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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.



(novel) (as General Lew Wallace), (screenplay)
1,266 ( 74)
Top Rated Movies #192 | 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


It's an insane world, but still there's one sanity that remains; the LOYALTY of old friends!! See more »


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

29 January 1960 (Brazil)  »

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?


The second of two films shot in the MGM Camera 65 process (eight more would be shot after the process was re-named Ultra Panavision). It was intended to be the first, but production delays led to MGM using it first on Raintree County (1957). Like the Todd-AO format (introduced in 1953), MGM Camera 65 used 65mm negative stock that was then printed to 70mm film for roadshow release prints, or optically printed down to 35mm for general release. Unlike Todd-AO, though, Camera 65 operated at a standard speed of 24 fps from the beginning and utilized 1.25x anamorphic lenses to optically squeeze an aspect ratio of 2.76:1 into the 2.20:1 Todd-AO frame. These lenses were developed and manufactured by Panavision, a natural evolution on its work to improve the quality of anamorphic camera and projection lenses for the CinemaScope system. The extra 5mm of film between the 65mm negatives and 70mm prints was comprised of 2.5mm outside the perforations on either side of the film, allowing for up to four stripes of magnetic oxide carrying up to six discrete channels of sound--offering greatly superior sound quality in comparison to the mono optical tracks on 35mm prints at the time. When MGM sold its camera department to Panavision in 1961, the Camera 65 process was renamed Ultra Panavision 70 but remained technically identical. The complexity of anamorphic photography and post-production, however, meant the system was short-lived--especially due to the use of unique 1.25x anamorphic lenses rather than the 2x power used for CinemaScope--and the process was last used for Khartoum (1966). Most of the cameras were used on Super Panavision 70 productions--Panavision's exact copy of the non-anamorphic 24 fps Todd-AO process--before being replaced by the Panaflex 65 cameras used in Panavision System 65. Notably, due to the complexity and cost of projecting anamorphic 70mm prints, recent re-issue 70mm prints of "Ben-Hur" have been printed from optically unsqueezed negatives to allow their projection on normal 70mm equipment with only slight cropping of the sides of the picture. See more »


The calf in the stable is a Holstein, a breed that did not exist at the time, and was unknown in the area until 1922. See more »


Esther: Oh, Judah, rest. Sleep. For a few hours of the night, let your mind be at peace.
Judah Ben-Hur: [bitterly] Peace! Love and peace. Do you think I don't long for them as you do? Where do you see them?
Esther: If you had heard this man from Nazareth...
Judah Ben-Hur: Balthasar's word.
Esther: He is more than Balthasar's word. His voice traveled with such a still purpose... It was more than a voice... a man more than a man! He said, "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the...
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 »


Spoofed in Jailbirds (1996) See more »


Star Of Bethlehem / Adoration Of The Magi
Composed and Conducted by Miklós Rózsa
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A Cinematic Beauty
9 September 2003 | by (Palm Springs, CA) – See all my reviews

There's a reason Ben-Hur captured more academy awards than any other film (until Titanic). A close to perfect production which exceeds expectations for a film of religious nature. The only way to watch Ben-Hur is via the widescreen DVD - presented in 2:7.1 scope - most probably the widest movie filmed. The only reason I didn't give it a '10' is because of Charlton Heston. A much overrated actor who overacts at every opportunity and becomes quite tiresome. Fortunately, there was so much more in Ben-Hur, that his overacting goes unnoticed. The chariot race is still THE most exciting sequence I've ever seen in a film. Get over the religious issue and give Ben-Hur its due.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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