Reviewed byHonus1Vote: 9/10/10
There's a reason Ben-Hur captured more academy awards than any other film(until Titanic). A close to perfect production which exceeds expectationsfor a film of religious nature. The only way to watch Ben-Hur is via thewidescreen DVD - presented in 2:7.1 scope - most probably the widest moviefilmed. The only reason I didn't give it a '10' is because of CharltonHeston. A much overrated actor who overacts at every opportunity andbecomes quite tiresome. Fortunately, there was so much more in Ben-Hur,that his overacting goes unnoticed. The chariot race is still THE mostexciting sequence I've ever seen in a film. Get over the religious issueand give Ben-Hur its due.
Reviewed byLBytesVote: 9/10/10
Ben Hur, a Tale of the Christ, was hugely popular as a novel, a play andtwomovies. It was written in a less vulgar time about a very spiritual event.Seen today by moviegoers addicted to constant action and low frequencyeffects, it will seem ponderous, slow and pretentious. Well, it is alittle.You have to pay attention to the dialogue or you won't get it at all. Someof the intimate scenes aren't all that great. Anyone that really paysattention can tell the sea battle is done with miniatures. It's stillworthwatching. As everyone ought to know by now, the chariot race isone-of-a-kind; nothing else comes close to that real live race where themain actors actually raced most of the time.I just watched this movie after lapse of about 10 years. I still enjoyedit.The sea battle is still fun even if you know the boats are about as big asaman. The few moments which have Christ on the screen are still moving.Justabout all of the acting is good with only a few forgettable moments. Justbeready to spend about 4 hours in front of the screen listening tooccasionally flowery dialog.
Reviewed bygalahad58Vote: 10/10/10
I own over 2,000 movies on DVD or VHS. I have gone to many many moremovies that have not been worthy of my collection, thus my exposure tofilm has been extensive. I mention this because through every film Ihave seen; I still come back to a film from 1959 as the greatestachievement in cinematic history. I have seen great films like: Returnof the King, Saving Private Ryan, Braveheart and many more. While themodern films are wonderful and have a fantastic richness to them, theystill are a "small" notch below Ben-Hur. Today's films use a lot ofcomputer effects for their battles scenes, their backgrounds, and evencomputer images for the stunts of their actors. Yet, Ben-Hur did it allwithout computers. I am still fascinated by the chariot race. Never, infilm history, has anything matched the depth and excitement of thechariot race. Remember folks, this is 1959, nothing is computergenerated. Some may say the naval battle scenes look a bit cheesy, butagain it was 1959 and the scenes still work today. What can you sayabout the acting? Every single actor is wonderful. Heston is in topform as Ben-Hur. Steven Boyd is incredible playing the mercilessMessala. Jack Hawkins, Haya Harareet, Martha Scott--all fantastic intheir roles. Each performing the role of a life time. The actors arefantastic, but William Wyler brings more out of each actor than anydirector ever could in this day and age. Wyler had no computeranimation to rely on, he had no high tech special effects crew, he hadno computer program to fill in extras. Wyler had to find thousands ofextras for many scenes and maintain control. Did you ever see StevenBoyd better? Probably not. Did you ever see any of the actors (exceptHeston, who is an acting marvel) better in any other role? Wyler justpulled the greatest performance out of each actor. The story: fantasticfrom beginning to end. While the film is over 3 hours long, you do notfeel that it is that long. Every scene is lovingly crafted: the reunionbetween Messala and Judah, the trek to the gallows, the rowing scene,the naval battle, the chariot race, the Messala death scene, thereunion with Judah and his family, etc. After seeing thousands andthousands of movies, I always come back to Ben-Hur. This is the mark offantastic movie making. Today's film makers could learn a lot bywatching this film and "learning" about acting, directing, and screenwriting.
Judah Ben-Hur lives as a rich Jewish prince and merchant in Jerusalem at the beginning of the 1st century. Together with the new governor his old friend Messala arrives as commanding officer of the Roman legions. At first they are happy to meet after a long time but their different politic views separate them. During the welcome parade a roof tile falls down from Judah's house and injures the governor. Although Messala knows they are not guilty, he sends Judah to the galleys and throws his mother and sister into prison. But Judah swears to come back and take revenge.