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 #199 | 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

Plot Keywords:

roman | revenge | galley | jewish | jew | See All (196) »

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The World's Most Honored Motion Picture See more »


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

29 January 1960 (Brazil)  »

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

According to Sir Christopher Frayling's biography of Sergio Leone, Leone apparently recalls William Wyler arriving on set early one morning with Charlton Heston, attired in cowboy garb and doing some re-shoots for The Big Country (1958) on the vast Cinecita back lot in Rome. See more »

Goofs

Christ is always seen from the back, but when He is condemned to death He is facing Pilate and His face is obscured by a shadow added optically in post production when William Wyler determined that actor Claude Heater's face was too clearly seen, even at a distance. See more »

Quotes

[Messala is mortally injured after being trampled in the chariot race]
Surgeon: We cannot wait, Tribune.
Messala: [softly] He will come.
[he convulses with pain; they hold him down]
Surgeon: We cannot wait any longer, Tribune!
Messala: [shouts] He will come! He will come. I have sent for him, and he will come!
Surgeon: If you wish us to keep you alive, we have to go to work *now*, Tribune. Do you understand?
Messala: Cut the legs off me... Not yet. Not till I've seen him. I can't receive him with half a body!
[...]
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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 Mystery Science Theater 3000: Wild Rebels (1990) See more »

Soundtracks

Overture
Composed and Conducted by Miklós Rózsa
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
pretty much sets the bar for epic entertainment
10 March 2015 | by (North America) – See all my reviews

We are by nature a cynical and critical group.

With the attention span of a bumblebee, moreso the current generation than the earlier ones, because of exposure to mobile devices and other modern disposable non-repairable tech.

It is probably for that reason that epics like this one have become forgotten over time. Even the late CH has become more a societal joke and less of an icon over time. Michael Moore made Heston's participation in the NRA a joke. (If Heston's concerns over where society is headed prove to be true, the final joke may be on Moore.) Back to the film. It is almost perfect. Then, as now. The script continually builds. Modern writers could learn from that. No matter what is presently on screen as you watch, the inevitability of the final climax beckons.

The acting is perfect.

The mixture of myth and drama is perfect.

True the Roman dialog did not benefit from the verbal tricks that Stephen McKnight used in Spartacus (bending the script to match the flow of actual Roman) but it is more than enough to entertain and entrance.

From the "accident" early in the film which starts the flow of events, to the chariot race WHICH HAS NEVER BEEN EQUALLED IN THE HISTORY OF FILM, to the reunion with lost family at the end, this is one of the most powerful and entertaining films of all time


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