Synopsis – Outnumbered British soldiers do battle with Zulu warriors at Rorke’s Drift – Zulu
Director – Cy Endfield
Released – 1964
For fans of – The Dam Busters, Charge of the Light Brigade, Lawrence of Arabia
Zulu is one of the greatest British war movies ever made, even if the circumstances of British soldiers are now seen as controversial. But even the most ardent anti-colonialist must admit that this is an unusual beast, not creating the British forces as heroic white men defeating ‘savage locals’ for the greater good of the empire, but instead, having to fight for their lives after being outwitted by the native forces, forces that the makers depict as both a brave and highly disciplined fighting force, which explains why both sides form deep respect of the other by the conclusion of the film.
The modern moviegoer may find the action tame by today’s standards, however, you still find yourself caught up in the relentless and brutal waves of fighting, aided greatly by the performances of the stars of the movie, namely Stanley Baker, Michael Caine and Jack Hawkins, but it isn’t just the big-name actors that make the movie such an enjoyable experience, the Zulu extras play their parts excellently, giving a face to the attackers attempting run the British off their land.
One of the most surprising aspects of the movie is how politically neutral director Cy Endfield attempted to keep the film, with both sides able to claim a form of victory, the Zulu’s for defeating the much greater armed British forces, while the British managed the almost unimaginable by not being overrun by the massive Zulu forces. With heroism and respect on both sides, Zulu is a true war masterpiece!