Rescue Dawn

July 27, 2007 0 By Fans
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)

Christian Bale and Werner Herzog in Rescue DawnStill of Steve Zahn in Rescue DawnSherri Saum at event of Rescue DawnStill of Christian Bale and Steve Zahn in Rescue DawnStill of Jeremy Davies in Rescue DawnStill of Steve Zahn in Rescue Dawn


A US Fighter pilot's epic struggle of survival after being shot down on a mission over Laos during the Vietnam War.

Release Year: 2006

Rating: 7.4/10 (48,908 voted)

Critic's Score: 77/100

Werner Herzog

Stars: Christian Bale, Steve Zahn, Jeremy Davies

In 1965, while bombing Laos in a classified mission, the propeller plane of the German-American US Navy pilot Dieter Dengler is hit and crashes in the jungle. Dieter is arrested by the peasants, tortured by the Vietcong and sent to a prisoner camp, where he meets five other mentally deranged prisoners and guards. He becomes close to Duane and organizes an escape plan; however, the unstable Gene opposes to Dieter's plan. When they discover that there is no more food due to the constant American bombings in the area and their guards intend to kill them, Dieter sets his plan in motion. However, an unexpected betrayal splits the group and Dieter and Duane find that the jungle is their actual prison.


Zach Grenier

Squad Leader

Marshall Bell


Christian Bale

Dieter Dengler

Toby Huss


Pat Healy




(as Gregory J. Qaiyum)

James Oliver

Jet Pilot

Brad Carr

U.S. Navy Pilot

Saichia Wongwiroj

Pathet Lao Guard

François Chau

Province Governor

(as Francois Chau)

Teerawat Mulvilai

Little Hitler

(as Teerawat 'Ka-Ge' Mulvilai)

Yuttana Muenwaja

Crazy Horse

Kriangsak Ming-olo


Somkuan 'Kuan' Siroon

Nook the Rook

Chorn Solyda

Walkie Talkie

A true story of survival… declassified.


Official Website:
Gibraltar Films |
MGM [United States] |

Release Date: 27 July 2007

Filming Locations: Alameda, California, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $10,000,000


Opening Weekend: $110,326
(8 July 2007)
(6 Screens)

Gross: $5,483,509
(21 October 2007)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?


Jeremy Davies lost 33 pounds for his role.


Incorrectly regarded as goofs:
During his captivity, Dieter is shown wearing his gold wedding band – it is generally regard as something no American pilot would do. However, on the DVD Walter Herzog explains a deleted scene where Dieter's ring is almost stolen. When the guards are transporting Dengler to prison they stop at a village. A man there threatens to kill Dieter unless he gives him his ring-a gift from his fiancée. When they leave the village Dieter tells the guards his ring was stolen and they return to the village. The guards cut off the villager's ring finger and return Dieter's ring to him. This is a factual event that haunted Dengler the rest of his life.


[first lines]

Title Card:
In 1965, few people believed that the still limited conflict in Viet Nam would turn into full scale war. / One of the first signs of what lay ahead was America's bombing of secret targets inside Laos.

User Review

One Flew over the Bamboo Hut

Rating: 9/10

For me, Werner Herzog will always be remembered for his haunting 1979
remake of "Nosferatu." Next to the silent-era original, it's probably
the greatest artistic statement ever put to film on the myth of the
vampire. Apart from that, he's been one of those fascinatingly
enigmatic European infant-terrible directors, brazenly going against
the studio system and doing whatever he damn well pleases, be it
documentaries or bizarre art films. "Rescue Dawn" comes as a huge
surprise, and proving that he still does whatever he pleases, is a
dramatized version of the true story of Vietnam POW Dieter Dengler that
Herzog previously filmed as a documentary in 1997 entitled "Little
Dieter Needs to Fly." Masterfully realized, "Rescue Dawn" emerges as
Herzog's most accessible film. After over 30 years of film-making, he's
gone "Hollywood" but has done it on his own terms.

"Rescue Dawn" features classical and feverishly transcendent direction
from Herzog, breathtaking cinematography of Laos and Vietnam from Peter
Zeitlinger, a triumphant and evocative music score from Klaus Bedelt,
and Oscar-worthy performances from an amazing cast. In the lead role of
Dieter, Christian Bale once again puts his whole body into the
character (as he did in "The Machinist"). Bale has become one of those
rare actors whose every role seems to be the performance of his career.
Also noteworthy are Jeremy Davies ("Saving Private Ryan," and
"Ravenous") as Eugene from Eugene, Oregon, who seems to always get cast
as the most emotionally unstable soldier, and a shockingly good and
sympathetic Steve Zahn as Duane. Herzog puts the cast through the
ringer in artistically rendered depictions of torture, horror, and
survival in the harshest of conditions. Even in some of the most
cringe-worthy scenes, Herzog turns what could've been wallowing on its
head–witness the fantastic transition from Bale eating live worms and
one crawling in his beard to a beautiful caterpillar leisurely making
its way across a leaf in the peaceful jungle.

Essentially what we have here is the war-movie version of Milos
Foreman's "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest" as Herzog depicts a group
of average men who were slightly crazy already becoming increasingly
more mad through involuntary imprisonment. While Bale's character
refuses to be held down and is constantly trying to keep his brain and
skills sharp through plotting an escape, some of his fellow prisoners
are rendered hopeless as they have turned their own minds into the most
impenetrable walls. Herzog does a great job of depicting tiny bits of
humanity and dignity shining through in the most inhumane conditions,
and how the will to survive can triumph over death. He's somehow
crafted a movie that is both boldly anti-establishment and
unapologetically pro-soldier and patriotism. Being based on a true
story where the ending is known to the viewer doesn't take away from
the white-knuckle suspense and human drama. Unlike Foreman's classic
from the 1970's, where Jack Nicholson (mirrored here by Bale) flew over
the cuckoo's nest and disappeared into his own insanity, Herzog gives
up hope. One flew over the bamboo hut…and he made it.