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Ben-Hur (1959) More at IMDbPro »

Photos (See all 121 | slideshow) Videos (see all 5)
Ben-Hur -- A member of the Jewish nobility living in Jerusalem, Judah Ben-Hur (Charlton Heston) lives a religious life and peacefully opposes the tyrannical occupation of Judea by Rome.
Ben-Hur -- Trailer for Ben-Hur
Ben-Hur -- Clip: You Should Have Killed Me
Ben-Hur -- Trailer for Ben-Hur
Ben-Hur -- Clip: Chariot Race


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Popularity: ?
Down 15% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Lew Wallace (novel)
Karl Tunberg (screenplay)
View company contact information for Ben-Hur on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
29 January 1960 (Brazil) See more »
A Tale of the Christ See more »
When a Jewish prince is betrayed and sent into slavery by a Roman friend, he regains his freedom and comes back for revenge. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Won 11 Oscars. Another 22 wins & 7 nominations See more »
(474 articles)
War Of The Planet For The Apes is ‘biblical epic’ of series
 (From Den of Geek. 6 October 2016, 2:17 PM, PDT)

Ben-Hur review – dull-witted remake
 (From The Guardian - Film News. 11 September 2016, 12:00 AM, PDT)

Ben-Hur Review
 (From TheMovieBit. 9 September 2016, 1:53 AM, PDT)

User Reviews:
The pinnacle of film making See more (379 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Charlton Heston ... Judah Ben-Hur

Jack Hawkins ... Quintus Arrius

Haya Harareet ... Esther

Stephen Boyd ... Messala

Hugh Griffith ... Sheik Ilderim

Martha Scott ... Miriam

Cathy O'Donnell ... Tirzah

Sam Jaffe ... Simonides

Finlay Currie ... Balthasar / Narrator

Frank Thring ... Pontius Pilate
Terence Longdon ... Drusus
George Relph ... Tiberius Caesar

André Morell ... Sextus
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Fortunato Arena ... Soldier (uncredited)
Bruno Arié ... Roman Officer (uncredited)
Les Ballets Africains ... Dancers at Roman Banquet (uncredited)
Emma Baron ... Jewish Woman (uncredited)
Ady Berber ... Malluch (uncredited)

Marina Berti ... Flavia (uncredited)
Hugh Billingsley ... Mario (uncredited)

Jerry Brown ... The Corinthian (uncredited)

Robert Brown ... Chief of Rowers (uncredited)
Lando Buzzanca ... Jewish Slave in the Desert (uncredited)
Joe Canutt ... Sportsman (uncredited)
Otello Capanna ... The Byzantine (uncredited)
Emile Carrer ... Rower No. 28 (uncredited)
Richard Coleman ... Metellus (uncredited)
Antonio Corevi ... Senator (uncredited)
Michael Cosmo ... Raimondo (uncredited)
Alfredo Danesi ... The Armenian (uncredited)
David Davies ... Quaestor (uncredited)
Carmen de Hohenlohe ... Guest at Banquet (uncredited)
Victor De La Fosse ... Galley Officer (uncredited)
Liana Del Balzo ... Guest at Banquet (uncredited)
Mino Doro ... Gratus (uncredited)
Michael Dugan ... Seaman (uncredited)
Franco Fantasia ... Roman Soldier Who Brings Crown to Gratus (uncredited)
Dino Fazio ... Marcello (uncredited)
Enzo Fiermonte ... Galley Officer (uncredited)

Giuliano Gemma ... Roman Officer with Messala (uncredited)
John Glenn ... Rower No. 42 (uncredited)
José Greci ... Mary (uncredited)

Richard Hale ... Gaspar (uncredited)
Claude Heater ... Jesus - The Christ (uncredited)
Prince Hohenlohe ... Guest at Banquet (uncredited)
John Horsley ... Spintho (uncredited)
Eddie Juaregui ... The Athenian (uncredited)
William Kiehl ... Soldier (uncredited)
Duncan Lamont ... Marius (uncredited)
Howard Lang ... Hortator (uncredited)
Stevenson Lang ... Blind Man (uncredited)
Lord Layton ... Good Thief on Cross (uncredited)

