4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real extravaganza!
In January 1879, the British launched a war against the Zulu nation of South Africa, expecting that their well-trained and -equipped armies would have an easy time. An army of some 1,350 soldiers was engaged by the Zulu warriors at Isandlwana and almost completely annihilated. Following this victory, the Zulus moved back along the British path to a small supply station at...
Published on Feb. 24 2004 by Kurt A. Johnson
1.0 out of 5 stars Zulu on DVD
First off let me say that I absolutely LOVE "Zulu" however I was greatly disappointed with the latest DVD version.
First of all there was no insert with the case. Would it have killed MGM to provide some additional background information on the film?
Second, and most importantly, the sound quality is PATHETIC.
This DVD is presented in Mono and the whole...
Published on June 26 2003 by Alistair McKinlay
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real extravaganza!,
In January 1879, the British launched a war against the Zulu nation of South Africa, expecting that their well-trained and -equipped armies would have an easy time. An army of some 1,350 soldiers was engaged by the Zulu warriors at Isandlwana and almost completely annihilated. Following this victory, the Zulus moved back along the British path to a small supply station at Rorke's Drift, which contained a good deal of supplies and some 150 British soldiers. Over the day and night of Wednesday, 22 January 1879, and into the following morning, the Zulus launched attack after attack against the small garrison, but were unable to overcome its defenses and finally retired to Zulu land. The British public, hungry for heroes in the aftermath of Isandlwana, were overjoyed at this plucky action, and some eleven Victoria Crosses were awarded to defenders of Rorke's Drift. This is their story.
OK, as always with Hollywood, you must accept that history will be changed to make it more "interesting," and this movie is no exception. However, that said, this is a great movie, with lots of great action and heroism. I liked that while the British were portrayed as heroic (with just enough human weakness thrown in) the Zulus were also portrayed as disciplined warriors, honorable and brave. The cast is wonderful, with Nigel Green doing an excellent job of portraying Colour Sgt. Bourne with a great mix of almost superhuman soldiering and vulnerable humanity. And, I must add, that the scenery was excellent, helping to make this movie a real extravaganza.
So, if you are looking for a clear-eyed and realistic recreation of the 1879 battle of Rorke's Drift, you will need to look elsewhere. But, if you are looking for a movie of Victorian-era colonial warfare, with action, heroism and lots of gunfire, then this is the movie for you. I love it!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Story of Valour,
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This review is from: Zulu [Blu-ray] [Import] (Blu-ray)
Director Cy Endfield and actor Stanley Baker created a box office winner with this stirring account of a small British garrison's defence of the Rorke's Drift mission station against an overwhelming force of Zulu warriors in colonial South Africa.
Misconceptions about such a very fine movie are easy in our era of political correctness. So be assured, a jingoistic, flag-waving paean to colonialism it most certainly is not. There is a strong anti-war message here. From the young private who asks, "why us," to the garrison commander asserting that he came to "build a bridge," the British soldiers are shown to be homesick outsiders in a strange country they find at once fascinating and perilous. For their part, the Zulus are splendid. Their chilling war chants and shield beating ("...it's that damn train again") are so effective that both Peter Jackson and Ridley Scott later borrowed the idea for their own work ("The Two Towers" and "Gladiator").
Above all this is a film about valour. The heroes are warriors who share a common bond forged in battle. At its climax the surviving defenders grapple desperately with the proud and mighty Zulu army as each side comes to respect the bravery and prowess of the other. Driven by John Barry's inspiring score, this is a magnificent and unforgettable cinematic experience.
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant film of the fight at Rorke's Drift,
By A Customer
The heroic stand by British soldiers at Rorke's Drift against 4,000 Zulu warriors is superb filmmaking, detailing the event in widescreen Technicolor that also underscores the tension at the post and the preparation of the defenders in the hours before the attack. Michael Caine debuts in this film and his Lt. Bromhead clashes immediately with Lt. Chard [Stanley Baker], an engineer whose task is to build a bridge across the drift who nevertheless is in command of the garrison by reason or seniority. The two men put aside their differences and concentrate on battle strategy and placement of men, vowing to stand fast and confront the enemy who wiped out a British force of 1,500 men only hours earlier. The battle scenes are gripping and realistic, replete with bloody, hand-to-hand fighting that shows fierce Zulu tribesmen thrusting spears at the red-coated British soldiers who in turn thrust back with their bayonets. There is also long-range rifle firing on each side, with the Zulus pinning down the soldiers with rifles taken from their victims after the earlier battle. The determined Zulus manage to overrun the post but take heavy casualties from the defenders' withering gunfire. In one scene, the resourceful British release penned-up cattle that they use to shield themselves from the Zulus, and the cattle's horns and hoofs slash and trample the warriors in one of the final assaults on the garrison.
