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Trivia / Zulu

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  • Banned in China: The South African apartheid regime only allowed white audiences to see the film because it was thought that it might encourage the blacks to rebel. Eventually, the regime agreed to allow a special screening for the black extras who had been in the movie.
  • BFI Top 100 British Films: #31
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!: "Suddenly, Zulus! Thousands of them!"
  • Cast the Runner-Up: Michael Caine originally auditioned for the part of Private Henry Hook, but was beaten to it by James Booth.
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  • Creator Backlash: Jack Hawkins was upset at the way his character (Reverend Otto Witt) was shown on film. He admitted he did not like the way his scenes had been edited in his 1973 autobiography "Anything for a Quiet Life", although he denied reports that he had left the premiere.
  • Executive Meddling: While untrue, rumors circulated of this on a governmental level: The film company was forbidden to actually pay the Zulus acting as extras, under apartheid laws. Director Cy Endfield, who'd struck up a friendship with the Zulus acting in the film, was upset with this and decided to leave them the cattle used in the film, more valuable to them than money. In actuality the Zulu extras were paid, just less than the white stars, with the main group of Zulu paid 9 shillings, extras paid 8 shillings, and the female dancers paid slightly less.
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  • Irony as She Is Cast: Although Lieutenant Bromhead was a soldier who had never been in battle, Michael Caine was a veteran of the British Army, who had seen combat in the Korean War.
  • Never Work with Children or Animals: Michael Caine is first seen on a horse crossing a river, but it was a local horse which got frightened when the sun glinted on the camera and threw Michael into the river. With him having to get dried and changed, to save time, one of the prop men donned his cloak and helmet and it's him in the opening shot.
  • Playing Against Type:
    • Michael Caine, who would go on to play working-class Cockney characters throughout his career, plays a snobby aristocratic officer with a posh accent in this movie — his first. Caine later commented that he was lucky the film's director was Cy Endfield, an Americannote  - a British director at that time would never have cast a Cockney actor as an aristocrat.
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    • Patrick Magee playing the heroic Surgeon Reynolds is quite a departure from his usual typecasting as hammy villains in A Clockwork Orange, The Masque of the Red Death and others.
  • Star-Making Role: For Michael Caine.

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