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116 Ratings


Directed by Tonie Van Der Merwe
South Africa, 1986


When Kay Kay, a powerful, ruthless businessman sets out on a mission of revenge against two men accused of killing his brother, he strong-arms the local sheriff into forming a posse of thugs to aid in his vendetta.

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Umbango Directed by Tonie Van Der Merwe

What are people saying?

  • Slappy McGee's rating of the film Umbango

    (3.5 stars) The 3rd South African "Z-Movie" that I've watched now and BY FAR the best. The director does a good job of getting the tone right for a western. Something about the cheap shoestring budget style that works very well for this western tale. The inexperienced acting doesn't stand out as badly and so the movie works. Very strong output from these filmmakers under very tough conditions. Very impressed.

  • Stefan Drees's rating of the film Umbango

    A somewhat naïve but nonetheless historically important production. I especially liked the B movie elements: an actor at the piano who doesn't know how a pianist uses his hands, clumsy dialogues, shaky tables and more.

  • the_mentaculus's rating of the film Umbango

    Now this is why we seek out the cinematic 'outcasts'. It tries so damn hard, and gets an 'A' for effort. The narrative swaggers into the bar and acts like it owns the joint, which it mostly does - and even though it has no idea what it's doing, it holds its liquor. Genre appropriation is rarely this earnest.

  • DrFirestone's rating of the film Umbango

    Compared to previous Tonie van der Merwe's films I watched, this is a huge step up - the scale of the production is respectable: the number of actors, supporting cast, the set itself. The music this time fits the theme of the film, the plot makes sense, and camerawork is slightly more refined too - I loved the colours. I have to say, this is a unique piece of film-making, especially considering the circumstances.

  • Rice Dream Girl's rating of the film Umbango

    Not only is the notion of a Zulu Western (complete with English signage such as "Saloon" and "County Jail" as well as a soundtrack featuring American folk music, cheesy '80s tracks, and orchestral pieces paired with silly landscape shots) completely absurd, the movie feels as though van der Merwe pulled these folks off the street to act in some earnest but necessarily limited home movie. Silly, yes, but charming.

  • Kevin Matthews's rating of the film Umbango

    Although it was interesting for me to watch a South African Western, this wasn't really a great film. Unable to overcome many obvious limitations, there is still some fun to be had for those who can accept the flaws, mainly because of the fun derived from watching such a curio piece.

  • T.h. Marvelsteins's rating of the film Umbango

    This is my second Van Der Merwe film and I must say that given budget restraints and the restrictions of the time, this is a marvelous little film. Well paced, lovely evocative setting and a real feeling for the genre and its archetypes. I find it churlish to complain about some small shortcomings. Great camera shots, wonderful horse riding and actual nuanced performances, capturing some of the poetry of westerns.

  • Brady orme's rating of the film Umbango

    Having grown up in Apartheid South Africa (through no fault of my own) I saw first hand the basic visceral so-called "entertainment" the majority had to make do with. It brings back memories, not a great example of film making per se but anthropologically unmissable.

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