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* LaughingMad: After a day and night being attacked by Zulus, Bromhead starts having a case of the giggles when it looks like they're in for Round 2, only to be told they're actually saluting the Brits.


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!!Tropes applying to ''Zulu Dawn'':
* ChildSoldiers: While not serving in a combat role, the British army does have children serving in support roles. They don't survive.
* ColdBloodedTorture: The British army tries to get information out of the three Zulus they capture by beating the living shit out of them. The Zulus figured this would happen, and planned for it.
* DevelopingDoomedCharacters: The first part of the movie is introducing us to several characters. Most of them won't make it to the end credits.
* DontShootTheMessenger: Cetshwayo's son demands he kill the messenger relaying the British Empire's view of the Zulus. Cetshwayo does not.
* DrillSergeantNasty: And a Colour Sergeant Nasty as well. Private Williams is distracted on parade by the former yelling at a native contingent, so the CSN sends him over to the drill sergeant to say "I love you more than my Colour Sergeant." He's then made to [[CoolAndUnusualPunishment run around the field holding his rifle over his head]] until as such a time as he collapses.
* FaceDeathWithDignity: Pulleine is writing a letter to his wife as the Zulus overrun everything. One bursts into his tent, and Pulleine sets aside his gun and lets the man stab him.
* TheGuardsMustBeCrazy: Or just flat-out TooDumbToLive. They wander off, leaving their three captives to sit and think up a means of escape. Then, when one starts calling out (the old "guards! Guards!" routine), only one wanders over, and gets laid out. His buddy is too busy staring off at the hills to notice as the Zulus cut themselves free, kill the guard, and run off.
* HandicappedBadass: Durnford's only got one working arm, but he's still a capable fighter, and lasts a long way into the Battle of Islandwana before getting downed.
* HateSink: Not a flattering depiction of Lord Chelmsford at all. He's an arrogant, idiotic jackass who seems to spend near every free moment glowering at someone, or ignoring advice just 'cuz, ultimately leading to the slaughter at Isandlwana. At no point does he show anything approaching a likeable trait.
* IgnoredExpert: A Boer and his son, who have already seen combat against the Zulus (and have the assegai scars to prove it) suggest a defensive technique of circling their wagons into a laager. Chelmsford ignores them.
* MilesGloriosus: The trader who runs into the Zulu scouts claimed he was trailed by a dozen of them, when the British can see he was only followed by three or four. Makes his claims he'd seen more dubious.
* OhCrap: A perfectly sensible reaction to finding several thousand armed Zulus right on top of you.
* OnlySaneMan: Durnford and Lieutenant Hardford, in different ways. Naturally, Chelmsford despises the former for no readily given reason (and historically blamed the man for the outcome of the battle). Hardford is one of the few who actually gives a damn about the lives of the native soldiers and troops. His attempts to warn Chelmsford about the slaughter is ignored.
* SkewedPriorities:
** A common problem with the quartermaster in the column. A native worker drowns in the river? Well, he's got mud all over the bullets. Later on, during the battle, he refuses to hand out bullets to soldiers out of turn, even when they ''need'' those bullets because the Zulus are overrunning them at that very moment.
** Chelmsford. Having just wandered into hostile territory and split his forces, he decides to make camp, have a light lunch and get his picture sketched. He ignores the messages of "we're under attack" because he's too busy stuffing his face.
** Creaselock scolds Lieutenant Harford for being alarmed when he passes on the message of troops being overrun.
* ThousandYardStare: The final scene of the movie is Chelmsford wandering through the ruins of the camp at Isandlwana, just staring at the devastation his bad decisions helped cause.
* UpperClassTwit: Lord Chelmsford, and most of his officers. They all laugh at the OnlySaneMan at the luncheon, who calls them out on eating while the troops go hungry (and Chelmsford's reaction is to sneer at the man for being "poorly behaved" ''and'' Irish.)
* ZergRush: As before, the Zulu's main battle tactic. And it works for them. The British have guns, cannon, and mortars, and they ''still'' run out of bullets and get overrun.


