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When a Jewish prince is betrayed and sent into slavery by a Roman friend, he regains his freedom and comes back for revenge.



(novel) (as General Lew Wallace), (screenplay)
1,266 ( 74)
Top Rated Movies #193 | Won 11 Oscars. Another 16 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Balthasar / Narrator
Terence Longdon ...
George Relph ...


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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The World's Most Honored Motion Picture See more »


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

29 January 1960 (Brazil)  »

Also Known As:

Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$15,900,000 (estimated)


$70,000,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (1970) | (1962) | (1993 re-release) | (DVD edition) | (2005 DVD)

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

2.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Jesus Christ was played by American opera singer Claude Heater, who went uncredited in his only feature film role, because he never spoke. He was born in Oakland, California. See more »


In the confrontation scene between Judah and Messala when Judah demands that Messala release his mother and sister, Heston walks out of the room and the camera clearly sees that he is wearing brown hush puppies or ankle boots, definitely not period-accurate footwear. See more »


Tiberius Caesar: [Tiberius Caesar sees Judah Ben-Hur, in Arrius' chariot] This man riding beside you, who is he?
Quintus Arrius: The man who saved me, divine Emperor, to return and serve you.
Tiberius Caesar: Is that all you know of him?
Quintus Arrius: No. He was accused of an attack on the governor of Judea. But he was innocent.
Tiberius Caesar: If not, there is a strange inconsistency in this man, who tries to kill my governor, yet saves the life of my Consul. Come tomorrow, and we will talk of him.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer lion is shown in a still-frame to appear looking peaceful at the beginning rather than roaring. See more »


Spoofed in The Meaning of Life (1983) See more »


Fanfare To Prelude / Prelude / Marcia Romana
Composed and Conducted by Miklós Rózsa
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

15 November 2015 | by (wherever good films play) – See all my reviews

When I first saw 'Ben Hur' I was 8 years old and hadn't seen many films, since we were hardly ever allowed to watch television. Imagine what an impact this film had on me (my movie diet had so far consisted of Chaplin and Disney films – which, of course, is not at all a bad thing). The experience was simply mesmerizing. Awe and wonder filled me as I watched this story of shocking betrayal, revenge and forgiveness unfold on screen – and by the time the heart-stopping chariot race was over, my fate as a future movie addict was sealed.

Despite its 212 minutes running time, this is storytelling at its finest that knows how to entertain; as we follow Judah Ben-Hur's dramatic journey from Jerusalem to Rome and back again, the film just never lets up and immerses you completely. It's hard to imagine anything more cinematic, especially at the time: if ever there was an epic that was meant to be seen on the big screen in all its bombastic glory, it's Ben Hur. And even now, after I've seen the film many, many times, I feel like this story has a certain sense of greatness to it that is touching (and I don't mean that in a religious sense).

My verdict: this film was and is nothing like the many "sandal and sword" or bible films of that era; it is (at least to me) the ultimate film epic. With its touching story and fantastic action sequences - which I think hold up amazingly well - Ben Hur is among the milestones of its era and part of film history. Pure cinema and a must see – 10 stars out of 10.

77 of 104 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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