8.1/10
4,521
30 user 44 critic

Little Dieter Needs to Fly (1997)

Not Rated | | Documentary, Biography, Drama | 2 October 1998 (USA)
German-American Dieter Dengler discusses his service as an American naval pilot in the Vietnam War. Dengler also revisits the sites of his capture and eventual escape from the hands of the Vietcong, recreating many events for the camera.

Director:

Writer:

Reviews

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 5 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Documentary | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

This film shows the disaster of the Kuwaitian oil fields in flames, with few interviews and no explanatory narration. Hell itself is presented in such beautiful sights and music that one has to be fascinated by it.

Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: Werner Herzog
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

About the daring adventure of exploring rain forest canopy with a novel flying device-the Jungle Airship. Airship engineer Dr. Graham Dorrington embarks on a trip to the giant Kaieteur ... See full summary »

Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: Werner Herzog, Graham Dorrington, Dieter Plage
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

In the 1950s, an adolescent Werner Herzog was transfixed by a film performance of the young Klaus Kinski. Years later, they would share an apartment where, in an unabated, forty-eight-hour ... See full summary »

Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: Werner Herzog, Klaus Kinski, Claudia Cardinale
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

What is faith and religion to Russians after the fall of communism? We get the insight into the Russian Orthodox church as well as different folk and shamanic beliefs.

Director: Werner Herzog
Wheel of Time (2003)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Wheel of Time is Werner Herzog's photographed look at the largest Buddhist ritual in Bodh Gaya, India.

Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: The Dalai Lama, Lama Lhundup Woeser, Takna Jigme Sangpo
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Documentary examining Bokassa's rule in the Central African Republic using the testimony of witnesses and visits to key sites.

Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: Michael Goldsmith, Werner Herzog, Augustine Assemat
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Film-maker Werner Herzog travels to the McMurdo Station in Antarctica, looking to capture the continent's beauty and investigate the characters living there.

Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: Werner Herzog, Scott Rowland, Stefan Pashov
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The film focuses on a group of Miskito Indians in Nicaragua who used children soldiers in their resistance against the Sandinistas.

Directors: Werner Herzog, Denis Reichle
Stars: Werner Herzog, Denis Reichle
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Through examining Fini Straubinger, an old woman who has been deaf and blind since adolescence, and her work on behalf of other deaf and blind people, this film shows how the deaf and blind... See full summary »

Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: Fini Straubinger, M. Baaske, Elsa Fehrer
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The geologist Lance Hackett is employed by an Australian mining company to map the subsoil of a desert area covered with ant hills prior to a possible uranium extraction. His work is ... See full summary »

Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: Bruce Spence, Wandjuk Marika, Roy Marika
Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

An alien narrates the story of his dying planet, his and his people's visits to Earth and Earth's man-made demise, while human astronauts attempt to find an alternate planet for surviving humans to live on.

Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: Brad Dourif, Donald Williams, Ellen Baker
Documentary | Biography | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A study of the psychology of a champion ski-jumper, whose full-time occupation is carpentry.

Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: Walter Steiner, Werner Herzog
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Dieter Dengler ...
Himself
...
Himself / Narrator (voice)
Eugene Deatrick ...
Himself
Edit

Storyline

In 1966, Dieter Dengler was shot down over Laos, captured, and, down to 85 pounds, escaped. Barefoot, surviving monsoons, leeches, and machete-wielding villagers, he was rescued. Now, near 60, living on Mt. Tamalpais, Dengler tells his story: a German lad surviving Allied bombings in World War II, postwar poverty, apprenticed to a smith, beaten regularly. At 18, he emigrates and peels potatoes in the U.S. Air Force. He leaves for California and college, then enlistment in the Navy to learn to fly. A quiet man of sorrows tells his story: war, capture, harrowing conditions, escape, and miraculous rescue. Where did he find the strength; how does he now live with his memories? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

| |

Language:

|

Release Date:

2 October 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Flucht aus Laos  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The exotic-sounding music heard during the "native" sequences is Tuvan overtone music, sometimes called "throat music." It enables the singer to sound as if he had two or more voices. See more »

Quotes

Dieter Dengler: Duane, my friend, he was gone, and from then on my motions, my progress, became mechanical. In fact, I couldn't care less if I would live or die. But then later on, there was this bear, this beautiful bear that was following me. It was circling me in fact sometimes. It was gone and I missed it. It was just like a dog, it was just like a pet. Of course I knew this bear was there, he was waiting to eat me. When I think about it, this bear meant death to me. And it is really ironic. That's the ...
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Little Herzog Needs to Fly....Nice.
28 December 2003 | by (Singapore) – See all my reviews

After I finished watching this intriguing documentary, I wondered; how much of Little Dieter was in Herzog, and vice versa? For Werner Herzog(and Dieter likewise) seemed capable of evoking a whole spectrum of human emotions in his works, however idiosyncratic they looked on the surface.

In this story of an American immigrant from Germany, who piloted a plane in Nam, got shot down, interned, escaped and survived, we got to see how the man lived, before, during and after this arduous period of ordeal. All that insurmountable pain and uphill battles might not have fazed the man, but it certainly took its toll. Memories of these experiences continue to haunt his being. Case in point, due in part to enduring that period of torture and starvation, the man now stocked his cellar with lotsa food in case he's ever locked in....

Could the above have been a reason why Herzog chose to film this man? A man seemingly steeped in personality dysfunctions but was in fact merely a wounded man living his life, the only way he knew how? Could it be that Dieter's story also somehow mirrored Herzog's life and outlook? Damned if I am to know the answers to these universal mysteries...

Much had been said about the questionable sanity of Werner Herzog. But during my intensive devouring of his films over this last week, I began to see a pattern unravelling. This man had many profound insights to share with us all about humanity. And they often transcended intellectual boundaries. Through those intangibly twisted tales he weaved, he conveyed his ideas to us all lucidly, impactfully. And he did them all without ever gauzing the profusion in his bleeding heart. This man was never afraid of showing his earnest emotions nor was he afraid of breaking cinematic conventions. If one cared enough to be touched by the man, he or she will do so without safety nets. I did. Nice.

Yes, its no longer fashionable in these times of impenetrable cynicism to embrace a man like Werner Herzog. But I am fascinated by this psycho visionary nonetheless. And I will follow the man to the very pits of wherever he's heading. As long as its somewhere I'm willing to go, that is....heh.


13 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
I Only Wish There Were More Dieters in the World lagomorph13
Rescue Dawn chansky111
great doc teejay6682
Drama? Tragedy? Comedy? Cass1us
Footage of the press conference brightsmite
Discuss Little Dieter Needs to Fly (1997) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?