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  • gogoschka-115 November 2015
    10/10
    Epic
    When I first saw 'Ben Hur' I was 8 years old and hadn't seen many films, since we were hardly ever allowed to watch television. Imagine what an impact this film had on me (my movie diet had so far consisted of Chaplin and Disney films - which, of course, is not at all a bad thing).

    The experience was simply mesmerizing. Awe and wonder filled me as I watched this story of shocking betrayal, revenge and forgiveness unfold on screen - and by the time the heart-stopping chariot race was over, my fate as a future movie addict was sealed.

    Despite its 212 minutes running time, this is storytelling at its finest that knows how to entertain; as we follow Judah Ben-Hur's dramatic journey from Jerusalem to Rome and back again, the film just never lets up and immerses you completely.

    It's hard to imagine anything more cinematic, especially at the time: if ever there was an epic that was meant to be seen on the big screen in all its bombastic glory, it's Ben Hur. And even now, after I've seen the film many, many times, I feel like this story has a certain sense of greatness to it that is touching (and I don't mean that in a religious sense).

    My verdict: this film was and is nothing like the many "sandal and sword" or bible films of that era; it is (at least to me) the ultimate film epic. With its touching story and fantastic action sequences - which I think hold up amazingly well - Ben Hur is among the milestones of its era and part of film history.

    Pure cinema and a must see. 10 stars out of 10.

    Favorite TV-Shows reviewed: imdb.com/list/ls075552387/

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    Lesser-Known Masterpieces: imdb.com/list/ls070242495/

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  • Anyone want to know how to make a darned good EPIC remake? Then this is the film to see.

    William Wyler made an epic, a film that is exciting, violent, heartfelt film. Make no mistake, it is the story of two childhood friends, one gets drunk with power and the other who was a Jewish Prince gets thrown into a life of hardship though his boyhood 'friend'. But he has faith and keeps on going. The ultimate battle to beat all battles, to settle the score...is at the Chariot race and that is a sight to behold.

    Films like Ben-Hur will NEVER get greenlighted today and if it did, too much CGI and not enough of what Director Wyler and old Hollywood was good at. The actors, well, they are to die for. Excellent acting. And let me share with you my favorite part...(tee-hee) when Pilate holds up his hankerchief to start the chariot race, plays with the racers and audience - he's very smug ya know..then the WAY he finally drops it. Who couldn't tell how he'd eventually turn out, hmmmmmmm?

    There is nothing more I can add that others have said. This film is near and dear to me and for my vote -- is one of the top five films of all time. I never tire of watching this film, I find something new in it every time, its done that well.

    This is an epic remake, something else that Hollywood has trouble doing -- to remake a film on this scale that finds new audiences year after year, after year. Brilliant, wonderful, every bit of it. A must, must see. Just plain excellent!
  • In the ears and minds of any movie lover, the word "Ben-Hur" resonates like the quintessential Hollywood classic oozing respectability in every inch of celluloid but the same respect we owe to an old relic. In our cynical modern world, who would enjoy a pompous-looking big-budget swords-and-sandals religious epic when you have Tarantino and Appatow?

    I saw "Ben-Hur" for the first time in fourth grade, it was part of our history course and being an Asterix buff, I loved watching real-life legionaries, galley slavery not to mention the chariot race, the film also enlightened me on Christianity and on Judaism (when my only religious reference was monotheism number three) and scared the hell out of me with leper. It worked on a cinematic level as much as educational, I guess even in its TV-sized crappy 80's VHS look, we kids enjoyed "Ben-Hur" especially the rivalry between Judah (Charlton Heston) and Messala (Stephen Boyd).

    I never watched "Ben-Hur" after that but nor did I have any doubt over its status as a colossal masterpiece. Watching it again a few years ago and then a few days ago, I was surprised by how engraved in my memory "Ben-Hur" was, and how the moments that stood out were still having the same effect. When Ben-Hur and Messala meet after many years, I'm always anticipating that first breech in the fortress of their friendship when the young Roman tribune will have one word too many about Ben-Hur's people, taking for granted their friendship and Judah's nobility as marks of submission. The second encounter is even more thrilling because it's like watching a shaking edifice waiting to collapse.

