LITTLE DIETER NEEDS TO FLY (1997)
The documentary inspiration for Rescue Dawn, Werner Herzog's earlier documentary of the same story is just a rivetting as the Christian Bale Vietnam POW movie.
Although softly spoken, the German Dieter Dengler is clearly a Herzog man. Driven, a little mad, utterly magnetic, he first realised his life belonged in the skies when American planes destroyed his village in WWII, one flying so low he made eye contact with the pilot.
All the abuses seen in Rescue Dawn, hung upside down with an ants' nest over his head, starved, chained to other POWs, battling a snake for food, are all recounted here. Herzog even restages the forced marches Dengler was taken on, something that brings back a lot of memories.
Although cheery, the incarceration left its scars. Dengler is shown obsessively opening and closing doors to ensure he's not locked in, and sleeping with a ton of food under the floorboards.
FACT: Dengler came to America with no money or English, determined to join the USAF.