Ben-Hur (1959) - Rotten Tomatoes

Ben-Hur (1959)



Critic Consensus: Uneven, but in terms of epic scope and grand spectacle, Ben-Hur still ranks among Hollywood's finest examples of pure entertainment.

Movie Info

Record-breaking winner of 11 Oscars, including Best Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actor, and Score, this epic masterpiece stars Charlton Heston ("The Ten Commandments," "Touch of Evil") in the title role of a rebellious Israelite Jew who takes on the Roman Empire during the time of Christ. Featuring one of the most famous action sequences of all time -- the breathtaking chariot race. Directed by Oscar-winner William Wyler ("Mrs. Miniver," "The Best Years of Our Lives"). Recently selected as one of the top 100 American films of all time by the prestigious American Film Institute.
Rating: G
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Kids & Family, Romance, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Karl Tunberg, Lew Wallace
In Theaters:
On DVD: Sep 13, 2005


Jack Hawkins
as Quintus Arrius
Stephen Boyd
as Messala
Sam Jaffe
as Simonedes
Finlay Currie
as Balthazar
Frank Thring
as Pontius Pilate
George Relph
as Tiberius
Hugh Griffith
as Sheik Ilderim
Adi Berber
as Malluch
Dino Fazio
as Marcello
John Horsley
as Spintho
Ralph Truman
as Aide to Tiberius
David Davies
as Quaestor
Mino Doro
as Gratus
Robert Brown
as Chief of Rowers
John Glenn
as Rower No. 42
Maxwell Shaw
as Rower No. 43
Emilio Carrer
as Rower No. 28
Howard Lang
as Hortator
Stevenson Lang
as Blind Man
Thomas James O'Leary
as Starter at Race
Noel Sheldon
as Centurion
Hector Ross
as Officer
Bill Kuehl
as Soldier
Aldo Silvani
as Man in Nazareth
Michael Cosmo
as Raimondo
Aldo Pial
as Cavalry Officer
Victor De La Fosse
as Galley Officer
Enzo Fiermonte
as Galley Officer
Tiberio Mitri
as Roman at Bath
Pietro Tordi
as Pilate's Servant
Jerry Brown
as The Corinthian
Otello Capanna
as The Byzantine
Joe Yrigoyen
as Egyptian
Joe Canutt
as Sportsman
John Glen
as Rower No. 42
Ferdinand "Ferdy" Ma...
as Captain of Rescue Sh...
Al Silvani
as Man in Nazareth
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Ben-Hur

Critic Reviews for Ben-Hur

All Critics (43) | Top Critics (7)

The biggest and the best of Hollywood's super-spectacles.

Full Review… | August 22, 2008
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

Entire new frontiers in boredom were opened up by this MGM whopper from 1959.

Full Review… | December 13, 2006
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

The movie could be trying to say that for some people religion is an escape from their sexuality, but it seems unlikely.

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Mr. Wyler and his money-free producers have smartly and effectively laid stress on the powerful and meaningful personal conflicts that are strong in this old heroic tale.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

[VIDEO ESSAY] It's worth sitting through four hours of Charlton Heston's hammy pregnant pauses of strained dialogue and toothy grimaces just to savor the legendary larger-than-life marathon where single rider chariots...

Full Review… | July 25, 2015

Although it is a spectacle film, the story of how a man takes on the tyranny of the Romans, with all sorts of horrible consequences to himself and his family, is powerful and gripping.

Full Review… | January 1, 2015
Daily Telegraph

Audience Reviews for Ben-Hur


A sword and sandal epic intended to begger your measly little life...which it almost manages to do, dadgumit! Heston represents Israel groaning under the Roman yoke, needlessly persecuted, until we get to the famous climax: the chariot race. The notoriously long film should've ended there but instead tacks on a snooze-worthy bit about Christian redemption, perhaps as justification for the previous hours of hedonistic excess. Still, old school sumptuous-ness played for the epic factor, missing by only that much.

Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

Powerful and masterfully crafted, Ben Hur is a timeless epic that will continue to thrill and move audience members throughout the generations.

Matthew Samuel Mirliani
Matthew Samuel Mirliani

Super Reviewer


William Wyler's epic and unforgettable masterpiece. One of the best remakes ever! Touching. Fresh.

Lucas Martins
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

Ben-Hur Quotes

Messala: Look for them in the Valley of the Lepers, if you can recognize them. The race goes on, Judah!
– Submitted by Frances H (3 years ago)
Messala: Look for them in the Valley of the Lepers, if you can recognize them. The race goes on, Judah!
– Submitted by Frances H (3 years ago)
Quintus Arrius: We keep you alive to serve this ship.
– Submitted by Frances H (3 years ago)
Quintus Arrius: What is your name, forty-one?
Judah Ben Hur: Judah Ben Hur.
– Submitted by Nik M (3 years ago)

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