    It was a nice call from the director Wyler to mark the feud between the two ex-friends at the second encounter, hence putting more gravitas around their relationship, that screenwriter Gore Vidal tried to impregnate with homoerotic subtext. The story is known by movie buffs, Vidal wanted to make the interactions look as the two rivals were former lovers, the subtext works even more when you look at Stephen Boyd's "enamored" eyes toward Charlton Heston. But 'Chuck' never knew the trick and was annoyed about it, I guess I prefer the way their hatred epitomize the conflict between Romans and Jews sealing as one of the most memorable rivalries in history of cinema, with the most heart-pounding climactic face-to-face (or should I say wheel-to-wheel).

    I had positive feelings about "Gladiator" but "Ben-Hur" is the masterpiece that dwarfs any contemporary masterpiece, a sweeping revenge story that doesn't rely at all on fake CGI and special effects. It took William Wyler's expertise built up in three decades of experience to make "Ben-Hur" equal the reference of the time that was Cecil B. De Mille's 1925 version. As a matter of fact, "Ben-Hur" has been blockbuster material from the start, ever since Lewis Wallace's best-seller of the late century, it was played on theaters and not with modest budgets. A revenge story, with galley combats, a chariot race and an oblique take on the greatest story ever told, with a hero going from idealism to anger, from revenge to love, all wrapped up in a subtle religious conversion, "Ben-Hur" was an instant classic Hollywood couldn't ignore.

    If 1925 had the race and the thrills, the 1959 one had a bigger scope, bigger budget, the colors, the talking and all the determination of a big studio like MGM to prove a 50's audience that TV wasn't yet the pinnacle of spectacular entertainmnet. When I hear my Dad talking about going to the movies, like "Ben-Hur", "Spartacus", "Guns of Navarone" or "Taras Boulba" you would think he went there, inside the screen. And right now, I can't imagine the eyes of people staring at the screen during the chariot race, there comes a moment where you stop watching the moment as a plot element, but as a real race, and it never, never suspends your disbelief, it's like at any new viewing, Messalah can finally win.

    There are so many classic moments that filled the three-hour-and-half journey that you're never in a state of non-anticipation, when the new inquisitor's parade starts, you keep an eye on that loose roof tile, the one that started the whole chain of events. In the desert, you wait for the 'greatest cameo ever made', in the galleys, the big fight and Ben-Hur rescuing Arrius (Jack Hawkins) and it goes on and on. I must reckon after the chariot race, the film gets a tad too long, but only because you can't just sweep off such a rich epic with a five-minute resolution, and Charlton Heston, in his greatest role, contributed a lot to the everlasting appeal of the film, I don't think he gets the credit he deserved, he brings to his Judah Ben-Hur a dimension of emotional vulnerability that could have been laughable from a lesser actor.

    Other cast members include Oscar-winning Hugh Griffin enjoying his role as Arab sheikh and Judah's mentor, Israeli actress Haya Harareet as Esther, Martha Scott and Cathy O'Donnell as Judah's mother and sister... the film is served by a solid cast, editing, directing, having swept off all the major Oscar by breaking the record of 11 wins, only to be matched in 1997 with "Titanic" and "The Return of the King" and oddly enough, these titles could somewhat apply to "Ben-Hur".

    I haven't seen the 'original' and I'm in no hurry for the remake, but I don't get I'll be in a minority if I say that this is the ultimate version. I didn't see it many times in my life but it's always present in my memories as if it wasn't about the number of times you watch it but the intensity of each experience. And let's not forget the name of the director: William Wyler who outdid himself by making his masterpiece, which is saying a lot, given his previous streaks.

    "Ben-Hur": A Christ Tale, a tale of vengeance, in fact a tale of all tales...
  • We are by nature a cynical and critical group.

    With the attention span of a bumblebee, moreso the current generation than the earlier ones, because of exposure to mobile devices and other modern disposable non-repairable tech.