John Le Mesurier ... Doctor (uncredited)

Tutte Lemkow ... Leper (uncredited)

Cliff Lyons ... The Lubian (uncredited)
Luigi Marra ... The Syrian (uncredited)

Ferdy Mayne ... Captain of Rescue Ship (uncredited)

May McAvoy ... Woman in Crowd (uncredited)
Nona Medici ... Guest at Banquet (uncredited)
Furio Meniconi ... Soldier (uncredited)
Tiberio Mitri ... Roman at Bath (uncredited)
Aldo Mozele ... Barca (uncredited)
Thomas O'Leary ... Starter at Race (uncredited)
Remington Olmsted ... Decurian (uncredited)
Laurence Payne ... Joseph (uncredited)
Aldo Pial ... Cavalry Officer (uncredited)
Vladimiro Picciafuochi ... Soldier (uncredited)
Aldo Pini ... Bad Thief on Cross (uncredited)
Ferdinando Poggi ... Soldier (uncredited)
Diego Pozzetto ... Villager (uncredited)
Prince Raimondo ... Guest at Banquet (uncredited)
Stella Rho ... Amrah (uncredited)
Edwin Richfield ... Supplier to Leper Colony (uncredited)
Mario Rivoltella ... Undetermined Role (uncredited)
Hector Ross ... Officer (uncredited)
Emanuele Ruspoli ... Guest at Banquet (uncredited)
Amerigo Santarelli ... Rower (uncredited)
Maxwell Shaw ... Rower No. 43 (uncredited)
Noel Sheldon ... Centurion (uncredited)
Aldo Silvani ... Man in Nazareth (uncredited)
Reginald Lal Singh ... Melchior (uncredited)
Gianni Solaro ... Galley Officer (uncredited)
Pietro Tordi ... Pilate's Servant (uncredited)
Giuseppe Tosi ... Chariot Driver (uncredited)
Ralph Truman ... Aide to Tiberius (uncredited)
Raimondo Van Riel ... Old Man (uncredited)

Venantino Venantini ... Palefrenier de la course de chars (uncredited)
Dervis Ward ... Jailer (uncredited)
Irina Wassilchikoff ... Guest at Banquet (uncredited)
Joe Yrigoyen ... The Egyptian - Chariot Racer (uncredited)
Nazzareno Zamperla ... Roman Soldier with a Bow on Galley (uncredited)

Directed by
William Wyler 
Writing credits
Lew Wallace (novel) (as General Lew Wallace)

Karl Tunberg (screenplay)

Maxwell Anderson  contributing writer (uncredited)
S.N. Behrman  contributing writer (uncredited)
Christopher Fry  contributing writer (uncredited)
Gore Vidal  contributing writer (uncredited)

