IMDb > Little Dieter Needs to Fly (1997)
Little Dieter Needs to Fly
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Little Dieter Needs to Fly (1997) More at IMDbPro »

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Down 9% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Werner Herzog (writer)
View company contact information for Little Dieter Needs to Fly on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
2 October 1998 (USA) See more »
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. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for Primetime Emmy. Another 6 wins & 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
Little Herzog Needs to Fly....Nice. See more (30 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)
Dieter Dengler ... Himself

Werner Herzog ... Himself / Narrator (voice)
Eugene Deatrick ... Himself

Directed by
Werner Herzog 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Werner Herzog  writer

Produced by
Andre Singer .... executive producer
Lucki Stipetic .... producer
Cinematography by
Peter Zeitlinger 
Film Editing by
Joe Bini 
Glen Scantlebury 
Rainer Standke 
Production Management
Herbert Golder .... post-production supervisor
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Herbert Golder .... assistant director
Art Department
Juan Santiago .... illustrator
Sound Department
Ekkehart Baumung .... sound
Dave Nelson .... re-recording mixer (as David Nelson)
Josh Rosen .... sound editor
Camera and Electrical Department
Les Blank .... additional photographer
Helen Kim .... still photographer
Erik Söllner .... assistant camera
Editorial Department
Michael Angelo .... on-line editor (uncredited)
Other crew
Wolfgang Ebert .... network executive
Herbert Golder .... archival researcher
Rudolph Herzog .... production assistant
Anja Schmidt-Zäringer .... continuity
Anja Schmidt-Zäringer .... script girl
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
USA:80 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

The film begins with this quote: "And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it, and shall desire to die and death shall flee from them. - Revelation 9:6".See more »
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.See more »


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13 out of 18 people found the following review useful.
Little Herzog Needs to Fly....Nice., 28 December 2003
Author: Sinnerman from Singapore

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.

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