After settling his differences with a Japanese PoW camp commander, a British colonel co-operates to oversee his men's construction of a railway bridge for their captors - while oblivious to a plan by the Allies to destroy it.
Judah Ben-Hur lives as a rich Jewish prince and merchant in Jerusalem at the beginning of the 1st century. Together with the new governor his old friend Messala arrives as commanding officer of the Roman legions. At first they are happy to meet after a long time but their different politic views separate them. During the welcome parade a roof tile falls down from Judah's house and injures the governor. Although Messala knows they are not guilty, he sends Judah to the galleys and throws his mother and sister into prison. But Judah swears to come back and take revenge. Written by
Matthias Scheler <email@example.com>
Kirk Douglas was offered the role of Messala but turned it down, because he didn't want to play a "second-rate baddie". Douglas wanted to play Ben-Hur, whose Jewishness appealed to him, but he was too old and Charlton Heston had already been cast. The experience motivated Douglas to develop his own epic Spartacus (1960), which, ironically, has eclipsed Ben-Hur (1959) in critical acclaim in the intervening years. See more »
When the audience first sees Ben-Hur and Messala together and they both throw a spear at the wall, the sound of Ben-Hur's voice does not match up with his lips. See more »
Drusus, as a boy I dreamed of commanding this garrison. And now the wheel has turned. Now, I am in command.
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The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer lion is shown in a still-frame to appear looking peaceful at the beginning rather than roaring. See more »
One of the best epics, this is a story of the friendship between two young boys. Eventually they grow up to be enemies and end up hating each other, one being Jewish and the other one Roman.
One could easily assume "Ben-Hur" is a story from The Holy Bible, and although this is not the case it was the intention when writing it. It certainly is one of the greatest stories ever told. This is the third adaptation of the classic tale, and it's the only one really remembered today. Many elements were inspired and copied from the first two, filmed in 1907 and 1925, but with a vast improvement: special-effects. The set wasn't as dangerous in 1959 because of the technical revolution that had taken place since the last time around.
"Ben-Hur" is full of drama, action and romance. There's also a tension between the two leads that could be interpreted as a love-affair gone horribly wrong, but this was toned down by the studio as homosexuality was a big taboo at the time.
Charlton Heston and Stephen Boyd are great, with a wonderful supporting cast to back them up, making this a classic.
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