Ben-Hur is a 1959 epic film directed by William Wyler, the third film version of Civil War vet 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 movie's reputation as a classic is primarily based on two spectacular action sequences: the great chariot race and a Roman naval battle, along with lavish production values and strong performances. The plot of Ben Hur revolves around a Jewish prince who is betrayed and sent into slavery by a Roman friend and how he regains his freedom and comes back for revenge. However, instead he finds redemption in Christ, the theme is ultimately about being saved in the Christian sense. The film went on to win a record of eleven Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor (Charlton Heston as Ben Hur). This record-setting Oscars sweep has since been equaled by Titanic in 1998 and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King in 2004, but never broken.
|Release Date||:||December 26, 1959|
|Genres||:||Action, Adventure, Drama, History|
|Production Company||:||Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)|
|Production Countries||:||United States of America|
|Director||:||William Wyler, Alberto Cardone|
|Writers||:||Lew Wallace, Karl Tunberg, Gore Vidal, Harold Michelson|
|Casts||:||Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins, Haya Harareet, Stephen Boyd, Hugh Griffith, Martha Scott, Cathy O'Donnell, Frank Thring, Sam Jaffe, Ady Berber, Finlay Currie, André Morell, Terence Longdon, Lando Buzzanca, Giuliano Gemma, Marina Berti, Robert Brown, Liana Del Balzo, Enzo Fiermonte, Richard Hale, Duncan Lamont, John Le Mesurier, Ferdy Mayne, May McAvoy, Aldo Silvani, Ralph Truman, George Relph, Joe Canutt, Richard Coleman, Antonio Corevi, David Davies, Mino Doro, Michael Dugan, Franco Fantasia, José Greci, John Horsley, Howard Lang, Stevenson Lang, Tutte Lemkow, Cliff Lyons, Tiberio Mitri, Remington Olmsted, Laurence Payne, Aldo Pini, Diego Pozzetto, Stella Rho, Edwin Richfield, Hector Ross, Maxwell Shaw, Gianni Solaro, Pietro Tordi, Raimondo Van Riel, Dervis Ward, Joe Yrigoyen, Nazzareno Zamperla, Jerry Brown, Eddie Jauregui|
|Plot Keywords||:||roman, prince, chariot race, jerusalem, governor, politics, epic, friends, revenge, jewish, galley, galley slave|
One of the best epics, this is a story of the friendship between two young boys. Eventually they grow up to be enemies and end up hating each other, one being Jewish and the other one Roman.
One could easily assume "Ben-Hur" is a story from The Holy Bible, and although this is not the case it was the intention when writing it. It certainly is one of the greatest stories ever told. This is the third adaptation of the classic tale, and it's the only one really remembered today. Many elements were inspired and copied from the first two, filmed in 1907 and 1925, but with a vast improvement: special-effects. The set wasn't as dangerous in 1959 because of the technical revolution that had taken place since the last time around.
"Ben-Hur" is full of drama, action and romance. There's also a tension between the two leads that could be interpreted as a love-affair gone horribly wrong, but this was toned down by the studio as homosexuality was a big taboo at the time.
Charlton Heston and Stephen Boyd are great, with a wonderful supporting cast to back them up, making this a classic.