Ben-Hur

1959

Ben-Hur (1959)

TOMATOMETER

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

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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.

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Cast

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
Al Silvani
as Man in Nazareth
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" Mayne
as Captain of Rescue Ship
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News & Interviews for Ben-Hur

Critic Reviews for Ben-Hur

All Critics (45) | Top Critics (8)

Clocking in at three hours forty-two minutes, Ben-Hur overstays its welcome. Still, despite scenes that occasionally run too long, the movie doesn't start to drag until after the chariot race and many of the early scenes are engaging.

Oct 7, 2018 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

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

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

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

Dec 13, 2006 | Full Review…

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

Jan 26, 2006 | Full Review…
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.

May 20, 2003 | Full Review…

If we later came to realize that movies could be a whole lot better than Ben-Hur, that still doesn't detract from the enjoyment the film still provides.

Jun 5, 2002 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Ben-Hur

½

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
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

½

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

Lucas Martins
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

William Wyler's Ben-Hur is one of the greatest epics in cinematic history. The film changed the medium forever and is a stunning accomplishment in film. Ben-Hur is a masterful piece of cinema that combines action and drama. The performances delivered by the actors are flawless and the film is powerful, exciting and of course epic in scope. The film is complimented with flawless acting and a grand musical score that adds so much atmosphere and elevates the tone of the picture. Charlton Heston delivers one of his greatest performances and is also one of the most iconic performances in cinematic history. William Wyler's directing is solid, and he tells an effective story that is slow to unfold, but is necessary. Wyler effectively plots a solid film that steadily builds up to a great climax. The cast here is brilliant. actors Charlton Heston as the title character and Stephen Boyd as Messala, Ben-Hur's friend that betrays him are great in their respective roles. The rest of the cast are great as well. Ben-Hur has some of the most iconic scenes ever put on film. Most notably the chariot race, which is a behemoth of excitement and superbly well staged, and is one of the most iconic scenes in Ben-Hur, not to mention in cinematic history. Ben-Hur is a film that is grand, epic and too big for words. This is an exciting, well acted film. Though Ben-Hur has some religious overtones, it doesn't overdo it, and it manages to be fairly limited in its content. The film is a standout piece of cinema that blends drama and action beautifully and will satisfy people who enjoy grand cinematic epics. Ben-Hur remains the film of which all grand sword and sandal epics are judged upon. With a great cast, a majestic score, stellar action and dramatic sequences, Ben-Hur's place in the cinematic medium is assured. A stunning, beautifully directed film that still has the power to capture your imagination fifty years after its release. This is a TRUE epic of cinema, and a film that shaped the cinematic medium forever.

Alex roy
Alex roy

Super Reviewer

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