Antonio Banderas has paid tribute to the 33 Chilean miners trapped underground for 69 days in 2010.

The Spanish star plays the lead role in a disaster film about the miners' plight, 'The 33' and met with the real life heroes yesterday (31.01.14), who managed to survive when the shaft they were working in collapsed, leaving them trapped.

Speaking at the country's presidential palace, Antonio said: ''Millions of people, including myself, were glued to the TV following this story as these men held to the rocks inside that mine for nearly 70 days with the only dream of getting to see sunlight again; realising the true importance of water, of food, the look of their children, the eyes of their wives - the value of life.''

Antonio was joined by president Sebastian Pinera, who had supervised the final rescue of the miners, who initially managed to make a 48-hour store of emergency food last for 17 days, while a small emergency shaft was tunnelled down to them, which could provide food and water.

He said: ''Chile is a better country after the miracle because I'd never seen so much unity, faith, hope and commitment.

''The world needs hope, good news, stories that end well. And since most stories end badly, this is what people wanted: an injection of hope and faith.''

In the movie Antonio plays Mario Sepulveda, who became the public face of the miners, while Juliet Binoche plays Maria Segovia, the sister of a trapped miner.