Zulu - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Zulu Reviews

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October 29, 2016
An action packed war epic, Zulu is an extraordinarily entertaining film with a resonant message about violence.
September 24, 2016
A classic movie, clever action, a great story. Fire!
August 26, 2016
Tribal bodies are swimming through weeds over sharp-edged mountains to battle at red coats with patterned shields and unmagical scepters, ruining their mud hospital with languages of heat in tongues of flames against ruined alcohol. One crazy soldier relishes shaky sips from a smoked vial before living his then nightly daze of the Zulu Tribe's rapid marches however awkward and to the point the folks with ash'd skin, the British fools, absorb their gravity by stomping hills and working guns out formal piles of weapons. Someone's after royal badges and will leave them in hot dust, only to help a tribe with ammo of the warring dead inside the great outdoors. So, what's the brush at their ankles? The late 1800's is an eclipse of races which hurts the eyes of crude soldiers on this unfair couple of days; in particular to "crude sagacity of dominance" by the British and the Zulu Tribe's sundances of warfare, the white and the black are in their own melting pots even if some of their kins will become supper for the Earth to cherish their rotten muscles. At this point, a fancy hat is hardly a shield when its down shadow looms over places with wild toasters; if one army gives a salute, the other army thinks its pretension. The British armies put so much harm on other armies as well as themselves, and plenty of British residents today are more worried about the names of things; in other words, names that mean nothing. It doesn't matter if God's name is Jesus; people are dying here! Army movements here are either lucrative or diminished soon, bodies flowing over golden weeds of bloody waste, treading on a bright planet during momentary hours of peace when even a wild cat with a fuzzy knob of a dangerous tail hurries against lazy gunshots on divided paws. There's something rich about sunlight as it hits Mr. Caine's temple, so I remark here on the mysteries of shadows and try to define them: slight at moments, dark against flames, becoming ingredients to humanity's melting pots while turning the spectrum of hate into something massive: the eclipse of a smile beyond a fighter's gasping approach, switching her or his face's reflections of odor into resounding thuds of psychological impediments. Everything has a smell, lots of colors, becoming mediums for camera angles; at least, everything shown. When pleasure exists for a soldier, something has to give. Consider this blue sky land as the azure colors of the horizon change gradually with the soaking dips of history; a commonplace historian might say that the Zulu Film is historically accurate on a mild summer day, horrible coffee in hand, reading the newspaper while being a blithering pedant of familiar objects. DVD's permanent at all in small ways signify little; reality changes, and millions of seeds die in the womb before anybody is born. The Zulu Tribe resists goofy temptations to launch as imbecile fools; war is a poor accolade since, quite simply, plenty of sides are wrong, the right sides destroying humans like bugs as if deer look at them too closely. What's notable here is that the British army and the Zulu army own materials that aren't weapons, so their patronizing arrogance lives on for some expert kinds of materialism; what's ironic here is that the actors have to act out pompous stubbornness by being less self-disdainful and livelier in probable tunes of physics for fictional, historical spirits. Of course, it's not that clothes mean nothing; it's that wearable uniforms exist on people's figures in spite of most bodily actions. I know that golf channels advertise clothes; businesses accidently imply that materials are behaviors, so indeed actors must constantly struggle against the urge to run on happy dreamlands when reality is screaming at their faces. History movies of very many kinds have to serve as fictional obras which still get at the partial truths with special information: a deniable plot, more questions, examples laminated in video forms, requisite camera angles rather than perfect ones ever, inscribing technological descriptions of conditioned monsters across the sands of time with presentations that may make you queasy yet soothe my attention spans. Africa has its blinds of madness which are constantly downplayed by the African tribes' gay wits; I've watched so many cheap documentaries about tribes in Africa, and "Zulu" has reasonable physics since one of its creators for the movie for sure had the learned help of studying tribal rumors about foul play and forced kinds of understanding for armies. I actually consider an African tribe as a kind of army. I'm the kind of guy who listens to foreign languages even if I don't naturally speak them (sometimes I make up sounds); not only there's those profits of visual learning when I ignore my own desires sometimes, but nations of cultural types of charm if occasionally failing to be inevitable dominance or imprisoning submission gear themselves for troublemakers. In one of the beginning legend slots of "Zulu," a Zulu Warrior tugs at the clad dress of a prestigious, temperamental woman prior to his inconvenient death by a quick spear, chanting a showy song that is unwelcoming for the Zulu Tribe's reunion celebration. What if a leader is like some butler for our privileges? I'm most certainly not in that much glee for American Freedom when it's defined by world leaders through personal tastes and exotic reasons; let's amplify "Zulu"'s involving meanings or else dispute with ourselves how we live while others suffer. There's this unmelted exchange by the British Army and the Zulu Army between freedom and compassion, shared context of meaning possibly illusionous because of intense whispers between soldiers and battle-cries among warriors. An arbitrary motive that a historian can have is often needed in order to define the truth with optional bias; however alas, some political thinkers are horrible philosophers because they're bad anthropologists constantly feeling the need to pick sides without being so careful due to lack of descriptions. Once I had a black preacher at a ghetto church who told the doubtful crowd to drink the Bible; I'm still drinking it, but humanity at large is still open and long for me to handle, and "Zulu" is a tough poetry source of shattered alcohol and tattered sundances.
½ March 7, 2016
British imperialist message aside, I'm a sucker for awesome old-fashion epic war films
February 9, 2016
A fun movie despite it myriad of issues. It's Michael Caine in a red Victorian jacket, people!
October 4, 2015
Once a daringly-grand show piece Zulu has lost a lot of its punch over the years, reducing its impact against the modern movie goer who is used to huge sets and grand movie budgets. Despite this its still a good piece of Golden Age Brit cinema that's worth a look for anyone with good taste in cinema.
August 23, 2015
Tarda en arrancar, pero una vez en faena el espectáculo es inolvidable.
August 20, 2015
Great story telling with a fine cast and some of the best battle scenes.
June 26, 2015
Tegnap a Film Café esti repertoárjában sikerült elcsípni ezt az üde és friss darabot 64-b?l. Az üzenete világos: ne szívózz a britekkel, mert hozzák a haverokat és beütik az arcod. Még akkor is, ha a saját földedet véded ellenük, ahol egyébként semmi keresnivalójuk.
½ March 30, 2015
Has one of the most fascinating battle sequences put to film. I loved the scene where Caine says the Africans are mocking them with their music, but the other guy says the Africans are saluting them for fighting so well against impossible odds.

