Zulu

Peter Jackson mentions the movie ‘Zulu’ (released in 1964), in the making feature of ‘LOTR: The Two Towers’. He refers to the pre-battle build-up of Helms deep and how he wants it to feel like the first half of ‘Zulu’, where a small outfit prepares for an impending disaster, when a large army is about to attack them.

Zulu is an account of how a small British contingent 150 British soldiers, 30 of them sick and wounded patients in a field hospital put up a fight against a huge force of 4000 odd African Zulu warriors.  Lieutenant John Chard (Stanley Baker), who is an engineer and in fact comes to build a bridge, assumes command of the post as he is a bit senior than the existing commander, Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead (Michael Kane).  Thus two men—one, who gets into it by sheer chance and two, a happy go lucky guy—get thrust into the horrors of war, when both are presented the eventuality of Zulus attacking their post, having just decimated another post that had 1000 British soldiers.

They take on the unenviable task amidst the protests of the local parish and his daughter, who insist they abandon the post and save their lives, and an amateurish force influenced by their advice and initially puts up a nervous fight. 

The movie displays the horrors of war, with everyone struggling to deal with the inner feelings but still has to act as per the deadly situation. The ending is somewhat ironic, shows the pointlessness of war, and makes a statement that no victory is worth it, when there are stacks of dead bodies all around. But the last narration by Richard Burton, speaks of their valiant efforts and the medals.

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