Ben-Hur (1959)

G   |    |  Adventure, Drama, History

Ben-Hur (1959) Poster

When a Jewish prince is betrayed and sent into slavery by a Roman friend, he regains his freedom and comes back for revenge.

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  • Charlton Heston and Haya Harareet in Ben-Hur (1959)
  • Charlton Heston and Haya Harareet in Ben-Hur (1959)
  • Cathy O'Donnell in Ben-Hur (1959)
  • Charlton Heston in Ben-Hur (1959)
  • Charlton Heston and John Glenn in Ben-Hur (1959)
  • Charlton Heston and Maxwell Shaw in Ben-Hur (1959)

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Did You Know?


Although the original 35mm release was in Technicolor (there is no such thing as a 70mm Technicolor print, as Technicolor was never equipped to make them; all the original release's 70mm prints were in MetroColor), all of the 1974 release's prints were in MetroColor. More significant was that the 1974 release was cut from the original running time of 212 minutes to 170, and the film shorn of its musical overture and entr'acte (it was presented without intermission). Most egregiously, the sequence of some scenes was re-ordered, an almost unheard-of bowdlerization of a successful film, especially one that had won an unprecedented eleven Academy Awards.


Quintus Arrius: Why did you save me?
Judah Ben-Hur: Why did you have me unchained?
Quintus Arrius: What is your name, Forty-One?
Judah Ben-Hur: Judah Ben-Hur.
Quintus Arrius: Judah Ben-Hur. Let me die.
Judah Ben-Hur: We keep you alive to serve this ship. Row well, and live.


Sheikh Ilderim and Judah pronounce the name of the Sheikh's chariot horse "REEGH-el," as though it were from the Latin, with a hard "g." The four horses, as the Sheikh, are "named for the stars," and all those names -- Aldebaran, Altair, Antares and Rigel -- are Arabic names for these particularly bright stars that are still in use. An Arab would pronounce that last name as "Rijl" (REE-djl), not "REEGH-el," and Judah would likely have known that.

Crazy Credits

The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer lion is shown in a still-frame to appear looking peaceful at the beginning rather than roaring.

Alternate Versions

According to Leonard Maltin's 1987 "TV Movies Guide," the film was re-cut for later re-issues; this version runs 165 minutes. The complete, 212-minute film, however, is the version commonly seen in circulation today, and is available on DVD and airs on Turner Classic Movies.


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


Plot Summary

Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Adventure | Drama | History

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