Wednesday, May 1, 2013

349. Ben-Hur

Directed by William Wyler

I was absolutely convinced I would hate this film.  Heston is a pretty awful actor, there are heavy religious undertones, and the movie is almost four hours long.  However, I was pleasantly surprised and this film is definitely worthy of its hype.

This is the story of Ben-Hur, a Jewish prince, who is betrayed and sent into slavery by his closest friend.  Now, he's on a mission for REVENGE.  Dah dah dah!

I love a good revenge story and this is certainly a great one.  Of course, the most famous scene from this film is the chariot race.  However, there were many scenes that I found way more memorable, such as the first time Ben-Hur sees his mother and sister again.  I also enjoyed any scene between Heston and Stephen Boyd.  I haven't seen that much sexual chemistry between two men since Top Gun.

Of course, I do have a couple grievances.  The religious stuff in this film is completely unnecessary and felt tacked on.  And, like I said, Heston is one of the hammiest actors of all time.

Still, a great, exciting movie that is well worth the length.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

The cameras were too big to fit on the boat, so the crew had to cut the boat in half and use it as a soundstage.

Won 11 Academy Awards.

First movie remake to win Best Picture.

Chariot race scene:


  1. I love this movie. I think Charlton Heston was sexy back in the day. Interesting review.

    1. Technically this is a marvel. My favorite is the naval battle. It is just awesome. This is also why it is sucha pitty they chose Heston and just had to add all the religious stuff.
      I like historical settings and cannot help consider the realism. In that respect Ben Hur gets good marks. Roman era films are interesting, but I lack good movies of the post-Roman era (which is not a King Arthur installment). My favorite scenario would be a movie on the Visigoth or the Ostrogoth or perhaps the Vandals. They all made epic journeys worthy of Hollywood interest. Anybody heard of movies with those themes?

    2. The 1001 book list includes Ben-Hur, and I actually liked it much better than the movie. Hmm can't really think of any movies with those themes, which now that I think about it seems weird. According to Hollywood, it was Rome, than Victorian times.