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poster of Ben-Hur
Rating: 7.7/10 by 1225 users

Ben-Hur (1959)

Judah Ben-Hur, a Palestinian Jew, is battling the Roman empire at the time of Christ. His actions send him and his family into slavery, but an inspirational encounter with Jesus changes everything. He finally meets his rival in a justly famous chariot race and rescues his suffering family.

Directing:
  • William Wyler
  • Alberto Cardone
Writing:
  • Karl Tunberg
  • Lew Wallace
  • Gore Vidal
  • Harold Michelson
Stars:
Release Date: Sat, Dec 26, 1959

Rating: 7.7/10 by 1225 users

Alternative Title:
Ben Hur - FR
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ - US
Бен-хур - BG
Μπεν Χουρ - GR
Бен-Гур - RU
賓漢 - TW
벤허 - KR
בן חור - IL
Ben-Hur : En berättelse från Kristi tid - SE
Ben Hur - SE

Country:
Italy
Lebanon
Mexico
United States of America
Language:
English
Runtime: 03 hour 32 minutes
Budget: $15,000,000
Revenue: $146,900,000

Plot Keyword: roman, prince, chariot race, jerusalem, ancient rome, governor, politics, epic, friends, remake, revenge, jewish, galley, sea battle, galley slave, 1st century

Charlton Heston
Judah Ben-Hur
Jack Hawkins
Quintus Arrius
Hugh Griffith
Scheich Ildirim
Frank Thring
Pontius Pilatus
Sam Jaffe
Simonides
Lando Buzzanca
Jewish Slave in the Desert (uncredited)
Giuliano Gemma
Roman Officer with Messala (uncredited)
Marina Berti
Flavia (uncredited)
Robert Brown
Chief of Rowers (uncredited)
Liana Del Balzo
Guest at Banquet (uncredited)
Enzo Fiermonte
Galley Officer (uncredited)
Richard Hale
Gaspar (uncredited)
Duncan Lamont
Marius (uncredited)
John Le Mesurier
Doctor (uncredited)
Ferdy Mayne
Captain of Rescue Ship (uncredited)
May McAvoy
Woman in crowd (uncredited)
Aldo Silvani
Man in Nazareth (uncredited)
Ralph Truman
Aide to Tiberius (uncredited)
George Relph
Tiberius Caesar
Joe Canutt
Sportsman (uncredited)
Richard Coleman
Metellus (uncredited)
Antonio Corevi
Senator (uncredited)
David Davies
Quaestor (uncredited)
Mino Doro
Gratus (uncredited)
Michael Dugan
Seaman (uncredited)
Franco Fantasia
Roman Soldier Who Brings Crown to Gratus (uncredited)
José Greci
Mary (uncredited)
John Horsley
Spintho (uncredited)
Howard Lang
Hortator (uncredited)
Stevenson Lang
Blind Man (uncredited)
Tutte Lemkow
Leper (uncredited)
Cliff Lyons
The Lubian (uncredited)
Tiberio Mitri
Roman at Bath (uncredited)
Remington Olmsted
Decurian (uncredited)
Laurence Payne
Joseph (uncredited)
Aldo Pini
Bad Thief on Cross (uncredited)
Diego Pozzetto
Villager (uncredited)
Stella Rho
Amrah (uncredited)
Edwin Richfield
Supplier to Leper Colony (uncredited)
Hector Ross
Officer (uncredited)
Maxwell Shaw
Rower No. 43 (uncredited)
Gianni Solaro
Galley Officer (uncredited)
Pietro Tordi
Pilate's Servant (uncredited)
Raimondo Van Riel
Old Man (uncredited)
Dervis Ward
Jailer (uncredited)
Joe Yrigoyen
The Egyptian - Chariot Racer (uncredited)
Nazzareno Zamperla
Roman Soldier with a Bow on Galley (uncredited)
Jerry Brown
The Corinthian (uncredited)
Eddie Jauregui
The Athenian (uncredited)

John Chard

Majestic in scope and story telling. The truth is, is that Ben-Hur deserved every award that was showered upon it. It's a titanic film both in structure and scope. It doesn't need me to go over old ground about how much the film cost to make, the number of extras, the number of sets and etc, it's now folklore that this film could have bankrupted MGM such was the investment, but they needn't have worried since the film went on to make 40 million and still counting. Every cent spent was worth it because it's a magnificent film, the kind that you can get swept away with, the minute the overture starts you feel little tingles as the hairs on your arms stand up on end, you are aware that for over three hours director William Wyler and lead actor Charlton Heston are going to own you. The story centres around Judah Ben-Hur (Heston) who through his staunch loyalty to the Jewish race falls out with his dear Roman friend Messala (Stephen Boyd). He is dispatched to be a slave in the galleys and swears revenge on Messala. After pirates attack the ship he is slaved on, he manages to escape and in the process he saves Roman Admiral Quintus Arrius (Jack Hawkins) and this sets Juda on his destiny to enact revenge on his old friend as Quintus makes him a citizen of Rome. It sounds so simple yet it's a story of the highest order because crucial to the film's core strength is Judah's encounters with Christ, and it's only during the harsh and upsetting final reel that we realise the whole point of the film. There's also strong themes involving family love and loyalty, friendships formed or broken under race and creed banners, and of course religious beliefs and all that comes with that kettle of fish... It's epic, it's simply beautiful, it's actually essential viewing for any serious cinema fan, the film's set pieces are still wondrous even today. You will marvel at the chariot race (a stunning 20 minutes long), you will hoist the flag during the pirate attack, and if you have the emotion in you? You will be hit with sombre silence as Christ is crucified. Come the closing music I personally feel like clapping such is the appreciation I have for this truly wonderful film, if you haven't seen it then make a point of doing so because everything that is great about cinema is right here. 10/10


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