MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 1,057 this week

Zulu Dawn (1979)

 -  Adventure | Drama | History  -  15 May 1979 (USA)
6.6
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.6/10 from 4,232 users  
Reviews: 59 user | 23 critic

A dramatization of the Battle of Isandlwana, where the British Army met its match against the Zulu nation.

Director:

Writers:

(original story and scenario), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
0Check in
0Share...

On Disc

at Amazon

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 34 titles
created 05 Dec 2010
 
a list of 36 titles
created 21 Jun 2011
 
a list of 39 titles
created 18 Dec 2011
 
a list of 47 titles
created 11 Feb 2013
 
a list of 40 titles
created 06 Nov 2013
 

Related Items

Search for "Zulu Dawn" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Zulu Dawn (1979)

Zulu Dawn (1979) on IMDb 6.6/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Zulu Dawn.

User Polls

1 win. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Khartoum (1966)
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

After an Egyptian army, commanded by British officers, is destroyed in a battle in the Sudan in the 1880's, the British government is in a quandary. It does not want to commit a British ... See full summary »

Directors: Basil Dearden, Eliot Elisofon
Stars: Charlton Heston, Laurence Olivier, Richard Johnson
Shaka Zulu (TV Mini-Series 1986)
Action | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A historical account on the life of the Zulu king Shaka.

Stars: Edward Fox, Robert Powell, Trevor Howard
Zulu (2013)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Policemen Ali Sokhela and Brian Epkeen investigate the brutal murder of a young white woman, apparently provoked by the availability of a new illegal drug and somehow connected to the disappearance of black street children.

Director: Jérôme Salle
Stars: Orlando Bloom, Forest Whitaker, Tanya van Graan
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

British District Officer in Nigeria in the 1930's rules his area strictly but justly, and struggles with gun-runners and slavers with the aid of a loyal native chief.

Director: Zoltan Korda
Stars: Paul Robeson, Leslie Banks, Nina Mae McKinney
Comedy | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Two Air Force friends have fun during their enlistment.

Director: Jack Webb
Stars: Robert Mitchum, Jack Webb, Martha Hyer
Zulu (1964)
Drama | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Outnumbered British soldiers do battle with Zulu warriors at Rorke's Drift.

Director: Cy Endfield
Stars: Stanley Baker, Jack Hawkins, Ulla Jacobsson
Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Faucett has obtained the deed to Banning's mine. Thinking the mine is worthless he sells it to Bob McVey. But when he learns the mine contains Tungsten, he sets out to get it back.

Director: David Howard
Stars: George O'Brien, Laraine Day, Ray Whitley
Tanned Legs (1929)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Peggy and Bill are high society lovebirds, but their marriage plans are put on hold while Peggy spends most of her summer straightening out her wayward parents and her unlucky-in-love ... See full summary »

Director: Marshall Neilan
Stars: Arthur Lake, June Clyde, Dorothy Revier
Half Marriage (1929)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

A young couple marries in secret. Judy's afraid her parents won't approve of Dick and she'll lose her generous allowance. Her parents bring her home from the city where she's been studying ... See full summary »

Director: William J. Cowen
Stars: Olive Borden, Morgan Farley, Ken Murray
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

In New York City, a young model is swept off her feet by a debonair, handsome young man. Unfortunately for her, he didn't want to get married but had been stringing her along. When she ... See full summary »

Director: John Francis Dillon
Stars: Dorothy Mackaill, Conrad Nagel, H.B. Warner
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The crew of the Pioneer Zephyr diesel train has only a few hours to deliver an iron lung to an injured man at the Boulder Dam construction site.

Director: Thomas Atkins
Stars: Burlington Zephyr, Sally Blane, Charles Starrett
The Very Idea (1929)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.9/10 X  

A Eugenics expert convinces his sister and her husband, a barren couple, to adopt the offspring of his carefully selected "thoroughbreds": the family's chauffeur and maid who themselves are engaged.

Directors: Frank Craven, Richard Rosson
Stars: Frank Craven, Hugh Trevor, Sally Blane
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Colonel Pulleine / Col. Pulleine
...
...
...
...
...
Pte. Williams (as Dai Bradley)
...
Donald Pickering ...
Nicholas Clay ...
...
Ian Yule ...
Peter J. Elliott ...
Brian O'Shaughnessy ...
Maj. Smith R.A. (as Brian O'Shaunnessy)
Edit

Storyline

In 1879 South Africa, the administrators of the British Cape Colony have designs to eliminate the Zulus as a hindrance to their colonial economy. To that end, the British present King Cetshwayo with an impossible ultimatum to provoke a war they are sure they can win easily with their rifles and artillery against native spears. However, that war proves more difficult than the arrogant British commander, Lord Chelmsford, expects as his overburdened army fruitlessly searches for the elusive enemy. However, in the shadow of a hill called Isandlwana, the overconfident British army learns to its sorrow just how badly they have underestimated the tactical skill and might of the Zulu nation. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The blood and thunder epic... a true story (dvd) See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Language:

|

Release Date:

15 May 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Amanecer Zulú  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

, ,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(as Dolby System Noise Reduction - High Fidelity)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

This film is the only credit as a producer for James Faulkner, whose credits are mostly for acting. He played Lt. Melville in this movie. See more »

Goofs

The crossing at Rorke's Drift was filmed at the actual location, but it was filmed showing the column crossing from Zulu Land into Natal. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Sir Henry Bartle Frere: [proofreading aloud the ultimatum he has just drafted] Cetshwayo's Zulu army to disband and the warriors permitted to return to their homes.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: One hundred years ago the British Colony of Natal in Southern Africa was surrounded by a vast and independent Zulu Kingdom.

