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.

SYNOPSIS

One of the cinema's greatest epics because it's based on a compelling human story of revenge, bitterness, redemption, and forgiveness. Heston is magnificent as the Prince of Judea, Ben-Hur, who confronts the conquering Romans. His actions send him and his family into slavery - and an inspirational encounter with Jesus. The story moves from Judea to imperial Rome and back to Judea, where Heston finally meets his rival Messala in a justly famous chariot race and rescues his suffering family - after once again encountering Jesus, this time on his way to Golgotha. This was a production of unheard-of scale, exhibiting the work of literally tens of thousands of people. The 1880 novel by Lew Wallace had previously been made to great acclaim in 1927 with Ramon Navarro.

(Source: available at Amazon AMC Classic Movie Companion).

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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 Art DirectionArt Direction: William A. Horning, Edward Carfagno; Set Decoration: Hugh HuntWon
Best CinematographyRobert L. SurteesWon
Best Costume DesignElizabeth HaffendenWon
Best DirectorWilliam WylerWon
Best Film EditingRalph E. Winters, John D. DunningWon
Best Music - ScoringMiklos RozsaWon
Best PictureSam Zimbalist, ProducerWon
Best WritingKarl TunbergNominated
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BlogHub Articles:

The Return Of The Epic? – Ben-Hur (2016)

By Michael on Aug 14, 2016 From Durnmoose Movie Musings

So a “featurette” focusing largely on the chariot race has been released to promote the upcoming Ben-Hur movie. I’ll admit I’m looking forward to this, largely because I’m curious how Hollywood is going to handle this kind of epic historical film today. Of course, a bi... Read full article


1001 Classic Movies: Ben-Hur

By Amanda Garrett on Mar 7, 2016 From Old Hollywood Films

Ben-Hur, starring Charlton Heston, is one of the 1001 classic movies you should see. Each Monday, I'm going to recommend a classic movie you should see (for the reasons behind the 1001 series and reviews of earlier films covered go here). Throughout March, I'll be celebrating the 60th anniversary... Read full article


Ben-Hur (1959)

By Michael on Dec 13, 2013 From Le Mot du Cinephiliaque

Ben-Hur (William Wyler, 1959) Still holding the record for the most wins at the Academy Awards with 11, tied with Titanic and The Lord of the Rings : The Return of the King, Ben-Hur directed by William Wyler and starring Charlton Heston as its title role, defines the genre of biblical epic film. ... 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


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


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Quotes from

Sheik Ilderim: You think you can treat my horses like animals? Give me those reins! Bonehead!


Messala: [greedily] Drusus, as a boy I dreamed of commanding this garrison. And now the wheel has turned. I am in command.


Judah Ben-Hur: If I cannot persuade them, that does not mean I will help you... *murder* them. Besides, you must understand this, Messala. I believe in the past of my people, *and* in their future.
Messala: Future? You are a conquered people!
Judah Ben-Hur: You may conquer the land; you may slaughter the people. But that is not the end. We will rise again.


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Facts about

Charlton Heston was taught to drive a chariot by the stunt crew, who offered to teach the entire cast. Heston was the only one who took them up on the offer. At the beginning of the chariot race, Heston shook the reins and nothing happened; the horses remained motionless. Finally someone way up on top of the set yelled, "Giddy-up!" The horses then roared into action, and Heston was flung backward off of the chariot.
The chariot race required 15,000 extras, on a set constructed on 18 acres of backlot at Cinecitta Studios outside Rome. Tour buses visited the set every hour. Eighteen chariots were built, with half being used for practice. The race took five weeks to film.
Shot over a period of nine months at Rome's Cinecitta studio. The outdoor sets built for the chariot race were the largest built at the time.
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Best Picture Oscar 1959






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National Film Registry

Ben-Hur

Released 1959
Inducted 2004
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