The idea that you can stream Zulu right to your TV is ... I'm frankly a little boggled. You have to understand, for years the only decent home video print of this 1964 masterpiece was the '97 laser disc. I toted around a VHS copy of that print for years. There was a DVD dump release, but the image on that was so smeary, on a 40" TV it was like watching a war flip-book illustrated by Monet.
And we had to walk uphill in the snow both ways to even see that. Kids today.
Zulu is the story of Rorke's Drift. Now, in 1879 the Zulu Nation decided they had enough of the British gits in the red serge and decided to drive them straight out of Africa and into the ocean. The British didn't take this seriously, as they were the world's greatest empire facing off against a bunch of locals with no armor and sharpened sticks. This, of course, was a horrible mistake. The Zulu tore through every British force they encountered like Russell Brand tearing through a dark room full of roofied Catholic schoolgirls. The entire goddam African nation was on the march, unstoppable ... until they hit Rorke's Drift.
Rorke's Drift, a shithole half-built outpost where 400 odd Welshmen and locals suddenly found themselves facing down about 4000 pissed off Zulu.
No escape. Holed up in a killbox with limited ammo. Ten to one odds.
This is the 1964 version of Aliens.
It's a great war movie. It's not pro-war, anti-war, anti-imperialism ... it's just about a bunch of guys in the wrong place at the wrong time using their brains and guts to beat overwhelming odds. Luckily for the 24th (2nd Warwickshire) Regiment of Foot, the guy in charge was one Lt. John Chard, an engineer who was not so big on heroic suicidal charges and very clever when it came to building redundant fortifications on the fly.
The movie's metadata is almost as fascinating as the movie itself. It's directed by Cy Endfield, blacklisted American director and noted card magician. John Chard's played by Stanley Baker, a guy you've probably never heard of, but who at one time was so hot they offered him the role of James Bond and he turned it down. Every fan of the film knows the story: Baker sank a lot of his own money into the film. It was his mission, his crusade. Zulu was his giant star turn. His triumph.
Except ... wait through those opening credits. Keep waiting. Yep, waaaaay past all those day players and IMDB trivia questions. Wait all the way until ...
"... and introducing MICHAEL CAINE"
Caine shows up as a fop on a horse. Barely gets your attention, almost teases your eye away from the other actors. By the end of the movie this flick is all his. He's taken it by the shirtfront, slapped it about, and announced that a Giant Goddam Movie Star has just arrived and you were lucky to see it happen.
The only caveat is the opening sequence 12 minutes. Incomprehensibly, the first twelve minutes consist solely of Missionary Jack Hawkins and his buxom daughter Ulla Jacobsson witnessing the mass wedding of young Zulu warriors and topless Zulu dancers. The ceremony is so overwhelming and ... um, I guess primal? ... um ... look , there's no explanation for it. It ends with an Ulla freak-out, edited as if the film were suddenly a bizarre blend of National Geographic Magazine and Reefer Madness. It's all so Hawkins can discover that the Zulu are on the march and rush off to play Captain (or rather Reverend) Exposition for the soldiers at the outpost. Just trust me -- get through those first 12 or so minutes, and you're up and running.
The incomparable Zulu starring Stanley Baker and Michael Caine, streaming instantly on Netflix, is your weekend recommendation.