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

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.… More

Directed By:
Rated: Unrated
Running Time:
Genre: Documentary
Release Date: February 14, 1998
DVD Release Date: August 6, 2002
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Critic Score: 93% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews
Emanuel Levy

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.

Janet Maslin
New York Times

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

Leo Goldsmith
Not Coming to a Theater Near You

A compassionate and personal story of the brutality and oddity of war

Full review…
Edward Guthmann
San Francisco Chronicle

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.

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Nick Schager
Lessons of Darkness

A stunning tale of survival.

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Jeffrey M. Anderson
Combustible Celluloid

Dengler is a marvelous storyteller and opens his heart and soul for Herzog without hesitation.

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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times

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.

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Walter Chaw
Film Freak Central

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.

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Ed Gonzalez
Slant Magazine

Death did not want Dieter Dengler, whose life often sounds like that of a fairy tale character thrust into an existential wonderland.

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Flixster Audience Score: 94% Flixster User Reviews
Stephen M
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… More
Wu Chouin
Very insightful doc as Dieter Dengler retells his story of being a POW during Vietnam.
William Goss
Effortlessly compelling true story of US-German POW.
Grifty G
and you complain about your life?
Marcus Woolcott
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… More

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