8.0/10
6,016
49 user 23 critic

Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925)

Not Rated | | Adventure, Drama, Romance | 8 October 1927 (USA)
A Jewish prince seeks to find his family and revenge himself upon his childhood friend who had him wrongly imprisoned.

Directors:

, (uncredited) | 3 more credits »

Writers:

(by) (as General Lew Wallace), (adaptation) | 5 more credits »
Reviews

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
1 win. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Ben Hur (1907)
Short | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

The scene opens with an assembly of citizens who are harangued by one of their number, whose words have great weight with the crowd, and their attitude of approval shows that Roman misrule ... See full summary »

Directors: Harry T. Morey, Sidney Olcott, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Herman Rottger, William S. Hart
Certificate: Passed Biography | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The first part tells the story of Moses leading the Jews from Egypt to the Promised Land, his receipt of the tablets and the worship of the golden calf. The second part shows the efficacy ... See full summary »

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Theodore Roberts, Charles de Rochefort, Estelle Taylor
Adventure | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A seemingly idiotic fop is really the courageous vigilante Zorro, who seeks to protect the oppressed.

Director: Fred Niblo
Stars: Douglas Fairbanks, Marguerite De La Motte, Robert McKim
Adventure | Action
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Seeking revenge, an athletic young man joins the pirate band responsible for his father's death.

Director: Albert Parker
Stars: Douglas Fairbanks, Billie Dove, Tempe Pigott
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A young American soldier witnesses the horrors of the Great War.

Directors: King Vidor, George W. Hill
Stars: John Gilbert, Renée Adorée, Hobart Bosworth
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Jesus Christ faces religious and political oppression during his ministry and in the days before his death and resurrection.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: H.B. Warner, Dorothy Cumming, Ernest Torrence
Ben-Hur (1959)
Adventure | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

When 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
Stars: Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins, Stephen Boyd
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Childhood friends are torn apart when one of them marries the woman the other once fiercely loved.

Director: Clarence Brown
Stars: John Gilbert, Greta Garbo, Lars Hanson
The Wind (1928)
Drama | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A frail young woman from the east moves in with her cousin in the west, where she causes tension within the family and is slowly driven mad.

Director: Victor Sjöström
Stars: Lillian Gish, Lars Hanson, Montagu Love
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

An extended family split up in France and Germany find themselves on opposing sides of the battlefield during World War I.

Director: Rex Ingram
Stars: Rudolph Valentino, Alice Terry, Pomeroy Cannon
Seven Chances (1925)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A man learns he will inherit a fortune if he marries. By 7 p.m. Today.

Director: Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Ruth Dwyer, T. Roy Barnes
Ben Hur (TV Mini-Series 2010)
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A young Jewish prince seeks revenge after an old friend wrongly imprisons him and his family.

Stars: Joseph Morgan, Stephen Campbell Moore, Emily VanCamp
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
Iras
...
Simonides (as Nigel de Brulier)
Mitchell Lewis ...
Leo White ...
Sanballat
Frank Currier ...
Charles Belcher ...
Dale Fuller ...
Winter Hall ...
Edit

Storyline

Erstwhile childhood friends, Judah Ben-Hur and Messala meet again as adults, this time with Roman officer Messala as conqueror and Judah as a wealthy, though conquered, Israelite. A slip of a brick during a Roman parade causes Judah to be sent off as a galley slave, his property confiscated and his mother and sister imprisoned. Years later, as a result of his determination to stay alive and his willingness to aid his Roman master, Judah returns to his homeland an exalted and wealthy Roman athlete. Unable to find his mother and sister, and believing them dead, he can think of nothing else than revenge against Messala. Written by Doug Sederberg <vornoff@sonic.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

THIS MIGHTY SPECTACULAR PICTURE WILL BURN ITS WAY INTO YOUR MEMORY TO LAST FOREVER! (contemporaneous print ad - all caps) See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

8 October 1927 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ben-Hur  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$3,900,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$9,000,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (restored)

Sound Mix:

Color:

(2-strip Technicolor) (nine sequences)| (tinted)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

MGM inherited the production of Ben Hur when the company was founded in 1924; with the film over budget and getting out of control, the studio halted production and relocated the shoot from Italy to California, under the supervision of Irving Thalberg. William Wyler, one of more than 60 assistant directors for the chariot race, went on to direct the remake Ben-Hur (1959). See more »

Goofs

At one point in the chariot race a man in modern clothing - light-colored shirt, long pants, dark shoes - can be seen running out of the crowd onto the track and waving his arms at the camera. That was assistant director William Wyler, who saw that one of the chariots - out of camera range - was approaching the curve of the track too fast and Wyler was signaling the director to have the crew cleaning up a crashed chariot to get out of the way. See more »

Quotes

Iras: Curiosity consumes me! Why do you race as the Unknown Jew?
See more »

Connections

Featured in Some of the Best (1943) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Captivating silent epic
5 June 2008 | by (prejudicemadeplausible.wordpress.com) – See all my reviews

This much lesser-known version of the Ben-Hur story from 1925 was the most expensive silent film ever made and benefits greatly from MGM's ability at the time to make films that looked amazingly grand and epic and still somehow manage to today. Even after seeing William Wyler's 1959 version and even with the advancements of modern CGI, the 83 year old "Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ" still looks unbelievably impressive with its massive sets and thousands of extras.

The mythos that has surrounded "Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ" among film buffs over the years has reached a status almost as grand as the film itself. The deaths, bribes, and other stories surrounding the movie and in particular the famous chariot race sequence do nothing to detract from the film (although they do distract one from it) but instead increase one's fascination with the production. I'm not sure if there are any comprehensive books written on the film but I must seek one out eventually.

The story doesn't need to be discussed because everyone knows it. It's an entertaining story that's really quite hard to do wrong and this movie is more entertaining and exciting than any other version I've seen. The theatricality demanded from silent film enhances the nature and feel of the story.

This film was directed by Fred Niblo, famous for the Douglas Fairbanks vehicles "The Mark of Zorro" and the inferior "The Three Musketeers" and also director of several memorable silent films such as Greta Garbo vehicles "The Temptress" and "The Mysterious Lady" as well as "The Red Lily", an absolutely brilliant film by 1924 standards that is sadly hard to get a hold of (except on Turner Classic Movies which shows it on occasion). Niblo lost his way in the sound era but is on top form here directing this massive production. Of course, the chariot race deserves all its fame and recognition and remains exciting, vibrant, and captivating to this day.

The restoration on the DVD released in the four-DVD set released in celebration of the 1959 film is spectacular as usual from the Turner team with the original (and well-chosen) tints and the exceptional Technicolor sequences restored. The film is in the public domain so I expect there must be some form of cheap black & white only copy which I urge anybody reading this to avoid watching. Another reason to watch this restored version is the terrific score by Carl Davis performed by the London Philharmonic orchestra.

As good as William Wyler and Charlton Heston are, I'll take this Fred Niblo and Ramon Novarro over the 1959 version any day. A thrilling, captivating silent epic and one of the great silent American films.

9/10


24 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
strange light roman_g
Just saw it FRANKDRAFTING
PLEASE TELL ME... roman_g
stunt men question RichardLJackson
Viewing copy snetburn
Two different Thames Silent versions angmc43
Discuss Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?