Zulu Dawn

Watch Zulu Dawn

"The sun dawned bloodied... two great armies met face to face... and the earth trembled to the sound of the Zulu death chant!"
  • PG
  • 1979
  • 1 hr 55 min
  • 6.6  (7,498)

During the late 19th century, the British Empire was expanding their territories across the African continent, seizing lands and imposing their rule. The Zulu Kingdom, located in modern-day South Africa, was one of the last standing powers that resisted British colonialism. In this context, the movie Zulu Dawn, directed by Douglas Hickox in 1979, portrays the events that led to the Battle of Isandlwana, a crucial clash between the Zulu warriors and the British army in 1879.

The plot of Zulu Dawn is set in the days leading up to the battle, exploring the perspectives and motivations of the different characters involved in the conflict. The main British characters are Lieutenant Colonel Pulleine, played by Burt Lancaster, and Lieutenant William Vereker, portrayed by Simon Ward. Pulleine is a veteran officer with experience in the Zulu region, but he is also a man of ethical principles who questions the justification of the British invasion. Vereker, on the other hand, is an ambitious and arrogant young officer who sees the Zulus as savages and seeks to prove himself in battle.

The Zulu characters are represented by King Cetshwayo, who is trying to negotiate with the British to avoid war, and his chief advisor, Dumiso, who warns him about the risks of attacking the British. Meanwhile, the Zulu regiments are preparing for battle, including the Undi Corps, the Nokenke Corps, and the inDluyengwe Corps, each with their own traditions and fighting styles.

As the tensions escalate, the British army makes several mistakes that increase the odds of a Zulu victory. They underestimate the size and strength of the Zulu forces, ignore the warnings of local scouts, and divide their troops into smaller camps. On the Zulu side, there are also divisions between the different regiments and doubts about the wisdom of attacking the well-armed British.

The battle itself is a chaotic and bloody spectacle, with both sides displaying bravery and ferocity. The Zulus, armed mainly with spears and shields, charge the British position in waves, overwhelming them with their numbers and surprise tactics. The British, equipped with rifles and artillery, try to hold their ground, but they are soon surrounded and outnumbered. The result is a devastating defeat for the British, with thousands of casualties and the loss of their biggest military force in Africa.

Zulu Dawn is a historical epic that aims to recreate the atmosphere and events of a pivotal moment in British colonial history. The film features impressive battle scenes, realistic costumes and sets, and a large cast of extras and actors, including Denholm Elliott as Surgeon Major James Henry Reynolds and Peter O'Toole as Lord Chelmsford. The soundtrack by Elmer Bernstein adds to the dramatic tension, mixing African and European influences.

However, the movie also has some flaws and controversies. It has been criticized for its portrayal of the Zulu culture and language, which some argue is stereotypical and inaccurate. Some Zulu leaders have also expressed their disapproval of the reenactment of a tragic event that caused so much suffering for their people. Additionally, some historians have pointed out that the film takes some liberties with the facts and simplifies the political context of the time.

Nevertheless, Zulu Dawn remains a classic war movie that explores themes of imperialism, leadership, and cultural clash. It shows the human side of historical figures and the complexity of military strategy and tactics. It is also a reminder of the cost of colonialism and the legacy of conflicts that still affect Africa today.

Zulu Dawn is a 1979 adventure movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 55 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.6.

Zulu Dawn
Where to Watch Zulu Dawn
Zulu Dawn is available to watch free on Peacock, Plex, The Roku Channel Free, Tubi TV and Vudu Free. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Amazon and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Zulu Dawn for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 55 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.6  (7,498)