    It is probably for that reason that epics like this one have become forgotten over time. Even the late CH has become more a societal joke and less of an icon over time. Michael Moore made Heston's participation in the NRA a joke. (If Heston's concerns over where society is headed prove to be true, the final joke may be on Moore.) Back to the film. It is almost perfect. Then, as now. The script continually builds. Modern writers could learn from that. No matter what is presently on screen as you watch, the inevitability of the final climax beckons.

    The acting is perfect.

    The mixture of myth and drama is perfect.

    True the Roman dialog did not benefit from the verbal tricks that Stephen McKnight used in Spartacus (bending the script to match the flow of actual Roman) but it is more than enough to entertain and entrance.

    From the "accident" early in the film which starts the flow of events, to the chariot race WHICH HAS NEVER BEEN EQUALLED IN THE HISTORY OF FILM, to the reunion with lost family at the end, this is one of the most powerful and entertaining films of all time
  • I own over 2,000 movies on DVD or VHS. I have gone to many many more movies that have not been worthy of my collection, thus my exposure to film has been extensive. I mention this because through every film I have seen; I still come back to a film from 1959 as the greatest achievement in cinematic history. I have seen great films like: Return of the King, Saving Private Ryan, Braveheart and many more. While the modern films are wonderful and have a fantastic richness to them, they still are a "small" notch below Ben-Hur. Today's films use a lot of computer effects for their battles scenes, their backgrounds, and even computer images for the stunts of their actors. Yet, Ben-Hur did it all without computers. I am still fascinated by the chariot race. Never, in film history, has anything matched the depth and excitement of the chariot race. Remember folks, this is 1959, nothing is computer generated. Some may say the naval battle scenes look a bit cheesy, but again it was 1959 and the scenes still work today. What can you say about the acting? Every single actor is wonderful. Heston is in top form as Ben-Hur. Steven Boyd is incredible playing the merciless Messala. Jack Hawkins, Haya Harareet, Martha Scott--all fantastic in their roles. Each performing the role of a life time. The actors are fantastic, but William Wyler brings more out of each actor than any director ever could in this day and age. Wyler had no computer animation to rely on, he had no high tech special effects crew, he had no computer program to fill in extras. Wyler had to find thousands of extras for many scenes and maintain control. Did you ever see Steven Boyd better? Probably not. Did you ever see any of the actors (except Heston, who is an acting marvel) better in any other role? Wyler just pulled the greatest performance out of each actor. The story: fantastic from beginning to end. While the film is over 3 hours long, you do not feel that it is that long. Every scene is lovingly crafted: the reunion between Messala and Judah, the trek to the gallows, the rowing scene, the naval battle, the chariot race, the Messala death scene, the reunion with Judah and his family, etc. After seeing thousands and thousands of movies, I always come back to Ben-Hur. This is the mark of fantastic movie making. Today's film makers could learn a lot by watching this film and "learning" about acting, directing, and screen writing.
  • This is simply my favorite Movie in every way, if you happen to read the Bible, than you understand the message, which is,as the Movie says (a Tale of Christ) the centerpiece of this Epic Work. You watch and cant stop wonder how they managed to create all the special effects at that time (1959), without PC's and all the kind of techniques we use today and still capture your attention from the very beginning, not to mention the music, what a magic, it's indescribably beautiful and deep, Charleston Heston, Stephen Boyd, Haya Harareet and all other actors made with their great performance this Masterpiece unforgettable, their journey through family, friendship, love, hatred, despair, suffering,revenge and finally peace, redemption and forgiveness is magical, as the Life of the Christ was and for those who believe, is, this was the first Movie I saw in theater years ago and no other ever touched me this way and we all know good Movies has been made since then, but still, this is beyond comprehension, if you are able to watch and believe in Christ with all your heart
  • This film is so much more than the chariot race. Undoubtedly, that is the most famous sequence and for good reason. It is stunning, electric, tense and the so very exciting. There is nothing like simply seeing a chariot race unfold by actually filming a group a chariots. But the sequence is filled with meaning because the film spends so much time building up the personal relationship between Judah and Messala; their hatred for each other displayed in the chariot race is alive and bitter. Because we have seen them expressing deep kinship and spiritual love.

