The many conflicts, war, and rebellions that have occurred in Africa are sort of forgotten by most of the world. Everyone knows Vietnam and World War II, but ask about a war that occurred in Africa and most people might simply be able to name the Sudan, without really knowing what the war was about. Unfortunately, that means that a great many African conflicts such as the Rwandan genocide, Dafur, the war against apartheid in South Africa, or any number of civil wars are overlooked in place of films about white people using Africa merely as a setting. Setting out to make a list involving the best and worst war films about conflict in Africa, I discovered that the list contains two types of films: Movies with white heroes using Africa as an exotic backdrop and documentaries about Africans committing horrible atrocities against one another in various civil wars.
This 1963 Michael Caine film is more about the British Empire than Africa, the residents of which, in this film, are simply nameless barbaric hoarders coming to evict the British out of their small frontier outpost in South Africa. With a force of thousands bearing down on them, the British, who only number a few hundred and have few defensive preparations, are forced to prepare for the oncoming onslaught, their anxiety growing as the clock ticks down. And when the Zulu do finally arrive, their marching can be heard from miles away, so strong are their number. The second half of the film is a massive battle where, surprisingly, the British end up surviving. I would consider it a very unrealistic film except it"s based on a true story. One of the all time great "Final Stand" war films, where a small force is required to fight a much larger army. For the foot soldiers in the British garrison force, it"s a classic case of being forced to fight for a piece of land of little value for little other than the pride of British military officers.