Little Dieter Needs to Fly View large image

Film Details

Directed by: Werner Herzog

Produced: 1997

Countries & Regions: France, Germany, United Kingdom

DVD Details

Certificate: E

Length: 71 mins

Format: DVD

Released: 4 October 2010

Cat No: SODA051

Extras:
Screen ratio 1:1.78
Dolby Digital 5.1

Moviemail Details

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Little Dieter Needs to Fly

Cast: Werner Herzog , Dieter Dengler

DVD
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In this award-winning documentary, acclaimed director Werner Herzog tells the remarkable story of Dieter Dengler, a German who moved to... Read More

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In this award-winning documentary, acclaimed director Werner Herzog tells the remarkable story of Dieter Dengler, a German who moved to America at the age of 18 to enlist in the U.S. Air Force. After being shipped off to Vietnam, Dieter was shot down over Laos and taken prisoner. Despite torture and starvation - at one point he weighed 85 pounds - he escaped, and after a harrowing journey through the jungle on foot, returned home. Herzog accompanies Dieter back to the jungle to tell his incredible tale.
Little Dieter Needs to Fly, a 1997 documentary by director Werner Herzog about the life of Vietnam war hero Dieter Dengler, begins with a quotation from the Book of Revelations: "And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it, and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them." As the film starts, Dieter walks into a tattoo shop in San Francisco and looks at a painting of Death in a fiery, horse-drawn chariot. "Death didn't want me," he says, referring to his survival after six months in a Viet Cong prison camp.

Dieter came to the United States when he was only 18, joined the Navy and was trained to become a pilot. He moved to California and was sent to Vietnam in 1966. "It all looked strange," Dieter says, "like a distant barbaric dream." On his first mission as a pilot, Dieter was shot down and captured by the Pathet Lao, then later turned over to the Viet Cong. He remained a prisoner in Laos for six months.

Herzog documents Dengler's life from his childhood in Wildburg in the Black Forest region of Germany to his escape and rescue from Laos. Told through archival footage, dream sequences, recreations in actual jungle locations, exotic music, and surreal imagery, the film is divided into four chapters, each representing a period from Dengler's life. Like a Greek tragedy, Herzog has named the sequences: The Man, His Dream, Punishment, and Redemption. Little Dieter Needs to Fly is an unforgettable film that moves beyond the limitations of the genre to become a moving testament to both the absurdity of war and the resilience of the spirit. Be sure to watch past the end credits on the DVD edition. There is a postscript that truly completes the experience.

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