8.1/10
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452 user 130 critic

Ben-Hur (1959)

Trailer
3:00 | Trailer
After a Jewish prince is betrayed and sent into slavery by a Roman friend, he regains his freedom and comes back for revenge.

Director:

William Wyler

Writers:

Lew Wallace (novel) (as General Lew Wallace), Karl Tunberg (screenplay)
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Popularity
2,274 ( 333)
Top Rated Movies #213 | Won 11 Oscars. Another 18 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Charlton Heston ... Judah Ben-Hur
Jack Hawkins ... Quintus Arrius
Haya Harareet ... Esther
Stephen Boyd ... Messala
Hugh Griffith ... Sheik Ilderim
Martha Scott ... Miriam
Cathy O'Donnell ... Tirzah
Sam Jaffe ... Simonides
Finlay Currie ... Balthasar / Narrator
Frank Thring ... Pontius Pilate
Terence Longdon ... Drusus
George Relph George Relph ... Tiberius Caesar
André Morell ... Sextus
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Storyline

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 <tron@lyssa.owl.de>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A Tale of the Christ See more »


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

In the film chariot drivers use 2 reins to control the horses but according to historical records they used 8. See more »

Quotes

Miriam: [speaking of Christ] As though he were carrying that cross the pain of the world.
[she whispers]
Miriam: So fearful.
Tirzah: And yet why is it... I'm not afraid anymore?
[thunder rumbles]
Esther: The shadow of a storm.
[they go inside a nearby cave; the sky goes dark outside]
Esther: A strange darkness, but still day.
[a violent storm begins]
Miriam: His life is over.
[...]
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Crazy Credits

The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer lion is shown in a still-frame to appear looking peaceful at the beginning rather than roaring. See more »

Alternate Versions

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 »

Connections

Referenced in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: Episode #7.102 (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Love Theme / Ring For Freedom
Composed and Conducted by Miklós Rózsa
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User Reviews

 
Epic
15 November 2015 | by gogoschka-1See all my reviews

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.

Pure cinema and a must see. 10 stars out of 10.

Favorite TV-Shows reviewed: imdb.com/list/ls075552387/

Favorite films: IMDb.com/list/mkjOKvqlSBs/

Lesser-Known Masterpieces: imdb.com/list/ls070242495/

Favorite Low-Budget and B-Movies: imdb.com/list/ls054808375/


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 November 1959 (Canada) See more »

Also Known As:

William Wyler's Ben-Hur See more »

Filming Locations:

Anzio, Italy See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$241,792, 14 April 2019

Gross USA:

$74,422,622

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$74,427,638
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (1970) | (1962) | (1993 re-release) | (DVD) | (2005 DVD)

Sound Mix:

6-Track Stereo (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

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