Director: William Wyler Cast: Charlton Heston, Stephen Boyd, Jack Hawkins

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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 tribune; when Ben-Hur refuses to help Messala round up local dissidents on behalf of the Emperor, Messala pounces on the first opportunity to exact revenge on his onetime friend. Framed on a charge of attempting to kill the provincial governor, Ben-Hur is condemned to the Roman galleys, while his mother (Martha Scott) and sister (Cathy O'Donnell) are imprisoned. But during a sea battle, Ben-Hur saves the life of commander Quintus Arrius (Jack Hawkins), who, in gratitude, adopts Ben-Hur as his son and gives him full control over his stable of racing horses. Ben-Hur never gives up trying to find his family or exact revenge on Messala. At crucial junctures in his life, he also crosses the path of Jesus, and each time he benefits from it. The highlight of the film's 212 minutes is its now-legendary chariot race, staged largely by stunt expert Yakima Canutt. Ben-Hur's Oscar haul included Best Picture, Best Director for the legendary William Wyler, Best Actor for Heston, and Best Supporting Actor for British actor Hugh Griffith as an Arab sheik.

Product Details

Release Date: 09/27/2011
UPC: 0883929178261
Original Release: 1959
Rating: G
Source: Warner Home Video
Region Code: 1
Time: 3:42:00
Sales rank: 508

Special Features

Commentary by film historian T. Gene Hatcher with Charlton Heston ; Music-only track showcasing Miklós Rózsa's Award-Winning score

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Charlton Heston Judah Ben Hur
Stephen Boyd Messala
Jack Hawkins Quintus Arrius
Haya Harareet Esther
Hugh Griffith Sheik Ilderim
Sam Jaffe Simonides
Martha Scott Miriam
Cathy O'Donnell Tirzah
Finlay Currie Balthasar
Frank Thring Pontius Pilate
Terence Longdon Drusus
Andre Morell Sextus
Marina Berti Flavia
George Relph Tiberius
Adi Berber Malluch
Stella Vitelleschi Amrah
Jose Greci Mary
Laurence Payne Joseph
John Horsley Spintho
Richard Coleman Metellus
Duncan Lamont Marius
Ralph Truman Aide to Tiberius
Richard Hale Gaspar
David Davies Quaestor
Dervis Ward Jailer
Mino Doro Gratus
Robert Brown Chief of Rowers
Maxwell Shaw Rower No. 43
Emilio Carrer Rower No. 28
Tutte Lemkow Leper
Howard Lang Hortator
John Le Mesurier Doctor
Stevenson Lang Blind Man
Hector Ross Officer
Al Silvani Man in Nazareth
Enzo Fiermonte Galley Officer
Tiberio Mitri Roman at Bath
Pietro Tordi Pilate's Servant
Jerry Brown The Corinthian
Cliff Lyons Lublon
Joe Yrigoyen Egyptian
Joe Canutt Sportsman
Michael Dugan Seaman
John Glen Rower No. 42
Ferdinand "Ferdy" Mayne Captain of Rescue Ship
Reginald Lal Singh Melchior
Karl Tunberg Actor
Raimondo Van Riel Old Man

Technical Credits
William Wyler Director
Edward C. Carfagno Production Designer
John D. Dunning Editor
Arnold A. Gillespie Special Effects
Elizabeth Haffenden Costumes/Costume Designer
William Horning Art Director
Robert MacDonald Special Effects
Andrew Marton Asst. Director
Miklós Rózsa Score Composer
Robert Surtees Cinematographer
Karl Tunberg Screenwriter
Gore Vidal Source Author
Ralph Winters Editor
Sam Zimbalist Producer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Ben-Hur - Part 1
1. Overture [6:32]
2. Nativity Prologue [5:04]
3. Credits [2:08]
4. March Through Nazareth [2:15]
5. Messala in Command [1:58]
6. Fighting an Idea [3:36]
7. Still Close in Every Way [3:40]
8. A Toast [3:26]
9. Gifts Exchanged [2:36]
10. Judah's Choise [5:14]
11. Esther's Request [4:01]
12. Ring for a Kiss [4:35]
13. March Into Jerusalem [2:49]
14. The Accident [3:41]
15. Jailbreak Attempt [2:45]
16. Making an Example [3:36]
17. Bondage [3:01]
18. Water From a Stranger [4:33]
19. Quintus Arrius [3:34]
20. Ramming Speed [1:00]
21. Strange Stubborn Faith [3:50]
22. Sea Battle Begins [3:16]
23. Galley Rescues [3:59]
24. Saving Arrius [2:50]
25. Victory [2:04]
26. Divine Emperor [4:24]
27. Son of Arrius [3:41]
28. Thinking of Judea [4:08]
29. Balthazar and Ilderim [2:47]
30. Arabians Night [4:20]
31. Many Paths to God [4:41]
32. Homecoming [3:39]
33. Survivors Reunited [4:06]
34. "We Stood Here Before" [4:20]
35. Confronting Messala [3:41]
36. Finding Miriam and Tirzah [3:52]
37. Vow in the Darkness [2:43]
38. "Forget Messala" [6:04]
39. Intermission [2:26]
Disc #2 -- Ben-Hur - Part 2
40. Entr'acte [3:52]
41. A Wager [4:43]
42. Chariot Practice [2:12]
43. "This Is the Day" [4:17]
44. Chariot Procession [3:30]
45. ChEntrants [2:03]
46. Early Eliminations [4:29]
47. Neck and Neck [3:50]
48. Fallen Driver [1:37]
49. Judah Triumphant [2:01]
50. The Race Goes on [5:31]
51. Valley of the Lepers [2:15]
52. "Is Judah Well?" [4:29]
53. Thirsty Still [3:41]
54. "I Am Judah Ben-Hur" [3:54]
55. Becoming Messala [:50]
56. Recovering Miriam and Tirzah [3:20]
57. Young Rabbi Sentenced [5:26]
58. Offer fo Water [3:12]
59. The Crucifixion [4:14]
60. Cleansing Rain [3:04]
61. "Hallelujah!" [4:45]