5.0 out of 5 stars A five star if ever there was one,
This review is from: Zulu [Import] (VHS Tape)
I've watched this film a couple of times and am always impressed. It is based on the factual story of the 1879 decimation of the 24th Foot Regiment of Welsh infantry at the battle of Rourke's Drift, a small station in Natal, Africa, during the Zulu war. More Victoria's Crosses (the British version of our Congressional Medal of Honor) were awarded as a result of that action than during any other battle.
Michael Caine made his debut in the film, and Stanley Baker also does a great job as the engineer in command of the operation. Caine portrayed a diffident young lieutenant of infantry, a product of generations of soldiers. Baker's part was that of a lieutenant of engineers, there to build a bridge, who was slightly (months) senior to Caine, and thus assumed command of the troop during the action.
After a great victory against a British army of over 1,300, the small supply station at Rourke's Drift is attacked by the Zulu nation, and successfuly defended by less than 100 men over a couple day period, after which the Zulus withdrew, having suffered terrible casualties.
One gets the impression that this is the British military as it might have been portrayed by Rudyard Kipling at his best. A thoroughly riveting movie. One of the best I've seen.
Joseph (Joe) Pierre
author of Handguns and Freedom...their care and maintenance
and other books
5.0 out of 5 stars Zulu,
This is my favorite movie. I have watched it over and over again and it is the most exciting action drama I have seen. It is riviting to watch because it is almost too much to beleive as you watch the battle at Rorke's Drift unfold. They say that sometimes true history is more exciting than fiction. In the case of the stand by the British against the Zulus, it most assuredly true.
I am a history instructor and I have written several papers and delivered numerous oral presentations regarding this historical battle. Producer and star Stanley Baker has done his homework on this subject. The two hours you will devote to this epic tale will thrill and amaze you. Why? Because it is almost exactly depicted as it really happened in 1879.
In a period of about 30 hours on the 23rd and 24th of January 1879, 142 British soldiers held off over 4000 Zulu warriors in a battle for survival than will live forever in the annals of history. These few British soldiers killed or wounded approximately 2000 Zulus while losing only 17 of their own. There were eleven Victoria Crosses and three Distiguished Service Crosses awarded for this action.
The uniforms, weapons, costumes and even the location it was filmed at are true to fact. The story line follows the actual battle report made by the original participants almost to the letter. If you want to see a true life action filled history story on film that is actually factually correct, this is the movie.
Stanley Baker, Michael Caine and Nigel Green are perfectly cast as the main characters in this true story.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great War Film Worth Repeated Viewings,
"Zulu" is one of those films that should serve as a model for all other films of its genre that follow, and, indeed, it seems to have done just that. If you watch carefully, you'll see images and concepts that reappear--albeit in adapted form--in such films as "Glory," "Starship Troopers," and "The Last of the Mohicans," even if "Zulu" itself will remind you of many "last stand" cavalry and Indian movies made in the U.S. What separates the film most from others is not the technical production, which is impressive, but the relative fairness of the portrayal of both the British and the Zulus. While the story of the battle of Rorke's Drift is told from the point of view of the vastly outnumbered British, the Zulus are never reduced to the often cartoonish level of villain so common in American films. Instead, they are intelligent, organized, and brave adversaries who are, in fact, trying to repel European invaders. (The film successfully avoids the politics of the situation, instead focusing on the plight of the soldiers themselves.) Stanley Baker is stalwart as Chard, an engineer who takes command of the outpost despite his inexperience in combat, and Michael Caine, in his screen debut as the upper-crust second-in-command, has hardly been better. But supporting actors Nigel Greene, as an old guard sargeant, Patrick Magee, as a humane surgeon, and James Booth, as a layabout with criminal tendencies, nearly steal the show. John Barry's impressive score adds just the right mix of African theme and British sensibility, and though there are a few moments that feel dated, the film has stood the test of time since its debut four decades ago. About the only thing to complain about is the barebones DVD, which offers little except a no frills widescreen version of the feature film.
5.0 out of 5 stars Dwarfing The Mightiest! Towering Over The Greatest!,
Let me preface this review by noting that this refers to the movie itself, not the quality of the DVD/its special features or lack thereof.
The movie begins by showing the aftermath of a battle between Zulu tribesman and the British Army on the slopes of Isandwhana in the Natal province of what is now the Republic of South Africa, 1879. As Richard Burton narrates: the British were massacred by an overwhelming force of Zulu warriors in a trained and highly disciplined attack. The remnant of the British have retreated to a mission, while the Zulus prepare another assault.
