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Zulu Dawn (1979)

A dramatization of the Battle of Isandlwana, where the British Army met its match against the Zulu nation.

Director:

Douglas Hickox

Writers:

Cy Endfield (original story and scenario), Cy Endfield (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Burt Lancaster ... Col. Durnford
Simon Ward ... Lt. Vereker
Denholm Elliott ... Col. Pulleine
Peter Vaughan ... Q.S.M. Bloomfield
James Faulkner ... Lt. Melvill
Christopher Cazenove ... Lt. Coghill
Bob Hoskins ... C.S.M. Williams
David Bradley ... Pte. Williams (as Dai Bradley)
Paul Copley ... Cpl. Storey
Donald Pickering ... Maj. Russell R.A.
Nicholas Clay ... Lt. Raw
Phil Daniels ... Boy Pullen
Ian Yule ... Cpl. Fields
Peter J. Elliott Peter J. Elliott ... Sentry
Brian O'Shaughnessy Brian O'Shaughnessy ... Maj. Smith R.A. (as Brian O'Shaunnessy)
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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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Netherlands | USA

Language:

English | Zulu

Release Date:

15 May 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Amanecer sangriento See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Zulu Dawn NV,Lamitas,Samarkand See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby (as Dolby System Noise Reduction - High Fidelity)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Reportedly, the catering company working on this film allegedly attempted to get the law courts to seize the film negatives when their $250,000 account payment was not paid. See more »

Goofs

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 »

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

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User Reviews

 
STIRRING and EXCITING WAR FILM. SEE IT.
14 August 2002 | by TokugawaSee all my reviews

We waited a long time for the prequel to "Zulu", so eventually we got "Zulu Dawn". It depicts the Battle of Isandhlwana between the British and the Zulus. It turned out to be one of the great disasters the British ever experienced.

The Zulus in this film are accurately depicted as highly disciplined soldiers, and in some ways shows them in a more human way than "Zulu". Historically, it is reasonably accurate - at the time it was filmed. By that I mean, recent scholarship has showed that the assumed reasons for the British problems were really not the case. It wasn't that there were difficulties with ammunition, it was that the rifles were used so much they began to misfire, plus atmospheric conditions degraded visibility contributing to British disaster.

But a fine, entertaining movie filmed on a much bigger scale than "Sulu" was. If you can find it, SEE it. Burt Lancaster was especially good in his role.


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