* AnachronismStew: Due to either a lack of Martini-Henry rifles or .455 blanks, a decent chunk of the weapons wielded by British forces in the film are actually anachronistic Lee-Enfield Mark Is with the telltale magazine removed, as well as Webley Mk. VI revolvers, not introduced until 1915. This is due to a lack of functional Beaumont-Adams revolvers used in the actual battle.

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* AnachronismStew: Due to either a lack of Martini-Henry rifles or .455 570 blanks, a decent chunk of the weapons wielded by British forces in the film are actually anachronistic Lee-Enfield Mark Is with the telltale magazine removed, as well as Webley Mk. VI revolvers, not introduced until 1915. This is due to a lack of functional Beaumont-Adams revolvers used in the actual battle.


* NippleAndDimed: The first TV screenings this film cheerfully screened it in its entirety, including the mass wedding sequence near the start where several hundred Zulu warriors dance their way into wedlock with a line of several hundred very exuberantly bouncy Zulu maidens. On the elsewhere mentioned [[NationalGeographicNudity African tribeswomen]] principle, this protracted scene of southern African pulchritude was always left in, regardless of the time of day of screening, throughout the 1970's, 1980's, and 1990's. Yet in the early 2000's, all this abruptly changed and British TV adopted a strictly censored version with all the bouncy toplessness left out. There was no clear reason given for this change of mind on the part of the broadcasters, and it was noticeable that later graphic scenes depicting mass slaughter of Zulu warriors under concentrated British riflepower were left in.

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* NippleAndDimed: The first TV screenings of this film cheerfully screened it in its entirety, including the mass wedding sequence near the start where several hundred Zulu warriors dance their way into wedlock with a line of several hundred very exuberantly bouncy Zulu maidens. On the elsewhere mentioned [[NationalGeographicNudity African tribeswomen]] principle, this protracted scene of southern African pulchritude was always left in, regardless of the time of day of screening, throughout the 1970's, 1980's, and 1990's. Yet in the early 2000's, all this abruptly changed and British TV adopted a strictly censored version with all the bouncy toplessness left out. There was no clear reason given for this change of mind on the part of the broadcasters, and it was noticeable that later graphic scenes depicting mass slaughter of Zulu warriors under concentrated British riflepower were left in.


* BecomingTheMask: during the "Men of Harlech" scene you see dozens of weary demoralized soldiers who enlisted because no one else was poor enough for the job, [[TakeALevelInBadass converting themselves]] into the {{Proud Warrior Race Guy}}s that they were singing of. If you look closely at the Zulus you can see how many are obviously youngsters out for the first time. They are becoming a mask too.
* BloodlessCarnage: As a practical matter, 1960s special effects wouldn't have been up to the challenge of faking hundreds of bayonettings and large-caliber bullet wounds on bare-chested Zulu extras.

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* BecomingTheMask: during During the "Men of Harlech" scene you see dozens of weary demoralized soldiers who enlisted because no one else was poor enough for the job, [[TakeALevelInBadass converting themselves]] into the {{Proud Warrior Race Guy}}s that they were singing of. If you look closely at the Zulus you can see how many are obviously youngsters out for the first time. They are becoming a the mask too.
* BloodlessCarnage: As a practical matter, 1960s special effects wouldn't have been up to the challenge of faking hundreds of bayonettings and large-caliber bullet wounds on bare-chested Zulu extras.extras, so there is no blood shown from this. However the spearheads and bayonets have some.


** Otto Wit wasn't a pacifist (he helped the British soldiers plan their defense) or a drunk, and he only left so as to alert his family at his farm a little while away (he also wasn't a widower or had an adult daughter)

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** Otto Wit wasn't a pacifist (he helped the British soldiers plan their defense) or a drunk, and he only left so as to alert his family at his farm a little while away (he also wasn't a widower or had an adult daughter)daughter; he had three children at the time, the oldest of whom was seven years old).


* {{Foreshadowing}}: The Boer character makes a few DeadpanSnarker remarks about the British and Boers fighting on the same side ''for now'', united against a common enemy. But he suggests after the war with the Zulus, things may well be different. In RealLife, the first Boer War happened a little over a year later. This was a direct consequence of the hamfisted way the British prosecusted the Zulu War, followed by a botched peace settlement and the British administration seeking to grab what it could after the collapse of the Zulu Empire. This alienated the Boers of the Transvaal and drove them into open revolt. And ''[[UsefulNotes/TheSecondBoerWar twenty]]'' years after the Zulu War...

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* {{Foreshadowing}}: The Boer character makes a few DeadpanSnarker remarks about the British and Boers fighting on the same side ''for now'', united against a common enemy. But he suggests after the war with the Zulus, things may well be different. In RealLife, the first Boer War happened a little over a year later. This was a direct consequence of the hamfisted way the British prosecusted prosecuted the Zulu War, followed by a botched peace settlement and the British administration seeking to grab what it could after the collapse of the Zulu Empire. This alienated the Boers of the Transvaal and drove them into open revolt. And ''[[UsefulNotes/TheSecondBoerWar twenty]]'' years after the Zulu War...


* Foreshadowing: The Boer character makes a few DeadpanSnarker remarks about the British and Boers fighting on the same side ''for now'', united against a common enemy. But he suggests after the war with the Zulus, things may well be different. In RealLife, the first Boer War happened a little over a year later. This was a direct consequence of the hamfisted way the British prosecusted the Zulu War, followed by a botched peace settlement and the British administration seeking to grab what it could after the collapse of the Zulu Empire. This alienated the Boers of the Transvaal and drove them into open revolt. And ''[[UsefulNotes/TheSecondBoerWar twenty]]'' years after the Zulu War...

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* Foreshadowing: {{Foreshadowing}}: The Boer character makes a few DeadpanSnarker remarks about the British and Boers fighting on the same side ''for now'', united against a common enemy. But he suggests after the war with the Zulus, things may well be different. In RealLife, the first Boer War happened a little over a year later. This was a direct consequence of the hamfisted way the British prosecusted the Zulu War, followed by a botched peace settlement and the British administration seeking to grab what it could after the collapse of the Zulu Empire. This alienated the Boers of the Transvaal and drove them into open revolt. And ''[[UsefulNotes/TheSecondBoerWar twenty]]'' years after the Zulu War...

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* Foreshadowing: The Boer character makes a few DeadpanSnarker remarks about the British and Boers fighting on the same side ''for now'', united against a common enemy. But he suggests after the war with the Zulus, things may well be different. In RealLife, the first Boer War happened a little over a year later. This was a direct consequence of the hamfisted way the British prosecusted the Zulu War, followed by a botched peace settlement and the British administration seeking to grab what it could after the collapse of the Zulu Empire. This alienated the Boers of the Transvaal and drove them into open revolt. And ''[[UsefulNotes/TheSecondBoerWar twenty]]'' years after the Zulu War...

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* MinoredInAssKicking: Bromhead, although portrayed as an aristocratic officer whose job is squarely one of command and leadership, is skilled with his pistol and at one particularly dire point trades his sword (intended as a badge of rank), for a rifle and joins the ranks of the flying platoon to repel Zulus breaching the perimeter.


** The cavalrymen were essentially yelled at as cowards by the soldiers as they've fled. Historically accurate here, in fact, in real life, the defenders took potshots at the fleeing cavalry men and killed one of them!


Followed fifteen years later by a prequel, ''Zulu Dawn'', about the disastrous Battle of Isandlwana that took place earlier the same day. It starred Creator/BurtLancaster, Creator/PeterOToole, and Creator/BobHoskins.

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Followed It was followed fifteen years later by a prequel, ''Zulu Dawn'', about the disastrous Battle of Isandlwana that took place earlier the same day. The film was released on the centenary of the battle. It was written by Cy Endfield and starred Creator/BurtLancaster, Creator/PeterOToole, and Creator/BobHoskins.
Creator/BobHoskins, and is generally regarded as being [[ShownTheirWork better history]] but the inferior film. It is also much more openly critical of the UsefulNotes/AngloZuluWar, emphasising the fact that the British instigated the war in order to seize Zululand.

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* RealityHasNoSubtitles: The Zulus' dialogue and chanting isn't translated.

