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Zulu 1964

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.

Starring:
Stanley Baker, Jack Hawkins
Runtime:
2 hours, 18 minutes

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: DVD
Zulu is one of those films that left an indelible impression of the unique power cinema can have on those of us who saw it on the big screen as children. Intellectually and emotionally other films may have the advantage over it, but as a purely cinematic experience Zulu is unbeatable.

Siege epics were curiously popular in the Sixties - 55 Days at Peking, El Cid, Khartoum, The War Lord, The Alamo among them - but perhaps none have quite such a hold on the public's affections as Zulu, particularly in the UK. It's a celebration of national courage (but not nationalism) with its eyes wide open. The besieged men aren't there to build empires but because it's their job - "Because we're 'ere. There's no-one else," as Nigel Green's memorable Colour-Sergeant puts it to a young soldier.

It's a film with dignity on both sides of the conflict but no self-importance, it manages to extol heroism without glorifying war. It's also one of the few films to show the sheer physical arduousness of prolonged battle - it ends not with triumph and jubilation but with sheer exhaustion.

The narrative construction is deliberate and belongs to the days when films built up to a climax instead of throwing them in every ten minutes to keep the audience awake. John Prebble and Cy Endfield's script is strong, its subtle clash of egos between Stanley Baker and Michael Caine never over-emphasised and surrounded by memorable vignettes among the rank-and-file that gives the film a depth beyond the superbly handled battle scenes - Nigel Green struggling to maintain his composure as he takes the final depleted roll call, drunken missionary Jack Hawkins' truly irritating Bible-bashing unnerving a young private, Neil McCarthy's concern for a sick calf taking precedence over the ongoing battle.
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