Zulu 1964

Amazon Instant Video

(488) IMDb 7.8/10

This gripping epic tells of the 1879 siege of Rorke's Drift in Natal, Africa. 4,000 Zulu warriors have decimated a British garrison, now they're on their way to Rorke's Drift. An officer wants to stand his ground despite his skeleton garrison. His tactics are at odds with his lieutenant who wants to retreat.

Stanley Baker,Jack Hawkins
2 hours, 18 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Military & War, Drama, Action & Adventure, Historical
Director Cyril Endfield
Starring Stanley Baker, Jack Hawkins
Supporting actors Ulla Jacobsson, James Booth, Michael Caine, Nigel Green
BBFC rating Parental Guidance

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

158 of 165 people found the following review helpful By Grant A Thompson on 26 Nov. 2002
Format: DVD
At last, Paramount Home Entertainment has produced the finest release in almost 40 years of Zulu -- one of the greatest historical action movies ever made, and one of the great war movies. Zulu is based on what historian Michael Glover terms "the most highly decorated battle in British history", the defence of Rorke's Drift during the Zulu War of 1879. Eleven of the defenders received Britain's highest award for military valour, the Victoria Cross. The movie is a landmark in the art of cinema for its extraordinary combination of location, cross-cultural engagement, a real story, good script and fine cast. This 1964 film never looks tired, despite my many years of rerunning it in 16mm, the Criterion laserdisc, the stop-gap Front Row Entertainment Inc. DVD, and now the excellent Paramount DVD. Anecdotally, military colleges have used Zulu to show the power of directed massed musketry, and leadership and teamwork in combat.

Zulu is the greatest achievement of the career of British (Welsh) actor Stanley Baker, who co-produced with US-born, formerly blacklisted director Cy Endfield. Nothing else in the war movie genre really measures up, including Endfield's so-called "prequel", Zulu Dawn, or other epics based on British colonial wars, such as Khartoum. It was filmed on location in the grandeur of Natal, South Africa, with descendants of the Zulu warriors who took part in the original action portraying their forebears. The prominent Zulu politician and traditional chief, Mangosuthu Buthelezi, plays the Zulu leader, his distant relative Cetewayo. Mass Zulu participation in the project guaranteed the uplifting dignity and authenticity of cross-cultural characterisations of the film.
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233 of 244 people found the following review helpful By D. I. Shipley VINE VOICE on 3 Nov. 2008
Format: Blu-ray
In March of this year, Paramount Pictures and Sky got together to restore two British films for a Hi Def release. Those films were "Zulu" and "The Italian Job".
The former was originally shown following its restoration on Sky's Hi Def TV channels and has now made it to Blu-ray. Originally this was to have been an HD DVD release back in June but like so many others with that format's abrupt termination, "Zulu" is now belatedly out on Blu-ray.
"Zulu" is one of my favourite films of all time. It is one of the very best war films to ever come out of the UK, indeed, some maintain it to be the greatest of all.
It tells of the heroic stand by just over 100 British troops at an isolated mission station called Rorke's Drift in 1879 South Africa, following the annihilation of a British Army at Iswandlana by the Zulu Nation.This army of 4000 strong Zulu warriors then headed to Rorke's Drift to dish out a similar fate to the small British force stationed there....
What follows is a sustained battle, the ferocity of which will linger long in the viewer's memory. "Zulu" boasts an all star cast headed by Stanley Baker, Jack Hawkins, and in his first film role - Michael Caine.
The subject matter could have been a minefield to film but "Zulu" just shrugs this off and portrays the Zulus with awe and respect, depicting them as almost a force of nature against whom the British Army look small and almost frail....
The film boasts a thunderous score courtesy of John Barry and although this is not in 5.1, the stereo mix is still very good, indeed, and does what it is supposed to do with aplomb.

However, the picture itself is most definitely the star on show here. The restoration to Hi Def is nothing short of astounding and I can only assume that a 70mm print was used.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By C. O. DeRiemer HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on 12 Sept. 2007
Format: DVD
In 1879, 20,000 Zulu warriors wiped out to a man nearly 2,000 British regulars and auxiliaries at Isandhlwana in what was then Zululand. Immediately afterwards, 4,000 of the warriors set out for Rorke's Drift, a small British outpost manned by 100 soldiers. The soldiers were led by Lt. John Chard, a civil engineer trying to build a bridge, and Lt. Gonville Bromhead, an inexperienced product of the upperclass. Chard had seniority and neither had ever been in a battle before. This is the setup for Zulu, which tells the story of the battle for Rorke's Drift, where more won the Victoria Cross than in any single action before or since.

The movie's a rouser. The fighting scenes are extended and brutal, but the tactics of both the attackers and the defenders are kept clear. The Zulus used charges of massed warriors in sweeping flanking attacks, combined with rifle fire from the surrounding heights using guns captured at Isandhlwana. The British used firm discipline, a high rate of massed firepower, plus strategic retreats. Although only 500 Zulus were used, the producers were able to believeably create the impression of 4,000 before the days of CGO. Baker, who produced the movie, is decisive, practical and firm. Michael Caine, in his breakthrough role, starts out as an upperclass twit and becomes a brave and quick thinking officer. He looks great as a blond. The movie treats the Zulus with a great deal of respect. There's little of the condescension that you often find in movies with brave soldiers and natives who attack. The movie also is a bit long, with the scenes involving Jack Hawkins as a preacher who becomes unhinged being, in my view, extraneous.

All in all, this is a movie that's fun to watch more than once. It's aged very well.
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