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* RealMenLoveJesus: Colour-Sergeant Bourne coolly despatches Zulus with his bayonet, commands ranks of riflemen and quotes Psalm 46 before the battle.


* AnachronismStew: Due to either a lack of Martini-Henry rifles or .455 blanks, a decent chunk of the weapons wielded by British forces in the film are actually anachronistic Lee-Enfield Mark Is with the telltale magazine removed.
** The British officers also use Webley Mk. VI revolvers, not introduced until 1915. This is due to a lack of functional Beaumont-Adams revolvers used in the actual battle.

to:

* AnachronismStew: Due to either a lack of Martini-Henry rifles or .455 blanks, a decent chunk of the weapons wielded by British forces in the film are actually anachronistic Lee-Enfield Mark Is with the telltale magazine removed.
** The British officers also use
removed, as well as Webley Mk. VI revolvers, not introduced until 1915. This is due to a lack of functional Beaumont-Adams revolvers used in the actual battle.



** It should be noted that historically the cavalry actually fought in the opening stages of the battle before being forced to withdraw due to a lack of ammunition for their carbines.
** The cavalry unit was also mostly made up of black riders rather than white farmers as depicted in the film.

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** It should be noted that historically the cavalry actually fought in the opening stages of the battle before being forced to withdraw due to a lack of ammunition for their carbines. \n** The cavalry unit was also mostly made up of black riders rather than white farmers as depicted in the film.



* DeadpanSnarker: Bromhead, very much so.
-->'''Chard:''' Don't worry, Miss Witt. The Army doesn't like more than one disaster in a day.
-->'''Bromhead:''' Looks bad in the newspapers and upsets civilians at their breakfasts.

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* DeadpanSnarker: DeadpanSnarker:
**
Bromhead, very much so.
-->'''Chard:''' --->'''Chard:''' Don't worry, Miss Witt. The Army doesn't like more than one disaster in a day.
-->'''Bromhead:''' --->'''Bromhead:''' Looks bad in the newspapers and upsets civilians at their breakfasts.



-->'''Bromhead:''' We've dropped at least sixty!
-->'''Adendorff:''' That leaves only 3,940.

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-->'''Bromhead:''' --->'''Bromhead:''' We've dropped at least sixty!
-->'''Adendorff:''' --->'''Adendorff:''' That leaves only 3,940.



* DirtyCoward: Private Henry Hook is portrayed as this until he has a change of heart and becomes a hero, saving the lives of at least a dozen patients in the hospital.
** The cavalrymen were essentially yelled at as cowards by the soldiers as they've fled.
** Historically accurate here, in fact, in real life, the defenders took potshots at the fleeing cavalry men and killed one of them!

to:

* DirtyCoward: DirtyCoward:
**
Private Henry Hook is portrayed as this until he has a change of heart and becomes a hero, saving the lives of at least a dozen patients in the hospital.
** The cavalrymen were essentially yelled at as cowards by the soldiers as they've fled.
**
fled. Historically accurate here, in fact, in real life, the defenders took potshots at the fleeing cavalry men and killed one of them!



* LoveableRogue: Private Hook. (The real Hook was a churchgoing teetotaler, and his elderly daughters were ''not'' happy at the way the film portrayed their father.)
** The "Private Hook" fictional character was shown performing the actions of several of the real life historical convict soldiers.

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* LoveableRogue: Private Hook. (The Hook (the real Hook was a churchgoing teetotaler, and his elderly daughters were ''not'' happy at the way the film portrayed their father.)
**
father). The "Private Hook" fictional character was shown performing the actions of several of the real life historical convict soldiers.



* OneSteveLimit: Discussed by some of the soldiers. The Welsh have a rather limited range of names, so soldiers with similar names [[YouAreNumberSix go by their serial numbers]] to avoid confusion.



* PlanetOfSteves: Discussed by some of the soldiers. The Welsh have a rather limited range of names, so soldiers with similar names [[YouAreNumberSix go by their serial numbers]] to avoid confusion.



