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Ben-Hur (1959)

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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.

Director:

William Wyler

Writers:

Lew Wallace (novel) (as General Lew Wallace), Karl Tunberg (screenplay)
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Popularity
2,430 ( 69)
Top Rated Movies #209 | Won 11 Oscars. Another 17 wins & 13 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

Taglines:

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


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 January 1960 (Brazil) 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:

$15,900,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$74,700,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$196,200,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

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

Sound Mix:

6-Track Stereo (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Famed stuntman Yakima Canutt was brought in to coordinate all the chariot race stunt work and train the drivers. Charlton Heston was among the first to begin training, arriving on location a few months ahead of scheduled shooting. He was also there to do costume fittings. See more »

Goofs

When Messala assumes command of the garrison, outgoing commander Sextus is seen in the doorway as they are going into the barracks, yet when Messala speaks to Drusus about finally taking command, in the closeup shot Sextus is not in the doorway. See more »

Quotes

Miriam: [hesitating as they leave the Valley of the Lepers] I'm afraid.
Esther: [embracing her] No cause. The world is more than we know.
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 »

Alternate Versions

One older VHS release has a fade to black in between the opening credits and the scene after that. The original version has a dissolve transition. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Feud: Bette and Joan: Pilot (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Overture
Composed and Conducted by Miklós Rózsa
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
One of the Top Five Films of All Time!
20 April 2003 | by lambiepie-2See all my reviews

Anyone want to know how to make a darned good EPIC remake? Then this is the film to see.

William Wyler made an epic, a film that is exciting, violent, heartfelt film. Make no mistake, it is the story of two childhood friends, one gets drunk with power and the other who was a Jewish Prince gets thrown into a life of hardship though his boyhood 'friend'. But he has faith and keeps on going. The ultimate battle to beat all battles, to settle the score...is at the Chariot race and that is a sight to behold.

Films like Ben-Hur will NEVER get greenlighted today and if it did, too much CGI and not enough of what Director Wyler and old Hollywood was good at. The actors, well, they are to die for. Excellent acting. And let me share with you my favorite part...(tee-hee) when Pilate holds up his hankerchief to start the chariot race, plays with the racers and audience - he's very smug ya know..then the WAY he finally drops it. Who couldn't tell how he'd eventually turn out, hmmmmmmm?

There is nothing more I can add that others have said. This film is near and dear to me and for my vote -- is one of the top five films of all time. I never tire of watching this film, I find something new in it every time, its done that well.

This is an epic remake, something else that Hollywood has trouble doing -- to remake a film on this scale that finds new audiences year after year, after year. Brilliant, wonderful, every bit of it. A must, must see. Just plain excellent!


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