    There is a famous dispute between Wyler and Vidal about how much of the Judah-Messala relationship was intended to have a subtext of a gay jilted lovers. I think to dwell on that is to sort of miss the point. While it it is really easy to read an erotic love (especially on Messala's part) between the two it is clear that spiritual love is present in anycase. The erotic element is present if one cares to look but it is not needed. There is clearly an emotional intimacy between the two. This intimacy gets soured by politics. The story is richer, deeper and more personal as a result.

    Richer is a good word for this movie. It is nearly 4 hours long but it is a fully fleshed out epic that engages the entire time. I rather enjoyed how the Christian themes are restrained-You never see Christ's face, you only hear what he says second hand etc.-it makes the film feel about Jesus of Nazareth and not necessarily Jesus Christ. I feel like it makes the film more accessible to nonChristians while Christians can infer what the wish. Biblical epics can often be very stuffy and overwrought. Wyler's use of deep focus really gives the film a feel of intimate epicness. The scope is grand; the focus personal,

    Wyler was a very good filmmaker; this is something of a departure for him. Nonetheless this film is still the work of a master.
  • What can you say about this film? It has everything, magnificent script, superb acting ,and the most famous chariot race in Hollywood history. Although the chariot race is the centrepiece of this spectacular ,it is by no means the only highlight.Ben Hur (Charlton Heston) is the victim of a terrible miscarriage of justice on himself and family ,and his dramatic adventures in the desert, at sea and finally back in Rome are just brimming with highlights. At the same time his meetings with Christ just add to the Wonderful drama that enfolds in this movie.It has a magnificent musical score which just adds to the drama,and I suspect the climax of the film would only leave the stone hearted unmoved.It has other great stars who make this a must see film ,particularly Jack Hawkins,Hugh Griffith and Stephen Boyd.

    This is the sort of film Gladiator should have been but wasn't (what a waste). Still we'll always have Ben Hur to enjoy.
  • Wow, what can you say about a film that won 11 Academy Awards back in the days where the best films actually were honored, not the garbage they salute today.

    In other words, this film lives up to its reputation and has to be ranked as one of the most memorable movies of all time. Nobody who ever saw this film ever forgot the chariot race, for instance, perhaps the greatest action scene filmed without special effects.

    This can be a very sad film as well. I doubt if I've ever watched this without a few tears in my eyes at certain points. The scenes with hero's mother and sister suffering with leprosy are still some of the most heart-wrenching scenes I've ever witnessed on film. They can just tear you apart.

    The combination of drama, action and romance, along with very involving storyline is aided by an incredible soundtrack, once again one of the best ever put on film. The more one hears this music, the more was is moved by it.

    To fully appreciate the cinematography in this film I recommend you purchase the recently-released 4-disc DVD special edition which also includes the first rendition of this story, the silent movie "Ben-Hur: A Tale Of The Christ." That was name of the book, by the way, the second part of the title being left off the 1959 movie as Hollywood slowly began deemphasizing Christianity in films. However, there is a reverence for Jesus Christ in this film, which should be there since it's a key element of the storyline, even though most folks forget that.