I doubt a movie like this could get made today where without context I couldn't help think people might overreact and call it racist. If the movie wasn't bloodless I'm not sure if it could have been made in 1964. Or maybe I'm the one overreacting thinking society is too sensitive. Anyway, great movie and it's good to see Caine in a movie where he lets loose a little and doesn't seem so stiff. The man was born to play Alfred in the Batman movies.
February 16, 2015
The most rousing war film ever, Great cast , Very good score, and singing too.
January 19, 2015
Best action movie ever. The suspense will have your heart beating louder that the Zulu warriors beating their shields! A hundred Redcoats with single shot Martini-Henry rifles defeat 4,000 Zulu warriors armed with over 1,000 of the same rifles. Michael Caine's first movie and a testament to the bravery of the Zulus.
½ January 4, 2015
So dated especially the comedic dying aka acting. But the characters are two - dimensional and you can't help rooting for them. It is an unbelievable story that dras you in.

Caine displays his early promise and Baker is at the top of his game. For its time also pretty even handed - this is no Colonial apologist.
January 3, 2015
one of the best films ever. A pinnacle of film making.
½ January 3, 2015
One of my favourite films. The classic formula of background, build-up, heightened tensions and culmination, in a closed environment. The portrayal of Hook was shameful however, so maybe a remake is due, alas Follywood would probably be even more slanderous in the face of dramatisation. "You're all going to die!"... as ever, the god believers are wrong. ;)
December 31, 2014
One of the best war moves ever made and one that still stands up after fifty years. Plenty of heroes, but no silly villans.
December 27, 2014
I don't really understand how critics loved this movie. It's not horribly bad, but I find that the big problem is the film's pacing. The film constantly alludes to a battle that happens later in the film, but spends half of it hanging around in the soldiers' quarters. It seems very pretentious that the film delays the fighting, but then again, a lot of historical films did this, and probably still do this today. To top it all off, the film is riddled with historical inaccuracies, to the point that I can't actually go into detail. Meanwhile, the performances are actually quite good, though the film's horrid pacing does not help the cause. The only thing that does help, however, are the film's picturesque visuals, which bring the film's setting to life when the acting fails. This is the kind of film that tries to be a grand historical recreation, but it suffers because of this pretention of grandeur. After all, if I can't enjoy the grandeur, then what's so grand about it?
½ December 27, 2014
The epic photography, acting and attention to detail make this a wonderful film worthy of multiple viewing. The only reason I give it 4.5 not 5 stars is that I think it would have been even better without some of the factual changes. The soldiers were mostly from a Warwickshire regiment rather than Wales; Otto Witt was younger and left to join his family at a nearby farmstead; Hook was not a malingering rogue; there were native Natal forces fighting with the British; the Zulus did not sing to salute them but because they were short of supplies and a relief column did appear; starting with 20.000 rounds the defenders ended with only 900!

However, the basic story is told accurately and the attack on the hospital is more or less exactly what happened as was the retreat to the inner redoubt. In fact, there's so much detail in this film it could well have been longer rather than shorter.

Those that complain about colonialism, racism and sexism in the film miss the point. This film tells it as it was and I think is probably the most accurate film of a single battle that has ever been made. In retrospect Michael Caine is given top billing but this is surely Stanley Baker's film from start to finish.

