Rescue Dawn (2007) - Rotten Tomatoes

Rescue Dawn (2007)



Critic Consensus: Director Werner Herzog has once again made a compelling tale of man versus nature, and Christian Bale completely immerses himself in the role of fighter pilot (and prisoner of war) Dieter Dengler.

Movie Info

In the annals of history's great escapes there is no other story like that of Dieter Dengler, the only American to ever break out of a POW camp in the impenetrable Laotian jungle. After months plotting his getaway from a harrowing prison and a death-defying journey through some of the world's fiercest wilderness, Dengler appeared at his first press conference looking like a dashing movie star and showing neither sentimentality nor bitterness - simply an indomitable will to survive that allowed him to triumph against impossible odds.more
Rating: PG-13 (for some sequences of intense war violence and torture)
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure
Directed By:
Written By: Werner Herzog
In Theaters:
On DVD: Nov 20, 2007
Box Office: $5.3M


Christian Bale
as Dieter Dengler
Teerawat Mulvilai
as Little Hitler
Pat Healy
as Norman
Toby Huss
as Spook
Evan Jones
as Lessard
François Chau
as Province Governor
Craig Gellis
as Corporal
as Farkas
Zach Grenier
as Squad Leader
James Oliver
as Jet Pilot
Brad Carr
as U.S. Navy Pilot
Saichia Wongwiroj
as Pathet Lao Guard
Yuttana Muenwaja
as Crazy Horse
Chorn Solyda
as Walkie Talkie
Emmanuel O.
as Corporal
Richard Manning
as Helicopter Pilot
Stefany Putnam
as Nurse No. 3
Katherine Roberts
as Nurse No. 4
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Rescue Dawn

Critic Reviews for Rescue Dawn

All Critics (162) | Top Critics (45)

Rescue Dawn may not feel much like a Herzog movie, but it's a gripping real-life thriller.

Full Review… | October 18, 2008
Top Critic

Unlike a traditional Hollywood movie, Rescue Dawn follows the pacing and irony of real life. It is far from predictable and far from formulaic.

Full Review… | April 28, 2014
7M Pictures

The jungle has been very good to Werner Herzog.

Full Review… | April 28, 2011
East Bay Express

Werner Herzog isn't interested in patriotism as product placement, like other directors might be. Though uncommonly somber, "Dawn" is still an engrossing prison-break film. It's not "The Great Escape." It's "The Sheer, Dumb Luck Escape."

Full Review… | September 17, 2010

Dumps traditional war movie bravado in favor of a subtler touch, and softens the blow of an unspeakable ordeal by shooting it amidst a series of jarringly beautiful and poetic canvases.

Full Review… | June 9, 2010

Bale's lack of ambiguity points to the biggest limitation of a film that makes the grade as an adventure yarn by ignoring the most disturbing implications of its story.

Full Review… | April 23, 2009
Boston Phoenix

Audience Reviews for Rescue Dawn

Werner Herzog's Rescue Dawn is a stunning war drama with some impressive performances from its cast. This is a superb film that is tense, thrilling and highly memorable from start to finish. The story is engaging from start to finish, and it's a surprising film with plenty to enjoy. Werner Herzog is more famous for directing documentaries, however here he crafts a stunning film based on facts, and he proves that he is able to make something truly engaging here that equals his documentaries. I found this to be a standout Vietnam War film, one that was quite different as well because it's a story about survival against strong odds. The story is well layered and thoroughly engaging and you are just sucked into the film's story. There has been criticism about Christian Bale's casting, but I thought he was good in the role and he had some good range that he would showcase in many other dramatic roles. Rescue Dawn succeeds on many levels, and if you enjoy the genre, this is a film well worth your time. The film blends effective action with tense dramatic moments and in turn it really makes the film that much better. With standout direction and a great story, Rescue Dawn is a war film that manages to standout among others because it feels very personal because it follows the journey of one man in order to survive his ordeal as a POW to his escape and rescue. This is a must watch for genre fans, and I feel that Bale deserves more praise than what he got. With a fine blend of drama and war, this film succeeds at being a unique and memorable viewing experience.

Alex roy

Super Reviewer


Excellent performances by Bale and Zahn. (I know...Zahn! Who knew?) It's a fascinating history lesson with a compelling story and strong character development.

Christian C

Super Reviewer


Christian Bale stars in this true life story of Dieter Dengler, a German born American pilot who was shot down during a classified mission over Laos and was later interned at and escaped from a Vietcong prisoner of war camp. All the usual prisoner of war ingredients are here and once again Bale proves his willingness to suffer for his art, genuinely undergoing many of the harrowing ordeals Dengler went through, including water torture, eating maggots and wrestling with leeches and poisonous snakes. The documentary approach gives the film a genuine credibility but I also found it a little dry, as I didn't really feel any emotional attachment to the characters. It's certainly a well made and interesting film though, and Herzog skillfully side steps the usual flag waving histrionics that would probably have resulted from an American director's involvement, at least until the rather overly feelgood ending. It's beautifully photographed and Steve Zahn is suitable harrowed as his escape companion, but once again it's Christian Bale's performance that makes the film. A good, solid prisoner of war film although it may be a little uneventful for some tastes.

xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

Rescue Dawn Quotes

Gene: We will be released when the rains come.
– Submitted by Frances H (2 years ago)
Dieter Dengler: The quick have their sleep walkers and so do the dead.
– Submitted by Frances H (2 years ago)
Dieter Dengler: God, how can it get this hot?
– Submitted by Frances H (2 years ago)
Dieter Dengler: Empty what is full, fill what is empty, scratch where it itches. That's it.
– Submitted by Ahmed I (3 years ago)

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