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on April 24, 2006
I'll leave it to others to comment on the film itself, but I do want to warn potential purchasers that the DVD transfer leaves a lot to be desired. The original film is 2.35:1; the DVD is 16:9 letter boxed (not anamorphic)so about a third of the film is missing and it is clearly obvious in quite a few scenes. The quality of the transfer itself, while not awful, is not particularly good either.
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on April 12, 2010
Many of the reviewers of this DVD like the movie but are critical of the transfer. It is terrible, and my rating is for the transfer, not the movie. There is a solution if you have a region free DVD player: Go to Amazon.fr and order the French release, titled "L'Ultime Attaque." Just turn off the French dubbed version and watch the origianal English. This transfer is pristine with an aspect ratio of 2.35.1. Compared to it, the version offered by Amazon.com is shabby, indeed, and the French transfer is like watching a different movie. Remember, the French version is region 2, so you need a region free player, and shipping makes "L'Ultime Attaque" a bit pricey. Hope this helps.
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on September 30, 2005
This is one of my favorite movies of all time and I've been waiting ever since the invention of DVD for it to appear. The VHS version I had was by some two-bit Canadian company and it hissed so badly you could barely understand the dialogue. When I saw that the DVD was going to be released I jumped with joy and I had to keep myself from running to the mailbox (like the dork that I am)when it arrived.

So you can imagine my disappointment at the lack of a widescreen version the p*ss-poor extras and worse, the godawful sound and atrocious coloring. What was once an epic looks like something you'd find on late nite TV on a channel with poor reception. I know this movie was made in '79 but does it have to look like an old 8mm porno thats been wasting away in a steamer trunk for two decades?
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on June 17, 2001
I highly recommend this movie to all war or history buffs.This movie is based on the true story of the Battle of Isandlwana in south Africa .The battle was fought on Jan. 22nd 1879 between the 24th regiment under the command of Lt.Gen. Lord Chelmsford and the Zulu nation under King Cetshwayo. To make a long story short, The Zulus crushed and wiped out the entire British regiment largely in part because they outnumbered the British 24,000 to about 1,500, but also due to British arrogance(Which is pointed out time and time again in this movie)and the lack of respect and where abouts of the enemy.An allstar cast including Peter O'toole and Burt Lancaster Star in this Classic. The only Bad thing about this movie is that it is no longer in print, which to me is a real travesty, considering all the garbage that was made that still is in print. In fact i had to buy this movie off an online auction. I hope that the Movie Company that made this Great film comes to it's senses and Redistributes this movie so that it can be enjoyed on DVD as well.
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on November 16, 2001
If you get this video and the other epic relating to this same time (Zulu) you'll know all about the British and Zulu war in Africa. This film, Zulu Dawn, tells the story of the debacle at Islandhwana where spear-carrying Zulus badly mauled British rifles and effected the greatest defeat of so-called natives on British arms. It sticks pretty close to the actual history of the engagement. The action is the star, but big names appear throughout. John Mills, Peter O'Toole, Burt Lancaster. A first-rate job of filmaking if you like military action and stories of the Thin Red Line of Britain's heyday as a colonial power.
To get the full picture you might also want to get "Zulu", mentioned above, starring Stanley Baker and introducing a very young Michael Caine. This is more along the lines of Gunga Din and portrays the true heroism of the British (Welsh really) at Rorke's Drift, a subsidiry action to the events of Zulu Dawn. Again with considerable historical accuracy. Both films are British made and together make a nice balanced commentary on England's shortcomings and successes in the Zulu War.
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VINE VOICEon March 4, 2005
This is a decent movie which attempts to cover its subject well. The anti-British bias of the movie hurts its accuracy. For one, the Zulu Kingdom was not some innocent, put upon people. Shaku Zulu had spend years creating a brutal tribal kingdom that was under his complete control. His seccessors were no less brutal. King Catayweo may have been marginal less dictatorial than Shaku, but only by degrees. Despite this flaw, the movie is still worthwhile. Peter O'Tool lays it on thick by making Lord Chelmsford look the arrogant fool. This was not quite the case. Burt Lancaster does a nice job as Durnsford, and Simon Ward is great as the young gent recruit in the native horse.

