8.1/10
191,319
400 user 121 critic

Ben-Hur (1959)

Trailer
2:59 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

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

Director:

Writers:

(novel) (as General Lew Wallace), (screenplay)
Reviews
Popularity
2,380 ( 224)
Top Rated Movies #196 | Won 11 Oscars. Another 17 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Adventure | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

After settling his differences with a Japanese PoW camp commander, a British colonel co-operates to oversee his men's construction of a railway bridge for their captors - while oblivious to a plan by the Allies to destroy it.

Director: David Lean
Stars: William Holden, Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins
Adventure | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

The story of T.E. Lawrence, the English officer who successfully united and led the diverse, often warring, Arab tribes during World War I in order to fight the Turks.

Director: David Lean
Stars: Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A manipulative woman and a roguish man conduct a turbulent romance during the American Civil War and Reconstruction periods.

Directors: Victor Fleming, George Cukor, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Thomas Mitchell
Adventure | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Allied prisoners of war plan for several hundred of their number to escape from a German camp during World War II.

Director: John Sturges
Stars: Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The Egyptian Prince, Moses, learns of his true heritage as a Hebrew and his divine mission as the deliverer of his people.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner, Anne Baxter
The Sting (1973)
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

Two grifters team up to pull off the ultimate con.

Director: George Roy Hill
Stars: Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Robert Shaw
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Wyoming, early 1900s. Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid are the leaders of a band of outlaws. After a train robbery goes wrong they find themselves on the run with a posse hard on their heals. Their solution - escape to Bolivia.

Director: George Roy Hill
Stars: Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Katharine Ross
Traffik (2018)
Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A couple off for a romantic weekend in the mountains are accosted by a biker gang. Alone in the mountains, Brea and John must defend themselves against the gang, who will stop at nothing to protect their secrets.

Director: Deon Taylor
Stars: Paula Patton, Missi Pyle, William Fichtner
Platoon (1986)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A young soldier in Vietnam faces a moral crisis when confronted with the horrors of war and the duality of man.

Director: Oliver Stone
Stars: Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe
Citizen Kane (1941)
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

Following the death of a publishing tycoon, news reporters scramble to discover the meaning of his final utterance.

Director: Orson Welles
Stars: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Dorothy Comingore
Gandhi (1982)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Gandhi's character is fully explained as a man of nonviolence. Through his patience, he is able to drive the British out of the subcontinent. And the stubborn nature of Jinnah and his commitment towards Pakistan is portrayed.

Director: Richard Attenborough
Stars: Ben Kingsley, John Gielgud, Candice Bergen
Casablanca (1942)
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

A cynical nightclub owner protects an old flame and her husband from Nazis in Morocco.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
... Judah Ben-Hur
... Quintus Arrius
... Esther
... Messala
... Sheik Ilderim
... Miriam
... Tirzah
... Simonides
... Balthasar / Narrator
... Pontius Pilate
... Drusus
George Relph ... Tiberius Caesar
... Sextus
Edit

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:

A Tale of the Christ See more »


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

29 January 1960 (Brazil)  »

Also Known As:

Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$15,900,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$74,700,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$196,200,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

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

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.66 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

In nearly all the main sources the story of the scriptwriting for this movie is told from one of two viewpoints: that of director William Wyler and star Charlton Heston, or that of novelist Gore Vidal. The views of producer Sam Zimbalist, who died in mid-production before the controversy over the screenplay erupted, have been filtered through the views of Wyler, Heston and Vidal in most of the published sources (no memoirs of Zimbalist himself have been published). However, there is another viewpoint based on extensive reading of the sources. Zimbalist had the idea of remaking "Ben-Hur" in the mid-'50s. This remake (the same story had been made twice before as a silent film) was a gamble to rescue MGM from near bankruptcy. Zimbalist engaged screenwriter Karl Tunberg to write the script for the new "Ben-Hur" after Tunberg's success with MGM's historical epic Beau Brummell (1954). Tunberg suggested Sidney Franklin to direct, but Zimbalist insisted on Wyler. Wyler disliked Tunberg's script and brought in other writers during the shooting, including Vidal (who later claimed a large contribution, but this recollection was not supported by the memoirs of Heston or Wyler), Maxwell Anderson, S.N. Behrman and Christopher Fry. When rough cuts were viewed by MGM executives in late 1958, all agreed that many of the scenes were unsatisfactory. At this point Tunberg, despite being primarily involved in Count Your Blessings (1959), was engaged to rewrite Wyler's changed material and compose some added scenes, all of which went into the final version. Many of these changes amounted to restoring what had been in place before Wyler's interventions in the script while on the set. This final script was actually the basis of the film released in theaters. However, Wyler still demanded that Fry get credit for the work he had done on the set. The Screen Writer's Guild conducted a formal arbitration, using no oral testimonies but only experienced writers as judges, each studying all the drafts of the script in the ignorance of the others. These judges ruled unanimously that the final script was essentially Tunberg's work. Their process and rationale for this decision was published in "The Hollywood Reporter" on Friday, November 20, 1959 (p. 5). A careful reading of the Guild's published statement will corroborate the events mentioned above. Wyler, infuriated by this rebuff, used his great influence in Hollywood (helped by Heston) to conduct a publicity campaign against Tunberg. The campaign had its effect--"Best Screenplay" was the only category in which "Ben-Hur" was nominated for an Academy Award, but did not receive it. See more »

Goofs

During the race, just before the first chariot goes down, the left wheel of that chariot is removed by Messala's chariot, but in the next shot you can view both wheels intact before it goes down. 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 »

Connections

Referenced in Freakazoid!: The Chip: Part 2/Freakazoid Is History (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Deserved All The Honors
8 November 2005 | by See all my reviews

Wow, what can you say about a film that won 11 Academy Awards back in the days where the best films actually were honored, not the garbage they salute today.

In other words, this film lives up to its reputation and has to be ranked as one of the most memorable movies of all time. Nobody who ever saw this film ever forgot the chariot race, for instance, perhaps the greatest action scene filmed without special effects.

This can be a very sad film as well. I doubt if I've ever watched this without a few tears in my eyes at certain points. The scenes with hero's mother and sister suffering with leprosy are still some of the most heart-wrenching scenes I've ever witnessed on film. They can just tear you apart.

The combination of drama, action and romance, along with very involving storyline is aided by an incredible soundtrack, once again one of the best ever put on film. The more one hears this music, the more was is moved by it.

To fully appreciate the cinematography in this film I recommend you purchase the recently-released 4-disc DVD special edition which also includes the first rendition of this story, the silent movie "Ben-Hur: A Tale Of The Christ." That was name of the book, by the way, the second part of the title being left off the 1959 movie as Hollywood slowly began deemphasizing Christianity in films. However, there is a reverence for Jesus Christ in this film, which should be there since it's a key element of the storyline, even though most folks forget that.

In summary, this is about as good an example as ever found of what is labeled an "epic" movie. It's an incredible story transferred memorably on screen.


138 of 265 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 400 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial