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Zulu (1964)

Not Rated | | Drama, History, War | 17 June 1964 (USA)
Outnumbered British soldiers do battle with Zulu warriors at Rorke's Drift.


Cy Endfield


John Prebble (original screenplay), Cy Endfield (original screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Stanley Baker ... Lt. John Chard R. E.
Jack Hawkins ... Otto Witt
Ulla Jacobsson ... Margareta Witt
James Booth ... Pvt. Henry Hook
Michael Caine ... Lt. Gonville Bromhead
Nigel Green ... Colour-Sergeant Bourne
Ivor Emmanuel Ivor Emmanuel ... Pvt. Owen
Paul Daneman Paul Daneman ... Sgt. Maxfield
Glynn Edwards ... Cpl. Allen
Neil McCarthy ... Pvt. Thomas
David Kernan ... Pvt. Hitch
Gary Bond ... Pvt. Cole
Peter Gill Peter Gill ... Pvt. 612 Williams
Tom Gerrard Tom Gerrard ... Lance / Corporal
Patrick Magee ... Surgeon Reynolds


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 one hundred fifty British troops under the command of Lieutenants Bromhead and Chard. In the next few days, these one hundred fifty troops will fight about four thousand Zulus in one of the most courageous battles in history. Written by grantss

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Excitement Fills the Screen in This Towering African Adventure! See more »


Drama | History | War


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »





English | Zulu

Release Date:

17 June 1964 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Zulu See more »


Box Office


$1,720,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$8,000,000, 31 December 1964
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Diamond Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (35 mm magnetic prints)| 70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Mono (35 mm optical prints)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Stanley Baker intended to produce and star in Zulu Dawn (1979), but died two years before that movie was made. See more »


Witt's actions, character and behaviour during the battle are completely fictionalised. In fact, he had sent his family away to a distant farm for safety at the start of the war, and he had no daughter within miles of the border post. He owned the property at Rorke's Drift but had leased it to the military, and had moved into a tent on the edge of the property with another Swede, a friend named Hammar. He did not exhort the soldiers not to fight the Zulus, nor did he try to take the sick away on wagons. He spent the early part of the day up on the hill watching for the arrival of the impis, and later came down to discover that his property was being damaged by the soldiers as they cut loopholes in the walls and tossed the valuable furniture around. He remonstrated to no avail, then both Swedes mounted their horses and rode away to safety, taking a single very sick soldier away with them. See more »


Cpl. William Allen: [both men are wounded but the soldier distributing ammunition has fallen] Can you move your leg?
Pvt. Hitch: [flippantly] If you want me to dance...
Cpl. William Allen: I want you to *crawl*. Come on, you slovenly soldier, we've got work to do.
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 »


Spoofed in The Meaning of Life (1983) See more »


Stamp and Shake
Written by John Barry
Performed by The Routers
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A very much in a true sense 'un-racist' film
2 January 2004 | by CorfmanSee all my reviews

'Zulu' is an under-rated superb film on so many levels. I have studied and enjoyed this film closely many times (DVD wide screen version) and am impressed with the whole work, as well as the respect given both 'sides', what an extraordinary well done story about a clash of two great cultures. In a way very much in a true sense, an 'un-racist' film. Is it perhaps unspoken ....like the film 'The Sand Pebbles' but of a different time and situation saying...are we beginning to get in over our heads?

Michael Caine's introductory performance balances so well Actor/Producer Stanley Baker's with their contrasting characters as 'officers and gentlemen'. Baker the Royal Engineer working middle class (officer commanding by a seniority of only several months) and Michael Caine's 'Bromhead', the product of an upper crust distinguished military family. The film tells convincingly about fear, discipline, and courage....and how they seem to find it within themselves. How discipline and training can replace fear, paying off at the critical moment. It is often brutally plain and simple.

Without cliché, this film asks all the good questions. "Why us?" asks the thoughtful private to his 'Color Sergeant', "Because we're here...and no one else." he replies. The Welsh ex-dairy farmer who if hard fighting, would perhaps sensibly 'escape' emotionally to tending to a sick calf. This is played as counter point humorously in Zulu, yet it also shows too perhaps it is not well to think too hard about what is happening to survive the battle. Actor Jack Hawkins almost dominates the early scenes...and reminds us what is faith vs. 'religion'...and perhaps whom is better 'spiritually equipped', the preacher or the 'Color Sargeant'?

Actor Michael Caine is introduced here to the film public as 'Bromhead'. In one of his best played scenes of this actor's budding illustrious career...... remarks to pacing Stanley Baker "Did you know my grandfather was at Waterloo?", and follows reflecting his vulnerability..."I wish now...right now, I was a damned 'ranker' like Hook....", realizing his social trap, the terribly high expectations beyond his physical predicament - duty to his military family as well as to his country. Sadly battle and expectation of death can be a great social equalizer too.

So very pleased to read here that genuine Zulu and the Zulu Chief are featured in the production. Chief Buthelezi as Zulu King Cetshwayo kaMpande.

Actor James Booth's 'Hook' character we soon find is a complex one, well acted. One moment malingering humor, next a test of will , then the Victoria Cross. In the end, Hook quite unchanged - but unquestionably broadened.

Actor Gert Van der Berg as Boar Lt. Adendorff is a key character in the first half and the end of the films story. Adendorff as Lt. Chard's Boar military adviser, we gain insight into the Zulu's disciplined ways.....and values. "He's counting your guns! Referring to the Zulu chief of the far ridge, explaining to Baker (and the audience), "the ole boy is counting your guns....testing your firepower with the lives of his warriors!" I so regret with astonishment that we have not seen more of Actor Gert Van der Berg, appearing in only two very fine films, 'Zulu' and 'The Naked Prey'.

The sweep of the wide screen cinema photography is breathtaking. The hills, sky, and clouds incorporated in many scenes with low upward camera angles, much like in 'Patton'.

The only small criticism of Zulu might be technically, were in a few of the early scenes, some not so smooth sound editing as they jump to a new scene. The sound mixing quite extraordinary later in the film overall.

The final scenes a remarkable salute to both sides. The exhausted Europeans for their hard fought defense, the Zulu's whom withdraw after the battle salute - both sides knowing very well the Europeans could have been wiped out if the Zulu King merely wished it.

When they charge in those great numbers at those out numbered English (Welsh garrison), it is the war chant "Usuto! Usuto!" (Kill! Kill!) the fierce Zulu are yelling.

As for political correctness or not, it is only for the high price of college tuition we ever at all believed in those tiresome narrow political professors. "My God.....your from the sixtys!", but again....that is a line from another good movie. LOL.

Caine has another extraordinary line near the films end...."does everyone feel like this afterward..... Sick?" Feeling something else too..."ashamed?" Stanley Baker reflects..."you have to be alive to be sick". "You asked me and I told you" Caine softly retorts.


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