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A U.S. fighter pilot's epic struggle of survival after being shot down on a mission over Laos during the Vietnam War.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Farkas (as Gregory J. Qaiyum)
Jet Pilot (as James Oliver)
Saichia Wongwiroj ...
Province Governor (as Francois Chau)
Teerawat Mulvilai ...
Little Hitler (as Teerawat 'Ka-Ge' Mulvilai)
Yuttana Muenwaja ...
Kriangsak Ming-olo ...
Somkuan 'Kuan' Siroon ...
Chorn Solyda ...


In 1965, while bombing Laos in a classified mission, the propeller plane of the German-American US Navy pilot Dieter Dengler is hit and crashes in the jungle. Dieter is arrested by the peasants, tortured by the Vietcong and sent to a prisoner camp, where he meets five other mentally deranged prisoners and guards. He becomes close to Duane and organizes an escape plan; however, the unstable Gene opposes to Dieter's plan. When they discover that there is no more food due to the constant American bombings in the area and their guards intend to kill them, Dieter sets his plan in motion. However, an unexpected betrayal splits the group and Dieter and Duane find that the jungle is their actual prison. Written by PHD, in CT USA

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

guard | prisoner | bombing | laos | jungle | See All (201) »


Based on the extraordinary true story of one man's fight for freedom See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some sequences of intense war violence and torture | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






| |

Release Date:

27 July 2007 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Rescate al amanecer  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$110,326 (USA) (6 July 2007)


$5,484,375 (USA) (26 October 2007)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


All the guards in the POW camp were based on true characters from Dieter Dengler's story except for 'Walkie Talkie' who is a fictional creation of the director. See more »


The type of aircraft changed in the crash scene: Dieter Dengler's aircraft was an AD-1 Skyraider. The tail section of the crashed aircraft in the rice paddy is most likely that of a North American AT-6 which has rounded vertical and horizontal tail profiles. The Skyraider has squared off tail profiles. See more »


[first lines]
Title Card: In 1965, few people believed that the still limited conflict in Viet Nam would turn into full scale war. / One of the first signs of what lay ahead was America's bombing of secret targets inside Laos.
See more »


Referenced in Jumper (2008) See more »


Mantram der Erdberuhung II
("Mantra of the Touching Heart")
Performed by Popol Vuh
Written by Florian Fricke
Published by Edition Popol Vuh
Courtesy of Anna Fricke and Johannes Fricke, under license from Edition Popol Vuh
See more »

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User Reviews

Exceptional POW film
30 July 2007 | by (Happy Land, who lives in a Gumdrop House on Lolly Pop Lane) – See all my reviews

After getting shot down in Laos, Dieter Dengler is captured, tortured, and eventually transported to a remote POW camp where he is united with fellow American pilots with the same problem. With the arrival of Dengler, a new spirit emerges among the group, and an escape plan soon hatches. RESCUE DAWN is a story of struggle, friendship, keeping one's sanity, and survival amidst a war-brewing Vietnam and its inhospitable jungles. Werner Herzog does a great job with his direction, giving his actors full reign as well as inspiring them to their creative peaks. Each actor in the film does their best with each role; none becoming too hammy or extreme in their techniques; with Bale, Zahn, and Davies all shedding flesh as well as comfort in preparation for their tasking roles. Great cinematography throughout, as the Laotian backdrop is realized vividly; looming stone cliffs and walls of vine add further quality to the prison feel, and empty fields and lush rain forest paints the wild of Vietnam effectively. The music is excellent, and serves the film nobly, never trying too hard for tears or pity. RESCUE DAWN is a feel-good movie without really trying to become one, which is where so many survival and hardship movies fail; but any imperfections this film does have, is certainly overshadowed by its obvious technical genius, excellent acting, and courageous story.

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