Ben-Hur (1959 film)
A Tale of the Christ
|Directed by||William Wyler|
|Produced by||Sam Zimbalist|
|Written by||Karl Tunberg|
|Starring|| Charlton Heston|
|Music by||Miklós Rózsa|
|Cinematography||Robert L. Surtees|
|Editing by|| John D. Dunning|
Ralph E. Winters
|Release date(s)||November 18, 1959|
|Running time||212 min|
Ben-Hur is a 1959 film released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and based on the novel by General Lew Wallace. One of the greatest of the epic film "spectaculars", Ben-Hur won a record 11 Academy Awards, a feat not repeated until Titanic in 1998. This movie became the second highest-grossing film after Gone With the Wind, and saved the production studio from the verge of bankruptcy.
The film stars Charlton Heston as Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish merchant who is sold into slavery after being betrayed by his childhood friend. Interesting background about the movie explains that there were multiple famous actors who declined the leading role.
The chariot race is the most famous scene, and the dramatic flip and resultant bloodied face in the chariot race is real, for a stuntman playing the role of the star. But overall some consider its reenactment not as effective as the actual chariot race used in the silent version filmed in 1925.
The sea battle, which supposedly used 50 ships, is less famous but perhaps a greater filming achievement.