Little Dieter Needs to Fly

Little Dieter Needs to Fly

Little Dieter Needs to Fly (1997). Directed by Werner Herzog.

When I learned that the Hollywood film Rescue Dawn (2006) was based on the documentary film Little Dieter Needs to Fly, I had to see it.

Dieter Dengler is a true survivor. During World War II he survived the Allied bombings and postwar poverty in Germany. He was beaten regularly as he apprenticed to be a blacksmith but he really wanted to be a pilot.

He emigrated to the US and peeled potatoes in the US Air Force until he got the chance to fly for the Navy. In 1966 during the Viet Nam war he was shot down over Laos and became a prisoner of war. Down to 85 pounds, he managed to escape the POW camp, endure monsoons, leeches, and angry villagers with machetes until he was rescued.

Dengler took an early retirement from the Armed Forces and became a civilian test pilot. He survived another 4 crashes. Death didn’t want him is how Herzog explains it with his unique voiceover narration and a quote from Reveleation to set the tone for the film.

Little Dieter Needs to Fly

Through a series of interviews, archival footage and reenactments, Dieter tells the story of his fascinating life. Along the way we begin to understand how Dieter is haunted by his past.

Herzong captures the story of Dieter Dengler’s life brilliantly in this documentary and I think you’ll find that it is a better film than Rescue Dawn.

Posted in DVD Reviews at 12:32 PM