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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 »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Simonides (as Nigel de Brulier)
Mitchell Lewis ...
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Sanballat
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Charles Belcher ...
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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:

The Picture Every Christian Ought to See! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The sea battle was filmed at Anzio, Italy. Many extras apparently lied about being able to swim, but due to political troubles engulfing Italy at the time, tension between Fascist supporters of Benito Mussolini and their opponents was evident. 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

Messala: To be a Roman is to rule the world! To be a Jew is to crawl in the dirt!
See more »

Connections

Version of Ben Hur (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Silent Film Making at It's Best
21 June 2000 | by (Gloucester, Ontario, Canada) – See all my reviews

The 1925 version of Ben-Hur is an outstanding example of silent film making at it's best. With the proverbial cast of thousands, it compares favorably with it's more expensive and lavish 1959 remake. Had the Academy Awards been given out at this time, Ben-Hur would undoubtedly have won it's share.

The video version that I saw was restored to it's original splendor complete with tints and two color technicolor sequences, They are quite spectacular and hold up quite well today. The birth of Christ sequence is most memorable.

The flagship sequences, the sea battle and the chariot race, are expertly staged and remain the most exciting parts of the picture. They are as good as those in the 1959 version.

The casting is, for the most part, excellent. Ramon Navarro as Judah and Francis X. Bushman as Messala stand out. The only problem is the casting of May McEvoy as Esther. With her blond hair, blue eyes and riglets, she looks more like a Mary Pickford want to be than a Jewish slave girl.

Despite all of it's well documented production problems, Ben-Hur still is one of the best movies of all time, silent or sound.


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