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


See all Ben-Hur articles

Quotes from

Esther: Oh, Judah, rest. Sleep. For a few hours of the night, let your mind be at peace.
Judah Ben-Hur: [bitterly] Peace! Love and peace. Do you think I don't long for them as you do? Where do you see them?
Esther: If you had heard this man from Nazareth...
Judah Ben-Hur: Balthasar's word.
Esther: He is more than Balthasar's word. His voice traveled with such a still purpose... It was more than a voice... a man more than a man! He said, "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God."
Judah Ben-Hur: Children of God? In that dead valley where we left them? I tell you every man in Judea is unclean, and will *stay* unclean, until we've scoured off our bodies the crust and filth of being at the mercy of tyranny. No other life is possible except to wash this land clean!
Esther: In blood?
Judah Ben-Hur: Yes, in blood!
Esther: I know there is a law in life, that blood gets more blood as dog begets dog. Death generates death, as the vulture breeds the vulture! But the voice I heard today on the hill said, "Love your enemy. Do good to those who despitefully use you."
Judah Ben-Hur: So all who are born in this land hereafter can suffer as we have done!
Esther: As you make us do now! Are we to bear nothing together? Even love?
Judah Ben-Hur: I can hardly draw breath without feeling you in my heart. Yet I know that everything I do from this moment will be as great a pain to you as you have ever suffered. It is better not to love me!
Esther: It was Judah Ben-Hur I loved. What has become of him? You seem to be now the very thing you set out to destroy, giving evil for evil! Hatred is turning you to stone. It is as though you had become Messala!
[Judah looks back at Esther, in extreme shock]
Esther: [sadly] I've lost you, Judah.


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


[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.
[remembering Nazareth]
Judah Ben-Hur: Once before, a man helped me. I didn't know why then.


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Facts about

Wednesday, November 18, 1959, was exactly the same month, date and year that actor, Arthur Q. Bryan died and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer originally released Ben-Hur.
When Simonides and Esther came to visit the family house of the Hur's, Miriam, Judah and Tirzah. Judah Ben-Hur spoke to him nice in calling Simonides' name, Miriam also said Simonides' name, shortly after Judah. These are the only two times that Simonides' name was verbally said, through-out the movie, because when the name is pronounced, it has four syllables.
Charlton Heston himself wrote some additional scenes between Ben-Hur and Messala. They were never used as William Wyler deemed them to be "the phoniest thing" he'd ever had to deal with from an actor.
read more facts about Ben-Hur...
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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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