8.1/10
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463 user 133 critic

Ben-Hur (1959)

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3:00 | Trailer
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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Popularity
2,470 ( 120)
Top Rated Movies #213 | 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

Taglines:

The World's Most Honored Motion Picture See more »


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Andrew Marton, who directed the chariot race, the track was constructed of steamrolled ground rock debris covered with 10 inches of ground lava and finished with eight inches of crushed yellow rock to make the surface hard enough to hold the weight of the chariots and horses while still having enough give not to make the horses lame (which Marton said was achieved by a top of sand). After one day of shooting, the upper layer of rock was removed because it had slowed the pace of the race considerably. The lava layer, which Marton and Yakima Canutt had initially opposed, proved to be the most workable element. See more »

Goofs

When Judah visits Messala after the chariot race, as he enters the room he lays his wreath on a chair next to the door. When he leaves, the wreath is missing. See more »

Quotes

Simonides: There is Malluch, my other half. We met in the dungeons of the citadel. We were released on the same day. Malluch without a tongue, and I without life in my legs. Since then, I have been his tongue... and he has been my legs. Together, we make a considerable man.
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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

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 Bob's Burgers: Bob and Deliver (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Overture
Composed and Conducted by Miklós Rózsa
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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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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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