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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
William Wyler was a renowned stickler for detail. Charlton Heston recalled one particular scene where Judah Ben-Hur simply walks across a room upon his return from slavery. Such a simple scene required eight takes before the actor finally asked Wyler what was missing. The director informed him that he liked the first take where Heston had kicked a piece of pottery to give the scene its only sound. Heston, on the other hand, had assumed that Wyler didn't like the kicking and had therefore deliberately avoided doing it again. See more »
Jesus' ministry seems to last 5 years in this movie. Although this is traditionally seen as lasting only 3 years, the Bible gives no such specific chronology, Making it 5 years is a reasonable artistic decision. See more »
[speaking of Christ]
As though he were carrying that cross the pain of the world.
And yet why is it... I'm not afraid anymore?
The shadow of a storm.
[they go inside a nearby cave; the sky goes dark outside]
A strange darkness, but still day.
[a violent storm begins]
His life is over.
[...] See more »
The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer lion is shown in a still-frame to appear looking peaceful at the beginning rather than roaring. See more »
I have seen Ben-Hur (I also like the 1925 version very much) I don't know how many times now. I think I have stopped counting seven years ago. I never tire to see this movie and, needless to say, I know all the scenes and dialogue by heart. This picture has everything in it. Almost all human sentiments are represented in the story: joy, sorrow, despair, pride, jealousy, hope, revenge, anger, forgiveness, compassion, redemption, love, hate, friendship, humour, etc, etc. During the three and a half hours it takes for the story to unfold, we see passing by our very eyes just about every example of what constitutes the human condition. What I find even more remarkable in this movie is the fact that Christ is present throughout the entire story, but we don't really see him in the flesh (at the exception of a few scenes, where the Lord is, in fact, in the background) and yet, his spirit and message is ever present through the words and actions of the various characters. It's not for nothing that the complete title of this great story is "Ben-Hur, a Tale of the Christ". The movie is well-acted (especially Heston, Griffith, Hawkins and, let's not forget, the wonderful Finley Currie, playing Balthazar), the dialogue is always concise, yet never short of meaning and substance (the way dialogues in movies should be), the decor and settings are just magnificent and the Miklos Rozsa score is simply superb. Besides Quo Vadis (the 1951 version, which, incidentally, I have recommended to those who have also enjoyed Ben-Hur), I cannot think of a better movie about the early days of Christianity than this one. There are others, of course, (The Robe, just to name one), but none has the grandeur and the spectacular dimension of Ben-Hur. It's the movie I would want to watch one last time on my death bed. I gladly and proudly give Ben-Hur a score of 10 out of 10!
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