- Actors: Edward Fox, Robert Powell, Trevor Howard, Fiona Fullerton, Christopher Lee
- Directors: William C. Faure
- Format: Color, NTSC
- Rated: Not RatedUnrated
- Number of tapes: 1
- Studio: Vidmark / Trimark
- VHS Release Date: June 20, 1997
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
- ASIN: 6303274714
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #282,543 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
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Shaka Zulu [VHS]
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South African director William C. Faure (who died in 1994) originally created Shaka Zulu as a 1983 miniseries broadcast in the U.K. Later released for theaters, this is the best-known biography of, and certainly one of the longest narratives about, the legendary Zulu warrior-king, Shaka. The story follows Shaka's life in detail from his illegitimate birth around 1787 to a commoner, Nandi, through his tormented childhood at the Zulu court. Virtually disowned by his father Senzangakhona, the scrawny and introverted Shaka grows into a tall, commanding presence played by Henry Cele (The Ghost and the Darkness and The Light in the Jungle). Cele's subtle but powerful performance is fundamental to the impact of this epic--which, though slow here and there, commands our attention and humanizes the legend of Shaka appealingly. After proving himself a worthy warrior and rising in the ranks of a necessarily more militant society, Shaka lends his influential support to King Dingiswayo who unifies the Zulu Nation under the domination of his Mthethwa tribe. At Dingiswayo's death, Shaka accedes to the Zulu throne from which he expands the Zulu empire through successive military successes over all of Natal (today, KwaZulu-Natal). Faure's story is distinct from other pre-apartheid accounts of Shaka's life in its positive retelling of the Zulu Nation's rise to dominance in western South Africa and in its admixture of military and personal history. In this account, Shaka is not merely the intangible father of a nation but a common man whose life both challenged and taught him to lead. --Erik Macki
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Eventually, Shaka Zulu completes his goals and crowns himself King of the mighty Zulu Nation. The Zulu's were fierce warriors, just ask the British and the Boers. A European missionary who was in the Zulu territory said that the landscape was littered with bones and skulls due to Shaka Zulu's fierceness of battle and conquest.
The story does end with the downfall and death of Shaka Zulu, as all mighty leaders must fall and die over due course, but Shaka Zulu definitely had a full life. He was cunning, a brilliant battle strategist and a great warrior, he is one of the few true conquerors of history, and is yet overlooked due to Western Civilizations ignorance of African history. Hopefully, one day this will be solved. There was controversy at the time of the making of this film in 1983 due to it being filmed and produced in Apartheid South Africa, but the film and the director due the Zulu's justice. It does not take anything away from the story and the proud history of the Zulu tribe.
This film is highly recommended to those who enjoy a riveting film about battle, treachery, revenge and triumph. The historical accuracy is also quite good with just a few minor details that were not true, but overall it is a good historical portrait of the mighty Shaka Zulu.
In spite of this though it is a great story of a little known part of African history documenting the difficult childhood of Shaka, his rise to prominence and forging of the Zulu Empire from a kingdom of a few thousand to one of hundreds of thousands.
Some great characterizations, a particular favourite being Shaka's maiden aunt Mkabayi. If anyone is interested they may also want to purchase E.A. Ritter's book 'Shaka Zulu' which explores many of the myths surrounding Shaka. A great video though and well worth the money.
I am still stuck on some of these chosen words by supposedly intelligent writers. Savage Warrior - would mean - untrained, uncivilized barbarian. Well people who can not think without killing would be barbarian's and people who defend would be called what??? Well there was not a trace of that with Chaka, he was thinking all the time for revenge of what had happened to his family and since His Grandmother had to die a harsh death, he figured the one's who sent them out to die should get the same justice. Justice!
Chaka was a true King and a powerful warrior first and foremost, and his reign of super intelligence, courage beyond words and the physical strength to achieve his goals. This King was not afraid of any man and with just a spear that he designed and shield that he designed, became a killing machine. He had his army stand before men with cannons and guns. WOW! amazing, and even more amazing they were undefeated. What military strategy. Now I am not quite sure if I remember why the British were afraid of him when he had nothing to do with them, oh! yes take over, fear. Yes, I remember now. Fear!
But I loved the mind of this King, he was not easily baited as planned by the British, nor easily defeated as planned. I am not a favorite of what wars do to humans, but if I had to march or fight behind a great king this would have been the one. Purpose! fight for a purpose. Not just for greed.
Review: This is a must see even now, Yes, it is an old version, but it is far better then the version I saw just recently, where Chaka was a captured slave. I better do some more reading, I don't remember that he was a captured slave. So I just might need to update my memory. Yet back to this film, I showed this to my children, many times, when they were young, it was a part of their history lesson. Try to never be manipulated..Try to be cleaver, like Fox. Henry Cele - (Shaka Zulu) was an outstanding actor, he was very powerful in his performance, as well as the young Shaka, I did not get his name not even on the credits here. I would have to look on the movie for his name. But this child did a superb job and the young man who portrayed Shaka as a teen, I did not see his name either, but he too, did a superb, job. I will have to look up their names, as for Dudu Mkhize who played his mother Nandi, and his Aunt; Mkabay, played by; Gugu Nxumalo. Now for the other names of the Zulu's and the other African Actors or people who portrayed these characters, names are not quite clear to me. Help! I was quite fond of the Dr. Henry Finn, played by Robert Powell, who seemed to narrate the movie as well as write the story, excellent job. This is a remarkable based true story. I give it a thumbs up. 5 star....
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