The Think Defence Top 20 British War Film Countdown
Chosen not on their artistic merit, historical accuracy or 100% Britishness but just because I think they are great and well worth a watch.
And so on to the Numero Uno
Details - Zulu
Release Date; Wed Jun 17 1964
IMDB Rating; 7.7
Runtime (Runtime in minutes); 138
Tagline (Branding slogan); Dwarfing The Mightiest! Towering Over The Greatest!
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.
Watch it because…
Forget the outrageous slurs on the good character of Private Henry Hook (who was a model soldier and campaigning tee totaller) and Commisary James Langley Dalton (who was the most experienced soldier at the mission station and widely credited with initiating the defence)
Forget British War Films, this is the best War Film full stop, in fact, forget War Films, Zulu is without a shadow of a doubt, THE best film ever made
The best bits are far too many to list. Forget the numerous and glaring historical innacuracies there are some great quotes and for anyone from the UK required Christmas viewing, shortly after the Great Escape.
Lieutenant John Chard: The army doesn’t like more than one disaster in a day.
Bromhead: Looks bad in the newspapers and upsets civilians at their breakfast.
Colour Sergeant Bourne: A prayer’s as good as bayonet on a day like this.
Pte. Thomas Cole: Why is it us? Why us?
Colour Sergeant Bourne: Because we’re here, lad. Nobody else. Just us.
Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead: Sixty! We dropped at least 60, wouldn’t you say?
Adendorff: That leaves only 3,940.
Colour Sergeant Bourne: It’s a miracle.
Lieutenant John Chard: If it’s a miracle, Colour Sergeant, it’s a short chamber Boxer Henry point 45 caliber miracle.
Colour Sergeant Bourne: And a bayonet, sir, with some guts behind.
Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead: Now there’s a bitter pill. Our own damned rifles!
Bromhead: I’ll tell my man to clean your kit.
Lieutenant John Chard: Don’t bother!
Bromhead: No bother… I’m not offering to clean it myself! Still, a chap ought to look smart in front of the men, don’t you think? Well chin-chin… do carry on with your mud pies.
The final scene is, as the kids say, awesome