Rescue Dawn

  • Directors: Werner Herzog
  • Producers: Elton Brand, Steve Marlton
  • Writers: Werner Herzog
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Biography, Drama, War
  • Actors: Christian Bale, Steve Zahn, Jeremy Davies

Dieter Dengler, a U.S. Navy pilot, is shot down in his A-1 Skyraider over Laos in 1965, while on a combat mission. He survives the crash only to be pursued, and ultimately captured, by a local militia of the Pathet Lao. Dieter is given the chance for leniency if he signs a document condemning America, but he refuses. He is tortured and taken to a prison camp. There he meets fellow American military members and Air America pilots, some of whom have been captive for years. Dieter begins planning an escape, much to the disbelief of his fellow captives, who have been downtrodden through physical and psychological torture from the camp guards.

Eventually, all the prisoners agree to escape, but they take separate routes through the jungle. Dieter and fellow captive Duane try to reach the Mekong River to cross over into Thailand. The pair are attacked and Duane is beheaded. Eventually, Dieter is rescued by an American helicopter but sequestered in a hospital due to the top secret nature of his mission. He is covertly taken back to his ship by his shipmates, where he is received as a hero by the entire crew.

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