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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
During shooting, Paramount Pictures executives sent a telegram to the producers in South Africa to immediately fire Sir Michael Caine, because they had seen the rushes and decided that he was giving a terrible performance. Caine read that telegram before the producers did, because their secretary gave it to him first. Afterwards, he was very nervous waiting to be fired, but couldn't mention this to the producers because he would get that secretary into trouble. After a few days, he mentioned it to one of the producers, making up a story of how he read the telegram. The producer told him he wasn't fired, but warned Caine to keep away from his mail. See more »
When Chard fights the two Zulus who break through the line, a soldier near him is shot and slumps over the sandbag wall. In the next shot Chard picks up the soldier's rifle, which has a bayonet attached to it, and uses it to fight the Zulus. However, when the stricken soldier fell, his rifle didn't have a bayonet on it and was slung over the soldier's right shoulder, not propped against the wall where Chard could conveniently pick it up. See more »
Zulu is the filmed account of the Battle of Rorke's Drift during the war against the Zulu nation in the part of South Africa known as Natal. It's not an explanation of policy as to why the British were in Africa, just an account of 139 brave soldiers successfully holding off 4000 to 5000 Zulu warriors, the fiercest fighters in that part of Africa.
To put in American terms for the rest of us Yanks, the British army was facing the same kind of odds the Texans did at the Alamo. They also were not certain any kind of relief was coming because the day before, on January 21, 1879 the army had sustained a cataclysmic defeat against those same Zulus at Isandlwana. Out of 850 soldiers about 50 of them survived, in no shape to give aid to anybody. It was the British equivalent of The Little Big Horn which had taken place on the American frontier three years earlier.
But on January 22,23 of 1879 the best of that generation in the United Kingdom performed to the max for Queen and country. Stanley Baker and Michael Caine play the two lieutenants, the engineer and the shave-tail from Sandhurst who commanded the troops at Rorke's Drift.
Just a brief bit of research on the internet indicated to me that I saw a fairly accurate account of just what went on for those two days. Zulu combines what is sometimes impossible, good history with good entertainment.
If it's broadcast it's not to be missed.
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