Customer Reviews

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Ben-Hur 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
JL_Garner More than 1 year ago
There's very little to say about William Wyler's 1959 epic "Ben-Hur" that hasn't already been said many times before. Working with a truly amazing cast and crew, "Ben-Hur" was a watershed moment in cinema history, and was rightfully awarded with 11 Oscars for the effort. "Ben-Hur" was the first 'personal epic' -- a film shot with enormous, opulent sets and a cast of thousands to fill it, yet at its core, it's still a deeply personal story of broken friendship, vengeance, and ultimately redemption. With Miklos Rozsa's vibrant musical score, period accurate sets and costumes, and one of the most stunning action sequences ever put to film, "Ben-Hur" pulls out all the stops, and stands far above the other biblical and sword-and-sandal epics of the late '50s/early '60s. Movies like this are why 65mm film and anamorphic lenses were invented -- every shot is framed to make maximum use of the incredible 2.76:1 aspect ratio. This is one DVD that should definitely be in everybody's collection.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would highly recommend this film to anyone who enjoys historical, epic films, films with a religious overtone (although this film doesn't bludgeon you over the head) or are a fan of Charlton Heston in particular. This is a film that I can watch over and over.
JMCostanza More than 1 year ago
This movie has so many good qualities. Great acting, scenery, plot, and music! Charles Heston gives a great performance! It's a long one, but well worth it if you like movies with a 1st century CE theme.
Den-London More than 1 year ago
A well researched script and wonderfully filmed movie takes the viewer back to the time of Rome and Christ. Certainly the best film of it's kind and stands the test of time!
KendraG More than 1 year ago
I really wanted to see this movie, because I've seen clips of the chariot race so many times. Well, the chariot race did not disappoint. Neither did the rest of the movie. Along with the intense human drama, BEN HUR also stands out with the best of the action movies! And this was made decades ago without the technology of today. Screenwriter, Karl Tunberg, wrote a movie that tugs at al of our emotions. Director, William Wyler, gives a a film with great acting, story telling production design and, of course, the great chariot race. Charlton Heston, Stephen Boyd, Jack Hawkins and Haya Harareet are just as impressive .
NancyNurseNL More than 1 year ago
I saw this movie as a child with my mother when it was first released. Charlton Heston is truly a warrior god. Stephen Boyd is just a hottie in this movie. The symbolism with the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ is awe-inspiring and thought-provoking. I watched it on television with my son when he was young and gave it to him for Easter. I love this movie. The Chariot scenes are fabulous! One of the best Movies of all time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have to say that no 2, 3, or 4 star would fit this excellent movie. If you do not know the history of Ben of course, 2 or 3 stars will be given. 5 stars and more in my list is given. It is the most Best true and biblical story given. Go Get It.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
The reason I'm writing this review today is that I just watched Ben Hur, for the hundredth time, on cable TV last night and was reminded once again that the most exciting film sequence ever made is in this movie: the chariot race between Judah Ben Hur and Messalah. No CPG in those days; it was all done live action and is thrilling. I love the movie every time I see it and recommend it to everyone to watch.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This film has great cinematography, acting, writing, and when its scarce action scenes arise, they are very engrossing. However, for such a long romp through Roman Judea politics, they don't arise enough to break the monatany. I believe that this film earned every Oscar it won and then some. My only problem is that with films like The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, The Pianist, even Monty Python and the Holy Grail it's very difficult to brand this with the title of epic. I suppose that you could throw it into the Citizen Kane category in that you hear alot of hype, and you understand why it's so great, but when it comes right down to it, it's not very interesting. Now one might say, " Oh you just can't appreciate it, because you were spawned into a generation that grows up on Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings, so you're not accustomed to intellectual masterpieces." That may be so but my Top ten films of all time list wouldn't show it.