In reality, the colour sergeant eschewed a VC and asked for promotion instead. He went on to be a Lt-Col and was the last survivor of the battle to die aged 91!
November 9, 2014
In 1879, a communiqué from Lord Chelmsford to the Secretary of State for War in London, details the crushing defeat of a British force at the hands of the Zulus at the Battle of Isandlwana. In the aftermath of the battle, the victorious Zulus walk amongst the scattered bodies of dead British soldiers and gather their rifles. At a mass Zulu marriage ceremony witnessed by missionary Otto Witt (Jack Hawkins) and his daughter (Ulla Jacobsson), Zulu King Cetewayo (Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi) is also informed of the great victory earlier in the day. A company of the British Army's 24th Regiment of Foot, is using the missionary station of Rorke's Drift in Natal as a supply depot and hospital for their invasion force across the border in Zululand. Receiving news of Isandhlwana from the Natal Native Contingent Commander Adendorff, who warns that an army of 4,000 Zulu warriors is advancing to the British position, senior officer Lieutenant John Chard (Stanley Baker) of the Royal Engineers assumes command of the small British detachment. Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead (Michael Caine), an infantry officer, is rather put out to find himself subordinate to an engineer due to the latter's slightly earlier commission. Realising that they cannot outrun the Zulu army with wounded soldiers, Chard decides to fortify the station and make a stand, using wagons, sacks of mealie, and crates of ship's biscuit to form a defensive perimeter. Witt becomes drunk and demoralises the men with his dire predictions, causing the soldiers of the Natal Native Contingent to desert. Chard orders him to be locked in a supply room. The soldiers begin to feel nervous when they hear a strange beating sound coming towards them. They realise the sound is the Zulu army. Although the army is not yet in sight, they hear the sound of the Zulus beating their shields with spears. Bromhead says 'it sounds like a train in the distance'. As the impis approach, a contingent of Boer horsemen arrives. They advise Chard that defending the station is hopeless. They retreat in haste, despite Chard's desperate pleas for them to stay. The Zulu army, having formed a line of attack along the Oscarberg, approach to within 100 yards (91 m) of the station, ominously rattle their spears against their shields, and then charge. The British open fire and manage to kill at least 60, but Adendorff informs them that the Zulus are testing the British firepower. Witt again predicts the soldiers' inevitable fate, before escaping the battle with his daughter; this causes further demoralization of the defenders. Chard is concerned that the northern perimeter wall is undermanned but realises that the attack will come from all sides. The defenders are surprised when the Zulu warriors open fire on the station with rifles, taken from the British casualties at Isandlwana. Zulu fire inflicts minimal casualties but further affects the morale of the British defenders. Throughout the day and night, wave after wave of Zulu attackers are repelled. The Zulus succeed in setting fire to the hospital, leading to intense fighting between British patients and Zulu warriors as the former try to escape the flames. Private Henry Hook (James Booth) takes charge and successfully leads the patients to safety.The next morning, the Zulus approach to within several hundred yards and begin singing a war chant; the British respond by singing "Men of Harlech". In the final assault, just as it seems the Zulus will finally overwhelm the tired defenders, the British soldiers fall back to a small redoubt constructed out of mealie bags. With a reserve of soldiers hidden within the redoubt, they form into three firing ranks, and seamlessly pour volley after volley into the waves of attacking warriors, inflicting heavy casualties. Finally the remainder of the Zulu forces withdraw. After sustaining no attacks for three hours, the defenders are still recovering when the Zulus re-form again on the Oscarberg. Resigned to their imminent defeat, the British are astonished when the Zulus instead sing a song to honour the bravery of the defenders before peacefully withdrawing...

"Zulu" is one of those epic lavish costume dramas from the 60´s and it´s nicely shot with beautiful sceneries and strong performances from the actors including a young Michael Caine. Michael Caine, who at this early stage in his career was primarily playing bit parts, was originally up for the role of Private Henry Hook, which went to James Booth. According to Caine, he was extremely nervous during his screen test for the part of Bromhead, and director Cy Endfield told him that it was the worst screen test he had ever seen, but they were casting Caine in the part anyway because the production was leaving for South Africa shortly and they had not found anyone else for the role. And despite the fact that the director took some creative freedom with the true story, this is yet a powerful piece with historic roots. Most of the characters in the film were based on actual participants of the battle, but their behaviour is mostly fictional - something that has provoked disapproval: in an interview on the DVD, the descendants of Private Hook objected to his portrayal as a thief and malingerer (although his character acts bravely near the end of the film during some desperate fighting). Indeed, Hook's elderly daughters walked out of the film's 1964 London premiere. My only objection to "Zulu" is the quite "theatrical" battle scenes that hardly convince anyone in 2014.
October 3, 2014
one of the best movies ever. visual effects are a bit dated, but really this movie could not be redone any better.
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