6.6/10
5,844
67 user 29 critic

Zulu Dawn (1979)

A dramatization of the Battle of Isandlwana, where the British Army met its match against the Zulu nation.

Director:

Douglas Hickox

Writers:

Cy Endfield (original story and scenario), Cy Endfield (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Burt Lancaster ... Col. Durnford
Simon Ward ... Lt. Vereker
Denholm Elliott ... Col. Pulleine
Peter Vaughan ... Q.S.M. Bloomfield
James Faulkner ... Lt. Melvill
Christopher Cazenove ... Lt. Coghill
Bob Hoskins ... C.S.M. Williams
David Bradley ... Pte. Williams (as Dai Bradley)
Paul Copley ... Cpl. Storey
Donald Pickering ... Maj. Russell R.A.
Nicholas Clay ... Lt. Raw
Phil Daniels ... Boy Pullen
Ian Yule ... Cpl. Fields
Peter J. Elliott Peter J. Elliott ... Sentry
Brian O'Shaughnessy Brian O'Shaughnessy ... Maj. Smith R.A. (as Brian O'Shaunnessy)
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Storyline

In 1879 South Africa, the administrators of the British Cape Colony have designs to eliminate the Zulus as a hindrance to their colonial economy. To that end, the British present King Cetshwayo with an impossible ultimatum to provoke a war they are sure they can win easily with their rifles and artillery against native spears. However, that war proves more difficult than the arrogant British commander, Lord Chelmsford, expects as his overburdened army fruitlessly searches for the elusive enemy. However, in the shadow of a hill called Isandlwana, the overconfident British army learns to its sorrow just how badly they have underestimated the tactical skill and might of the Zulu nation. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The battle that shook the empire! See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Netherlands | USA

Language:

English | Zulu

Release Date:

15 May 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Amanecer sangriento See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby (as Dolby System Noise Reduction - High Fidelity)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

As the events in the movie take place prior to the events depicted in Zulu (1964), it would technically be considered a prequel, even though it was made fifteen years after Zulu (1964). See more »

Goofs

Burt Lancaster plays Col. Anthony Durnford with a strong Irish accent. In reality, Durnford came from an Anglo-Irish family from the Ascendancy and would not have spoken with such an accent, he would have sounded like an upper class Englishman. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Sir Henry Bartle Frere: [proofreading aloud the ultimatum he has just drafted] Cetshwayo's Zulu army to disband and the warriors permitted to return to their homes.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: One hundred years ago the British Colony of Natal in Southern Africa was surrounded by a vast and independent Zulu Kingdom.

In 1879, a battle took place that was forever to alter the course of Colonial history: ISANDHLWANA See more »

Connections

Referenced in Jeopardy!: Episode #26.181 (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Men of Harlech
(uncredited)
Traditional
Heard when the troops depart for Zululand
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Review of "ZULU DAWN" - by one of the crew & cast
1 August 2005 | by transkeiSee all my reviews

This movie had the potential of being great - what with us going well over budget ($52mill) We had the stars - most being very professional but with two major flaws - with incompetents such as Douglas Hickox and Peter O'Toole (directly responsible for the over-budgeting) 2nd Unit Director, David Tomblin and Peter Mc Donald - 2n Unit film Director were largely responsible for saving the production - in many more ways than one.

Our skeleton crew had to re-shoot many scenes. It took a lot of serious brainstorming and communication with the amaZulu to be able to complete this very important depiction of one of many battlers that took place between the "natives" and the invading colonialist (Boer & British) armies.

The passion, pathos, emotion and pain of reliving this momentous battle had an immense effect on myself, especially as I was one of the isiZulu Interpretors and Liaison people - as well as one of the second assistants.

The scenery may well have been spectacular; but working in such close/intimate - trusting proximity with 6000 amaZulu warriors was an experience beyond all comprehension.

I still regard this movie to be a very valuable one - especially since the fall of the previous South African regime and highly recommend it.


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