Little Dieter Needs to Fly: Escape from Laos (1998) - Rotten Tomatoes

Little Dieter Needs to Fly: Escape from Laos (1998)

Little Dieter Needs to Fly: Escape from Laos (1998)

Little Dieter Needs to Fly: Escape from Laos




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Little Dieter Needs to Fly: Escape from Laos Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

While growing up in desolated post-WW II Germany, all Dieter Dengler, the son of a Nazi slain during the war, dreamed about was becoming a pilot. At age 18, he left his country with only a few cents to his name and emigrated to the U.S. Landing in San Francisco, he worked odd jobs until he was accepted into the Navy and began pilot training. He was sent to Vietnam around 1966 and on his first mission was shot down and taken prisoner. There, the Vietcong tortured and starved him until Dengler engineered a hair-raising escape and eventually returned to the U.S. where his heroic life story has been forgotten until now. Sometimes blurring the lines between fact and fiction with his trademark recurrent themes, this documentary from Werner Herzog remembers the times of the heroic Dengler. The film is divided into four chapters, each representing a period from Dengler's life; the story is recounted via interviews with the Navy pilot, archival footage and new footage seamlessly spliced together.more
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Documentary
Directed By:
Written By: Werner Herzog
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 6, 2002
Werner Herzog Filmproduktion

News & Interviews for Little Dieter Needs to Fly: Escape from Laos

Critic Reviews for Little Dieter Needs to Fly: Escape from Laos

All Critics (16) | Top Critics (4)

Werner Herzog's remarkable docu tells with sharp observation and witty humor the heroic tale of the imprisonment and escape of Dieter Dengler, a native German who became an American pilot in the Vietnam War; Dengler exudes plenty of charisma.

Full Review… | February 15, 2007
Top Critic

Little Dieter -- just slightly out of the realm of the ordinary -- but not enough to stand among the remarkable, mystical works that Herzog has delivered in the past.

Full Review… | April 20, 2001
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Herzog starts with a balding middle-aged man driving down a country lane in a convertible, and listens, questions and shapes, until the life experience of Dieter Dengler becomes unforgettable.

Full Review… | April 20, 2001
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

As often happens in Mr. Herzog's haunting documentaries, the most interesting figure seems to be the one behind the camera.

Full Review… | April 20, 2001
New York Times
Top Critic

A stunning tale of survival.

Full Review… | October 21, 2005
Lessons of Darkness

A summation of the director's work in so many ways that one is tempted to point the neophyte to it ahead of better-known Herzogs.

Full Review… | June 21, 2005
Film Freak Central

Audience Reviews for Little Dieter Needs to Fly: Escape from Laos

A documentary about a pilot's survival against the odds after being shot down in the Vietnam War. Dieter Dengler's origins in war-torn Germany and his subsequent embrace of the American Dream make his story all the more fascinating. I was worried it was going to turn a bit self-indulgent when Dengler started re-enacting his ordeal in the jungle, but it managed not to. Though he looks remarkably fit and well here, Dengler died of motor neurone disease only four years after this film.

Stephen M

Super Reviewer

Effortlessly compelling true story of US-German POW.

William Goss

Super Reviewer

An absolute must-see for those who liked Rescue Dawn as it tells the same story - but right from the mouth of Dengler. It's shocking to hear what he went through. It's also a Herzog documentary and therefore obviously brilliant.

Marcus Woolcott

Super Reviewer

Little Dieter Needs to Fly: Escape from Laos Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss Little Dieter Needs to Fly: Escape from Laos on our Movie forum!