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Little Dieter Needs to Fly (Widescreen)

Dieter Dengler , Werner Herzog , Werner Herzog    Unrated   DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Product Description

Product Description

An incredible tale of courage and survival against impossible odds. The man's name is Dieter Dangler. He was born in the Black Forest of Germany. As a child, he watched his village destroyed by American warplanes, and one flew so close to his attic window that for a split second he made eye contact with the pilot flashing past. At that moment, Dieter Dengler knew that he needed to fly.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A Must for Rescue Dawn Film Fans Aug. 21 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I enjoy films based on real life, hence my introduction to pilot Dieter Dengler was first by watching Rescue Dawn. I was intrigued to learn more and as many movies take liberties even with "real life" incidents, purchasing this documentary was a chance for me to also separate fact from fiction. If you enjoyed Rescue Dawn and have similar interests then purchasing this documentary would be a good investment.

We get up close and personal with Dieter in this documentary and learn more about what makes him tick...how events in his life affected his ability and resolve to live and escape the POW camp he was placed in after the plane he was piloting was shot down over Laos. As we learn about the horrors these POWs endured, one cannot help but ask if we found ourselves in a similar situation would we give up completely, just continue to exist until time ran out, or strive to survive against overwhelming odds? This is a story about the human spirit.

It is also interesting to learn a little more about the older Dieter... How he has adjusted to the world as the years have gone by. I highly recommend this documentary.

Unfortunately, as seems often the case these days, Anchor Bay does not include English captions or subtitles for the hard of hearing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting May 1 2004
By A Customer
Director Werner Herzog is obsessed with obsession. Practically all his films feature protagonists in the grip of a passion so powerful that it creates ruin for them and everyone around them. Yet it also creates a sort of tragic grandeur. The viewer feels that, in some strange inexplicable way, it was worth all the pain and suffering involved.
Since his falling out with the major movie studios in his native Germany, Herzog has restricted himself to making documentaries (they're a lot cheaper to produce than dramatic films like Fitzcarraldo or Aguirre), but he brings to them the same passionate commitment and haunting poetic sensibility that informed his famous dramas.
Here the subject is the German-American pilot Dieter Dengler, a man who, as a little boy, fell in love with flight when he made eye contact with the pilot of an Allied plane that was strafing his Bavarian village in WWII. At the age of 18 he moved to America and eventually became a Navy pilot, only to be shot down over Laos during the Vietnam War. Captured by Laotian guerillas and handed over to North Vietnamese soldiers, he endured unbelievable suffering and made a brilliant, heroic escape from a POW camp. Herzog takes Mr. Dengler back to the jungles of Laos to re-enact his ordeals. All this is intercut with scenes from his comfortable home on Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County, as well as his quaint little hometown in the Black Forest of Germany. Mr. Dengler is a charming, garrulous raconteur who hardly ever interrupts his fascinating, rapid-fire narration. During those rare moments when he is overcome by emotion and falls silent, it is deeply moving for him and for us. He has clearly suffered much in order to fulfill his dreams of flight. His obsession caused him tremendous pain, but it also saved him.
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This is simply an astonishing film from Herzog. For those who are familiar with Herzog, he has once again found a character - in this case Dieter Dengler - who becomes more and more fascinating upon closer examination. Herzog's films always have the sense of being impressionistic -- he throws the images up on the screen, and they may not always follow each other in a linear fashion, but they nearly always have a sustained, cumulative effect that, by the end of the film, is deeply emotional and troubling.
In this film, the good natured subject starts talking at the beginning and never stops -- Herzog has found someone perhaps even more voluble than he is -- and the audience is perfectly set up by his cheerful good naturedness and lucid observations, because by the end of the film we discover just how unimaginably damaged this person has been by life. The unfolding final images of the film are completely striking in the usual Herzogian sense (if you've seen something like "Lessons of Darkness" you'll have some sense of what to expect), but the meaning is ambiguous: is this a kind of heaven for little boys that love to fly? Or is this a hi-tech graveyard ...
Like Herzog's best (e.g. Even Dwarves, Aguirre, Nosferatu, Lessons and My Best Fiend), you simply cannot take your eyes off this movie.
Have fun!
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Seeing this presented by Herzog at a college lecture it was clear that it made a lot of the audience uncomfortable in its depiction of violence and political aggression.
He was at pains during the question/answer session to demonstrate that his film is about an individual who is obsessed with a dream and goes through extreme conditions as a result. Dieter was not trying to fly in Vientnam. He was trying to fly and the sacrifice was to endure the hardships of POW enprisenment and war.
Its not a study of right and wrong. Its a study of dreams and their costs. Once again melding his own obsessive dreams with his subject matter, he builds one of his best documentaries.
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