War, Drama, History | 138 Mins. | Released: 1964
Director: Cy Endfield
Starring: Stanley Baker, Jack Hawkins, Ulla Jacobsson, James Booth, Michael Caine, Nigel Green, Ivor Emmanuel
Our Rating: 8
In 1879, the Zulu nation hands colonial British forces a resounding defeat in battle. A nearby regiment of the British Army takes over a station run by a missionary (Jack Hawkins) and his daughter (Ulla Jacobsson) as a supply depot and hospital under the command of Lieutenant John Chard (Stanley Baker) and his subordinate Gonville Bromhead (Michael Caine). Unable to abandon their wounded soldiers even in dire circumstances, the regiment defend their station against the Zulu warriors.
Zulu is a 1964 epic war film depicting the Battle of Rorke’s Drift between the British Army and the Zulus in January 1879, during the Anglo-Zulu War. It depicts 150 British soldiers, many of whom were sick and wounded patients in a field hospital, who successfully held off a force of 4,000 Zulu warriors.
The film was directed by American screenwriter Cy Endfield and produced by Stanley Baker and Endfield, with Joseph E. Levine as executive producer. The screenplay is by John Prebble and Endfield, based on an article by Prebble, a historical writer. The film stars Stanley Baker and introduces Michael Caine, in his first major role, with a supporting cast that includes Jack Hawkins, Ulla Jacobsson, James Booth, Nigel Green, Paul Daneman, Glynn Edwards, Ivor Emmanuel and Patrick Magee. Future South African political leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi played Zulu King Cetshwayo kaMpande, his great grandfather. The opening and closing narration is spoken by Richard Burton.
The film was first shown on the 85th anniversary of the actual battle, 22 January 1964 at the Plaza Theatre in the West End of London.