MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 180 this week

Zulu Dawn (1979)

PG  |   |  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 4,470 users  
Reviews: 60 user | 24 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

IMDb Picks: May

Visit our IMDb Picks section to see our recommendations of movies and TV shows coming out in May, sponsored by COVERGIRL.

Visit the IMDb Picks section

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 42 titles
created 28 Dec 2010
 
a list of 22 titles
created 30 Dec 2011
 
a list of 47 titles
created 29 Mar 2012
 
War
a list of 23 titles
created 05 Dec 2012
 
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... 

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
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
Power Play (1978)
Thriller | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

A group of military officers, angered and frustrated by the corruption and repression of the current government, finally decide that for the good of the country they must overthrow the ... See full summary »

Director: Martyn Burke
Stars: Peter O'Toole, David Hemmings, Donald Pleasence
Adventure | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

At the beginning of WW2, Liviu, a Romanian count, and his wife Julia come to live on an uninhabited tropical island, where they hope to escape the war and their past. They bring with them ... See full summary »

Director: Arturo Ripstein
Stars: Peter O'Toole, Charlotte Rampling, Max von Sydow
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
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
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

The film is set in Wales and concerns itself with the aristocracy who are taxing to common people to ruin. Naturally, a certain member of said aristocracy decided that all this is not on, ... See full summary »

Director: Karl Francis
Stars: Peter O'Toole, Paul Rhys, Joely Richardson
Murphy's War (1971)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Murphy is the sole survivor of his crew, that has been massacred by a German U-Boat in the closing days of World War II. He lands on the shore somewhere on the river Orinoco delta and ... See full summary »

Director: Peter Yates
Stars: Peter O'Toole, Siân Phillips, Philippe Noiret
Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

An ex-con, once a cop, now working as security in a college, decides to investigate the murder of one of the students, a daughter of a senator.

Directors: Roland Kibbee, Burt Lancaster
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Susan Clark, Cameron Mitchell
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

In an upper-class British household, a crazy alcoholic, has an incestuous relationship with his sister, who is also capable of being fairly spirited herself.

Director: J. Lee Thompson
Stars: Peter O'Toole, Susannah York, Michael Craig
The Manor (1999)
Comedy | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

During a snowstorm, Patrick Roarke, a manservant, is found dead at the bottom of the main staircase in a gothic English mansion. Inspector Hatcher is sent to investigate the death. When he ... See full summary »

Director: Ken Berris
Stars: Greta Scacchi, Gabrielle Anwar, Peter O'Toole
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

In 1942, in Warsaw, a Polish prostitute is murdered in a sadistic way. Major Grau, a man from German Intelligence who believes in justice, is in charge of the investigation. An eyewitness ... See full summary »

Director: Anatole Litvak
Stars: Peter O'Toole, Omar Sharif, Tom Courtenay
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 sun dawned bloodied...two great armies met face to face...and the earth trembled to the sound of the Zulu death chant! See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

| | |

Language:

|

Release Date:

15 May 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Amanecer Zulú  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

, ,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(as Dolby System Noise Reduction - High Fidelity)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The events in this movie take place about two and a half years after the famous "Battle of the Little Big Horn"--aka "Custer's Last Stand"--, which was the most serious defeat incurred by the US Army against an Indian force. Gen. George A. Custer died along with 257 of his soldiers died--over half his command. The Indians kept no records, but estimates are that as many as 300 Indians, out of a force of up to 2500 warriors, were killed. See more »

Goofs

As the column is crossing the river we see two native bearers carrying an ammunition box, which should be quite heavy. They stumble in the current, dropping the box, which then bounces to the surface and starts to float off. The ammunition box should have sunk. 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 Jeopardy!: Episode #26.181 (2010) 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

 
Old-fashioned, but good
28 December 2005 | by (Brooklyn, NY) – See all my reviews

I like "Zulu Dawn," but maybe for strange reasons. I'm glad that it favors plot over characterization, and I appreciate its attention to detail and tactics. Too many modern war movies ignore tactics, and don't place battles in their proper contexts. Here, it's easy to follow exactly what's happening, and why.

What makes the film especially memorable is that it's the story of a military disaster - the biggest defeat of a "modern" army at the hands of a "primitive" one (though I believe the Zulus suffered higher casualties than the British did). The script pretty much telegraphs the battle's result from the beginning; Peter O'Toole, as the British commander, is clearly too stubborn and blind to danger, so the attentive viewer should realize fast that he's heading for a fall.

The ending is somewhat misleading, though. The final caption might suggest to some viewers that the Zulus won the whole war. Sadly, they were beaten pretty rapidly and suffered some hideous defeats. I guess that's what makes this initial Zulu victory so noteworthy - almost unbelievable, really.

As is often the case in war movies, "Zulu Dawn" features big-name actors playing real soldiers. This makes it easier to tell the somewhat thin characters apart. Though nobody gives a career-best performance, it's great to see O'Toole, Burt Lancaster, Bob Hoskins and a solid cast of British character actors together in one movie.

I don't suppose they'd ever make this today. The politics are too awkward; I don't think a modern audience would have much sympathy for the British or the Zulu. And, of course, contemporary movies have rejected old-time spectacle, electing to replace sweeping landscapes and huge crowds of extras with fake-looking CGI.

But, in this case, old-fashioned is good. "Zulu Dawn" is definitely worth checking out in budget DVD form.


24 of 28 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:
?