8.1/10
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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.

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

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

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Release Date:

2 October 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Flucht aus Laos  »

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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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

Narrator: Dieter took an early retirement from the armed forces and became a civilian test pilot. He survived four more crashes and flies to this day. Death did not want him.
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User Reviews

 
extraordinary
28 November 2005 | by (Cullowhee, N.C.) – See all my reviews

I consider this a breathtaking but deceptive film because it seems so simple and straightforward: a Vietnam survivor tells his harrowing tale and some of the story is reenacted on location. Reviewers sometimes even claim that Herzog's presence in the film is minimal, but how wrong they are. We know that all documentaries are "mediated" to some extent and this one has Herzog's subtle hand all over it, most notably in the stunning music, the unbelievably expert selection of archival footage, and the management of cascading images. The evocative power of this film is astounding, starting with its title, the opening title card from the book of "Revelation," and the initial voice-over. This is a movie that one can watch repeatedly with increasing wonder, not a simple commodity that is gulped down with one's favorite beverage on the way to the evening news. This is one of those movies that can resonate with you for a lifetime.


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