    In summary, this is about as good an example as ever found of what is labeled an "epic" movie. It's an incredible story transferred memorably on screen.
  • "Ben-Hur" is a dominant Best Picture Oscar winner that is perhaps more impressive now than it was when it was first released in 1959. Charlton Heston (Oscar-winning) stars as a rich Jewish nobleman during the time of Jesus Christ who is turned into a slave by the Romans after a freak accident. Now he is manning an oar in a ship's galley and his family is imprisoned. Years pass and now Heston is after the former childhood friend (Stephen Boyd), a Roman, that turned against him. The 17 minutes of footage for the chariot race is some of the best during the history of the cinema. Hugh Griffith won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar and William Wyler won his third and final Best Director Oscar. A monumental film that is great in every cinematic category known to man. 5 stars out of 5.
  • Ben Hur, a Tale of the Christ, was hugely popular as a novel, a play and two movies. It was written in a less vulgar time about a very spiritual event. Seen today by moviegoers addicted to constant action and low frequency effects, it will seem ponderous, slow and pretentious. Well, it is a little. You have to pay attention to the dialogue or you won't get it at all. Some of the intimate scenes aren't all that great. Anyone that really pays attention can tell the sea battle is done with miniatures. It's still worth watching. As everyone ought to know by now, the chariot race is one-of-a-kind; nothing else comes close to that real live race where the main actors actually raced most of the time. I just watched this movie after lapse of about 10 years. I still enjoyed it. The sea battle is still fun even if you know the boats are about as big as a man. The few moments which have Christ on the screen are still moving. Just about all of the acting is good with only a few forgettable moments. Just be ready to spend about 4 hours in front of the screen listening to occasionally flowery dialog.
  • The same quality that made epics like "Gone with the Wind," "Lawrence of Arabia," "Doctor Zhivago," and, ultimately, "Titanic" the memorable stories they were is present in spades in "Ben-Hur." These are stories, though told on canvases far vaster than the CinemaScope- or Panavision-sized movie screens they were meant for, succeed because, in their best moments, they focus on the interaction between and history of as few as two characters.

    What begins as a childhood friendship between a Roman boy and a Jewish boy in Roman-occupied Palestine, becomes, briefly, a politically-charged rivalry, and ultimately, a search for revenge by one upon the other.

    Charlton Heston and Stephen Boyd deliver the performances of their careers, and get to chew up scenery and sets of such grandeur that Hollywood could never afford their like again.

    This film, the greatest epic film ever made, deserves every accolade heaped upon it. The modern viewer may have to apply some patience, but at the end of the nearly four hour running time will find themselves to be vastly rewarded for it. You will find your life changed by both the scale of the film and the intimate message of friendship, betrayal, revenge--and the power of forgiveness.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Along with Haya Harareet, I think Claude Heater is one of the last of the surviving main cast members from Ben-Hur (1959). Quite symbolic in a way given Mr Heater's moving performance as Jesus Christ in the movie. When I saw Ben-Hur at a church gathering night a few years ago, the Pastor(who was quite conservative) told us that even though Ben-Hur is a "Hollywood" movie, it's the one that probably came closest to honoring and glorifying the Son of God.

    In Ben-Hur you never see the face of Jesus Christ, and that was a deliberate choice by the director. But Claude Heater gives the emotional gravitas required for the role.

