One of the last of the classic-era widescreen epics, Zulu was also one of the last war movies to celebrate the virtues of the famous British stiff upper lip. At Rorke's Drift in 1879 a handful of British soldiers, hopelessly outnumbered by 4,000 Zulu warriors, fought one of the most celebrated defensive actions in military history. Zulu tells the story on an epic scale, bringing to life the heroism, courage, loyalty and sacrifice of those desperate hours. This is truly cast-of-thousands filmmaking, with vast action wonderfully captured in widescreen Technirama. John Barry, who also scored Goldfinger in the same year, provides a telling musical accompaniment.
The superb cast includes Stanley Baker and Jack Hawkins, but Zulu's final claim to fame is that it made an instant international superstar of a young actor whose name is Michael Caine. A belated sequel arrived in 1979 in Zulu Dawn, which despite even more spectacular action and a great cast died at the box-office. It is nevertheless well worth seeing.