Continuity mistake: When Corporal Allen pulls Private Hitch off the ramparts when Hitch is shooting at Zulu's in the hills with his pith helmet on backwards, Hitch gets shot in the leg, and Allen pulls him in. Allen is shot in the chest, he clutches his chest, falls inside ramparts with blood underneath his clutching hand. When you see him after camera cut he is clutching the OTHER side of his chest.
Continuity mistake: After the Zulus' final charge which follows the rendition of "Men of Harlech", they appear on the hills round Rorke's Drift to give their salute to the garrison before leaving. In one shot, filmed from behind the Zulus, both buildings, church and hospital are standing even though the hospital burned down during the battle. Seconds later in the next shot of the post from the hills, only the church is standing and a column of smoke rises from the ruins of the hospital. I believe that some scenes were filmed of the Zulu Impi crossing the Buffalo River and marching to Rorke's Drift, but were cut from the film. The first shot mentioned above could be one of these.
Plot hole: There must have been a shortage of Martini-Henry rifles for this production, for in the climactic charge scenes in which the three ranks of British soldiers deliver volley after volley into the Zulu masses, the soldiers closest to the camera are equipped with lever action Martini-Henry's but those further back in the line can be seen pulling up and back on bolt action rifles.
Deliberate mistake: This is a mistake which is a function of the limitation of the special effects at the time and what the censors would allow in the cinema but the wounds suffered by the Zulus do no justice to the horrific injuries that the Martini Henry rifle would have caused. The Martini Henry fired a big .45 inch soft nosed bullet that usually shattered on impact. It would have caused massive gaping wounds rather than the little red dots and trickles of blood shown on the Zulus and left many of them limbless as the bullets tore off arms and legs.
Factual error: In the actual battle the wagons were not tipped over, the space beneath was filled with mealie bags and ammunition boxes. This made the bayonet equipped rifles more effective against the much shorter assagais, since the assagai-armed Zulus could not engage without climbing onto the wagons.
Factual error: In history, the battle at Rourke's Drift was NOT ordered by Cetewayo. Cetewayo gave specific commands to his men not to attack any entrenched British positions; the Rourke's Drift assault was in fact spearheaded by one of his headstrong siblings eager to prove his warrior worth to his brother.
Continuity mistake: During the first major Zulu attack, a warrior leaps down from the rampart and faces a British soldier (near the bottom right of the screen). The soldier lunges with his rifle and it's all too visible that his bayonet stabs "to the side" of the Zulu's chest. Yet the Zulu falls dead; what, was he frightened to death or something?
Continuity mistake: When Bromhead is standing on the burning roof firing his pistol at the Zulus running about below, you can see there's no gun smoke or muzzle flash from the barrel. It looks as if he's just pointing it around.
Factual error: The Swedish missionary Otto Witt is portrayed as a drunkard who encourages the soldiers to abandon their posts. In reality Otto Witt helped the defense by helping to build the barricades. He later volunteered to assist as a lookout on the nearby hill. He departed before the battle to join his wife and two daughters at a nearby farm.Robin Allen
Deliberate mistake: The Zulus sniping on the defenders from the mountain are armed with Martini Henry Rifles implying they were taken from the dead at Isandlwhana. This couldn't have happened as the Zulus attacking Rorke's Drift did not fight at Isandlwhana, they were only the reserves. The looting of the camp was done by those who fought there. The Zulu snipers used old muskets.
Continuity mistake: During the lull before the attack on the hospital, when Pte. Hook walks over to the doorway to speak to somebody, his suspenders are dangling down from his waist. A minute later, when the camera angle changes, his suspenders are suddenly up over his shoulders. Then, when the camera angle changes again, his suspenders are back down again.
Continuity mistake: During one of the first Zulu attacks, a local is walking behind Chard carrying a box of ammo with a bayonetless rifle slung over his shoulder. The man is hit by a bullet and goes down. Chard quickly checks the man and then realises he's being charged by three Zulus. He shoots the first with his pistol, runs out of ammo so makes a grab for the dead mans rifle which now suddenly has a bayonet attached to it.
Factual error: Another commissary (senior to Dalton) and an army chaplain (who distinguished himself by handing out ammunition during the battle) were also present in the garrison.
Continuity mistake: One shot of the Zulus attacking is shown in reverse - all the Zulus appear to be left handed.
Factual error: At the begining of the film, Chard and Bromhead do not know one another and during the preparations for the defence it is indicated that Chard and Commissary Dalton do not know each other. Chard had actually been stationed at Rorke's Drift for several days before the battle and knew both Bromhead and Dalton.
Factual error: In the hospital, Corporal Friedrich Schiess tells William and Robert Jones that he's a member of the Natal Mounted Police. In actuality, Cpl. Schiess was a member of the Natal Native Contingent, a distinctly different branch of the colonial forces. The Natal Mounted Police did, however, have three men present at the Battle of Rorke's Drift: Troopers Lugg, Green, and Hunter, and Trooper Henry Lugg later published two detailed accounts of the battle.
Factual error: Several of the Martini-Henrys shown in the movie are later models that could not possibly have been present at Rorke's Drift. These include the Mark III, Mark IV, and several variants of the Francotte Cadet and Boer ZAR Contract Westley-Richards (neither manufactured until 1895) along with Bromhead's hunting rifle. One of the Zulus is even carrying a Martini-Enfield .303 Carbine, not manufactured until 1899.
Continuity mistake: Colour Sergeant Bourne goes one on one with a large Zulu warrior and kills him. Later, this same Zulu warrior is alive & well.
Continuity mistake: Chard gets struck on the neck by a Zulu shield, and he falls as if severely wounded. There's no blood on his neck, yet later when Bromhead pulls him upright, his collar is smeared with it. Anyway, how can a blow like that knock him silly? Bromhead was later struck by a Zulu shield on the neck as well, yet he was fine.
Revealing mistake: In the scene where the cavalry arrive (Chard thinks they are coming to help) and ride up to the sandbag wall, you can quite see the lighting being turned on as they get near. For a few seconds they are all in heavy shadow under their hat brims, then suddenly their faces are well lit. It's not a cut, it's one continuous shot.Michael Redfern
Continuity mistake: During one of the attacks, the Zulus are charging en masse towards the ramparts manned by British riflemen. When Bromhead yells "Fire!" the soldiers open fire with their rifles....and some Zulus at the REAR of the charge fall dead whilst those in the front continue charging, uninjured.
Continuity mistake: During the latter Zulu attacks, a number of charging Zulus fall to the ground clutching their chests as if shot before a single shot has been fired.