    Ben-Hur is a movie that stands the test of time. No wonder we say "It's bigger than Ben-Hur" to describe something spectacular. Ben-Hur is an epic, it's spectacular, and it's moving.
  • Some movies are so good that they just haven't age. They are timeless, like any work of art. This is one of those movies, perhaps one of the best movies ever and surely one of the biggest and most epic biblical movies ever made. The story is based on a novel by Lew Wallace (which I have read and I have at home) and is so famous that it doesn't allow spoils: the injustice committed against Judah Ben-Hur and his path of revenge, deeply linked to the life and death of Jesus, a latent and ever palpable subplot, even when it does not arise. Epic in every detail, the film features scenarios and costumes carefully crafted in the style of Imperial Rome. Some sequences are truly anthological, as is the case with the chariot race. The representation of the Roman legionaries influenced for decades the conception that we have, individually, on how they were and fought. The visual and special effects used in the film were the best there was at the time and even today, more than half a century later, they're able to surprise by the realism. The color is vivid and intense, cinematography is truly imposing and accentuates the epic ambiance. As for the cast's work, it's definitely the movie of Charlton Heston's life. He not only became famous with it but made here the most remarkable character of his career. Steven Boyd, Jack Hawkins, Haya Harareet, Martha Scott and Hugh Griffith also shone. It's a long movie, but the audience gets so caught up in it that they don't even feel the time go by. Wonderful!
  • I have seen Ben-Hur (I also like the 1925 version very much) I don't know how many times now. I think I have stopped counting seven years ago. I never tire to see this movie and, needless to say, I know all the scenes and dialogue by heart. This picture has everything in it. Almost all human sentiments are represented in the story: joy, sorrow, despair, pride, jealousy, hope, revenge, anger, forgiveness, compassion, redemption, love, hate, friendship, humour, etc, etc. During the three and a half hours it takes for the story to unfold, we see passing by our very eyes just about every example of what constitutes the human condition. What I find even more remarkable in this movie is the fact that Christ is present throughout the entire story, but we don't really see him in the flesh (at the exception of a few scenes, where the Lord is, in fact, in the background) and yet, his spirit and message is ever present through the words and actions of the various characters. It's not for nothing that the complete title of this great story is "Ben-Hur, a Tale of the Christ". The movie is well-acted (especially Heston, Griffith, Hawkins and, let's not forget, the wonderful Finley Currie, playing Balthazar), the dialogue is always concise, yet never short of meaning and substance (the way dialogues in movies should be), the decor and settings are just magnificent and the Miklos Rozsa score is simply superb. Besides Quo Vadis (the 1951 version, which, incidentally, I have recommended to those who have also enjoyed Ben-Hur), I cannot think of a better movie about the early days of Christianity than this one. There are others, of course, (The Robe, just to name one), but none has the grandeur and the spectacular dimension of Ben-Hur. It's the movie I would want to watch one last time on my death bed. I gladly and proudly give Ben-Hur a score of 10 out of 10!
  • I think I can safely say that in my opinion, this is the best movie ever made. Its dramatic value is fantastic, and I've never seen a better storyline. The costumes were also incredible. The actors portrayed the best purest form of both ancient Roman and old Judean culture. This film also had quite an emotional effect. The way that Christ's face is never visible nor his voice audible to the audience creates a feeling of reverence to the actual person of Jesus. Lew Wallace also did an amazing job portraying the innocence, kindness, and mercy of Jesus, and his effect on the main character, Judah Ben Hur. Hur's ending quote, "I felt him take the sword out of my hand" was a wonderful picture of his changing. I admit, I am a Christian, but even for those who are not this is still a great film. The message boards confirm that. I recognize that there are some people that require constant action to keep their attention. If this is your case, than this movie is not for you, as it has a lot of dialogue. But I recommend this movie 100%.
  • 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.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    With his distinctive visual style and a taste for solemn material, William Wyler was meticulously individualistic director, triple winner of the Best Picture Oscar... As a devoted artist, he showed visual clarity and sensitive portrayal of character, dignifying melodrama, epic and Westerns... His "Ben-Hur" is a semi-biblical adventure set in the First Century AD, during the life of Christ...

    In "Ben-Hur," Heston reaches the peak of his career winning an Oscar for his outstanding performance of Judah Ben-Hur...

    Judah is a peaceful Jewish prince who stands the tyranny of Rome through the sadistic mind of Messala... Heston gives a spiritual performance of the title role... Judah is noble, aggressive, proud and warm... He is authentic, believing that his existence had a purpose, and that his God will free him to take revenge on his enemy... He is a man of terrific complexity and great courage and fortitude... From the land of Judea, to the galley of a Roman warship and to the Valley of the Lepers, Judah struggles for dignity and freedom... Judah's spirit is nearly broken until a hand reaches toward him with a ladle of water...

    Judah/Messala friendship is great, but their relationship, damaged for ideological differences, makes them become bitter enemies... Messala (Stephen Boyd) sees only a Roman world in the future... Judah believes in the future of his people...

    Tribune Messala had the same attributes, the same traits of Judah, but inverted upside down ideologically... Messala is an ambitious autocratic commander, and a despot ruler, who wants Judea a more obedient and disciplined province...

    Quintus Arrius (Jack Hawkins) realizes much about Judah's character... After whipping his back, he told him: "You have the spirit to fight back but the good sense to control it. Your eyes are full of hate, forty-one. That's good. Hates keeps a man alive. It gives him strength." And that's why Judah can be called more a survival than a hero...

    Sheik Ilderim (Hugh Griffith), is the wealthy Arabian horse trainer, who needed a real man to race his strong and magnificent Arabian team...

    Haya Harareet is the Jewish maiden who tenderly falls in love with Judah...

    Sam Jaffe is Simonides, Judah's loyal friend and keeper of the Hur fortune...

