Zulu Dawn (1979)

In 1879, the British suffer a great loss at the Battle of Isandlwana due to incompetent leadership. Cy Endfield co-wrote the epic prequel Zulu Dawn 15 years after his enormously popular Zulu. Set in 1879, this film depicts the catastrophic Battle of Isandhlwana, which remains the worst defeat of the British army by natives, with the British contingent outnumbered 16-to-1 by the Zulu tribesmen. The film's opinion of events is made immediately clear in its title sequence: ebullient African village life presided over by King Cetshwayo is contrasted with aristocratic artifice under the arrogant eye of General Lord Chelmsford (Peter O'Toole). Chelmsford is at the heart of all that goes wrong, initiating the catastrophic battle with an ultimatum made seemingly for the sake of giving his troops something to do. His detached  manner leads to one mistake after another.

Directing:
  • Douglas Hickox
  • Étienne Chatiliez

Writing:
  • Cy Endfield
  • Anthony Story
  • Laurent Chouchan

Stars:
Release Date: 1979-05-14
themoviedb icon 5.7/10
  • Country: NL, US, ZA
  • Language: isiZulu | English
  • Runtime: 117
Peter O'Toole
Peter O'Toole
Lord Chelmsford
Ronald Pickup
Ronald Pickup
Lt. Harford
Burt Lancaster
Burt Lancaste...
Col. Anthony Durnford
Denholm Elliott
Denholm Ellio...
Colonel Pulleine
Bob Hoskins
Bob Hoskins
C.S.M. Williams
John Mills
John Mills
Sir Henry Bartle Frere
Nigel Davenport
Nigel Davenpo...
Col. Hamilton-Brown
Simon Ward
Simon Ward
Lt. Vereker
Phil Daniels
Phil Daniels
Boy Pullen
Peter Vaughan
Peter Vaughan
QSM Bloomfield
Ronald Lacey
Ronald Lacey
Norris Newman
Michael Jayston
Michael Jayst...
Col. Crealock
David Bradley
David Bradley
Pte Williams
Christopher Cazenove
Christopher C...
Lt. Coghill
James Faulkner
James Faulkne...
Lt. Melvill
Paul Copley
Paul Copley
Cpl. Storey
Nicholas Clay
Nicholas Clay
Lt. Raw
Donald Pickering
Donald Picker...
Maj. Russell R.A.
Freddie Jones
Freddie Jones
Bishop Colenso
Patrick Mynhardt
Patrick Mynha...
Col. Harness
Don Leonard
Don Leonard
Fannin
Sydney Chama
Sydney Chama
S.M. Kambula
Ken Gampu
Ken Gampu
Mantshonga
Anna Calder-Marshall
Anna Calder-M...
Fanny Colenso
Chris Chittell
Chris Chittel...
Lt. Milne
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