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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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Iras
Nigel De Brulier ...
Simonides (as Nigel de Brulier)
Mitchell Lewis ...
Leo White ...
Sanballat
Frank Currier ...
Arrius
Charles Belcher ...
Dale Fuller ...
Winter Hall ...
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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>

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Taglines:

The Outstanding Attraction in America. The Greatest Wealth of Drama, Spectacle, Thrills, Awe Inspiring Magnitude, and Most Delicate Love Story ever presented in the History of the Theatres of the World. MIGHTY BEN-HUR See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

8 October 1927 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ben-Hur  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,900,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$9,000,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (restored)

Sound Mix:

Color:

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

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Kevin Brownlow's book "The Parade's Gone By", Ben Lyon tested for the role of Judah Ben-Hur. See more »

Goofs

Camera visible during the chariot race. See more »

Connections

Spoofed in The Kid Brother (1927) See more »

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User Reviews

An Entertaining & Often Impressive Version of the Story
23 September 2004 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

While it is now largely neglected in favor of the more familiar 1959 remake, the 1925 silent version of "Ben-Hur" is quite entertaining, and it is often impressive in its own right. Fred Niblo had a lot of good resources for this film, and he used them well. Although Niblo made some other enjoyable films, this one has to be by far his best. As Ben-Hur and Messala, Ramon Novarro and Francis X. Bushman work pretty well as the rivals whose complex relationship drives so much of the action. At an hour shorter than the 1950's version, this one moves at a good pace while keeping most of the best material.

The story lends itself easily to a large-scale production. The characters, the historical settings, and the themes all offer many possibilities to film-makers. The screenplay for this version does a good job of focusing on the parts of the story that are interesting to watch while also developing the story's key relationships and themes. Like the later version, it makes some changes from the novel, but it still contains most of the same best-known scenes.

The large-scale set piece sequences from the story work very well here. The naval battle sequence actually seems more realistic here than it is in the color and sound version. The chariot race scene is approached a little differently than it is in Wyler's version, so that direct comparisons may not be possible, but in any case Niblo's version is very good. The action is tense and exciting, and it is also fun to try to pick out the silent screen stars who appear in the audience.

There are certainly a number of reasons for the enduring popularity of the Wyler/Charlton Heston version. Fortunately, there is no need to choose one over the other. This adaptation of "Ben-Hur" deserves to be remembered in its own right, as a successful, entertaining movie that also captures the important ideas of the story.


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