On Air Now
Cowan's Classics with Rob Cowan 7pm - 9pm
It's the film that made Michael Caine, but John Barry's score has achieved similar immortality over the years.
Released: 22 January 1964
Director: Cy Endfield
Cast: Stanley Baker, Jack Hawkins, Michael Caine
It's 1964, and a young John Barry (not yet synonymous with James Bond) has written the music to an epic British war movie called Zulu. By this early point in his career, Barry was not the household name he later became. But it wasn't long after Zulu's success that people really began to take notice. Not only was this guy a skilled orchestrator, he could also write tunes catchy enough to rival anything in the pop charts.
Zulu is a stately, impressive work with a title theme that is as bombastic as anything that has come out of Hollywood since. It's no wonder that this was the moment when Barry's career really took off - fast forward ten years and he was seemingly unable to compose a film score that didn't become an oft-quoted byword for soundtrack excellence. Zulu made a then-unknown Michael Caine into a sought-after actor, and it could be argued that it did the same for John Barry's music career, too.