In 25 AD, Judah Ben-Hur, a Jew in ancient Judea, opposes the occupying Roman empire. Falsely accused by a Roman childhood friend-turned-overlord of trying to kill the Roman governor, he is put into slavery and his mother and sister are taken away as prisoners.
It is so daring, it is so ambitious, it is so thrilling and weird and pointed and powerful. I never knew where it was going.
This is a small, humorous movie in some ways, but it has a huge heart. What a nice experience.
The movie turns out to be a little better than the average. Starting from a romantic formula often seen in the cinema, it ends in the most predictable (and somewhat bland) way.
Hollywood, in trying to distance itself from television, produced many epics, several of which were and still are highly acclaimed (ie: The Bridge on the River Kwai, Lawrence of Arabia, The Ten Commandments, etc.). Ben-Hur is the best of the epics, and everything about it seems to define the very genre itself. The sheer scale of the production is nearly unfathomable, but it is not big for the sake of being big, and it never gets lost in itself. Despite the magnificent scope, William Wyler's magnum opus is a remarkably personal tale of friendship, betrayal, revenge, and forgiveness.The acting is excellent, the cinematography is excellent, the pacing is excellent (it never drags throughout its more than three hour running time), Miklos Rozsa's score is a symphonic masterpiece, the religious aspects are treated with great tact and respect, and so much more about this picture reaches the pinnacle of anything Hollywood has ever produced. Perfection is what it takes to win eleven academy awards, and Ben-Hur delivers. If it sounds like I'm gushing unblemished praise on this movie, it's because I am and it deserves it. This film is an absolute must see.
William Wyler's Presentation of Ben-Hur (1959) is by far the purest form of entertainment that I have ever seen! The great sea-battle and chariot race is by far what makes this film so epic in both scope and scale. The Acting, Production, Directing, Screen writing, Cinematography, Editing and Art Direction/Set Decoration are incredible. It cleaned up the Awards for a good reason. What makes it even more powerful and unique are the scenes that show Christ, but not his face (and voice neither heard).The movie is not only a Biblical Epic like Cecil B. DeMille's "The Ten Commandments", but it is perhaps the first time we as an audience, have to observe the film from an artistic perspective, rather than being exposed to the entire message. The film moved me on many levels when I first watched in 2014, with both my Mother and later my Grandmother. Wyler puts us in a position where the film's main concept functions in both ways, both by listening and watching. The relationship between Messala and Judah Ben-Hur is a familiar parallel to the Civil War battles between the North and South, Ben- Hur's slavery at the Galley of Rowers is also similar to that issue with the South back in the time.The Film expresses its' meanings on many different levels, whether if it be on the topics of politics, faith, corruption, and friendship. For a 3 hr. Epic, This movie is worth the time. This is my all-time Number one Favorite Film!
On the surface, the classic "Ben-Hur" is remembered for the dazzling chariot race featuring the grimacing Charlton Heston at the reins. But on a deeper level, this leisurely paced and nearly four-hour big-budget film is a great Christian tale.Based on the bestselling novel of Civil War general Lew Wallace and first published in 1880, "Ben-Hur"is set in Judea at the time of Christ. Judah Ben-Hur is a patrician Jew, who comes into conflict with his childhood chum Messala, who becomes the Roman Tribune of Judea. An accident that kills a Roman consul implicates Judah, his mother, and his sister, leading to the imprisonment of the women and to the sentence of Judah as a galley slave.After Judah saves the life of another consul, Quintus Arrius, on the Roman ship, he is adopted as a Roman citizen. He becomes a skilled charioteer who figures in the famous chariot race in which Messala cheats during the race and is eventually trampled under the horses' hooves when he falls from his chariot. Of course, Judah is the winner.The film has an overt homoerotic level in the interactions of Messala and Judah. But it is Jack Hawkins as Quintus Arrius who steals the show, especially when he is gawking at the manly muscles of the galley slaves during their rowing exercises.The plot summary above fails to convey the principal mission of the film to tell the story of the Crucifixion. At a critical moment of his life, Judah Ben-Hur was befriended by a stranger who gave him water when he was near death. The stranger touches the life of Judah in a way that will promote love and healing in his family. Of course, the stranger is Jesus of Nazareth.Much of the Lew Wallace narrative is clumsy, especially the sequence when Judah's mother and sister become lepers and the love of Judah's life, Esther, refuses to reveal the truth to him. It is only the power of Jesus that eventually produces the miracle that will place love, instead of revenge, in the heart of Judah Ben-Hur.
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