Behind the scenes: Zulu

Six rare images of Michael Caine and the cast and crew grappling with the heat and dust of South Africa during the making of the now 50-year-old British classic.

Updated:
Published:

All dressed up for stardom: Michael Caine poses in uniform for a portrait between takes for Zulu (1964). Caine quickly found himself one of the biggest actors in 1960 British cinema, after his star-making turn here playing infantry officer Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead.

All dressed up for stardom: Michael Caine poses in uniform for a portrait between takes for Zulu (1964). Caine quickly found himself one of the biggest actors in 1960 British cinema, after his star-making turn here playing infantry officer Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead.

Directed by Cy Endfield, Zulu is a thoughtful account of British soldiers’ heroic defence of an outpost against vastly superior Zulu forces in 1879. It was released on 22 January 1964, made a star of Michael Caine and has long since become a favourite on British television.

Caine enjoys a moment out of full costume, as the lighting crew prepare the next shot. Top-billed Stanley Baker (right), meanwhile, is top-to-toe in helmet and bright red uniform.

Caine enjoys a moment out of full costume, as the lighting crew prepare the next shot. Top-billed Stanley Baker (right), meanwhile, is top-to-toe in helmet and bright red uniform.

Say ‘cheese’! A group portrait of the actors playing the British army regiment who find themselves struggling to fend off an attack from 4,000 Zulu warriors at Rorke’s Drift.

Say ‘cheese’! A group portrait of the actors playing the British army regiment who find themselves struggling to fend off an attack from 4,000 Zulu warriors at Rorke’s Drift.

Director Cy Endfield dressed for the South African heat in short shorts. Endfield had previously directed Stanley Baker (second left) in the cult truck-driving thriller Hell Drivers (1957).

Director Cy Endfield dressed for the South African heat in short shorts. Endfield had previously directed Stanley Baker (second left) in the cult truck-driving thriller Hell Drivers (1957).

The great character actor Jack Hawkins in costume between takes. Hawkins plays Reverend Otto Witt, a Swedish missionary stationed at Rorke’s Drift.

The great character actor Jack Hawkins in costume between takes. Hawkins plays Reverend Otto Witt, a Swedish missionary stationed at Rorke’s Drift.

Director Cy Endfield with one of the huge cameras used for the Zulu shoot. The film was shot in the Technirama, an anamorphic, widescreen technology similar to CinemaScope. Other recent Technirama productions included El Cid (1961) and The Leopard (1963).

Director Cy Endfield with one of the huge cameras used for the Zulu shoot. The film was shot in the Technirama, an anamorphic, widescreen technology similar to CinemaScope. Other recent Technirama productions included El Cid (1961) and The Leopard (1963).

Back to the top