Zulu Dawn

  • PG
  • Douglas Hickox (1979)
  • UK
  • 112 min
Zulu Dawn
Film Review
Reviewed By
2 out of 5

Zulu plonked us down in the heat of battle and didn't have the time to tell us why Britain and the Zulus were arguing so violently. But because the 1963 epic was such a big hit, star Stanley Baker and writer/director Cy Endfield conceived this prequel, although by the time it came out in 1979 Baker had died and Endfield was sidelined. There's spectacle in abundance here but little of the characterisation that made Zulu so memorable. American Burt Lancaster doesn't quite fit his uniform or have the required stiff upper lip, though the assembled British stalwarts certainly do as they blunder on towards the massacre of Isandhlwana, the bloody aftermath of which opened this film's illustrious predecessor.

Plot Summary

Historical drama starring Burt Lancaster and Peter O'Toole. 1879: the king of the Zulu nation is goaded into making war so that the British Army can mobilise against him, but the Imperial forces foolishly underestimate the resourcefulness and passion of their adversaries.

Cast and crew


Colonel Anthony Durnford
Burt Lancaster
Lord Chelmsford
Peter O'Toole
William Vereker
Simon Ward
Sir Henry Bartle Frere
John Mills
Colonel Hamilton-Brown
Nigel Davenport
Colonel Crealock
Michael Jayston
Lt Col Pulleine
Denholm Elliott
Bishop Colenso
Freddie Jones
Sgt Major Williams
Bob Hoskins
QSM Bloomfield
Peter Vaughan
Phil Daniels
Private Williams
David Bradley (3)
Norris Newman
Ronald Lacey
Lt Melvill
James Faulkner
Lt Coghill
Christopher Cazenove
Cpl Storey
Paul Copley
Lt Harford
Ronald Pickup


Douglas Hickox

Other Information

Edited for violence and language.
Available on video and DVD
Certificate PG