Classic Silver Screen Film Reviews!
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Grand and Moving Epic.

  • Apr 14, 2002
Rating:
+5
This masterful movie epic is based on a novel by General Lew Wallace. The movie mostly revolves around the fictional Judah Ben-Hur (Charlton Heston), a wealthy; well-respected; prominent member of the Jewish community; and exiled Prince in Judea at the time of Christ. Ben-Hur's life is parralled by that of Jesus, the two were born at approximately the same time and they briefly meet at crucial time's in their lives.

Judea has a new Tribune and a new governor. The new Tribune, Messala, is an old friend of Judah's and he is excited to visit his childhood companion again. However, the two soon discover that they have grown into very different men with very different views of the world. Messala wishes Judah to betray some of his countrymen who have made hated remarks against Rome. Judah refuses and their friendship is quickly disolved. Not long after, a freak accident leads to Judah's arrest and the imprisonment of his mother and sister. Judah swears revenege as he is condemned to death in the slave galleys.

BEN-HUR won 11 Academy Awards and it is not difficult to understand why. Over forty years after it's initial release the movie is still amazing and spectaclar to watch. William Wyler won his third Best Director Oscar with BEN-HUR and rightly so: the blending of all the various elements from costume to makeup to acting to action sequences to scenery to sets is perfect, all without any CGI.

Charlton Heston has always been one of my favorite actors (I guess I enjoy his overemoting, that's usually better than no emotion at all) and he pulls off the performance of his career as Judah Ben-Hur. He never could quite pull of a performance that matched his work in BEN-HUR. And as a side note the rest of the cast is just as interesting to watch.

The movie runs for an incredible time of almost 3 and 1/2 hours. Yet, not once during that time does the film drag. It moves carefully from one point of the story to the next without ever losing continuity.

Judah's conversion to Christianity isn't as blatant as it is in the novel and other versions of the film. Yet, that in no way distracts from the power of the movie. In fact, Judah's conversion in this BEN-HUR seems much more believable and realistic. Not every Christian has a dramatic conversion experience.

BEN-HUR is a great movie. It's a tale of humanity told through the life of one man. It's filled with adventure, romance, revenege, action, drama, and even a little comedy. The action scenes are thrilling and the chariot scene has had a profound impact upon filmmaking (anyone see the pod race in THE PHANTOM MENACE). Movies don't get much better than that.

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More Ben-Hur reviews
Quick Tip by . December 05, 2010
I have never seen a Movie like Benhur..it is not a cinema it is i feel actual ..i always see many times...haunting music is in the air alagarsamy
Quick Tip by . November 16, 2010
What can I say about this film? 11 Oscars - all deserved - great actors, action, musical score + Charlton Heston AND Stephen Boyd... movie heaven - especially on a big screen!!
Quick Tip by . June 21, 2010
We watch this movie every Easter. Still powerful after all these years.
review by . April 06, 2009
Ben-Hur is # 100 on AFI's top 100. I really.... really liked this film. I expected to have a tough time staying interested because it was produced twenty years before I was born and of course it took place in Biblical times. I was pleasantly surprised to find myself clenching my fists 5 minutes into the film when the chariot race began.  I didn't loosen up my grip for another 15 minutes after! Charlton Heston definately earned his Oscar for this performance as Judah Ben-Hur. A Jewish nobleman, …
Quick Tip by . November 19, 2009
Charleton Heston cracks the whip in this tale of Roman supremacy and degradation!
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Anno Domini: the seventh year of Augustus Caesar's reign. In the Roman province of Judea, Jews return to the city of their birth for the census. A bright star in the night over Bethlehem marks the birth of Jesus Christ. Years later, Roman commander Messala (Stephen Boyd), who was brought up in Judea, takes command of the Roman garrison in Jerusalem. His Jewish boyhood friend Judah Ben-Hur (Charlton Heston) greets him. Messala is delighted. But when Judah refuses to name Jewish patriots, Messala sentences him to the slave galleys and imprisons his mother, Miriam (Martha Scott), and sister, Tirzah (Cathy O'Donnell). Judah vows revenge.

In BEN-HUR, William Wyler's much-lauded epic, the story of Judah's search for his mother and sister and his quest for revenge intersects with crucial biblical events such as the Sermon on the Mount and the crucifixion. Wyler gets fine performances from Heston, Boyd, Jack Hawkins (as a Roman admiral who befriends Judah), and Hugh Griffith (as an Arab sheik who drea...
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