Judah Ben-Hur lives as a rich Jewish prince and merchant in Jerusalem at the beginning of the 1st century. Together with the new governor his old friend Messala arrives as commanding officer of the Roman legions. At first they are happy to meet after a long time but their different politic views separate them. During the welcome parade a roof tile falls down from Judah's house and injures the governor. Although Messala knows they are not guilty, he sends Judah to the galleys and throws his mother and sister into prison. But Judah swears to come back and take revenge.Written by
Matthias Scheler <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Ben-Hur generated another $20 million from merchandising, including books, toys, candy, perfume, neckties, jewelry, gowns, chariot-shaped tricycles, and "Ben-Her" and "Ben-His" bathroom towels. See more »
In the film chariot drivers use 2 reins to control the horses but according to historical records they used 8. See more »
[speaking of Christ]
As though he were carrying that cross the pain of the world.
And yet why is it... I'm not afraid anymore?
The shadow of a storm.
[they go inside a nearby cave; the sky goes dark outside]
A strange darkness, but still day.
[a violent storm begins]
His life is over.
[...] See more »
The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer lion is shown in a still-frame to appear looking peaceful at the beginning rather than roaring. See more »
The first DVD release had an "Intermission" title card printed in a different font from the one used in the theatrical film and on the second, 4-disc DVD release. See more »
When I first saw 'Ben Hur' I was 8 years old and hadn't seen many films, since we were hardly ever allowed to watch television. Imagine what an impact this film had on me (my movie diet had so far consisted of Chaplin and Disney films - which, of course, is not at all a bad thing).
The experience was simply mesmerizing. Awe and wonder filled me as I watched this story of shocking betrayal, revenge and forgiveness unfold on screen - and by the time the heart-stopping chariot race was over, my fate as a future movie addict was sealed.
Despite its 212 minutes running time, this is storytelling at its finest that knows how to entertain; as we follow Judah Ben-Hur's dramatic journey from Jerusalem to Rome and back again, the film just never lets up and immerses you completely.
It's hard to imagine anything more cinematic, especially at the time: if ever there was an epic that was meant to be seen on the big screen in all its bombastic glory, it's Ben Hur. And even now, after I've seen the film many, many times, I feel like this story has a certain sense of greatness to it that is touching (and I don't mean that in a religious sense).
My verdict: this film was and is nothing like the many "sandal and sword" or bible films of that era; it is (at least to me) the ultimate film epic. With its touching story and fantastic action sequences - which I think hold up amazingly well - Ben Hur is among the milestones of its era and part of film history.