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Rescue Dawn (2006)

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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.

Director:

Werner Herzog

Writer:

Werner Herzog
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4,679 ( 688)
1 win & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Christian Bale ... Dieter Dengler
Zach Grenier ... Squad Leader
Marshall Bell ... Admiral
Toby Huss ... Spook
Pat Healy ... Norman
GQ ... Farkas (as Gregory J. Qaiyum)
James Aaron Oliver ... Jet Pilot (as James Oliver)
Brad Carr ... U.S. Navy Pilot
Saichia Wongwiroj Saichia Wongwiroj ... Pathet Lao Guard
François Chau ... Province Governor (as Francois Chau)
Teerawat Mulvilai Teerawat Mulvilai ... Little Hitler (as Teerawat 'Ka-Ge' Mulvilai)
Yuttana Muenwaja Yuttana Muenwaja ... Crazy Horse
Kriangsak Ming-olo Kriangsak Ming-olo ... Jumbo
Somkuan 'Kuan' Siroon Somkuan 'Kuan' Siroon ... Nook the Rook
Chorn Solyda Chorn Solyda ... Walkie Talkie
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Storyline

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) »

Taglines:

This summer experience the incredible 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Luxembourg

Language:

English | Lao | Vietnamese

Release Date:

27 July 2007 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Rescate al amanecer See more »

Filming Locations:

USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$110,326, 8 July 2007, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$5,490,423, 28 July 2012

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$7,177,143, 28 July 2012
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

SDDS | Dolby Digital | DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was shot in reverse continuity so Christian Bale, having worked hard to lose weight for the role, would appear the gauntest at the end, and then could simply gain the pounds back over the course of filming, working backwards through time so that when Bale returned to his average weight he would be filming his scenes as Dengler prior to being taken prisoner. See more »

Goofs

During Dieter's shoot-down scene, when the camera cuts to the flight instruments inside his plane, the altimeter is shown winding down rapidly from 57,000 feet yet he's just above the ground. Also note, the 10,000-foot indicator fails to move at all AND the rate of climb indicator shows a slight climb. See more »

Quotes

[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.
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Connections

Spun-off from Little Dieter Needs to Fly (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Phantom of the Night
Performed by Ernst Reijseger (as Ernst Reijseger) (Solo)
Composed by Ernst Reijseger (as Ernst Reijseger) (BUMA)
Published by Winter & Winter (GEMA)
Ernst Reijseger appears courtesy of Winter & Winter, Munich, Germany
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The "Dawn" of Naturalism
23 August 2007 | by Jonny_NumbSee all my reviews

Writer-director Werner Herzog, whose films have always been marked by a rapport with the natural world, takes this trademark to Laos in "Rescue Dawn," a compelling, intimate account of the Vietnam conflict. Based on the real-life tale of Dieter Dengler (Christian Bale), a German-born/American-bred fighter pilot with a cocky, cowboy-like demeanor, the film goes for realism and largely succeeds. The setting is a microscopic POW camp where Dengler and a half-dozen prisoners, including Dwight (Steve Zahn, playing well against type) and Gene (Jeremy Davies--"Saving Private Ryan") plot an escape. Interestingly, the extensive Vietnamese spoken in the film is not subtitled, which actually adds to the strong sense of isolation incurred from the POWs' position. Herzog also paints "Rescue Dawn" as a timely meditation on the Iraq War--while Dieter's John Wayne persona (that takes a drastically different turn in the second half) could be read as an endorsement of American militarism, we see the emaciated, defeated prisoners almost as symbols of a war that's been "lost" from the beginning; even later in the film, the Vietnamese captors begin to show the same signs of fatigue and desperation. The whole concept of "escape" is essential to making an entertaining, suspenseful film (which "Rescue Dawn" certainly is), but also reflective of a current foreign-policy mess that should have been curtailed before it even began. But Herzog is subtle in his politics, and lets the jungle do most of the talking--once Dieter and his fellow prisoners escape, the road to a "happy ending" is anything but "cut and dry." The director often puts us in the midst of torture and terror, but also milks moments of surprising humor to great effect, and gets excellent performances from the entire cast (while Bale is top-billed, Zahn and Davies are the real standouts). My only real complaint about the film is a conclusion that comes off as contrived and unnecessary, stretching the credibility of the harrowing realism that came before. Otherwise, "Rescue Dawn" is one of 2007's standout features.


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