IMDb > Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925)
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
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Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925) More at IMDbPro »

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Lew Wallace (by)
June Mathis (adaptation)
View company contact information for Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
8 October 1927 (USA) See more »
The Picture Every Christian Ought to See! See more »
A Jewish prince seeks to find his family and revenge himself upon his childhood friend who had him wrongly imprisoned. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
1 win See more »
User Reviews:
Spectacular Silent Version of Wallace Classic! See more (55 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Ramon Novarro ... Ben-Hur

Francis X. Bushman ... Messala

May McAvoy ... Esther

Betty Bronson ... Mary

Claire McDowell ... Princess of Hur

Kathleen Key ... Tirzah

Carmel Myers ... Iras

Nigel De Brulier ... Simonides (as Nigel de Brulier)
Mitchell Lewis ... Sheik Ilderim

Leo White ... Sanballat

Frank Currier ... Arrius
Charles Belcher ... Balthazar

Dale Fuller ... Amrah

Winter Hall ... Joseph
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Reginald Barker ... Chariot Race Spectator (uncredited)

John Barrymore ... Chariot Race Spectator (uncredited)

Lionel Barrymore ... Chariot Race Spectator (uncredited)

Clarence Brown ... Chariot Race Spectator (uncredited)
Manuel Caballero ... Roman Guard (uncredited)
Gilbert Clayton ... (uncredited)

Gary Cooper ... Roman Guard (uncredited)

Joan Crawford ... Chariot Race Spectator (uncredited)

Marion Davies ... Chariot Race Spectator (uncredited)
William Donovan ... Charioteer of Corinthian Bay Team (uncredited)

Bill Elliott ... Chariot Race Spectator (uncredited)
Ray Erlenborn ... (uncredited)

Douglas Fairbanks ... Chariot Race Spectator (uncredited)

George Fitzmaurice ... Chariot Race Spectator (uncredited)

Sidney Franklin ... Chariot Race Spectator (uncredited)

Clark Gable ... Roman Guard (uncredited)

Rosita Garcia ... Slave Girl (uncredited)

Janet Gaynor ... Slave Girl (uncredited)

John Gilbert ... Chariot Race Spectator (uncredited)

Dorothy Gish ... Chariot Race Spectator (uncredited)

Lillian Gish ... Chariot Race Spectator (uncredited)

Samuel Goldwyn ... Chariot Race Spectator (uncredited)
Harry Gordon ... Centurion (uncredited)
Sid Grauman ... Chariot Race Spectator (uncredited)
William Green ... (uncredited)

Noble Johnson ... Crowd Member (uncredited)

Joyzelle Joyner ... Slave Girl (unconfirmed) (uncredited)

Rupert Julian ... Chariot Race Spectator (uncredited)

Henry King ... Chariot Race Spectator (uncredited)

Harold Lloyd ... Chariot Race Spectator (uncredited)

Carole Lombard ... Slave Girl (uncredited)

Myrna Loy ... Slave Girl (uncredited)

Cliff Lyons ... Charioteer (uncredited)
Mickey Millerick ... (uncredited)

Carlotta Monti ... Slave Girl (uncredited)

Colleen Moore ... Chariot Race Spectator (uncredited)
Claude Payton ... Jesus Christ (uncredited)

Mary Pickford ... Chariot Race Spectator (uncredited)
Satini Pualoa ... Extra (uncredited)
Leonora Summers ... (uncredited)

Tom Tyler ... Charioteer (uncredited)

Fay Wray ... Slave Girl (unconfirmed) (uncredited)
Christiane Yves ... Hedonist (uncredited)

Directed by
Fred Niblo 
Charles Brabin (uncredited)
Christy Cabanne (uncredited)
J.J. Cohn (uncredited)
Rex Ingram (uncredited)
Writing credits
Lew Wallace (by) (as General Lew Wallace)

June Mathis (adaptation)

Carey Wilson (scenario)

Carey Wilson (continuity) and
Bess Meredyth (continuity)

Katherine Hilliker (titles) (as Katharine Hilliker) and
H.H. Caldwell (titles)

