving trips, including some grueling ones in long and complex cave systems. For me, the representation of the features in the cave and the techniques of exploration are portrayed quite well in Sanctum. Again, this movie is an adventure story that accurately shows what caves are like, even though it combines many of the dangers into a thrilling series of unfortunate events. It is a fictional tale, but realistically portrayed.

Reviewers who expected Sanctum to be a high-culture movie or one that explores interpersonal interactions among the characters have missed the point completely. Unless they have gone on trips into extensive and wild caves, they have little idea of what caves and caving are really like and what this movie is all about. They can not possibly understand the dynamic among cavers under adverse conditions. I find more faults with the reviewers' logic and understanding than they can legitimately find in the film. The movie stays true to what extensive caves are like and the techniques used to explore them. Given that, it is also one heck of an adventure thriller.

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Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Sanctum (2011)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
I think a lot of people misinterpreted the ending *spoilers* halcy0n2004
Inspired by an Australian Story. Mercurio_Cristallo
A very bad film Name16
This movie grew on me mmoore325
cannibalism? lindsey372
why did the girl cut the rope? was that boiling water? reelchick2010
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