    André Morell is Sextus, the pagan ruler whom Messala replaces...

    With dramatic musical score, breathtaking sets and costumes, huge masses of people, a vigorous sea battle between Roman fleet and Macedonian pirates, a memorable and spectacular chariots race, this inspiring film is an unforgettable solid motion picture, more religious than "The Ten Commandments."
  • mustafacicek16 November 2018
    10/10
    perfect
    It was a great film and I think that everyone shoul watch it.
  • Ben-Hur is one of the greatest movies of all time! The reason why is because it tells a great story. I have a friend who once told me the whole basic storyline from just reading the book! This is also one of the very few great ones that can probably be seen by the whole family. By the way, I think Charlton Heston deserved that oscar for his role in this movie.
  • This monumental version of renowned story during the time of Christ which was filmed several times, concerning on a wealthy Jewish named Ben-Hur results to be an impressive movie . It is a big budget version by William Wyler that won a record of 11 Oscars and was the most expensive picture of its time , being one of the greatest movies of all history. The story is well known , a rich Jewish nobleman Ben Hur (Charlton Heston in the title role, he was initially offered the role of Messala , though Burt Lancaster was considered) and his confrontation to military Messala (Stephen Boyd , though Robert Ryan was also considered , Boyd and other actors playing Romans wore dark contact lenses, so their eyes appeared brown), though they were childhood friends . When happen a distress , Ben Hur incurs the hostility his previous friend and is condemned to galley slavery , reduced to manning an oar , and his family is sent to prison during several years into a room completely locked . When he's in a galleon as slave rower saves to Quinto Arrio (Jack Hawkins) who subsequently appointed him as a heir . Years later he goes back to seek revenge upon his Roman tormentor . This culminates in a groundbreaking chariot race . As he returns Palestina where his mother Miriam and sister Tizrah (roles performed Martha Scott and Cathy O'Donnell respectively) are prisoned at Antonia fortress . This classic tale is added religious issues about Jesus life , as are described the pilgrimage , Mountain sermon , Passion , crucifixion and resurrection .

    Lavishly produced by Sam Zimbalist and uncredited Sol Siegel, the production cost MGM a massive $15 million and was a gamble by the studio to save itself from bankruptcy . Sensational main cast and enjoyable support actors such as Hugh Griffith as Sheik , Sam Jaffe as Simonides , Finlay Currie as Balthasar , John Le Mesurier as Doctor , Frank Thring as Pontius Pilate , Andre Morrel as Sextus and many others . Marvellously staged battle ships and a breathtaking chariot races . As the chariot race required 15,000 extras, on a set constructed on 18 acres of backlot at Cinecitta Studios outside Rome , eighteen chariots were built, with half being used for practice ; the race took five weeks to film and 15,000 extras were used . Three hundred sets, five years of research, and fourteen months of labor were required for the sets . The dialogue , colorful images , majestic set design from Edward Carfagno and William Horning , glamorous photography by Robert Surtees , evocative musical score combine to cast a spellbinding movie . Rousing soundtrack by the classical Miklós Rózsa who wrote the musical score over a period of nearly a year . His first-rate score deservedly won an Academy Award . The motion picture was stunningly realized by director William Wyler who took on the project because he wanted to do a Cecil B. DeMille type picture . Although William Wyler was Jewish, he particularly wanted to make a film that would appeal to all religious faiths . Wyler selected all the camera angles for the chariot race, but left all the details of its actual shooting in the hands of his second-unit directors Andrew Marton and Yakima Canutt . Rating : 9 , extraordinary and awesome , it ranked #2 on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the genre "Epic".

