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Little Dieter Needs to Fly (1997)

German-American Dieter Dengler discusses his service as a U.S. naval pilot in the Viet Nam War. Dengler also revisits the sites of his capture and eventual escape from the hands of the Viet Cong, recreating many events for the camera.

Director:

Werner Herzog

Writer:

Werner Herzog
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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 Dieter Dengler ... Himself
Werner Herzog ... Himself - Narrator (voice)
Eugene Deatrick 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

Country:

Germany | UK | France

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

2 October 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Flucht aus Laos See more »

Filming Locations:

San Francisco, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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 »

Goofs

The Movie Poster shows what's actually a German Luftwaffe aircraft painted with US markings. See more »

Quotes

Narrator: But from the air, Vietnam didn't seem real at all. For Dengler it was like a grid on a map. He had suddenly found himself not only a pilot, but a soldier caught up in a real war. But even though it was all very real, everything down there seemed to be so alien and so abstract. It all looked strange, like a distant barbaric dream.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The DVD release adds an epilogue which tells of Dieter Dengler's death from ALS in February 2001 and shows footage of his burial at Arlington National Cemetary. See more »

Connections

Version of Höllenfahrten: Flucht aus Laos (1998) See more »

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User Reviews

Powerfully Moving Documentary
9 September 2004 | by RobertF87See all my reviews

This documentary film from the great film-maker Werner Herzog, tells the story of Dieter Dengler, who grew up in Germany with a passion for flight. Emigrating to the US he joins the Army in order to become a pilot, during the Vietnam War.

Dieter's incredible story is told in his own words. Most of the film involves Dieter in the various locations of his story, describing what happened to him. Dieter comes across as very likable and good-natured. With his eye for the telling detail and surreal moment, Herzog once again explores the mysteries of the world and human nature.

This is a humorous, powerful and deeply moving work and is well worth catching.


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