After a Jewish prince is betrayed and sent into slavery by a Roman friend, he regains his freedom and comes back for revenge.

Director:

William Wyler

Writers:

Lew Wallace (A Tale of Christ) (as General Lew Wallace), Karl Tunberg (screen play by)
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2,664 ( 101)
Top Rated Movies #208 | Won 11 Oscars. Another 18 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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 George Relph ... Tiberius Caesar
André Morell ... Sextus
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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

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Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

The only Hollywood film to make the Vatican-approved film list in the category of religion. See more »

Goofs

During the chariot race, shadow lengths/directions clearly show that passage of time (filming) inconsistent with length of "actual" race. See more »

Quotes

Judah Ben-Hur: You sent for me?
Pontius Pilate: I hope I bring you a good conclusion to your victory. I have a message for you from the consul, your father.
Judah Ben-Hur: I honor him.
Pontius Pilate: As you may honor yourself. You have been made a citizen of Rome.
[pause]
Pontius Pilate: Do you say nothing to this?
Judah Ben-Hur: I have just come from the Valley of Stone where my mother and my sister live what's left of their lives. By Rome's will, lepers; outcasts without hope!
Pontius Pilate: I have heard this. There was great blame there, very deeply regretted.
Judah Ben-Hur: Their flesh is mine, m'lord Pilate. It ...
[...]
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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 »

Alternate Versions

The first DVD release had an "Intermission" title card printed in a different font from the one used in the theatrical film and on the second, 4-disc DVD release. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Daddy-O (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

Fanfare To Prelude / Prelude / Marcia Romana
Composed and Conducted by Miklós Rózsa
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User Reviews

The best of the "Intimate Epics"
31 March 2000 | by TroydawgSee all my reviews

The same quality that made epics like "Gone with the Wind," "Lawrence of Arabia," "Doctor Zhivago," and, ultimately, "Titanic" the memorable stories they were is present in spades in "Ben-Hur." These are stories, though told on canvases far vaster than the CinemaScope- or Panavision-sized movie screens they were meant for, succeed because, in their best moments, they focus on the interaction between and history of as few as two characters.

What begins as a childhood friendship between a Roman boy and a Jewish boy in Roman-occupied Palestine, becomes, briefly, a politically-charged rivalry, and ultimately, a search for revenge by one upon the other.

Charlton Heston and Stephen Boyd deliver the performances of their careers, and get to chew up scenery and sets of such grandeur that Hollywood could never afford their like again.

This film, the greatest epic film ever made, deserves every accolade heaped upon it. The modern viewer may have to apply some patience, but at the end of the nearly four hour running time will find themselves to be vastly rewarded for it. You will find your life changed by both the scale of the film and the intimate message of friendship, betrayal, revenge--and the power of forgiveness.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 November 1959 (Canada) See more »

Also Known As:

William Wyler's Ben-Hur See more »

Filming Locations:

Anzio, Italy See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$241,792, 14 April 2019

Gross USA:

$74,422,622

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$74,427,638
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (1970) | (1962) | (1993 re-release) | (DVD) | (2005 DVD)

Sound Mix:

6-Track Stereo (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.66 : 1
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