The battle scene at Ishlandwana is impressive, but almost totally inaccurate. For one thing the British firepower kept the Zulus pinned for quite a while. The movie shows them charging forward ever invincible. Only when the Britsh fire slackend were they able to surge forward and break the line. The movie does not show this. Also the Zulu prisoners reporting the British position back to the main Impi is pure fantasy! This never happened and is another attempt by the movie to make the British look cruel and stupid! There are some other flaws, but to me these are the most serious.

The production quality is first-rate, and the attention to the flow of historical events is well done, if a little confusing at times. Those not familar with the campaign may have problems following it. Although portrayed as one of the most serious defeats ever in British military history this is also an exaggeration. The Zulu campaign was a embarrassment in some ways for the British, and also an un-wanted conflict, but the ultimate result was a crushing British victory a few weeks later under Chelmsford. Those who want a truly crushing victory of the natives over the Europeans should check out the fate of the Italians in Ethiopia in 1896! That was a true debacle. The British endured their set-back and came back for the final win as they often did. A flawed movie, but worthwhile.
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on October 1, 2005
Zulu Dawn is probably one of the more entertaining war movies out there regarding the colonial wars. I am bit puzzeled by many of the previous reviews written on this film. It seem that many of the reviewers expects historical accuracy from movies. How can such expectation be after watching movies like Braveheart, Patriot, Windtalkers or Pearl Harbor??

Zulu Dawn gives a pretty good coverage of the initial stages of the Zulu War, one of many wars of aggression fought by the British Empire during the 19th century although it no worst then the wars of aggression United States wages against the American Indians during the same period. While not historically accurate per say, it gives a nice accountability of the British arrogance and greed versus the natives' defiance toward the imperial order.

Top notch cast with Peter O'Toole, Burt Lancaster and Simon Ward helped this movie considerably. Bo Hoskins as one of the sergents definitely add color to the cast. The events in the movie lies from the British point of view. Like all movies, there were historical free plays given to add spice, tension and characters to the historical events. Thats to be expected....!!

The battle scenes were well done and British mistakes well presnted even if they may or may not be historically accurate.

The DVD edition of this movie is not in Widescreen at all. Its in pan and scan mode like the VHS. I guess the company who came out with this edition can't find the widescreen version. It almost looks like they just took the VHS version and clean it up for DVD. That is quite disappointing to say the least and I expect that the price of this movie will drop considerably because of it. The image is also pretty average, okay on my outdated big projection TV but I am willing to guess that it may look bit crappy on a better TVs out there. This is also a very strip down DVD with no extras.

Most people who buy this DVD now will only do so to replaced their old VHS tape. For the other fans, I would strongly recommend waiting for a massive price drop before buying this P/S version, the initial price is definitely too expensive for such a low quality material. After all, if we waited this long, what's another few months?
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on April 26, 2013
Like many other fans of both ZULU and ZULU DAWN, we've had to suffer with cheap, abysmal VHS and DVD transfers of these exciting films. "Zulu" was fortunate enough to undergo a complete restoration before it debuted on blu-ray Zulu [Blu-ray] or Zulu (Blu-Ray)- Remastered (Amazon Exclusive). Frankly, I had given-up hope on ever seeing "Zulu Dawn" transferred to blu-ray. Amazingly, it here and although it's still the poorer step-child to the magnficently restored "Zulu", this prequel is still very good, and well-worth acquiring.

I'm not a geek, but I though other viewers might appreciate to read what the experts on blu-ray releases have to say about this particular title. Now, perhaps, my other wish that someday "Khartoum" and "55 Days at Peking" might make their blu-ray debut before my eyes are too weak to appreciate the gift!