* RealityEnsues: The Zulus are pragmatic enough to take rifles and ammunition off of the British dead at Isandlwana, and take them to Rorke's Drift. What started out as a battle of guns against spears turns into a fight of guns against ''other guns''. After the initial surprise (because the defenders weren't expecting the Zulus to have looted rifles), reality sets in and it isn't as decisive: just because the Zulus know how to fire and reload rifles doesn't ''instantly'' make them expert marksmen, that takes prolonged training. One of the British officers notes that the Zulus thankfully aren't great shots (they've never had any experience firing rifles before. A historian of the war notes that without training, the Zulus did not understand how to align or calibrate the rifle sights, did not realise what they were for, and simply pointed at the target and fired - most bullets therefore went hopelessly wide). They also realize that the Zulu commander isn't going to have his few men with rifles fire at the ''same time'' that his main force charges in with spears, for fear of hitting his own men.

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* RealityEnsues: RealityEnsues:
**
The Zulus are pragmatic enough to take rifles and ammunition off of the British dead at Isandlwana, and take them to Rorke's Drift. What started out as a battle of guns against spears turns into a fight of guns against ''other guns''. After the initial surprise (because the defenders weren't expecting the Zulus to have looted rifles), reality sets in and it isn't as decisive: just because the Zulus know how to fire and reload rifles doesn't ''instantly'' make them expert marksmen, that takes prolonged training. One of the British officers notes that the Zulus thankfully aren't great shots (they've never had any experience firing rifles before. A historian of the war notes that without training, the Zulus did not understand how to align or calibrate the rifle sights, did not realise what they were for, and simply pointed at the target and fired - most bullets therefore went hopelessly wide). They also realize that the Zulu commander isn't going to have his few men with rifles fire at the ''same time'' that his main force charges in with spears, for fear of hitting his own men.



* WorthyOpponent: The Zulus appear to be massing again to wipe out the British, but it turns out they're saluting the British for their bravery before departing for good. This is [[ArtisticLicenseHistory a small fabrication]]: in real life the Zulus left because they weren't supposed to be there in the first place - Prince Dabulamanzi, the Zulu commander of the force, was King Cetshwayo's half-brother, and noted for his rashness and aggressive command behavior. In fact, the attack at Rorke's Drift was a direct violation of orders from the king, specifically that the Zulu forces were to act ''only'' in defense of Zululand, and under no circumstances to invade British-held territory. In reality, the Zulus had just disappeared by the dawn after the final attack, and only one more Zulu impi was briefly sighted by the men, retreating about an hour ahead of the British reinforcements.

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* WorthyOpponent: WorthyOpponent:
**
The Zulus appear to be massing again to wipe out the British, but it turns out they're saluting the British for their bravery before departing for good. This is [[ArtisticLicenseHistory a small fabrication]]: in real life the Zulus left because they weren't supposed to be there in the first place - Prince Dabulamanzi, the Zulu commander of the force, was King Cetshwayo's half-brother, and noted for his rashness and aggressive command behavior. In fact, the attack at Rorke's Drift was a direct violation of orders from the king, specifically that the Zulu forces were to act ''only'' in defense of Zululand, and under no circumstances to invade British-held territory. In reality, the Zulus had just disappeared by the dawn after the final attack, and only one more Zulu impi was briefly sighted by the men, retreating about an hour ahead of the British reinforcements.



* ZergRush: Again and again, the Zulus' chief tactic, though more by necessity than ignorance. Early in the film, Chard, Bromhead and Ardendorff discuss the Zulus' envelopment tactics, and decide that fortifying themselves within the mission negates the enemy's advantage. When the Zulu attempt to draw the British out from the defenses fails, Cesthawayo brings his riflemen into action, which has limited effect. Only then do the attackers resort to frontal assaults.

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* ZergRush: Again and again, the Zulus' chief tactic, though more by necessity than ignorance. Early in the film, Chard, Bromhead and Ardendorff discuss the Zulus' envelopment tactics, and decide that fortifying themselves within the mission negates the enemy's advantage. When the Zulu Zulu's attempt to draw the British out from the defenses fails, Cesthawayo brings his riflemen into action, which has limited effect. Only then do the attackers resort to frontal assaults.

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** Historically accurate here, in fact, in real life, the defenders took potshots at the fleeing cavalry men and killed one of them!

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