8.1/10
212,221
438 user 127 critic

Ben-Hur (1959)

Trailer
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 (novel) (as General Lew Wallace), Karl Tunberg (screenplay)
Reviews
Popularity
2,155 ( 308)
Top Rated Movies #213 | Won 11 Oscars. Another 18 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Edit

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
Learn more

More Like This 

Adventure | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

British POWs are forced to build a railway bridge across the river Kwai for their Japanese captors, not knowing that the allied forces are planning to destroy it.

Director: David Lean
Stars: William Holden, Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins
Certificate: Passed Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 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 | 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
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
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
Rocky (1976)
Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A small-time boxer gets a supremely rare chance to fight a heavy-weight champion in a bout in which he strives to go the distance for his self-respect.

Director: John G. Avildsen
Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 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 heels. Their solution - escape to Bolivia.

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

A laid back Southern man is sentenced to two years in a rural prison, but refuses to conform.

Director: Stuart Rosenberg
Stars: Paul Newman, George Kennedy, Strother Martin
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A naive man is appointed to fill a vacancy in the United States Senate. His plans promptly collide with political corruption, but he doesn't back down.

Director: Frank Capra
Stars: James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Claude Rains
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A silent film production company and cast make a difficult transition to sound.

Directors: Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly
Stars: Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds
Casablanca (1942)
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

A cynical American expatriate struggles to decide whether or not he should help his former lover and her fugitive husband escape French Morocco.

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

The World's Most Honored Motion Picture See more »


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Audrey Hepburn visited the set during the filming of the chariot race (she was in the midst of shooting The Nun's Story (1959)). This led to the false legend that she was an extra in the crowd scenes, as a favor to William Wyler, who gave Hepburn her first starring role in Roman Holiday (1953), for which she won the Oscar. Hepburn, one of Wyler's favorite actresses and people, would make two more films for him, The Children's Hour (1961) and How to Steal a Million (1966) 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

Esther: Oh, Judah, rest. Sleep. For a few hours of the night, let your mind be at peace.
Judah Ben-Hur: [bitterly] Peace! Love and peace. Do you think I don't long for them as you do? Where do you see them?
Esther: If you had heard this man from Nazareth...
Judah Ben-Hur: Balthasar's word.
Esther: He is more than Balthasar's word. His voice traveled with such a still purpose... It was more than a voice... a man more than a man! He said, "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the...
[...]
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 »


Soundtracks

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

User Reviews

Sometimes Overdone, But Entertaining & Worthwhile
23 September 2004 | by Snow LeopardSee all my reviews

It's hard to deny that William Wyler's lavish version of "Ben-Hur" is sometimes a bit overdone, but it nevertheless remains an entertaining and worthwhile classic. The material does justify the big-budget approach, since the story contains several interesting themes as well as plenty of action sequences. While some parts could have been stream-lined with little loss, in order to make the movie as a whole flow more smoothly, in general the film as it is keeps a good balance between action and substance. There are some very good dramatic moments in addition to the action highlights.

Charlton Heston is well-cast as Ben-Hur, a role that plays right to his strengths. The strained relations between Ben-Hur and Messala provide one set of themes for the story, as well as driving much of the action. Heston handles his end of it pretty well, although Stephen Boyd could have been a little less static in his portrayal of Messala. Jack Hawkins works very well as Quintus Arrius, and his scenes with Heston are used well in establishing some of the inner workings of Heston's character. Hugh Griffith also has a couple of good scenes as Sheik Ilderim.

The chariot race and other action sequences usually get most of the attention, but there are also some worthwhile ideas in the story (which are really the focus of the original novel) that are developed well enough. There is also a very good silent movie version of "Ben-Hur" from 1925, which at times takes a different approach from this version, and which is well worth seeing in itself for those who like the story.


56 of 114 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 438 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »
Edit

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 »

Edit

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
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 »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed