In the annals of history’s great escapes there is no other story like that of Dieter Dengler, the only American to ever break out of a POW camp in the impenetrable Laotian jungle. After months plotting his getaway and a death-defying journey through some of the world’s fiercest wilderness, Dengler appeared at his first press conference looking like a dashing movie star and showing neither sentimentality nor bitterness – simply an indomitable will to survive that allowed him to triumph against impossible odds.
Now, from legendary director Werner Herzog and starring acclaimed actor Christian Bale comes the incredible true story of a renegade who, from the depths of total darkness, blazed his own willful path to freedom. A blistering adventure and a stark epic of survival, RESCUE DAWN reveals how Dieter Dengler relied on the most primal qualities of evasion, endurance, tenacity and courage to find his way home.
Dieter had dreamed of flying since his childhood in wartime Germany. The only place he ever wanted to be was in the sky, but now, on his very first top-secret mission over Laos, the ace aviator’s plane is shot down to earth. Trapped in an impassable jungle far from U.S. control, Dengler is soon captured by notoriously dangerous Pathet Lao soldiers. Though he quickly realizes he is in the most terrifying and vulnerable of circumstances, he never gives an inch.
After a shocking initial ordeal, he is taken to a small Laotian prison camp, where he meets two American soldiers already held captive for a stultifying two years – both nearly broken in spirit. Duane can only recommend keeping quiet to stay alive, while the barely sane “Gene from Eugene” insists they are all about to be released any minute now. But Dengler has no intention of sticking around the nightmarish camp, so he begins to dream up an escape plan that takes his fellow prisoners by surprise with its savvy and audacity. Dengler doesn’t even know where he is – but he knows with unwavering certainty that he must not stop fighting for his life. As he makes his way into the jungle, his journey will never let up, as it takes him from the bonds of fraternity to the brink of despair, to one of the most remarkable rescues in modern history.