Michael Caine recently told The Spectator (via IndieWire) that it’s “bullshit” his 1964 war epic “Zulu” was cited on a recent United Kingdom counter-terrorism report. The controversial Prevent strategy flagged a handful of popular films, British sitcoms, works of literature and more as possible sources of inspiration for terrorist groups and far-right extremists. “Zulu” was cited alongside “The Bridge on the River Kwai,” “Brave New World,” “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” and the BBC’s original “House of Cards,” among other titles.
“That is the biggest load of bullshit I have ever heard,” Caine said bluntly when told the news about “Zulu” being classified as a “key text” for “white nationalists and supremacists.”
“Zulu,” directed by Cy Endfield, opened in 1964 and served as Caine’s first major breakthrough film role following a string of uncredited movie appearances. The movie is set during the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879 and follows a group of 150 British soldiers who fend off thousands of Zulu warriors. Caine stars as an inexperienced lieutenant officer in the film, which marked his jump from stage actor to movie star.
Caine said he landed a role in “Zulu” after an American director saw him playing “a cockney bloke in the West End in a play called ‘Next Time I’ll Sing To You,'” adding, “The director in the audience saw me and gave me a part in the film ‘Zulu’ as a posh officer. This made me a star and I never went back on the stage again.”
Caine would go on to have a decades-spanning career that has garnered him two Academy Awards and major blockbusters like Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy. At 89, the actor will be front and center in a new film later this year called “The Great Escaper,” about a veteran who breaks out of his care home to go commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day.
Is Caine thinking about retirement? “I retire all the time,” he said, “and then a script arrives and tempts me out of retirement.”
Caine isn’t the only one to speak out against the Prevent report. “House of Cards” screenwriter Andrew Davies told The Daily Mail the report “almost seems like a joke” for citing his series as possibly inspiring the far right.
“‘House of Cards’ was actually a satirical view of right-wing politics,” he said. “This list includes more or less the entire classical canon of literature and some of the very best British television programs ever made.”
Proving his point, the Prevent report also cited the complete works of William Shakespeare as possibly inciting the far right.