7.8/10
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235 user 49 critic

Zulu (1964)

Unrated | | Drama, History, War | 17 June 1964 (USA)
Outnumbered British soldiers do battle with Zulu warriors at Rorke's Drift.

Director:

Writers:

(original screenplay), (original screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Popularity
4,652 ( 224)

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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James Booth ...
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Colour - Sergeant Bourne
Ivor Emmanuel ...
Paul Daneman ...
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David Kernan ...
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Peter Gill ...
Tom Gerrard ...
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Storyline

Zululand, South Africa, 1879. The British are fighting the Zulus and one of their columns has just been wiped out at Isandlwana. The Zulus next fix their sights on the small British outpost at Rorke's Drift. At the outpost are 150 British troops under the command of Lieutenants Bromhead and Chard. In the next few days these 150 troops will fight about 4,000 Zulus in one of the most courageous battles in history. Written by grantss

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Dwarfing The Mightiest! Towering Over The Greatest! See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

17 June 1964 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Zulu  »

Box Office

Budget:

$3,500,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(35 mm magnetic prints)| (70 mm prints)| (35 mm optical prints)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Colour Sergeant Bourne, shown as a much older man in the film, was only 24 during the defense of Rorke's Drift, and was the last defender of the post to die, as an honorary Lieutenant Colonel, on VE Day, May 8, 1945, at the age of 91. See more »

Goofs

The young soldier guarding Witt addresses Color Sgt. Bourne as "Sir." Bourne was not a commissioned officer and would not have been addressed as "Sir" but as either "Sergeant" or "Color Sergeant". See more »

Quotes

Surgeon Maj. Reynolds: You know what you've got there, my malingering Hector?
Pte. Henry Hook: No, sir. Hook's the name, sir.
Surgeon Maj. Reynolds: You've got a fine glistening boil, my friend. There's one glistening boil for every soldier in Africa. You may not get any medals in this campaign, Hook, but you'll certainly get more boils. For every gunshot wound I probe, I expect to lance 3 boils.
[brandishing a lance]
Pte. Henry Hook: A spot of medicinal brandy would set me up, sir!
Surgeon Maj. Reynolds: Brandy's for heroes, Mr. Hook. The rest of you will make do with boils on your skin, flies ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

The title has fire within its letters, and it flies directly at the screen. Additionally, the title itself doesn't appear on screen until after the opening credits have finished rolling. See more »


Soundtracks

Men of Harlech
(uncredited)
Traditional
Performed by soldiers
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Men of Harlech onto glory.
6 July 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

"In the hundred years since the Victoria Cross was created for valour and extreme courage beyond that normally expected of a British soldier in the face of the enemy, only 1,344 have been awarded, 11 of these were won by the defenders of the mission station at Rorke's Drift, Natal, January 22nd to the 23rd 1879"

Just typing out that spoken narration from Richard Burton brings me out into goose pimples, and the hairs on the back of my neck stand to attention, Zulu quite simply is my favourite film of all time, and my love for cinema to this day owes its credit to this 1964 masterpiece.

Zulu is a perfectly staged, perfectly acted account of the British defence of Rorke's Drift, where 139 British soldiers held off 4000 Zulu Warriors at the height of the Anglo-Zulu War. Its strength is not in romanticism or over sentimentality in the name of glossy hard sell, the crux lies with just being a tale of pure courage, a tale of pure stoic heroism, it sticks vigorously to the actual events, and thus the film plays out with genuine honesty that few other War pictures can ever lay claim to.

Where does one start when outlaying the brilliance this picture has to offer? The Natal location is stunning, beautiful lush rolling hills dwarf this tiny outpost, the sky a never ending eye witness to the courage unfolding, Stephen Dade's photography perfectly capturing this colourful extravaganza. The direction from the criminally undervalued Cy Enfield is excellent, along with his star and producer (Stanley Baker in a role of a lifetime) he manages to direct some of the most amazing battle sequences put onto the screen, the discipline of man to man combat perfectly orchestrated by Enfield. The Zulu extras, who once had no idea what they was supposed to do at first, finally grasped the concept of movie making and added weight to the drama. It's now down in legend that Baker showed the chiefs a Gene Autry Western and that got them into the swing of things!

The acting right through the cast is astonishing, Baker, Michael Caine, Jack Hawkins, James Booth, Nigel Green, Ivor Emmanuel and Patrick Magee are just some of the cast that shine bright and bold. John Barry's score is blood pumping to the maximum, swirling strings collide with thumping base drums to give one the feeling of invincibility. Ernest Archer's art decoration, Arthur Newman's costumes and of course the John Prebble screenplay that is Zulu's heart. I could go on and name everyone involved in this picture, such is the admiration I have for the work involved. But really the story sells itself, not a glossy British victory in sight, this is not just another British fable of imperialistic fervour, it's just a tale of bayonets with guts behind them, and ultimately a story of when men really were men, all in the line of duty.

Men of Harlech onto glory...10/10 and then some.


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