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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Down 27% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
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:
'Silent' Ben-Hur Also Has A Lot To Offer See more (52 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)
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?

Producer Irving Thalberg was short of "hedonist slave girls", so he called up Hal Roach and Mack Sennett to ask a favor: to loan out their famous "Bathing Beauties". They were happy to oblige, as many girls were making their film debuts. Among the group of 20 or so girls who eventually appeared in the film: Janet Gaynor, Carole Lombard, Fay Wray and Joyzelle Joyner.See more »
Crew or equipment visible: 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 »
Iras:Curiosity consumes me! Why do you race as the Unknown Jew?See more »
Movie Connections:
Spoofed in The Kid Brother (1927)See more »


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47 out of 49 people found the following review useful.
'Silent' Ben-Hur Also Has A Lot To Offer, 5 April 2006
Author: ccthemovieman-1 from United States

After seeing the famous 1959 version of this film a number of times in the last 45 years, it was interesting to contrast this 1925 silent version to it. However, let me say right off the bat that I enjoyed both versions, and I am not going to get into the "which movie is better?" argument.

This silent-film version was more true to the book than the more-famous 1959 movie, mainly from the Christian angle. Just look at the main title and notice "A Tale Of The Christ" was dropped for the '59 film even though that is the official title and the name of Lew Wallace's book. In this film, the life of Christ is much more prominent, and that's the major difference.

Both films feature a cast of thousands, the great sea battle and the dramatic chariot race. We have the intense and bitter rivalry between Judah Ben-Hur and Messala, capped off by the chariot race. To compare action scenes would be unfair since cameras and technical knowledge improve with time. Both versions wowed audiences in their day. The chariot race in the '59 version is still considered by some the great action scene ever filmed, especially since it was done without special effects.

Unlike the '59 movie, this silent version had TWO big stars in the leads: Ramon Narvarro and Francis X. Bushman, playing Ben-Hur and Messala, respectively. It also has an interesting mix of (mostly) black-and-white and tinted scenes. All the scenes involving Jesus had color. As in the '59 version, you never saw Christ's face.

Both had touching scenes with Ben-Hur and his sister and his mother. Speaking of women, a shocker in this silent version was a quick parade of topless women.

At 2 hours and 25 minutes this Ben-Hur was shorter than the '59 version. However, this is a long, long movie for a silent film and many people today probably wouldn't put up with no dialog for that long, but if you appreciate great film-making - from any era - this is a "must" for your collection.

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