Ben Hur

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Released 1959




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Movie Summary

William Wyler
An immediate box office smash, this silent masterpiece follows a Palestinian Jew who battles against the tyranny of the Roman empire. With a cast of thousands, it remains one of the most expensive silents ever-produced. Features a hair-raising chariot race that holds its own against today's best action films. Selected by the prestigious American Film Institute as one of the 400 best American films of all time. Inducted in the Library of Congress National Film Registry.


Metacritic Score

  • 100

    Empire William Thomas

    Little can come close to captivating the grandeur and epic quality of William Wyler's magnificent bum numb-er.

  • 100

    The Telegraph

    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 gripp...

  • 80

    New York Daily News

    The race alone is well worth the price of admission.

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Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

  • QUOTES (11)

    • Messala: It's an insane world, but in it there's one sanity, the loyalty of old friends. Judah, we must believe in one another.

    • Judah Ben-Hur: (praying before the chariot race)God forgive me for seeking vengeance. But my path is set and into your hands I commit my life. Do with me as you will.

    • Messala: (hanging on to his life after getting crushed by a team of horses) What do you think you see? The smashed body of a wretched animal? There's enough of a man still left here for you to hate. Let me help you...You think they're dead. Your mother and sister. Dead. And the race over. It isn't over, Judah. They're not dead.
      Judah Ben-Hur: (angry) Where are they? Where are they? Where are they?
      Messala: Look for them in the Valley of the Lepers, if you can recognize them. It goes on. It goes on, Judah. The race, the race is not over.

    • Esther: (to Judah and in response to his desire for vengence) I've seen too much what hate can do. My father is burned up with it. But I've heard of a young rabbi who says that forgiveness is greater and love more powerful than hatred. I believe it.

    • Sextus: (referencing Jesus of Nazareth)There's also a wild man in the desert named John the Baptist and a young carpenter's son who goes around doing magic tricks, miracles they call them. This man is different. He teaches that God is near, in every man. It's actually quite profound, some of it.

    • Simonides: (blind and crippled) Do not pity me, Master Judah. In fact, I'm twice the man I was. There's Mallet, my other half. We met in the dungeons at the citadel. We were released on the same day, Mallet without a tongue and I without life in my legs. Since then, I have been his tongue and he has been my legs. Together, we make a considerable man.

    • Sheik Ilderim: (after Judah explains to him about wanting only one wife in his future) One wife? One God, that I can understand but one wife! That is not civilized. It is not generous.

    • Quintus Arrius: (after striking Judah and seeing his reaction) You have the spirit to fight back but the good sense to control it. Your eyes are full of hate, Forty-One. That's good. Hate keeps a man alive. It gives him strength.

    • Messala: Be wise, Judah. It's a Roman world. If you want to live in it, you must become part of it...I tell you, Judah, it's no accident that one small village on the Tiber was chosen to rule the world. It wasn't just our legions. No, it was fate that chose us to civilize the world - and we have. Our roads and our ships connect every corner of the earth, Roman law, architecture, literature are the glory of the human race.

    • Judah Ben-Hur: (after giving him his "gift" and now giving him a threat) Find them, Messala. Restore them to me and I'll forget what I vowed with every stroke of that oar you chained me to.

    • Judah Ben-Hur: (to Messala when he has dealt out his punishment) May God grant me vengeance. I pray that you live till I return.

  • NOTES (4)


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