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655 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Based on an actual event -- the defense of Rorke's Drift a tiny outpost in South Africa -- during the Zulu Wars, this film is the kind they don't make much anymore

Product Details

  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (655 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005B1WO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #156,497 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "ZULU" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

394 of 402 people found the following review helpful By Grant A Thompson on May 3, 2002
Verified Purchase
Zulu is one of the greatest historical action movies ever made, and one of the great war movies. It 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 valor, the Victoria Cross--the rarely awarded counterpart of the US Medal of Honor. The movie is a landmark in the art of cinema for its extraordinary combination of location, cross-cultural engagement, a real story, good script, fine cast and great production team. This 1964 film never looks tired, despite my many years of rerunning it in 16mm, the Criterion laserdisc, later the Front Row Entertainment Inc. DVD, and then the Paramount DVD and Blu-ray discs. 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 actor Stanley Baker, who co-produced with US-born, formerly blacklisted director Cy Endfield. Nothing else in the 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.
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165 of 171 people found the following review helpful By Dennis J. Buckley on January 7, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
In January, 1879, a column of British soldiers comprised primarily of the 24th Regiment of Foot, South Wales Borderers, was wiped out at the base of the mountain, Isandhlwana, in Natal, South Africa. A large contingent of 4,000 Zulu warriors then moved on to the undermanned expedition base at Rorke's Drift. This movie tells the incredible true story of the subsequent battle, and of the victory of the 90 some British soldiers, many of them sick, who held their post in the face of overwhelming odds. See Donald Morris' definitive book, _The Washing of the Spears_, against which this film account compares most favorably.
This neglected classic was filmed at a time when it was still just possible to associate the word "glory" with military victory-- without a sneer. The makers of the film avoid preaching and just let the battle tell the tale of the men of both sides. The British soldiers are not the "good guys" nor are the Zulus "bad guys," and the lone derogatory comment about the fighting ability of the Zulus is instantly rebuffed by a tough Boer cavalryman who says, "And just who do you think is coming to wipe out your little garrison, the Grenadier Guards?" This is a soldier's story about a soldier's fight.
Did the Welsh really sing "Men of Harlach" as they manned their mealie-bag barricades?
Did the Zulus really render a warrior's salute as they broke off the action on the second day of the battle?
It doesn't matter. The film is accurate in the historical basics that really count.
Beautifully filmed on location, with an outstanding, stirring score by John Barry, this film features solid but appropriately understated performances by Stanley Baker, Michael Caine, and Jack Hawkins.
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103 of 107 people found the following review helpful By James Hulston on September 20, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
January 22-23 1879 will go down as one of the greatest and bravest days in British military history.
The battle at Rorke's Drift, or as the Zulus called it "Jim's Place" is magnificently portrayed in this 1964 epic filmed on location in Natal.
Michael Caine perfectly plays the part of Lieutenent Gonville Bromhead, a gentleman and professional soldier who along with Lieutenent John Chard of the Royal Engineers (played by Stanley Baker) masterminded the defence of the small missionary station at Rorke's Drift.
80 men of the South Wales Borderers 24th Regiment Of Foot defended the missionary station and it's 36 wounded men in the hospital against 4,000 zulu warriors.
The Natal scenery and costumes of both the British soldiers and Zulu warriors are a highlight.
The battle scenes were graphically ahead of it's time and the narration by Richard Burton (himself a welshman)certainly adds to the drama that would unfold.
One criticism is levelled at the characterization of Private Alfred Henry Hook, who in the movie is portrayed as a drunken malingerer. He was in fact a gentleman and small landowner who was a well regarded soldier. He was awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery in evacuating the sick and wounded from the burning hospital.
Overall, as an avid historian on the Zulu War of 1879, I found this a compelling movie classic which has been watched over and over again by me and my 3 brothers( Tom, Chris and Sam)
James Hulston from Sydney, Australia
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Want Blu-Ray Zulu Now. Ugh.
Just bought the BluRay version from Amazon UK for twenty five bucks. Works perfectly on my PS3. GORGEOUS! And some nice extras as well.
Jul 23, 2009 by George F |  See all 12 posts
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