Memorable misquote, supposively delivered by Michael Caine
's youthful but pompous
character Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead in the 1964
. In the film, the lieutenant who is defending Rorke's Drift
communicates to his commanding officer news of an impending attack by an numerically superior enemy force with a more verbose
warning: Sentries have come in from the hill, sir.... They report Zulus to the southeast. Thousands of them.
There were 4,000, to be precise.
Alternative versions of the quote are Zulus, hundreds and thousands of them, and even Zulus, 'undreds of 'em, reflecting Caine's trademark Cockney accent (although in the film his inflection was more officer class). These quotes have been used in figurative speech when describing a overwhelming and futile situation, such as when one is about to confront an invincible basketball team, or when your computer code spews out a screens of error messages.