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.
Ben-Hur Top blog posts at CMH Blog Hub are: Best Picture Winner 1959: Ben-Hur (from Spoilers).
Ben-Hur (or Benhur) is a 1959 American epic film directed by William Wyler and starring Charlton Heston in the title role, the third film version of Lew Wallace's 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ. It premiered at Loew's State Theatre in New York City on November 18, 1959. The film went on to win a record of eleven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, a feat equaled only by Titanic in 1997 and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King in 2003.
The film's prologue depicts the traditional story of the Nativity of Jesus Christ.Read article at Wikipedia
In AD 26, Judah Ben-Hur (Charlton Heston) is a wealthy prince and merchant in Jerusalem. His childhood friend, the Roman citizen Messala (Stephen Boyd), is now a tribune. After several years away from Jerusalem, Messala returns as the new commander of the Roman garrison. Messala believes in the glory of Rome and its imperial power, while Ben-Hur is devoted to his faith and the freedom of the Jewish people. Messala asks Ben-Hur for the names of Jews who criticize the Romans. Ben-Hur refuses.
Ben-Hur lives with his mother, Miriam (Martha Scott), and sister, Tirzah (Cathy O'Donnell). Their loyal slave Simonides (Sam Jaffe) is preparing for an arranged marriage for his daughter, Esther (Haya Harareet). Ben-Hur gives Esther her freedom as a wedding present, and the audience is shown that Ben-Hur and Esther are in love even though her marriage to another man is imminent.
During the parade for the new governor of Judea, Valerius Gratus, a tile falls from the roof of Ben-Hur's house. Gratus is thrown from his horse and nearly killed. Although Messala knows this was an accident, he condemns Ben-Hur to the galleys and imprisons Miriam and Tirzah. By punishing a known friend and prominent citizen, he hopes to intimidate the Jewish populace. Ben-Hur swears to take revenge. Dying of thirst when his slave gang arrives at Nazareth, Ben-Hur collapses. But a local carpenter (who the audience realizes is Jesus) gives him water.read more
Judah Ben-Hur: I was ordered to report to you during my relief.
Quintus Arrius: Yes, I had forgotten... You could have killed me as I lay there! You're a condemned man, why didn't you?
Judah Ben-Hur: I'm not ready to die.
Quintus Arrius: What do you think will save you?
Judah Ben-Hur: The God of my fathers.
Quintus Arrius: Your God has forsaken you. He has no more power than the images I pray to. My gods do not help me; your God will not help you.
--Jack Hawkins (as Quintus Arrius) in Ben-Hur Judah Ben-Hur: Almost at the moment He died, I heard Him say, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do."
Esther: Even then.
Judah Ben-Hur: Even then. And I felt His voice take the sword out of my hand.
--Charlton Heston (as Judah Ben) in Ben-Hur [on Arrius' orders, Judah is left unlocked for the upcoming battle; Judah touches his unchained ankle, bewildered]
Rower No. 42: Forty-one, why did he do that?
Judah Ben-Hur: I don't know.
Judah Ben-Hur: Once before, a man helped me. I didn't know why then.
--Charlton Heston (as Judah Ben) in Ben-Hurread more quotes from Ben-Hur...
Although there were presumably white horses in Italy, the white horses used in the film were brought in from Lipica, Slovenia, the original home of the snow-white "Lipizzaner" horse breed. Glenn H. Randall Sr. trained 78 horses for the film, starting months before photography began.
In the Roman galley scenes, Ben-Hur is referred to as "number 41." In the original General Lew Wallace novel, he is "number 60" (Book 3, Chapter 3, page 123, Harper Brothers 1922). In the Dell Movie Classic comic book, he is referred to as "number 40" (Dell Comics #1052-5911, 1959, pages 15 and 16). And in both Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ and the 1958 Classics Illustrated comic book there is no reference to any number, either by scene decor, dialogue, or intertitle.
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