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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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2,484 ( 155)
Top Rated Movies #194 | 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:

The World's Most Honored Motion Picture 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:

Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ 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

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
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

Producer Sam Zimbalist died two months before production completed. William Wyler handled the remaining production duties. See more »

Goofs

The film implies that Jerusalem was the center of Roman administration in Judea. The Roman prefects who governed Judea made their headquarters in Caesarea Maritima, a much larger city than Jerusalem. Their visits to Jerusalem were infrequent. See more »

Quotes

Tiberius Caesar: [Tiberius Caesar sees Judah Ben-Hur, in Arrius' chariot] This man riding beside you, who is he?
Quintus Arrius: The man who saved me, divine Emperor, to return and serve you.
Tiberius Caesar: Is that all you know of him?
Quintus Arrius: No. He was accused of an attack on the governor of Judea. But he was innocent.
Tiberius Caesar: If not, there is a strange inconsistency in this man, who tries to kill my governor, yet saves the life of my Consul. Come tomorrow, and we will talk of him.
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

According to Leonard Maltin's 1987 "TV Movies Guide," the film was re-cut for later re-issues; this version runs 165 minutes. The complete, 212-minute film, however, is the version commonly seen in circulation today, and is available on DVD and airs on Turner Classic Movies. See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Meet the Raisins! (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

Fanfare To Prelude / Prelude / Marcia Romana
Composed and Conducted by Miklós Rózsa
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Deserved All The Honors
8 November 2005 | by ccthemovieman-1See 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.


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