Produced by
Kevin Brownlow .... producer (1987 restored version)
David Gill .... producer (1987 restored version)
J.J. Cohn .... producer (uncredited)
Samuel Goldwyn .... producer (uncredited)
Louis B. Mayer .... producer (uncredited)
Irving Thalberg .... producer (uncredited)
Original Music by
Carl Davis (1987 restored version)
William Axt (uncredited)
David Mendoza (uncredited)
Cinematography by
Clyde De Vinna (photography) (as Clyde DeVinna)
René Guissart (photography) (as Rene Guissart)
Percy Hilburn (photography)
Karl Struss (photography)
Paul Kerschner (uncredited)
Film Editing by
Lloyd Nosler (film editor)
Casting by
Robert McIntyre (uncredited)
Art Direction by
Horace Jackson (uncredited)
Harry Oliver (uncredited)
Set Decoration by
Edwin B. Willis (uncredited)
Makeup Department
Max Factor .... body makeup artist (uncredited)
George Westmore .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Production Management
Liz Sutherland .... production manager (1987 restored version)
Harry E. Edington .... production manager (uncredited)
Dave Friedman .... unit production manager (uncredited)
Lawrence Marston .... production supervisor (uncredited)
Albert E. Smith .... unit producer: sea battle (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Charles Stallings .... assistant director
Silas Clegg .... assistant director (uncredited)
Gabriellino D'Annunzio .... assistant director (uncredited)
B. Reeves Eason .... second unit director (uncredited)
Henry Hathaway .... assistant director (uncredited)
Al Lena .... assistant director (uncredited)
David Smith .... unit director: sea battle (uncredited)
William Wyler .... assistant director (uncredited)
Art Department
Ferdinand P. Earle .... art effects
Cedric Gibbons .... settings
Horace Jackson .... settings
Carl Bolzic .... plasterer (uncredited)
Ferdinand P. Earle .... assistant art director (uncredited)
A. Arnold Gillespie .... set designer (uncredited)
Harold Grieve .... set designer (uncredited)
Andrew MacDonald .... set constructor (uncredited)
Camillo Mastrocinque .... art director: Italy (uncredited)
E.H. Tate .... painter (uncredited)
C.F. Wilhelm .... construction coordinator (uncredited)
Sound Department
Mike Fairbairn .... dubbing editor (1987 restored version)
Special Effects by
A. Arnold Gillespie .... special effects
Visual Effects by
Paul Eagler .... trick photography (uncredited)
Ferdinand P. Earle .... visual effects (uncredited)
Kenneth Gordon MacLean .... miniatures (uncredited)
Frank D. Williams .... traveling matte shots (uncredited)
B. Reeves Eason .... stunt coordinator (uncredited)
Buster Gallagher .... stunt double: Ramon Novarro (uncredited)
Frank McGrath .... stunt performer (uncredited)
Mickey Millerick .... stunts (uncredited)
Allen Pomeroy .... stunts (uncredited)
David Sharpe .... stunts (uncredited)
Spike Spackman .... stunts (uncredited)
Tom Tyler .... stunts (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Silvano Balboni .... camera operator (uncredited)
John W. Boyle .... camera operator (uncredited)
Edoardo Bragaglia .... still photographer: Rome (uncredited)
Clarence Sinclair Bull .... still photographer (uncredited)
Edward T. Estabrook .... cinematographer: Technicolor (uncredited)
René Guissart .... cinematographer: Italy (uncredited)
Paul Ivano .... director of photography: second unit (uncredited)
Donald Biddle Keyes .... still photographer (uncredited)
Louis Kolb .... chief electrician (uncredited)
Ruth Harriet Louise .... still photographer (uncredited)
D.W. Martinelli .... additional photographer (uncredited)
George Meehan .... camera operator (uncredited)
Roy Musgrave .... cinematographer: Italy (uncredited)
George Gordon Nogle .... camera operator: second unit (uncredited)
Ray Rennahan .... cinematographer: Technicolor (uncredited)
Cliff Shirpser .... assistant camera (uncredited)
W. Steve Smith Jr. .... unit cinematographer: sea battle (uncredited)
E. Burton Steene .... camera operator (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Mrs. E.F. Chaffin .... wardrobe supervisor (uncredited)
Erté .... costumes: Carmel Myers (uncredited)
Editorial Department
Grant Goodwin .... videotape editor (1987 restored version)
Ron Sayer .... tinting effects (1987 restored version)
Renata Bernabei .... assistant editor (uncredited)
Irene Coletta .... assistant editor (uncredited)
William Holmes .... assistant editor (uncredited)
Ben Lewis .... assistant editor (uncredited)
Harry Reynolds .... assistant editor (uncredited)
Aubrey Scotto .... assistant editor (uncredited)
Basil Wrangell .... assistant editor (uncredited)
Music Department
Richard Bradford .... music recordist (1987 restored version)
Carl Davis .... conductor (1987 restored version)
Colin Matthews .... orchestrator (1987 restored version)
David Matthews .... orchestrator (1987 restored version)
David Nolan .... leader: The London Philharmonic Orchestra (1987 restored version)
Maurice Baron .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Edward Bowes .... composer: theme music (uncredited)
Other crew
Charles B. Dillingham .... produced by arrangement with
B. Reeves Eason .... directorial associate (as Reeves Eason)
Abraham L. Erlanger .... produced by arrangement with
Mickey Harding .... production assistant (1987 restored version) (as Micky Harding)
Alfred Raboch .... directorial associate (as Alfred L. Raboch)
Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. .... produced by arrangement with
Colonel Braden .... technical advisor (uncredited)
Ferdinand P. Earle .... director: Nativity scene (uncredited)
Henry Hathaway .... assistant: Mr. Eason (uncredited)
Herbert Howe .... publicist: Mr. Novarro (uncredited)
Mrs. M.F. Lee .... script reader (uncredited)
Lou Marangella .... publicity agent (uncredited)
John M. Nickolaus .... laboratory supervisor (uncredited)
Emma Peterson .... set medic (uncredited)
Miss Remington .... copyist (uncredited)
Miss Underwood .... copyist (uncredited)
William Wyler .... assistant: Mr. Eason (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Ben-Hur" - USA (short title)
See more »
143 min | Germany:151 min (restored version)
Color (2-strip Technicolor) (nine sequences) | Black and White (tinted)
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Brazil:10 | Finland:S | Ireland:G | Norway:A | Sweden:15 | UK:A (original rating) | UK:PG (video) | USA:Not Rated | USA:Passed (National Board of Review)
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

For the sea battle, scores of extras were required to play galley slaves and Roman soldiers. Because of the high unemployment figures in Italy, many extras desperate to get a job, lied that they could swim when they were being hired. An accident on the boat, and the fact that no one was sure how many extras were involved in the scene, caused great unease among the MGM management. Rumour has it that afterwards the production manager and his assistants took a boat out, and brought chains with them, to weigh down any bodies they might find floating on the surface.See more »
Crew or equipment visible: Camera visible during the chariot race.See more »
Messala:Egypt! Egypt! I would drown my soul in your eyes! Give me proof of your love!
Iras:My heart is in the hollow of your hand, Messala. What more do you wish?
Messala:You, flower of the Nile, will succeed where others have failed - - solve the mystery of Ilderim's driver.
See more »
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38 out of 45 people found the following review useful.
Spectacular Silent Version of Wallace Classic!, 9 November 2004
Author: Ben Burgraff (cariart) from Las Vegas, Nevada

With the record number of Oscars won by the William Wyler 1959 version of BEN-HUR, there is a tendency to overlook the monumental 1925 production, which established MGM as a studio to be reckoned with. Well, if you've never seen the earlier version, you may be in for a is superior in nearly every way!

Certainly, some of the performances (particularly Francis X. Bushman's scenery-chewing Messala) are cartoonish, the film lacks the widescreen splendor and scope of it's successor, and the 'Wyler Touch', the infinite care the legendary director poured over every detail, is sorely missed. But there is an energy and sense of intimacy in Fred Niblo's version that is sorely lacking in the later version; the film, as a whole, is far closer in spirit to General Lew Wallace's novel; and young leading man Ramon Novarro (with a sexy intensity reminiscent of Tyrone Power), makes a far more charismatic and sympathetic Ben-Hur than Charlton Heston.

The 1959 version is remembered today almost exclusively for the chariot race, one of the most spectacular action sequences ever filmed. But what of the other 'set piece', the gigantic sea battle between the Roman and pirate fleets? The scene is completely artificial, obviously comprised of models and rear projections (watch the toy seamen jiggle as ships collide!) The 1925 version's chariot race is equally as exciting, and the sea battle used full-sized ships and hundreds of extras (shot in Italy, where a fire broke out on the ships during the shooting...the extras' panic on screen was NOT acting!)

With two-strip Technicolor to emphasize key scenes (the Nativity, the new Roman Consul's arrival in Jerusalem...yes, those ARE topless women leading the procession!), and a wonderful, stirring new musical score by Carl Davis, Fred Niblo's BEN-HUR is a treasure, a film you'll want to see again and again...Can you honestly say THAT about the '59 version?

Was the above review useful to you?
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