267 user 38 critic

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 »
3,670 ( 828)
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »




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


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 »


Drama | History | War


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


This movie led many to believe that all of the troops at Rorke's Drift. Drift were Welsh. Of the 122 men who fought at Rorke's Drift, only 32 were Welsh. See more »


The same Zulu stunt warriors are killed at least three different times during the battle. See more »


Private Henry Hook: [At Maxfield, whom is singing in delirium] Shut up, you cripple!
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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 »


Referenced in Pointless: Episode #3.7 (2010) See more »


Men of Harlech
Performed by soldiers
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User Reviews

A tribute to human courage.
16 June 2001 | by RoosterboosterSee all my reviews

Zulu is the true story of the battle of Rourke's Drift between the British and Zulu nations in 1879. Both nations were aggressive, expansionist peoples. The British had pursued trade throughout the 18th and 19th centuries and suddenly found themselves in possession of an empire encompassing one quarter of the world. The Zulus, under the warrior-king Shaka Zulu, had become a society totally devoted to warfare and, with the possible exception of the Spartans over two thousand years before them, the most fearless soldiers the world had ever seen. It is important not to succumb to political correctness here, the Zulus had ruthlessly oppressed other nations in black Africa and caused mass migrations of people, the effects of which are felt to this day. The British meanwhile, had provoked a confrontation with them and suffered a defeat at Isandlwana where modern weapons has proved insufficient against overwhelming numbers of incredibly brave and disciplined warriors. The day after the battle the small British garrison at Rourke's Drift seemed doomed. Just over 100 men plus sick men in the hospital faced thousands of Zulus eager for their share of the glory which their brothers had won at Isandlwana.

The nature of the British Army at this time was not promising. Before Waterloo in 1815 the Duke of Wellington had described them as "the scum of the earth" - rogues, ne'er-do-wells, criminals, drunkards, ladanum fiends, debtors fresh from prison, even lunatics. In 1879 they were not much different. They were incredibly badly paid, their conditions of service were atrocious, they were despised by the civilians, led by officers who often owed their position to aristocratic privilege and money. Sometimes they were booed in the street and refused access to pubs and music halls such was their lowly status. And yet, and yet... they had faced and defeated some of the most fearsome warriors on Earth. The Pathans, Burmese, Afghans, Sudanese "Fuzzy-Wuzzies" as well as Napoleon's invincible Imperial Guard. If they survived the bloody colonial wars they could expect an early death in the work-house, unappreciated by the people whose incomes they had guarded. If you are interested in the Victorian soldiers see Kipling's poems (especially "Tommy Atkins") or read George Orwell's long essay on Kipling or "The Lion And The Unicorn".

This film salutes human beings in extremis. Though told from the British viewpoint it pays handsome tribute to the magnificent courage and honour of the Zulu warriors as well as the British soldiers wondering "what are we doing here?". The best perfomances in the film, in my opinion, are from James Booth as Private Hook, the cynical drunkard turned reluctant hero and Nigel Green as the awesome Colour-Sergeant Bourne. It portrays courage and stoicism which modern people seem to lack; heroism when all seems lost, faith in the regiment and your mates and old-fashioned manliness.

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English | Zulu

Release Date:

17 June 1964 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Zulu See more »


Box Office


$1,720,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Diamond Films See more »
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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
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