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
At the beginning (set in 1966), the pilots are making fun of a survival film. However, the survival film was made in 1967 according to the documentary "Little Dieter Needs to Fly". See more »
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.
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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 »
I am amazed at how many people are so consumed with Anti-War fever that they can't appreciate a true story about a man who overcomes something that most people couldn't. If it does not reinforce their preconceptions then they consider it propaganda. Yet these same people hale anything, no matter how absurdly ridiculous that reinforces their beliefs. They completely miss the point. Their own prejudices keep them from recognizing and appreciating a work of art when they see it. Many of today's filmmakers seeking to make both fictional films and documentaries about the war in Iraq, as well as wars from the past, are running into a brick wall. Both Hollywood and the Independent Film Industry are refusing to show films that do not take a distinctive anti-war slant. Filmmakers that show an objective view of warfare, neither taking a position for or against the war, are finding it next to impossible to get their films shown. Likewise, if the film is even remotely related to a war and does not blatantly condemn it then it does not get shown. Just ask Nick Bicanic & Jason Bourque how hard it was for them to get their excellent documentary about the modern day use of Private Security Companies seen. As them how many studios offered to purchase the rights to film if they would only change the tone to one of condemnation rather than examination. I get the sense, from the back story about the lack of financing Herzog was able to get for this project that he ran into the same problem. Frankly I am appalled. The industry, both mainstream and independent, are pushing their own agendas over all else. The art form is suffering greatly for it. I congratulate filmmakers like Bicanic and Herzog for refusing to take no for answer. As for this film, it honors a man who risked his life not only for his country but for his fellow POWs. You can hate war and still respect the men and women who were called upon to fight it. You can hate war and still call a POW who escapes capture despite impossible odds a hero. You can hate the war in Iraq and appreciate the sacrifices the men and women who are fighting it are making on your behalf. Don't let your own personal bias lead you to make a mistake you'll regret for the rest of your life. Protest the war all you like, just do it in a way that does not belittle the airmen, soldiers, sailors and marines who are fighting it. Whether you agree with their decision or not, they deserve your understanding and your respect. Just as Dieter Dengler, the POW on whom this film is based, deserves your respect. Don't belittle his sacrifice by politicizing this film. Whether you agree with his decision to become fighter pilot or not, his accomplishments.
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