30 user 8 critic

The Story of Ruth (1960)

Not Rated | | Drama, History, Romance | 17 June 1960 (USA)
Inspired by the scriptural tale. Moabitess priestess Ruth is drawn both to a Judean man and to his talk of a forgiving God. After tragedy strikes, she begins a new life in Bethlehem.


Henry Koster


Norman Corwin




Cast overview, first billed only:
Stuart Whitman ... Boaz
Tom Tryon ... Mahlon
Peggy Wood ... Naomi
Viveca Lindfors ... Eleilat
Jeff Morrow ... Tob
Elana Eden ... Ruth
Thayer David ... Hedak
Les Tremayne ... Elimelech
Eduard Franz ... Jehoam
Leo Fuchs Leo Fuchs ... Sochin
Lili Valenty Lili Valenty ... Kera
John Gabriel ... Chilion
Ziva Rodann ... Orpah
Basil Ruysdael ... Shammah
John Banner ... King of Moab


Inspired by the tale from Hebrew scriptures and the Christian Bible, the Moabitess child Ruth is sold to the temple of Chemosh. Years pass and she serves as a priestess to the idol. While arranging a temple ritual, she encounters a Judean family of artisans: Elimelech, his wife Naomi, their sons Chilion and Mahlon, and daughter-in-law Orpah. Ruth is curious about their God, and begins to meet secretly with Mahlon. After tragedy strikes, Ruth follows Naomi and begins a new life in Bethlehem... Written by L. Hamre

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Inspired Biblical Spectacle! See more »


Drama | History | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


One of two biblical epics released by 20th Century Fox in 1960. The other is Esther and the King (1960). The Story of Ruth, produced in the United States, was filmed and released first. Esther and the King was in its pre-production stage when The Story of Ruth premiered in New York City. See more »


When Ruth and her father at the beginning of the movie are going to give Ruth to the service of Chamosh the right sleeve of her garment is torn but when they are in the house it is her left sleeve that is torn. See more »


[first lines]
Jehoam: Yonder is a city whose name will one day be known in the far places of the Earth... Bethlehem of Judah. Generations have yet to pass before its star shall rise in the east. Much shall happen in these lands and be told. For nearby, across the Jordan in the land of Moab, lives a people who of old have hated the God of Israel and who serve a god of stone, Chemosh, thirsty for the blood of the young and the innocent.
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Version of Ruth (1948) See more »

User Reviews

Underrated Bible film is one of the best
8 February 2013 | by CelluloidDogSee all my reviews

This movie is a pleasant Old Testaments gem! I'm surprised it gets panned by many who demand accuracy. Perhaps people missed the point. Aside from the usual few Hollywood add- ons (e.g, Ruth was a Priestess, the death of Mahlon, the two Moabite spies, and the exact issue of Levirate law with Tob being first kin and the idea of love, not obligation for marriage) it is reasonably accurate. After all, which Hollywood movie is completely accurate? Ten Commandments? More importantly, it captures the spirit of Ruth. In essence, of the spirit of Ruth as a stranger following devotedly her mother-in-law and Jehovah, a new God for her, it is accurate. It depicts Ruth's altruism (she does not accept gifts and nothing but faith to her mother-in-law and God matters), Boaz's character of integrity (he has ethics, even higher than Ruth when he has to judge), the blind conversion of faith (to Judaism), and the lawful acceptance of non-Israelites very well. I think people missed these themes but rather are looking for a word-by-word account. The problem with a word-by-word account is that the Bible is missing too much. And then to expect a 1960 Bible movie to show Ruth going to bed with Boaz potential ruins her altruistic character. OK, maybe Delilah can go to bed with Samson, but to see Ruth, a most faithful, altruistic character do such a thing isn't consistent with the character development.

Thus, in spirit, this captures the Biblical story perhaps better than any other fictitious (e.g, The Robe) or supposedly accurate (The Ten Commandments) Hollywood movies. Unfortunately, those points are missed. Given the Book of Ruth is quite short, to make a two-hour movie, writer Norman Corwin and director Henry Koster took the liberty to make a smooth storyline. Since it lacks the exciting, epic battles and dramatic miracles of other Biblical movies, it won't appeal to many people. Rather, this film is more about human devotion, kindness and traditions. Acting was very strong by female leads Peggy Wood and the beautiful Elena Eden (who hardly made a movie afterward) but Stuart Whitman and Tom Tryon were average. Peggy was excellent and charming and Elena was very poised as what one might expect of her since she would be the mother of a great line. Jeff Morrow was enjoyable in his role, too. Sets, script and color cinematography were very good.

However, most people want fun and adventure. This film doesn't have those elements but rather it's about human search for spiritualism, goodness and faith.

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Release Date:

17 June 1960 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Story of Ruth See more »


Box Office


$2,930,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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