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LITTLE DIETER NEEDS TO FLY
(Anchor Bay) DVD. 1998. Documentary. 74 minutes. NR. Directed by Werner Herzog. As a young boy in Germany during WWII, Dieter Dengler got a bird’s eye view as Allied planes bombed his small town to oblivion. Knowing that being a pilot was his life’s calling, Dieter left Germany for America at the tender age of 18 to pursue his dream. After a few years of working nights, going to school during the day, and living out of a van, Dieter joined the Navy as a pilot and was shipped off to Vietnam in 1965. Sounds like a heart filled dream come true right? Nope. During one of his first missions, Dieter was shot down over Laos and taken prisoner. After months of torture and starvation, Dieter and a few of his fellow POWs were able to escape their captures. This is his story.
               
Very compelling story, documentary, and man. In this documentary, director Werner Herzog (who also narrates) takes you to the jungles of Laos and gives you a first hand look at what Dieter had to deal with as a POW. At one point, Dieter exhibits how he was handcuffed and rushed through the jungle with a bunch of gun touting Vietnamese and, although this is staged, you can see the look of fear and remembrance as Dieter utters, “This is hitting a little too close to home.” As you can imagine, Dieter’s experience has left him with some demons and it’s kind of interesting, for lack of a better word, seeing how he deals with them. Not only was I immediately drawn into this story, but my brother became just as enthralled after stumbling into the room 15 minutes into the DVD. If life flew by as fast as this 74 minute DVD did, I’d be dead right now. Amazing, and scary, story of courage and survival. – Denis Sheehan

 

 

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