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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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
According to executive producer Barrie Saint Clair, 13,000 people were present on set for the filming of the battle. This has been compared to the old Hollywood days of Cecil B. DeMille and led "Variety" to say that "For sheer scope and numbers of people being manipulated for the cameras, Zulu Dawn (1979) is positively DeMillesque in scale." See more »
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 »
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 »
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 »
This movie had the potential of being great - what with us going well over budget ($52mill) We had the stars - most being very professional but with two major flaws - with incompetents such as Douglas Hickox and Peter O'Toole (directly responsible for the over-budgeting) 2nd Unit Director, David Tomblin and Peter Mc Donald - 2n Unit film Director were largely responsible for saving the production - in many more ways than one.
Our skeleton crew had to re-shoot many scenes. It took a lot of serious brainstorming and communication with the amaZulu to be able to complete this very important depiction of one of many battlers that took place between the "natives" and the invading colonialist (Boer & British) armies.
The passion, pathos, emotion and pain of reliving this momentous battle had an immense effect on myself, especially as I was one of the isiZulu Interpretors and Liaison people - as well as one of the second assistants.
The scenery may well have been spectacular; but working in such close/intimate - trusting proximity with 6000 amaZulu warriors was an experience beyond all comprehension.
I still regard this movie to be a very valuable one - especially since the fall of the previous South African regime and highly recommend it.
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