On Accents and Class in the Film Zulu

Michael Caine’s breakout role as a film actor was in the film Zulu (1964), in which he played Lieutenant Bromhead, a young upper-class officer with a snooty accent.


Caine recalls that, “in Zulu I was cast as a wishy-washy upper-crust Victorian officer. Now, I wasn’t in a very strong position to make radical suggestions about interpretation. I had got the part by the skin of my teeth. Originally I’d gone to audition for the part of a Cockney private, but they’d already cast that role. However, since I was tall and fair, I apparently looked like a posh Englishman, and the director, Cy Endfield, asked if I could do an upper-class accent. I switched quickly to Etonian and said, ‘Why, Mr. Endfield, I’ve been doing it for years.'” — Michael Caine, Acting in Film: An Actor’s Take on Moviemaking, 2nd ed. (1997), 99.

Michael Caine discusses how he got the part and prepared for this role in a recent interview on NPR online.


In another interview on the Telegraph, Caine relates his reaction to hearing himself when Zulu was released.

This entry was posted in European History, Historical Film, History in the Media, War in Film, War, Culture, and Society. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to On Accents and Class in the Film Zulu

  1. David says:

    Michael Caine is awesome.

  2. Pingback: Sobre acentos y clase en la película <i>Zulú</i>

  3. Msgm5 says:

    What a fabulous career Michael has had. One of my favorite actors, and deserves the utmost respect,unlike some of these so-called Hollywood clowns.

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