Rescue Dawn


I snuck off to the movies the other day and ended up seeing Rescue Dawn because it was the one that was starting as I arrived at the Angelica Film Center.  What a cool movie. It’s a true story about a Navy pilot during the Vietnam War called Dieter Dengler who gets shot down over Laos and ends up being captured, tortured, and imprisoned. He leads an escape and then finds himself trapped again in the deep jungle. He’s finally rescued just after catching and eating half of a big grey snake. It’s a film by Werner Herzog that stars Christian Bale as Dengler (and evidently he really ate the maggots). Herzog made another movie about Dengler called Little Dieter Needs to Fly that is now number one in my Netflix queue, and Dengler wrote a book called Escape From Laos that is out of print and only available for $168 on AbeBooks. You’d think they would reprint the book on the release of this movie. Hello Random House?Rescue Dawn  It is the kind of real-life survival story that reminds me of Ernest Shackleton’s adventure on the Endurance, or the book Papillon that is one of my all time favorites and a huge inspiration to me when I was a kid. They always make me wonder how I would react to a life-and-death, seemingly hopeless situation. I mean come on, I am sweating like a pig and suffering in the heat of the subway station on the way home from work…


UPDATE: Some of the family members have started a website because they are upset about Herzog’s portrayal of Dengler as the only real hero of the story despite the fact that the prisoners acted as a team. This seems particularly true in the case of Eugene DeBruin who is portrayed in the movie as a psycho who has gone crazy and lost the will to live. (Exactly how I am afraid I would act…). 


1 Comment

Filed under Adventure, Dieter Dengler, films, movie, Rescue Dawn, vietnam, Werner Herzog

One response to “Rescue Dawn

  1. Pingback: Werner Herzog – Rescue Dawn UPDATE: « BAMstutz

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