"Zulu Dawn is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of Severin Films with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 2.35:1 (this may mean that Severin has finally forsaken the older MPEG-2 codec for its Blu-ray releases). Severin is touting this as having been restored, and it must be admitted that the elements are in remarkably good condition overall, with one notable exception. Several times throughout the film there are what appear to be a missing frame, leading to just very slight jumps in the fluidity of the motion. It's really noticeable in the clips in the main The History of the Zulu Wars featurette included as a supplement, and at times almost looks like what you see when a PAL source has been converted to NTSC. That anomaly aside, this is really a rather nice looking high definition presentation. My hunch is there has been some noise reduction applied to this release, but there is definitely fine grain (as in fine grain) noticeable when the film is in motion, especially in the many outdoor scenes where it's quite visible in the skies. Colors are nicely robust (if the reds are just slightly on the orange side, as the screenshots accompanying this review show) and fine detail pops quite well in close-ups.

Severin Films is still getting its feet wet in the Blu-ray market and it's a good sign that this release has a lossless audio option. Both a DTS-HD Master Audio Mono mix as well as a Dolby Digital 2.0 (mono) mix are included on this Blu-ray. The lossless track sounds very good indeed, with dialogue clean (if sometimes a bit hard to decipher due to the accents) and Elmer Bernstein's exciting score well rendered. Anyone who is a fan of Bernstein's amazing work in Hawaii knows how well the composer utilizes ethnic instruments (especially percussion) and voices, and he does much the same thing in this film. While this track is obviously narrow, it has some requisite dynamic range, especially in several key action sequences.

* The History of the Zulu Wars (1080p; 25:34) is a really interesting documentary featuring Ian Knight, author of Zulu Rising - The Epic Story of Isanlwana and Rorke's Drift, who provides a wealth of background information and context that really helps the viewer to better appreciate some of the finer details of the film.
* Recreating the War (480i; 20:19) looks back on the historical accuracy of the film, and includes interviews with Midge Carter (a male), who was the
historical advisor.
* A Visit to the Battlefield (480i; 16:47) features Ian Knight again, taking us on a little guided tour of the actual historical locations.
* Theatrical Trailer (480i; 3:00)
* Outtakes (480i; 12:14). These are in pretty poor shape, image wise, but they're fascinating to watch as they show director Douglas Hickox in action. "
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on December 18, 2000
ZULU DAWN is a superb companion film to the classic ZULU, particularly since both films were written by the same man, Cy Enfield. ZULU DAWN climaxes with the Battle of Isandhlwana, which immediately preceded the Battle of Rorke's Drift, accurately portrayed in ZULU. While the Battle of Isandhlana is important, the real significance of ZULU DAWN lies in its revelation of how the British governor of South Africa orchestrated the war against the Zulu. Moreover, the British governor, Sir Henry Bartle-Frere, acted against the wishes of Queen Victoria and Parliament, resulting in the bloody defeat and near annihilation of the British 24th Regiment of Foot at Isandhlwana. The arrogance and carelessness of the British is shocking and the humiliating defeat of the British army in South Africa strikes the viewer as completely justified. The fact that good copies of ZULU are hard to find is pitiful enough, but the unavailability of ZULU DAWN is a real tragedy. It's extremely difficult to rent; it's been out of print so long that most recent video rental establishments have never been able to acquire it. I myself have only encountered two copies for sale ever, and I bought both of them (one went to my uncle, who turned me on to ZULU DAWN in the first place). Keep an eye out for ZULU DAWN in used video stores and exchange shops.
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on January 12, 2011
I give the movie itself two stars (probably because I compare it to "ZULU") but it just seems to me a lot of the actors were sleep walking through their roles. I also thought it was a little heavy handed in it's lefty message..."Let's hope this is THE FINAL SOLUTION to the Zulu question!"...COME ON!!! Subtlety anyone??? Anyway two stars.

I give the DVD itself -1 star for being the ABSOLUTELY WORST FRIKKIN' TRANSFER I HAVE EVER SEEN!!! The picture was grainy and almost blurry and, as noted by other reviewers, it was hacked to pieces to show as a letterbox on regular tv's...AAAUUUGGGHHH!!! to quote Charlie Brown. I bought this because my folks wanted to see it (I recently bought them "ZULU" on Blu-Ray) and they read about the prequel and wanted to see the Battle of Isandlwana. God, it was awful!

I hope the makers get their act together for the Blu-Ray and restore the film to original aspect and clean up the picture (and sound, forgot to mention this was almost as bad as the picture!). This and "ZULU" would actually make a nice set. This is for the 2005 DVD.
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