7.8/10
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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 »
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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

Two Lieutenants, Chard of Engineers and Bromhead find that their 140 man contingent in Natal has been isolated by the destruction of the main British Army column and that 4,000 Zulu warriors will descend on them in hours. Each has a different military background in tactics and they are immediatly in conflict on how to prepare for the attack. Nearly a third of the men are in the infirmary, as the welsh company tries to somehow survive with no help in sight. Based on a true story.

Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

These are the days and nights of fury and honor and courage and cowardice that an entire century of empire-making and film-making can never surpass! 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

Stanley Baker owned John Chard's Victoria Cross (and other medals) from 1972 until his death in 1976. Originally thought to be what is known as a "cast copy", the Victoria Cross was later proven, after a series of tests, to be the original. Unfortunately, Baker died, never knowing he had the real V.C. See more »

Goofs

In the film it is said that the Zulus brought rifles captured at Isandlwana. While the Zulu force at Rorke's Drift did have a small number of old muskets, no captured British weapons from Isandlwana were used, since this force did not fight at Isandlwana but was the reserve or "loins" force. No Zulus who fought at Isandlwana could have traveled as far as Rorke's Drift in time for the second battle. The muskets used at Rorke's Drift had no effect on the battle. See more »

Quotes

Reverend Otto Witt: [shouting, drunkenly] He breaketh the bow and snappeth the spear in sunder!
Color Sgt. Bourne: [under his breath] I shall be exalted among the 'eathens... I shall be exalted in the Earth.
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 »

Connections

Spoofed in St Trinian's 2: The Legend of Fritton's Gold (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Men of Harlech
(uncredited)
Traditional
Performed by soldiers
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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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