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Ben-Hur (1959)

8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 131,028 users  
Reviews: 350 user | 106 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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(novel), (screenplay), 4 more credits »
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Title: Ben-Hur (1959)

Ben-Hur (1959) on IMDb 8.1/10

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Top 250 #188 | Won 11 Oscars. Another 22 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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The scene opens with an assembly of citizens who are harangued by one of their number, whose words have great weight with the crowd, and their attitude of approval shows that Roman misrule ... See full summary »

Directors: Harry T. Morey, Sidney Olcott, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Herman Rottger, William S. Hart
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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

Taglines:

The World's Most Honored Motion Picture See more »

Genres:

Adventure | Drama

Certificate:

G | 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

Audrey Hepburn visited the set during the filming of the chariot race (she was in the midst of shooting The Nun's Story (1959)). This led to the false legend that she was an extra in the crowd scenes, as a favor to William Wyler, who gave Hepburn her first starring role in Roman Holiday (1953), for which she won the Oscar. Hepburn, one of Wyler's favorite actresses and people, would make two more films for him, The Children's Hour (1961) and How to Steal a Million (1966) See more »

Goofs

One of the chariot heralds has been claimed to be wearing a wristwatch, but other viewers report that this is an oddly positioned shadow. See more »

Quotes

Judah Ben-Hur: He gave me water, and the heart to live. What has he done to merit this?
Balthasar: He has taken the world of our sins onto Himself. To this end He said He was born, in that stable, where I first saw Him. For this cause, He came into the world.
Judah Ben-Hur: For this death?
Balthasar: For this beginning.
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 »


Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Deserved All The Honors
8 November 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Wow, what can you say about a film that won 11 Academy Awards back in the days where the best films actually were honored, not the garbage they salute today.

In other words, this film lives up to its reputation and has to be ranked as one of the most memorable movies of all time. Nobody who ever saw this film ever forgot the chariot race, for instance, perhaps the greatest action scene filmed without special effects.

This can be a very sad film as well. I doubt if I've ever watched this without a few tears in my eyes at certain points. The scenes with hero's mother and sister suffering with leprosy are still some of the most heart-wrenching scenes I've ever witnessed on film. They can just tear you apart.

The combination of drama, action and romance, along with very involving storyline is aided by an incredible soundtrack, once again one of the best ever put on film. The more one hears this music, the more was is moved by it.

To fully appreciate the cinematography in this film I recommend you purchase the recently-released 4-disc DVD special edition which also includes the first rendition of this story, the silent movie "Ben-Hur: A Tale Of The Christ." That was name of the book, by the way, the second part of the title being left off the 1959 movie as Hollywood slowly began deemphasizing Christianity in films. However, there is a reverence for Jesus Christ in this film, which should be there since it's a key element of the storyline, even though most folks forget that.

In summary, this is about as good an example as ever found of what is labeled an "epic" movie. It's an incredible story transferred memorably on screen.


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