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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.

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(novel) (as General Lew Wallace), (screenplay)
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Top Rated Movies #197 | Won 11 Oscars. Another 16 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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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

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Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

26 December 1959 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,900,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$70,000,000 (USA)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although the original 35mm release was in Technicolor (there is no such thing as a 70mm Technicolor print, as Technicolor was never equipped to make them; all the original release's 70mm prints were in MetroColor), all of the 1974 release's prints were in MetroColor. More significant was that the 1974 release was cut from the original running time of 212 minutes to 170, and the film shorn of its musical overture and entr'acte (it was presented without intermission). Most egregiously, the sequence of some scenes was re-ordered, an almost unheard-of bowdlerization of a successful film, especially one that had won an unprecedented eleven Academy Awards. See more »

Goofs

When Messala and the sheik are betting on the race, we hear them both saying 1,000 talents, but their lips are not saying 1,000. See more »

Quotes

Sheik Ilderim: One God, that I can understand; but one wife? That is not civilized.
[nudges Judah]
Sheik Ilderim: It is not generous!
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 QI: Flora and Fauna (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Love Theme / Ring For Freedom
Composed and Conducted by Miklós Rózsa
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Epic
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.


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