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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
259 ( 1,220)
Top Rated Movies #196 | 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

Vittorio Gassman, Montgomery Clift, Tony Curtis, Van Johnson and Edmund Purdom were considered for the lead role. See more »

Goofs

When Christ is carrying His cross, the Latin title Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum ("Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews") is written backwards. A Roman soldier is shown carrying the title ahead of Him, with the Latin characters reversed (from right to left). A few moments later the title appears again, only this time the Latin is written correctly (from left to right).

However, the person that opted for the depiction of the Inscription of the cross in that way, apparently was well informed and aware of the existence of Titulus Crucis (Latin for "Title of the Cross"), a piece of wood claimed in to be a relic of the True Cross, kept in the church of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme in Rome (Wikipedia). In that piece of wood that professor Carsten Peter Thiede claims to be authentic, and is mentioned in the documentary The Quest for the True Cross (2003) (TV), the Latin and Greek titles are written from right to left. Thus, the depiction of the inscription in that way is correct, based on that choice of point of view, while the depiction in the next scenes of the writing from left to right, might be a choice that was opted for in order not to confuse the viewers.

The Titulus Crusis was radiocarbon dated in 2002, and is now widely accepted as a medieval forgery, while some believe it to be a medieval copy of the original sign. See more »

Quotes

Quintus Arrius: [a galley's 200 rowers are gradually told to increase their pace] Battle speed!... Attack speed!... Ramming speed!
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

Featured in The Ultimate Film (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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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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