There are less than 100 British soldiers fit for duty, and 4000 Zulu. Moreover, some of the Zulus took firearms off the dead bodies of the British soldiers from the original battle to complement their sheilds and spears. Lt. Chard (Stanley Baker) an officer of engineers, overrides Lt. Bromhead (Michael Caine) due to less than half a year of seniorirty and comandeers the defense of the mission-turned-fort.
This is a truly great movie. While not flawless (it suffers from the historical errors commonplace to historical movies) it a superlative action/adventure movie, but is meritorious for one further, perhaps most important reason: It is almost entirely devoid of rasicm. This may not seem like much today, but in 1964 it was commonplace to portray the enemy, be they blacks, native americans, or Germans as mindless savages. Zulu, on the other hand, portrays the African Warriors as intelligent fighters and noble warriors, and the only person to make a somewhat racist comment is quickly shot down.
Even if you're not a history buff like myself, please do yourself a favor and watch this movie.
5.0 out of 5 stars An historical and dramatic masterpiece,
Zulu is one of the finest historical dramas and war films ever made. With excellent performances by Stanley Baker, Nigel Greene, Jack Hawkins and (at the time) newcomer Michael Caine, you feel the anquish, fear, desperation and exhiliration of men thrust into the brutality of a hopeless situation yet emerging triumphant. The costumes and weapons for both the British and Zulu warriors are stunning and accurate and both sides are portrayed in very human terms. The locations are also quite authentic. The John Barry soundtrack, written before his later awesome soundtracks for the early James Bond pictures, is terrific and will carry you along, both up and down, with the action in the film. Richard Burton does the brief narration at the beginning and end. There are many exciting and dramatic scenes recounting true events from the battle of Rourke's Drift. The scene where the Zulus sing their battle song and the British respond by singing "Men of Harlech" as a sign of their own courage sounds stunning and is filled with real tension. You'll want to watch this one many times!!!
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie, but where's a good DVD?,
This is an excellent war film in many respects. It tells the tale of a British military hospital manned by less than a 100 men (some say less than 80) who are attacked by Zulu warriors for the sole reason that there are British people present there. With the healthy fighting at the walls with their bayonets and the sick fighting from their beds as the Zulus press their attack for nearly 24 hours, by the end of the movie every one is at the front giving their all. Half this movie is the action, and every incident of the battle is portrayed fairly accurately. When I first saw it I nearly died of suspense as the Zulus played waiting games with the defenders, and I was enthralled by the action in such scenes as the rooftop battle. Overall, this quickly won a place in my war film guru's heart.
I have a problem though - I have yet to find a DVD of this film that satisfies my needs. I bought a $7 DVD copy of this film earlier that was atrocious, with bad video, only 4 chapters (in a two hour movie that's a no-no), and a mono soundtrack. It was, to say the least, atrocious and I quickly sold it to a thrift store. This DVD I have yet to buy, as all I can see benefiting from this is more chapters and possibly, maybe better video. I currently own a VHS copy of "Zulu" that is widescreen, has crystal good video, and nice stereo sound. You would also think, since this is considered one of the best British films ever made, that they would have lots of extras, but when you have to watch the History Channel or Bravo to find out facts about this film, that is a sad thing for a DVD. I will wait before I decide on buying this DVD, maybe hoping for a Collector's Edition DVD.
By the way...learn the song "Men of Harlech." Download the Ivor Emannuel version (he's the same man who sings it in the movie). Get your friends to join in. It'll make you feel proud and pump you up. At least it does for me. Ahem...
Men of Harlech stop your dreaming
Can't you see their spear points gleaming?...
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than ever in MGM re-mastered video quality!,
This movie is a familiar classic and the historical (and miraculous) event upon which it is based is even more well-known. Therefore, I will go straight to talking about this DVD's technical merits. Compared to VHS and earlier DVD versions, this MGM release delivers great video quality. The image is sharp, the colours solid, and great adjustments in brightness and contrast. Not all of MGM's war classics in DVD are so well done, but I was very glad that this one, ZULU, was. There's a fairly long trailer and a very good scene selection menu. Of course, there is no fancy Dolby 5.1 sound or other redundant "extras" found in DVD versions of more contemporary (and easily forgettable) movies. My only disappointment with this MGM release is the sub-titles. If there are a lot of words to appear, some of them may appear above the bottom black bar and into the lower portion of the movie image. Because of this, I turned on my TV's closed captioning option and learned that this DVD does contain closed captioning for the hearing-impaired, with all the captioning staying at the bottom black bar. ZULU has become even greater in this MGM DVD incarnation. A must for every war/history buff who finds nothing politically offensive about watching throngs of spear-wielding Zulu warriors being gunned down by a comparatively handful of British soldiers.
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Zulu [Import] (DVD - 1999)
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