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4.0 8
Director: Cy Raker Endfield

Cast: Stanley Baker, Jack Hawkins, Ulla Jacobsson


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Filmed on a grand scale, Zulu is a rousing recreation of the January 22, 1879, siege of Rorke's Drift in Natal, Africa. An army of 4,000 Zulu warriors have already decimated a huge British garrison; now they are on their way to the much smaller Rorke's Drift. A Royal Engineers officer (Stanley Baker) is determined to stand his ground, despite having only a


Filmed on a grand scale, Zulu is a rousing recreation of the January 22, 1879, siege of Rorke's Drift in Natal, Africa. An army of 4,000 Zulu warriors have already decimated a huge British garrison; now they are on their way to the much smaller Rorke's Drift. A Royal Engineers officer (Stanley Baker) is determined to stand his ground, despite having only a skeleton garrison at his command. His steamroller tactics are constantly at odds with those of a by-the-book lieutenant (Michael Caine), who feels that a retreat is called for, but it becomes clear that if the garrison is to survive, they'd better pay heed. Jack Hawkins and Ulla Jacobsson are also on hand as an idealistic missionary and his somewhat more pragmatic daughter. Richard Burton provides the narration for Zulu, closing the film with the observation that 11 of the 1,344 Victoria Crosses awarded since 1856 were bestowed upon the survivors of Rorke's Drift. Zulu was followed in 1979 by a "prequel," Zulu Dawn.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Gregory Baird
Stiff-upper-lip bravery in a fight against overwhelming odds is celebrated in director Cy Endfield's widescreen extravaganza Zulu, based on the real-life story of a small group of British soldiers in 1879 who defended a mission station in Natal, Africa against an attack by 4000 Zulu warriors. There are some nice performances here, including Michael Caine in his breakthrough role as a smug, aristocratic British officer, and Stanley Baker as a gutsy British engineer who takes command of the small outpost. The Zulu tribe, however, is represented only by a vast number of warriors, never introduced individually. This portrayal of the Zulus as a faceless enemy has lead to criticism of the movie as a romanticized depiction of British imperialism, and it's a valid point, as the film steadfastly ignores any political issues involving the history of the British presence in Africa. But despite the film's Anglocentricity, it splendidly captures the spectacle of the Zulu army -- the magnificence of their dress, battlefield rituals, and chants. Moreover, the choral grandeur of the native African music that is sung during an extended opening scene of a Zulu wedding simply overwhelms the typically Western musical score that follows. By the time the surrounded soldiers start singing "Men of Harlech" in response to the chanting of the Zulu warriors, Zulu takes on layers of irony that may indeed have been unintended, but are powerful and thought provoking nonetheless.
All Movie Guide - Mike Cummings
Americans remember the Alamo, and the British remember Rorke's Drift, a South African outpost where 120 Welsh soldiers fought a pitched battle against 4,000 Zulu warriors in 1879. This 1964 film re-creates the battle -- and the events leading up to it -- in spectacular style. At the beginning of the film, suspense builds when a pacifist minister warns the British that Zulus are on the march. Unless the soldiers abandon their garrison, they will all die, the minister says. Alarmed but unwilling to forsake their duty, the soldiers dig in. Director Cy Raker Endfield then invokes an audio effect to herald the coming of the Zulus: with their spears and shields, they pound out an unnerving cadence like that of a chugging locomotive. Then the Zulus attack. Along with the combat scenes, the acting and script are superb. Stanley Baker and Michael Caine portray feuding lieutenants who rally their meager forces to withstand one assault after the next, and Nigel Green plays a stiff-lipped sergeant who heartens the soldiers with his iron resolve and cool composure. But the battle is the real star. The Zulu extras enlisted by co-producer Baker creep and slink through grass, or run headlong at the British, in tactical maneuvers that eventually result in hand-to-hand combat. When Zulus breach the garrison chanting war cries, sick and injured soldiers shoot and stab their way to safety. Gripping from start to finish, Zulu has earned status among some critics as one of the finest war films ever made.

Product Details

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Special Features

Feature Commentary with Film Historian Sheldon Hall and Zulu's Second Unit Director Robert Porter; The Music of Zulu / Zulu: Remembering an Epic / The Making of Zulu: "Role of Honour" / The Making of Zulu: And Snappeth The Spear In Sunder / Theatrical Trailer / Teaser Trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Stanley Baker Lt. John Chard
Jack Hawkins Rev. Otto Witt
Ulla Jacobsson Margareta Witt
James Booth Pvt. Henry Hook
Michael Caine Lt. Gonville Bromhead
Nigel Green Color Sgt. Bourne
Ivor Emmanuel Pvt. Owen
Paul Daneman Sgt. Maxfield
Glynn Edwards Cpl. Allen
Neil McCarthy Pvt. Thomas
Gary Bond Pvt. Cole
Tom Gerrard Lance Corporal
Patrick Magee Surgeon Reynolds
Richard Davies Pvt. 593 Jones
Dafydd Havard Gunner Howarth
Denys Graham Pvt. 716 Jones
Dickie Owen Cpl. Schless
Larry Taylor Hughes
Joe Powell Sgt. Windridge
John Sullivan Stephenson
Harvey Hall Sick Man
Gert Van Den Bergh Adendorf
Dennis Folbigge Commissary Dalton
Kerry Jordan Company Cook
Ronald Hill Bugler
Simon Sabela Dance Leader
David Kerman Pvt. Hitch
Richard Burton Narrator

Technical Credits
Cy Raker Endfield Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Ernest Archer Art Director
Stanley Baker Producer
John Barry Score Composer
Bert Batt Asst. Director
Stephen Dade Cinematographer
John Jympson Editor
Basil Keys Associate Producer
Dudley Lovell Camera Operator
John D. Merriman Production Manager
Arthur Newman Costumes/Costume Designer
Charles Parker Makeup
John Prebble Original Story,Screenwriter
John Sullivan Stunts

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Zulu 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This entertaining film is based on actual events and spawned a sequel (Zulu Dawn,not nearly as good)and even a web site devoted to the Battle of Rourke's Drift. It is also notable as the movie debut of Michael Caine and narration by Richard Burton. I remember seeing it as a child at the drive-in and own it on VHS. I have watched it many times and always find it entertaining and somewhat thought provoking while avoiding preachiness. It begins as something of a paeon to British colonialism but soon evolves into an individual struggle for survival against huge odds, a story in the end about human courage that is respectful of both the English soldiers and the Zulu warriors. Epic in scope, exciting, with intense battle scenes and beaultiful background scenery (filmed at the actual battle site).
Guest More than 1 year ago
This film will offend the rubberstamp political correctness of anyone who substitutes slogans for thought. The story is of a small group of men who faced down a more numerous enemy, and through courage and discipline, survived. That they were British soldiers, and that the film doesn't go into a long dissertation of the excesses of Bristish colonialism, will offend some, but will educate others as to how Britain was able to rise for a time, as did the Romans, upon a cultural ability to engender, organize and implement a personal and communal discipline unusual in the world in their respective times. The film respects the Zulu as a formidable force, but does not shy away from portraying their king as a brutal fellow with no regard for the lives of his underlings. The result is a film whose personal nature and uncompromising realism will stand the test of time despite political fashions.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this movie!! All the events depicted in the film are try to what actually happened in Isldhwana,0n January 22-23 1879. All the actors are great, Michael Caine is really good in this(his first major role).
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best battle films ever done. This is all that is left of an excellent film, now widescreen, no index. The DVD is a VHS to DVD xfer BUT it is better than NOT HAVING ZULU AT ALL!
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