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
1,892 ( 492)
Top Rated Movies #210 | 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:

A Tale of the Christ See more »


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Producer Sam Zimbalist offered William Wyler $1 million to direct this film. This was the highest director's fee ever paid up to that time. See more »

Goofs

One of the chariot heralds has been claimed to be wearing a wristwatch, but other viewers report that this is an oddly positioned shadow. See more »

Quotes

Judah Ben-Hur: What has become of my mother and my sister?
Messala: It is not my duty to keep track of prisoners.
Judah Ben-Hur: Find them, Messala. Restore them to me and I will forget what I vowed with every stroke of that oar you chained me to.
Messala: I am not the governor of Judea. I can do nothing without Gratus' approval.
Judah Ben-Hur: Then get it! I will come back tomorrow. Don't disappoint me, Messala.
[he leaves]
Messala: What became of them?
Drusus: It's been almost five years. Do you suppose they're still alive?
Messala: Go to the citadel, Drusus. Find out.
Drusus: And if they're dead?
[...]
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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

The first DVD release had an "Intermission" title card printed in a different font from the one used in the theatrical film and on the second, 4-disc DVD release. See more »

Connections

Featured in The 79th Annual Academy Awards (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Overture
Composed and Conducted by Miklós Rózsa
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User Reviews

Stunning Film That Was Worthy of 11 Oscars
15 March 2001 | by tfrizzellSee all my reviews

"Ben-Hur" is a dominant Best Picture Oscar winner that is perhaps more impressive now than it was when it was first released in 1959. Charlton Heston (Oscar-winning) stars as a rich Jewish nobleman during the time of Jesus Christ who is turned into a slave by the Romans after a freak accident. Now he is manning an oar in a ship's galley and his family is imprisoned. Years pass and now Heston is after the former childhood friend (Stephen Boyd), a Roman, that turned against him. The 17 minutes of footage for the chariot race is some of the best during the history of the cinema. Hugh Griffith won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar and William Wyler won his third and final Best Director Oscar. A monumental film that is great in every cinematic category known to man. 5 stars out of 5.


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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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