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Ben-Hur (1959)

8.2
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 117,063 users  
Reviews: 342 user | 100 critic

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

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(book), (screenplay), 4 more credits »
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Title: Ben-Hur (1959)

Ben-Hur (1959) on IMDb 8.2/10

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Top 250 #181 | Won 11 Oscars. Another 20 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

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 <tron@lyssa.owl.de>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

friend | roman | galley | revenge | prince | See more »

Taglines:

It's an insane world, but still there's one sanity that remains; the LOYALTY of old friends!! See more »

Genres:

Adventure | Drama

Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

29 January 1960 (Brazil)  »

Also Known As:

Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$15,900,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$70,000,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

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

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints) (Westrex Recording System)| (1993 re-release)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.66 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The second of two films shot in the MGM Camera 65 process (eight more would be shot after the process was re-named Ultra Panavision). It was intended to be the first, but production delays led to MGM using it first on Raintree County (1957). Like the Todd-AO format (introduced in 1953), MGM Camera 65, used 65mm negative stock that was then printed to 70mm film for roadshow release prints, or optically printed down to 35mm for general release. Unlike Todd-AO, though, Camera 65 operated at a standard speed of 24 fps from the beginning, and utilized 1.25x anamorphic lenses to optically squeeze an aspect ratio of 2.76:1 into the 2.20:1 Todd-AO frame. These lenses were developed and manufactured by Panavision, a natural evolution on their work to improve the quality of anamorphic camera and projection lenses for the CinemaScope system. The extra 5mm of film between the 65mm negatives and 70mm prints was comprised of 2.5mm outside the perforations on either side of the film, allowing for up to four stripes of magnetic oxide carrying up to six discrete channels of sound - offering greatly superior sound quality in comparison to the mono optical tracks on 35mm prints at the time. When MGM sold its camera department to Panavision in 1961 the Camera 65 process was renamed Ultra Panavision 70 but remained technically identical. The complexity of anamorphic photography and post-production however meant the system was short-lived - especially due to the use of unique 1.25x anamorphic lenses rather than the 2x power used for CinemaScope - and the process was last used for Khartoum (1966) in 1966. Most of the cameras were used on Super Panavision 70 productions - Panavision's exact copy of the non-anamorphic 24 fps Todd-AO process - before being replaced by the Panaflex 65 cameras used in Panavision System 65. Notably, due to the complexity and cost of projecting anamorphic 70mm prints, recent re-issue 70mm prints of Ben-Hur have been printed from optically un-squeezed negatives to allow their projection on normal 70mm equipment with only slight cropping of the sides of the picture. See more »

Goofs

As the Romans are marching to Jerusalem, Drusus asks Messala what town they are passing through. Messala replies, "Nazareth," but when he says "we arrive in Jerusalem tomorrow night," his mouth is not moving. See more »

Quotes

[first lines and off-screen]
Balthasar: [narrating, off screen] In the Year of our Lord, Judea - for nearly a century - had lain under the mastery of Rome. In the seventh year of the reign of Augustus Caesar, an imperial decree ordered every Judean each to return to his place of birth to be counted and taxed. The converging ways of many of them led to the gates of their capital city, Jerusalem, the troubled heart of their land. The old city was dominated by the fortress of Antonia, the seat of Roman power, ...
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 »

Connections

Referenced in The 40th Annual Academy Awards (1968) See more »

Soundtracks

Triumphal March From Quo Vadis
(uncredited)
Written by Miklós Rózsa
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Breath-taking; possible THE perfect movie.
5 September 2004 | by (tx) – See all my reviews

I think I can safely say that in my opinion, this is the best movie ever made. Its dramatic value is fantastic, and I've never seen a better storyline. The costumes were also incredible. The actors portrayed the best purest form of both ancient Roman and old Judean culture. This film also had quite an emotional effect. The way that Christ's face is never visible nor his voice audible to the audience creates a feeling of reverence to the actual person of Jesus. Lew Wallace also did an amazing job portraying the innocence, kindness, and mercy of Jesus, and his effect on the main character, Judah Ben Hur. Hur's ending quote, "I felt him take the sword out of my hand" was a wonderful picture of his changing. I admit, I am a Christian, but even for those who are not this is still a great film. The message boards confirm that. I recognize that there are some people that require constant action to keep their attention. If this is your case, than this movie is not for you, as it has a lot of dialogue. But I recommend this movie 100%.


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Message Boards

Recent Posts
Movie took a massive downturn in the end bizso09
Is there a more magnificent scene than the 4 white horses in the tent? peterduray-bito
For a film that contains so much (glorious) music....... paule-rooney
I just have to say... bkoeberle2
Jesus' face westsalemcongress
An Unplanned Event Makes a Stunt Go Right! donovanarchmontierth
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