Produced by
Sam Zimbalist .... producer
Sol C. Siegel .... executive producer (uncredited)
Joseph Vogel .... executive producer (uncredited)
William Wyler .... producer (uncredited)
Original Music by
Miklós Rózsa  (as Miklos Rozsa)
Cinematography by
Robert Surtees (director of photography) (as Robert L. Surtees)
Film Editing by
John D. Dunning (film editor)
Ralph E. Winters (film editor)
Margaret Booth (uncredited)
Casting by
Irene Howard (uncredited)
Production Design by
Vittorio Valentini (uncredited)
Art Direction by
Edward C. Carfagno  (as Edward Carfagno)
William A. Horning 
Set Decoration by
Hugh Hunt (set decorations)
Costume Design by
Elizabeth Haffenden 
Makeup Department
Gabriella Borzelli .... hair stylist
Charles E. Parker .... makeup (as Charles Parker)
Production Management
Edward Woehler .... unit production manager
J.J. Cohn .... production manager (uncredited)
Dave Friedman .... production manager (uncredited)
Henry Henigson .... production manager (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Gus Agosti .... assistant director
Yakima Canutt .... second unit director
Alberto Cardone .... assistant director
Andrew Marton .... second unit director
John Alarimo .... second assistant director (uncredited)
Sergio Leone .... second unit director (uncredited)
Mario Soldati .... second unit director (uncredited)
Richard Thorpe .... third unit director (uncredited)
Art Department
Ken Adam .... assistant art director (uncredited)
Mentor Huebner .... primary conceptual artist and production illustrator (uncredited)
Harold Michelson .... storyboard artist (uncredited)
Massimo Palmieri .... contruction manager (uncredited)
Italo Tomassi .... head scenic painter (uncredited)
Sound Department
Sash Fisher .... sound recordist
Franklin Milton .... recording supervisor
William Steinkamp .... sound recordist
Van Allen James .... co-supervising sound editor (uncredited)
Milo B. Lory .... special sound effects (uncredited)
Mauro Zambuto .... sound engineer (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Umberto Dessena .... special effects (uncredited)
Doug Hubbard .... special effects (uncredited)
Petro Vlahos .... special effects engineer (uncredited)
Visual Effects by
A. Arnold Gillespie .... special photographic effects
Robert R. Hoag .... special photographic effects
Lee LeBlanc .... special photographic effects
R.A. MacDonald .... visual effects (uncredited)
Cliff Shirpser .... special photographic effects (uncredited)
Matthew Yuricich .... matte artist (uncredited)
Bill Babcock .... stunts (uncredited)
Jerry Brown .... stunts (uncredited)
Joe Canutt .... stunt double: Charlton Heston (uncredited)
Joe Canutt .... stunts (uncredited)
Tap Canutt .... stunts (uncredited)
Michael Dugan .... stunts (uncredited)
Mickey Gilbert .... stunts (uncredited)
Eddie Juaregui .... stunts (uncredited)
Cliff Lyons .... stunts (uncredited)
Nosher Powell .... stunts (uncredited)
Glenn Randall Jr. .... stunts (uncredited)
David Sharpe .... stunts (uncredited)
Boyd Stockman .... stunts (uncredited)
Joe Yrigoyen .... stunt double: Stephen Boyd (uncredited)
Ian Yule .... stunts (uncredited)
Nazzareno Zamperla .... stunts (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Piero Portalupi .... additional photography (as Pietro Portalupi)
Harold E. Wellman .... additional photography
Eric Carpenter .... still photographer (uncredited)
Nino DiGiovanni .... still photographer (uncredited)
Owen Marsh .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Meredith M. Nicholson .... camera operator: second unit (uncredited)
Edward Phillips .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Piero Portalupi .... camera operator: second unit (uncredited)
John Schmitz .... camera operator (uncredited)
Edward Wahrman .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Harold E. Wellman .... camera operator: third unit (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Joan Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
Jack Martell .... wardrobe (uncredited)
Editorial Department
Joan Bridge .... color consultant: costumes
Charles K. Hagedon .... color consultant: settings
Fredric Steinkamp .... associate editor (uncredited)
Music Department
Alex Alexander .... musician: cello (uncredited)
Gus Bivona .... musician: clarinet (uncredited)
John T. Boudreau .... musician: drums (uncredited)
Manuel Compinsky .... musician: violin (uncredited)
Alexander Courage .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Leonard A. Engel .... supervising music editor (uncredited)
Conrad Gozzo .... musician: trumpet (uncredited)
Virginia Majewski .... musician: viola (uncredited)
Max Rabinowitz .... musician: piano (uncredited)
Uan Rasey .... musician: trumpet (uncredited)
Miklós Rózsa .... conductor (uncredited)
Miklós Rózsa .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Eugene Zador .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Other crew
Reynold Brown .... movie poster art (uncredited)
Oscar Doob .... publicist (uncredited)
Morgan Hudgins .... unit publicist (uncredited)
Ralph McCutcheon .... horse trainer (uncredited)
Enzo Musumeci Greco .... master of arms (uncredited)
Glenn H. Randall Sr. .... horse trainer (uncredited)
Howard Strickling .... publicity director: MGM (uncredited)
Dan S. Terrell .... publicist (uncredited)
Mauro Zambuto .... set engineer (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ" - USA (alternative title)
"William Wyler's Ben-Hur" - USA (complete title)
See more »
212 min | Sweden:219 min (1970) | Sweden:224 min (1962) | UK:222 min (1993 re-release) | 214 min (DVD edition) | 222 min (2005 DVD)
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
2.66 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
6-Track Stereo (Westrex Recording System)
Argentina:Atp | Australia:G | Australia:PG (alternate rating) | Brazil:12 | Canada:G (Manitoba/Nova Scotia/Quebec) | Canada:PG (Ontario) | Canada:G (video rating) | China:(Banned) | Finland:K-12 | France:Tous publics | Germany:16 (video rating) | Iceland:12 | Italy:T | Japan:G (2010) | Malaysia:U (DVD) | Netherlands:AL | Netherlands:14 (Original rating) | New Zealand:PG | Norway:11 | Norway:12 (1959) | Peru:Apt | Portugal:M/12 | South Korea:All | Spain:T | Sweden:15 (original rating) | Sweden:11 (re-rating) (1970) | UK:A (original rating) | UK:PG (tv rating) | UK:PG (video rating) (1988) (1993) (1995) (1996) | USA:TV-PG (TV rating) | USA:Approved (original release) (PCA #19158) | USA:G (re-rating) (1969) | West Germany:12
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Of the three Academy Awards that Miklós Rózsa won, he cherished the one he won for this film the most, because of the score's size, complexity, intricacy, emotional content and its being a distillation of his more than 20 years' experience scoring films.See more »
Factual errors: Three years after Judah serves as a galley slave he goes to Rome with Quintus Arrius presumably in 29 AD. Arrius is presented with a baton of victory by Emperor Tiberius after the former's victory against the Macedonian pirates. In reality,Tiberius had grown disillusioned with the principate after the death of his son Drusus, and left Rome for his villa on the island of Capri located off the bay of Naples in 26 AD. He never returned to Rome. Tiberius left the day to day administration of the city to the Praetorian prefect Sejanus. Therefore Quintus Arrius and Judah Ben-Hur would have been received by Tiberius on Capri and not in Rome.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 »
Movie Connections:
OvertureSee more »


