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This 1959 version of Lew Wallace's best-selling novel, which had already seen screen versions in 1907 and 1926, went on to win 11 Academy Awards. Adapted by Karl Tunberg and a raft of uncredited writers including Gore Vidal and Maxwell Anderson, the film once more recounts the tale of Jewish prince Judah Ben-Hur (Charlton Heston), who lives in Judea with his family during the time that Jesus Christ was becoming known for his "radical" teachings. Ben-Hur's childhood friend Messala (Stephen Boyd) is now an ambitious Roman ...

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FanOfTimeLifeBooks

Apr 21, 2019

An Epic Film of Betrayal and Redemption

The 1959 version of Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ is based on the book of the same title by Civil War Union General Lew Wallace. The story centers on a Jewish prince by the name of Judah Ben-Hur. His long friendship with the Roman Messala comes to an end after Judah's sister and mother are unfairly imprisoned after some roof tiles on their home come loose and fall on Roman soldiers; at the same time, Judah is condemned to be a galley slave on a Roman trireme. Judah is freed after helping a Roman general during a sea battle against some Macedonian pirates. Judah eventually finds himself racing against Messala in a chariot race; this scene is one of the most famous in movie history. The backdrop of the film involves the birth, ministry, and crucifixion of Jesus Christ. I have seen this film many times on television and VHS but recently had the opportunity to see it on the big screen during the 60th anniversary of its release; this was a great experience to see both the sea battle and the chariot race scenes on the big screen. In sum, this is a great story about love, faith, friendship, betrayal, revenge, and redemption.

Carolyn S

Mar 27, 2019

Greatest Easter Movie Ever

Ben Hur is a fantastic movie and one that is a must see during the Easter season. The movie is full of drama and adventure. The chariot race is positively hair raising! But the central theme of this epic film is the growing relationship between the main character, Ben Hur, and the Lord Jesus Christ. It's a wonderful movie. It really is.

Donald S

Jan 16, 2014

THE STORY OF THE CHRIST

A GREAT STORY. I FIRST SAW IT WHEN I WAS BACK IN COLLEGE ACROSS THE STREET FROM MY DORM. WONDERFUL STORY ABOUT BEN OF THE FAMILY OF HUR. EARLY ON FRIENDS WITH ONE OF THE GLADIATORS BUT AN INCIDENT LEAD TO HIS IMPRISONMENT BUT IN THE END A FINAL VICTORY. I ALSO HAVE THE CARTOON VERSION OF THE SAME MOVIE.

Lawrence B

Oct 15, 2010

Everything was fine and what I anticipated.

Everything was fine and I enjoyed the movie very much!

mehaul

Mar 9, 2010

All Day To See The Race!

TITLE: Ben Hur
GENRE: Biblical Epic
CAST: Charlton Heston, Stephen Boyd, Haya Harareet, Jack Hawkins, Hugh Griffith and Sam Jaffe
PLOT: Re-union of boyhood friends does not go well at all. One has become a Roman ruler in Judea and the other is a prosperous Hebrew, our hero, Judah Ben Hur. Their conflict forces the Roman Massala(Boyd) to exile Hur into galley rowing slavery. During a sea battle, Hur saves the life of the Roman Consul and is rewarded by eventually becoming the adopted son of the Consul. Returning to Judea for revenge, we pass through the sport of the era, Chariot racing. Hur had become one of Rome city's most celebrated drivers; while in Judea, Massala is the eastern Empire's best, The duel in the Chariot race is acknowledged as a few of the most suspenseful moments in Hollywood history. Hur renounces Rome, seeks his family out, gets to see Jesus perform miracles and die. The Christ story part of this is central yet is played down only to be resurrected when the other story stumbles.
RETURN ON INVESTMENT: 7 of 10; at almost 4 hours (and it'll be longer than that if you do the DVD extras), you need to sit through poor character development which is the big drawback. The rest of the film is to be as expected from such a huge budget blockbuster. The movie's music score, the costume, the sets and stunts are all top notch.
DVD BONUSES: Heston comments on the making in a parallel track. The filmography of several actors is given
ADDED NOTES: This movie is all about the chariot race. Heston (and Boyd) had to join the ranks of less than a dozen skilled drivers of four horse chariots in the world. He even, he says, had to work as an extra at times when the chariots were shown at range and drivers were needed. (I think I saw him once or twice as the driver during some horse practice run scenes. Yes, this battle with horses is worth watching the movie for (But if that's all you want to see, It's just after the intermission on side 2)

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