    There are numerous renditions based on Lee Wallace's Ben Hur , as stage version , classic MGM's mammoth silent version ¨Ben Hur¨ (1926) by Fred Niblo with Ramon Novarro; and this the remake Ben-Hur (1959) in which Stuntman Cliff Lyons worked as a stuntman/chariot driver in both Ben Hur (1925) and this one . Cartoon version (2003) by Bill Kowalchuk in which a prologue and epilogue narrated by Charlton Heston ; and ¨Ben Hur TV series¨ (2010) by Steven Shill with Joseph Morgan as Judah Ben-Hur , Stephen Campbell Moore as Messala , Emily VanCamp as Esther as Kristin Kreuk as Tirzah , Ben Cross , Simón Andreu , Alex Kingston , James Faulkner , among others .
  • Great and entertaining period drama. Great acting by all the stars. Must watch movie
  • A perennial Xmas favourite on TV during my childhood, spectacular biblical epic Ben-Hur opens with the birth of Jesus: manger, star, wise men, shepherds... the whole nine yards. Those TV programmers knew what they were doing.

    The film then scoots to XXVI A.D.-Jesus is now a grown man doing God's work; meanwhile, Jewish prince Judah Ben-Hur (played by distinctly non-Jewish blue-eyed hunk Charlton Heston) is reunited with his Roman childhood friend Messala (Stephen Boyd), who has just been appointed tribune of Judea. Messala, desperate to keep the Jews under control, asks Judah to help him quell any potential rebellion, but his friend refuses to betray his people. As a result, the pair part as enemies.

    This animosity proves problematic for Judah when his sister accidentally knocks a roof tile onto the Roman governor as he arrives in town. Seizing an opportunity to make an example of the influential Hur family, Messala sends Judah's mother and sister to jail, and has Judah thrown into slavery as a rower on the Roman galleys. After several years of 'battle speed', 'attack speed', ramming speed' and 'warp speed', Judah earns his freedom by saving the life of a Roman consul during a sea battle. Returning home, Judah searches for his mother and sister, seeks revenge on Messala, and has a profound encounter with Jesus of Nazareth.

    In the wrong hands, Ben-Hur could have been an epic bore, but director William Wyler proves himself more than worthy of the task, commanding great dramatic performances from his superb cast, and mounting some stunning action scenes, the highlight being the film's iconic chariot race, a breathtaking piece of cinema that still holds up as one of the most exciting sequences ever committed to film. Every last cent of the massive $15,900,000 budget is up there on the screen, with impressive sets, excellent production design and a cast of thousands. Miklós Rózsa's wonderful score complements the action perfectly, the deserved winner of one of the film's eleven Oscars.

    Sadly, Ben-Hur no longer pops up on TV every Christmas, meaning that it's probably not found much of a new audience in recent years-a shame, because it really is worthy of any film fan's time-all three and a half hours of it!
  • William Wyler's Ben-Hur is one of the greatest epics in cinematic history. The film changed the medium forever and is a stunning accomplishment in film. Ben-Hur is a masterful piece of cinema that combines action and drama. The performances delivered by the actors are flawless and the film is powerful, exciting and of course epic in scope. The film is complimented with flawless acting and a grand musical score that adds so much atmosphere and elevates the tone of the picture. Charlton Heston delivers one of his greatest performances and is also one of the most iconic performances in cinematic history. William Wyler's directing is solid, and he tells an effective story that is slow to unfold, but is necessary. Wyler effectively plots a solid film that steadily builds up to a great climax. The cast here is brilliant. actors Charlton Heston as the title character and Stephen Boyd as Messala, Ben-Hur's friend that betrays him are great in their respective roles. The rest of the cast are great as well. Ben-Hur has some of the most iconic scenes ever put on film. Most notably the chariot race, which is a behemoth of excitement and superbly well staged, and is one of the most iconic scenes in Ben-Hur, not to mention in cinematic history. Ben- Hur is a film that is grand, epic and too big for words. This is an exciting, well acted film. Though Ben-Hur has some religious overtones, it doesn't overdo it, and it manages to be fairly limited in its content. The film is a standout piece of cinema that blends drama and action beautifully and will satisfy people who enjoy grand cinematic epics. Ben-Hur remains the film of which all grand sword and sandal epics are judged upon. With a great cast, a majestic score, stellar action and dramatic sequences, Ben-Hur's place in the cinematic medium is assured. A stunning, beautifully directed film that still has the power to capture your imagination fifty years after its release. This is a TRUE epic of cinema, and a film that shaped the cinematic medium forever.
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