Erstwhile childhood friends, Judah Ben-Hur and Messala meet again as adults, this time with Roman officer Messala as conqueror and Judah as a wealthy, though conquered, Israelite. A slip of a brick during a Roman parade causes Judah to be sent off as a galley slave, his property confiscated and his mother and sister imprisoned. Years later, as a result of his determination to stay alive and his willingness to aid his Roman master, Judah returns to his homeland an exalted and wealthy Roman athlete. Unable to find his mother and sister, and believing them dead, he can think of nothing else than revenge against Messala.Written by
Doug Sederberg <email@example.com>
This film has a 100% rating based on 9 critic reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. See more »
At one point in the chariot race a man in modern clothing - light-colored shirt, long pants, dark shoes - can be seen running out of the crowd onto the track and waving his arms at the camera. That was assistant director William Wyler, who saw that one of the chariots - out of camera range - was approaching the curve of the track too fast and Wyler was signaling the director to have the crew cleaning up a crashed chariot to get out of the way. See more »
Scum of the galleys! I will grind you in the dust before all Antioch!
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Music and sound effects were dubbed into the silent film for a 1931 re-release. See more »
The 2 1/2 hour running time just zips by in a flash, and the viewer actually forgets that they are watching a silent film. It's that good. The naval battle and the chariot race are so realistic you marvel at what filmmakers could do 75 years ago with a big budget in the hands of craftsmen. The acting is very good although the "silent" style seems a little over-acted today. I can't recommend this enough as a rental. Let's not forget our wonderful silent classics.
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