Surviving the Cut



Reality docu features intense Special Forces training.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The series shows what it takes to become a member of the American military’s Special Forces. It also promotes some of their core values, including courage, strength, and teamwork.

Positive role models

The soldiers who become members of the all-male Special Forces exhibit bravery, strength, and focus.


Fighting and killing the enemy is part of the mission for some of the unit. Guns, rifles, machine guns, and other weapons are visible and/or fired. Training missions include choreographed bombings and other violent exercises. Some participants pass out, are nearly drowned, and endure other injuries. Blood is sometimes shown dripping from soldiers’ foreheads and other wounds.

Not applicable

Words like "hell" are audible; curses like “f--k” are bleeped.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this reality series -- which offers a behind-the-scenes look at what soldiers endure to become members of America’s Special Forces -- features lots of difficult obstacle courses, hand-to-hand fighting, weapons, and shooting/bombing exercises. Soldiers are sometimes shown getting injured or with blood dripping down their bodies or passing out. Words like "hell" are audible, while stronger profanity (“f--k”) is fully bleeped. The show can get fairly intense, but it also promotes teamwork, persistence, courage, and focus.

What's the story?

SURVIVING THE CUT follows soldiers who are undergoing intense military training in hopes of joining one of the Special Forces elite units. Each episode follows the soldiers as they attend a school designed to prepare them for a specific military unit -- like the Army Rangers, the Navy Seals, the Marine Snipers, and the Air Force Pararescuers. Upon arrival, the candidates must endure grueling military exercises designed to test their mental and physical ability to handle the school's rigorous demands. Those who survive must then make it through even tougher exercises that prep thm for the rigors and dangers they'll face in combat. The soldiers who don't quit or get eliminated then participate in orchestrated combat operations designed to test their leadership and fighting skills. The few who survive all of the cuts and pass their course earn a coveted spot in the Special Forces.

Is it any good?


Surviving the Cut offers an interesting behind-the-scenes look at the training that goes into the Special Forces. There's some explanation of the extreme training measures that soldiers must go to in order to qualify for each elite unit, and the show highlights the core values of each division, which usually include strength, bravery, focus, and teamwork.

There's some strong language, and while the violence featured is in context, some of the military exercises may be a bit much for younger viewers. But those interested in the military or pursuing a military career will definitely find the series worth watching. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the military. Why do soldiers choose to subject themselves to this kind of rigorous training in order to become part of these divisions?

  • Why do you think women aren't allowed to be part of the Special Forces?

  • Do you think reality shows like this one encourage people to join the military? Or vice versa? Why?

TV details

Cast:William Sadler
Network:Discovery Channel
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-PG

This review of Surviving the Cut was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written bypatton1942 November 13, 2011

Pretty Good Tv Show

Sure they cus SOME, but all in all a good show for almost any age...
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much swearing
Adult Written bymoviemadness September 7, 2010
Surviving the Cut is a great, inspiring, and informative show about the U.S. Special Forces. The men persevere through physically and emotionally tasking challenges with bravery and teamwork. That being said, there is a LOT of bad language. It is bleeped, but the amount is still staggering -and every child knows just what's going on. There is a good deal of intense physical strain, blood, vomit, and passing out too. Great show for teens and up.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Great role models


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