What are some differences between the different versions of the story?
See more »
216 out of 390 people found the following review useful.
The pinnacle of film making, 26 November 2005
Author: galahad58 from Pennsylvania

I own over 2,000 movies on DVD or VHS. I have gone to many many more movies that have not been worthy of my collection, thus my exposure to film has been extensive. I mention this because through every film I have seen; I still come back to a film from 1959 as the greatest achievement in cinematic history. I have seen great films like: Return of the King, Saving Private Ryan, Braveheart and many more. While the modern films are wonderful and have a fantastic richness to them, they still are a "small" notch below Ben-Hur. Today's films use a lot of computer effects for their battles scenes, their backgrounds, and even computer images for the stunts of their actors. Yet, Ben-Hur did it all without computers. I am still fascinated by the chariot race. Never, in film history, has anything matched the depth and excitement of the chariot race. Remember folks, this is 1959, nothing is computer generated. Some may say the naval battle scenes look a bit cheesy, but again it was 1959 and the scenes still work today. What can you say about the acting? Every single actor is wonderful. Heston is in top form as Ben-Hur. Steven Boyd is incredible playing the merciless Messala. Jack Hawkins, Haya Harareet, Martha Scott--all fantastic in their roles. Each performing the role of a life time. The actors are fantastic, but William Wyler brings more out of each actor than any director ever could in this day and age. Wyler had no computer animation to rely on, he had no high tech special effects crew, he had no computer program to fill in extras. Wyler had to find thousands of extras for many scenes and maintain control. Did you ever see Steven Boyd better? Probably not. Did you ever see any of the actors (except Heston, who is an acting marvel) better in any other role? Wyler just pulled the greatest performance out of each actor. The story: fantastic from beginning to end. While the film is over 3 hours long, you do not feel that it is that long. Every scene is lovingly crafted: the reunion between Messala and Judah, the trek to the gallows, the rowing scene, the naval battle, the chariot race, the Messala death scene, the reunion with Judah and his family, etc. After seeing thousands and thousands of movies, I always come back to Ben-Hur. This is the mark of fantastic movie making. Today's film makers could learn a lot by watching this film and "learning" about acting, directing, and screen writing.

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