• Post category:Movies
  • Post last modified:July 12, 2021



In 1879, a small company of British soldiers are defending a missionary station from an attack by an army of 4,000 Zulu warriors. A throwback to the colonial military adventures of the 1930s in films like Gunga Din. This reality-based epic was a big hit, featuring Michael Caine in his first starring role, terrific if not entirely believable as an upper-class officer. Unusually for its time, the Zulu warriors are depicted with a certain amount of credibility, as well organized; both sides harbor a mutual respect. Much of the movie is devoted to that long battle, which holds together remarkably well throughout. Good cast, memorable score by John Barry.

1964-Britain. 139 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced byĀ Stanley Baker, Cy Endfield. Directed byĀ Cy Endfield. Screenplay: John Prebble, Cy Endfield. Music: John Barry. Cast: Stanley Baker (John Chard), Michael Caine (Gonville Bromhead), Jack Hawkins (Otto Witt), Ulla Jacobsson, James Booth, Nigel Green. Narrated byĀ Richard Burton.

Trivia: Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi plays his own maternal great-grandfather, King Cetshwayo; 30 years later, he would serve as a minister under President Nelson Mandela. Followed by a prequel, Zulu Dawn (1979).

Last word: “[Endfield]Ā seemed to be avoiding my eye. It didnā€™t look like good news. While he was still at the party I did my best to remain sober.Ā Just as he was about to go, he finally came over to me. ‘Iā€™ve seen the test,’ he said, ‘and you were appalling.’Ā I swallowed. It was going to be hard to bounce back from this one. ‘But youā€™ve got the part,’ he went on. ‘We go to South Africa in three weeks.’Ā I gaped at him. ‘Why did you give me the part if the test was so bad?’ I asked. ‘I donā€™t know, Michael,’ he replied. ‘I really donā€™t know, but I think thereā€™s something there…’Ā He walked away and I threw up all over my shoes.” (Caine, “From the Elephant to Hollywood”)



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