Roughly based on actual events, which took place at Rorke's Drift
in February 1879, this 1963 film depicts the British
mission, occupied by a mixed force of 97 engineers and conscripts, as it is besieged by 4,000 assegai
toting Zulu warriors.
The film starred Sir Stanley Baker as Royal Engineer Lt. John Chard, the commanding officer of Rorke's Drift, and also a young Michael Caine as Chard's rival, Lt. Gonville Bromhead, as they battled an overwhemling number of warriors. They repel wave after wave of impis, and the film culminates with the sonic warfare of the Zulus with their shield clattering and war-songs being countered with a rousing chorus of 'Men of Harlech'.
Zulu was directed by Cy Endfield, who was inspired to after reading an article in a British magazine by John Prebble. He informed his good friend Sir Stanely Baker who scouted out locations whilst Prebble was commisioned to create a screenplay, whilst John Barry who later went on to score the James Bond series, was given his first shot at providing music for a film . Enderfield approached the local Zulu populace to try to find all of the extras he needed to recreate the epic twelve hour battle which took place. He met with surprising success, with Chief Buthelezi, now known as His Excellency Dr. Mangosuthu G. Buthelezi, Chief Minister of KwaZulu, playing the part of his ancestor, Chief Cetewayo. Local South African Army trainees made up the bulk of the 'British' defending force.
Zulu was filmed on location in the Natal National Park, against the backdrop of the Drakensberg Mountains around 100 miles away from the site of the actual battle, where a team of set makers recreated the mission and its hospital, and a short distance away, a copy of the Royal Zulu Kraal for the filming to take place.
Note: heyokas' English teacher, Harvey Hall apparently appeared in this film, IMBD has him listed as playing a 'sick man'