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Ben-Hur (1959)

G  |   |  Adventure, Drama, History  |  26 December 1959 (UK)
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 145,098 users  
Reviews: 363 user | 110 critic

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), 4 more credits »
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Top 250 Movies #188 | 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


A Tale of the Christ See more »


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

26 December 1959 (UK)  »

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?


Charlton Heston had about a month to learn how to drive a chariot properly. Stephen Boyd - who was cast much later in the production - only had two weeks to do so. 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 »


[immediately after Miriam and Tirzah were healed of their long time of having leprosy, they walk out of the cave, they were in, into the rain, that was occurring]
Tirzah: Thank You.
[numerously and silently]
Tirzah: You can read her lips.
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 »


Referenced in When You Comin' Back, Red Ryder? (1979) See more »


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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A classic
1 February 2001 | by See all my reviews

One of the best epics, this is a story of the friendship between two young boys. Eventually they grow up to be enemies and end up hating each other, one being Jewish and the other one Roman.

One could easily assume "Ben-Hur" is a story from The Holy Bible, and although this is not the case it was the intention when writing it. It certainly is one of the greatest stories ever told. This is the third adaptation of the classic tale, and it's the only one really remembered today. Many elements were inspired and copied from the first two, filmed in 1907 and 1925, but with a vast improvement: special-effects. The set wasn't as dangerous in 1959 because of the technical revolution that had taken place since the last time around.

"Ben-Hur" is full of drama, action and romance. There's also a tension between the two leads that could be interpreted as a love-affair gone horribly wrong, but this was toned down by the studio as homosexuality was a big taboo at the time.

Charlton Heston and Stephen Boyd are great, with a wonderful supporting cast to back them up, making this a classic.


45 of 91 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Stephen Boyd apriceaboverubies29
wow some of the editing cuts jimymac
Was anyone else enraged by the cheating in the chariot race? willhazell1993
Just saw it in the theater! Koolio06
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
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