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Ben-Hur (1959)

G  |   |  Adventure, Drama, History  |  26 December 1959 (UK)
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 147,492 users  
Reviews: 365 user | 111 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 Rated 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 <tron@lyssa.owl.de>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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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
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Did You Know?


Martha Scott was 45 at the time of filming, only 10 years older than her screen son. She also played Charlton Heston's mother in The Ten Commandments (1956) three years before. See more »


When Christ is carrying His cross, the Latin title Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum ("Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews") is written backwards. A Roman soldier is shown carrying the title ahead of Him, with the Latin characters reversed (from right to left). A few moments later the title appears again, only this time the Latin is written correctly (from left to right). See more »


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 »


Featured in The Ultimate Film (2004) See more »


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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

epic to end all epics
4 December 2001 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

What other film can keep the attention for the best part of four hours? It's terrific, well-written in that usual Hollywood glossy style, and everyone's mentioned the chariot race already. There's quieter moments which are well done too - the lepers watching their son/brother from the shadows, devoted little Esther, the sequences with Christ ... after 40 years it is still the best of the epics. I loved the silent version too and recently read the book for the first time. I'd recommend all three.

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Want to see how many people experiences like me zhu_bernard
wow some of the editing cuts jimymac
Stephen Boyd apriceaboverubies29
Was anyone else enraged by the cheating in the chariot race? willhazell1993
Movie took a massive downturn in the end bizso09
Just saw it in the theater! Koolio06
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