In 1879, a battle took place that was forever to alter the course of Colonial history: ISANDHLWANA See more »

Connections

Referenced in Inglourious Basterds (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Men of Harlech
(uncredited)
Traditional
Heard when the troops depart for Zululand
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
More relevant now than ever.
21 December 2004 | by (Los Angeles, CA) – See all my reviews

Released in a badly cut version in 1979 just before the resurgent interest in Burt Lancaster for his performance in "Atlantic City and Peter O'Toole for "Stunt Man", this fine historical epic died an ignominious death at the box office, on the second half of a double bill with the horror film "Silent Scream". It was originally planned by Cy Endfield as a companion film to his 1964 classic, "Zulu". That film opened with a voice over of Richard Burton speaking Lord Chelmsford's communication to Prime Minister Disraeli detailing the massacre that befell a British column of about 1,800 British Infantrymen and native contingents at the hands of Zulu warriors at Isandlwana on January 22, 1879. This disaster left the 155 men at the mission post at Rorke's Drift to fend for themselves against several thousand Zulu warriors headed their way. "Zulu Dawn" chronicles the chain of events that led up to the British debacle at Isandlwana, the worst defeat ever suffered by a professional army at the hands of native forces in history.

Director Douglas Hickox keeps the film moving along and the film is an excellent example of adapting historical events to the needs of cinematic form and drama. In a little less than two hours the causes for the war as well as the roots of the disaster are laid out in clear, if simplified terms. The arrogance of the British Empire as personified by Sir Henry Bartle Frere, (John Mills in another stiff upper lip performance) and his chief lieutenant, Frederick Theisger, Lord Chelmsford, (Peter O'Toole, nicely understated and subdued) are in the filmmaker's view clearly responsible for a war that need never have been fought at all. The film also makes clear that Sir Henry initiated the conflict without the knowledge let alone consent of the British Government. But the arrogance and sense of entitlement that blinds Sir Henry to dealing with the Zulu in a just and legal manner affects all the participants involved, from the highest government official to the lowest private. It is the mistaken belief that technology, (exemplified here by rockets, cannons and rifles) somehow gives nations the right to take by force whatever they want. Handing Chelmsford his orders, Sir Henry asks, "Does this cover, Frederick what we both know to be right?" "Most excellently, Sir Henry." He replies. It is as if they both need spoken confirmation that the crime they are about to commit is in fact justified.

This English disdain is not just reserved for the Zulu, but for fellow countrymen as well. After Col. Hamilton-Brown, robustly played by Nigel Davenport refuses his table in order to be with his men still on the march, Chelmsford contemptuously warns his aide-de-camp, Lt. Hartford, sensitively played by Ronald Pickup to, "Learn nothing from that Irishman, except how not to behave." But his real distaste is reserved for Col. Anthony Durnford, a rough-hewn Irishman who has a way with the native troops. With his understanding of the Zulu warrior and his knowledge of the topography, Durnford would obviously be of great use in the coming campaign, but almost immediately there is tension between the two men. And with Burt Lancaster as Durnford it is easy to see why Chelmsford might feel threatened. Even with the use of only one arm, he is a natural leader of men, intelligent and charismatic and unlike Chelmsford he respects the Zulu. It is one of Lancaster's sage portrayals and this time he sports an Irish accent. Dialects were never one of his strong points and this one doesn't completely convince, but it is consistent and it underscores Durnford's isolation among the English who make up most of Chelmsford's staff. More importantly, even at 65, Lancaster has a bravado and dash which makes it understandable how he might warm the heart of beautiful young woman. Fanny Colenso so loved the older Durnford that she went on a one woman crusade to clear his name when the official inquiry into the disaster attempted to shift the blame for it onto him.

A great cast is well used in many telling vignettes. Denholm Elliot as the gentle Col. Pulliene has a moving death scene. Simon Ward as William Vereker represents what is best of the British aristocracy abroad and he quickly becomes disenchanted with the war, ("A very dirty business, indeed.") Michael Jayston as Col. Crealock, Chelmsford's secretary catches all the charm and tact needed for that difficult position. Freddie Jones and Anna Calder-Marshall as Bishop Colenso and his daughter Fanny, having lived among the Zulu are righteously indignant at the prospect of war. Ronald Lacey as Correspondent Norris Newman delights in skewering the official lies about the war. Peter Vaughn as Quartermaster Bloomfield, whose obsession in accounting for every cartridge and shell would have such horrific consequences is marvelous. Simon Sabela makes a very impressive King Cetshwayo in one of the opening sequences to the film and Bob Hoskins as tough Sergeant Major Williams is a lot of fun. With great battle scenes and a rousing score by Elmer Bernstein, "Zulu Dawn" is a worthy companion to "Zulu".


64 of 70 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Romans vs. Zulus andypaul_gill
'Final Solution' shimshamtothemax
why didn't pulleine shoot? billingscaleb
which of the main characters in the movie did exist and which did not? manuel-nunez
New R2 UK release on dvd plasmapulse
Private Williams and Sgt. Williams llscheppink
Discuss Zulu Dawn (1979) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?