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Ben-Hur Overview:

Ben-Hur (1959) was a Action - Adventure Film directed by William Wyler and produced by William Wyler, Sam Zimbalist, Sol C. Siegel and Joseph Vogel.

The film was based on the novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ written by Lew Wallace published in 1880.

Ben-Hur was inducted into the National Film Registry in 2004.

Academy Awards 1959 --- Ceremony Number 32 (source: AMPAS)

AwardRecipientResult
Best ActorCharlton HestonWon
Best Supporting ActorHugh GriffithWon
Best DirectorWilliam WylerWon
Best PictureSam Zimbalist, ProducerWon
.

BlogHub Articles:

BEN-HUR (1925)

By Dan Day Jr. on Aug 9, 2013 From The Hitless Wonder Movie Blog

Because of all the movies that I've seen in my life, it's a very rare thing these days for me to watch a famous film for the very first time. But that's what happened last night when the Turner Classic Movies channel showed the 1925 version of BEN-HUR. The print TCM showed looked spectacular and fea... Read full article


BEN-HUR (1925)

By Dan Day Jr. on Aug 9, 2013 From The Hitless Wonder Movie Blog

Because of all the movies that I've seen in my life, it's a very rare thing these days for me to watch a famous film for the very first time. But that's what happened last night when the Turner Classic Movies channel showed the 1925 version of BEN-HUR. The print TCM showed looked spectacular and fea... Read full article


Triple Ben-Hur Extravaganza!

By Raquel Stecher on Jul 21, 2013 From Out of the Past - A Classic Film Blog

Up until recently I had never seen any film version of Ben-Hur. Last Sunday I watched three in one day! Am I crazy? Maybe a little. But I thrive on challenges especially fun ones like this. It all started with the screening of Ben-Hur (1925) at the Somerville Theatre in Somerville, MA. I went with... Read full article


Ben-Hur (1959)

By Beatrice on May 12, 2013 From Flickers in Time

Ben-Hur Directed by William Wyler 1959/USA Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer First viewing #349 of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die Messala: [ironically] Return? This big-budget epic delivers in all the blockbuster categories.  It is approximately 27 A.D. Judah Ben-Hur (Charlton Heston) is a prince and t... Read full article


Best Picture Winner 1959: Ben-Hur

By Duke Mantee on Aug 23, 2012 From Spoilers

There are countless movie reviews on Turner Classic Movies website alone about Ben-Hur. Countless. So I’ve tricked you by titling this post Ben-Hur, when really, I’m much more interested in the Kirk Douglas/Stanley Kubrick vehicle, Spartacus, released the year after Ben-Hur, in retaliation. **Kirk D... Read full article


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Quotes from

[first lines]
Balthasar: [narrating] In the Year of our Lord, Judea - for nearly a century - had lain under the mastery of Rome. In the seventh year of the reign of Augustus Caesar, an imperial decree ordered every Judean each to return to his place of birth to be counted and taxed. The converging ways of many of them led to the gates of their capital city, Jerusalem, the troubled heart of their land. The old city was dominated by the fortress of Antonia, the seat of Roman power, and by the great golden temple, the outward sign of an inward and imperishable faith. Even while they obeyed the will of Caesar, the people clung proudly to their ancient heritage, always remembering the promise of their prophets that one day there would be born among them a redeemer to bring them salvation and perfect freedom.


[Judah confronts Esther and Malluch in the Valley of the Lepers]
Judah Ben-Hur: [angrily, to Esther] Why did you tell me they were dead?
Esther: It was what they wanted. Judah, you must not betray this faith. Will you do this for them?
Judah Ben-Hur: Not to see them?
Esther: [seeing Miriam and Tirzah approach] They are coming... Judah! Judah, love them in the way they most need to be loved: not to look at them! Judah, let it be as though you had never come here. Please, Judah!
[Judah hides behind a boulder as Esther goes to meet Miriam]
Miriam: Is Judah well? Is he happy?
[Judah's face twists in anguish]
Esther: Yes. He is well. Your mind can be at rest for him. He is well, Miriam.
Miriam: I am content.
[she picks up the basket of food that Esther brought for them]
Miriam: God be with you.
[she and Tirzah go back into the cave]
Esther: [going back to Judah] They are gone. We can go back.
Judah Ben-Hur: [bitterly] Go back... to what?
Esther: Judah, they have one blessing left: to think you remember them as they were. Live your own life. Forget what is here.
Judah Ben-Hur: Forget? Forget? It's as if they were alive in a grave!
Esther: But what can you do?
Judah Ben-Hur: Undo what you've done! How could you have suffered them to come here? I must see them!
Esther: No Judah, please! Judah!
[Judah starts toward the cave but is stopped by Malluch]
Esther: Oh, think, Judah, *think*! It will tear them apart if they see you!


[Quintas Arrius woke up, chained, on ship debris; the chain is held by Judah Ben-Hur]
Quintus Arrius: Why did you save me?
Judah Ben-Hur: Why did you have me un-chained?
[they struggle briefly, Arrius is overpowered; he looks at the shackle on Judah's ankle]
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: [echoing Arrius' words to the galley slaves] We keep you alive to serve this ship. Row well, and live.


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Facts about

The rumor that Stephen Boyd's double was killed during the chariot race is false. According to second-unit director Yakima Canutt, the "Messala" that was run over, a Roman soldier standing on the center island who was hit by a chariot and the driver of a spilled rig who jumped out of the way of one chariot but was immediately run over by another one were all articulated and weighted dummies (made with movable arm and leg joints), so when they were hit they "reacted" the way a normal human body would in that situation. A combination of adroit placement and expert editing made the dummies look like real people being run over.
Director William Wyler decided that the Romans should have British accents, and that the four Americans in the cast would play Hebrews. This was a technique later used in Masada.
Wyler left all the details of the chariot race - every shot, crash and stunt - in the hands of his second-unit director Andrew Marton. When he saw the final version of Marton and lead stuntman Yakima Canutt's work, Wyler remarked that it was "one of the greatest cinematic achievements" he'd ever seen.
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National Film Registry

Ben-Hur

Released 1959
Inducted 2004
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