Dengler, Dieter -- Biography, Prisoners of war -- Laos -- Biography, Prisoners of war -- United States -- Biography, Vietnam War, 1961-1975 -- Personal narratives, American, Vietnam War, 1961-1975 -- Prisoners and prisons, Laotian

Little Dieter Needs to Fly

(Flucht aus Laos)

Imported 35mm Print


Dieter Dengler, Eugene Deatrick,

Dieter Dengler’s passionate desire to fly brought him from war-ravaged Germany to the United States in the 1950s. In 1966 Dengler’s US Navy bomber was downed by antiaircraft fire during a mission in Laos and he became a prisoner of war. Herzog films Dengler telling his astonishing story near his birthplace in Germany, at his home on Mount Tamalpais, and in Laos and Thailand, where, with the help of locals, Dengler reenacts the tortures he endured and explains how he survived. Despite Dengler’s rapid-fire, unsentimental narration, Herzog presents him as haunted, a fugitive from death, still mindful of lost comrades and the victims of his bombs.  

  • Peter Zeitlinger
  • Les Blank
  • English
  • German
Print Info
  • Color
  • 35mm
  • 80 mins
  • Deutsche Kinemathek
  • Werner Herzog Filmproduktion

CineFiles is an online database of BAMPFA's extensive collection of documentation covering world cinema, past and present.

View Little Dieter Needs to Fly documents  

Herzog and his heroes (review), New York Review of Books, Ian Buruma, 2007

Little Dieter needs to fly (review), Reader (Chicago, Ill.), Lisa Alspector, 1998

Little Dieter needs to fly (program note), Berlin and Beyond, 1998

Displaying 3 of 3 publicly available documents.

View all Little Dieter Needs to Fly documentation on CineFiles.

Preceded By


Jack Chambers, Canada, 1967

Chambers combines footage of the cultivation of hybrid roses with Vietnam War imagery in a disturbing condemnation of the destructive consequences of unchecked human power.

Print Info
  • Color
  • 16mm
  • Silent
  • 15 mins
  • Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre