Photo Gallery. Trailers and Videos. Crazy Credits. Alternate Versions. Rate This. Judah Ben-Hur, a prince falsely accused of treason by his adopted brother, an officer in the Roman army, returns to his homeland after years at sea to seek revenge, but finds redemption.
Director: Timur Bekmambetov. Writers: Lew Wallace based on the novel by , Keith R. Added to Watchlist. From metacritic. New movies Share this Rating Title: Ben-Hur 5. Use the HTML below. You must be a registered user to use the IMDb rating plugin. Edit Cast Cast overview, first billed only: Jack Huston Judah Ben-Hur Toby Kebbell Messala Severus Rodrigo Santoro Jesus Nazanin Boniadi Esther Ayelet Zurer Ilderim Marwan Kenzari Druses Moises Arias Dismas James Cosmo Learn more More Like This.
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An ex-prize fighter turned longshoreman struggles to stand up to his corrupt union bosses. Download Ben Hur. He finds Esther and Simonides, who made a new friend Malak in prison and was subsequently released. Judah learns Esther's arranged marriage did not occur and that she is still in love with him. He visits Messala and demands his mother and sister's freedom.
The Romans discover that Miriam and Tirzah have contracted leprosy in prison, and expel them from the city.
The women beg Esther to conceal their condition from Judah so that he may remember them as they were before, so she tells him that they died. During the chariot race, Messala drives a Greek style chariot with blades on the hubs to tear apart competing vehicles. He attempts to destroy Judah's chariot but wrecks his own instead. Messala is dragged behind his horses and severely trampled on by another passing chariot, while Judah wins the race.
Before dying, Messala awaits the arrival of Judah, and informs him that "the race is not over". In one last act of pure hatred, he tells Judah to search for his family in the Valley of the Lepers. Judah visits the nearby leper colony, where he confronts Esther while she is delivering supplies for his mother and sister.
Esther convinces Judah to remain hidden from them for now and not break Miriam's wishes. Blaming Roman rule for his family's fate, Judah visits Pilate and rejects his patrimony and Roman citizenship. He returns with Esther to the leper colony, reveals himself to Miriam and finds out that Tirzah is dying. Judah and Esther take Miriam and her daughter to see Jesus of Nazareth, but the trial of Jesus has begun.
As Jesus is being marched through the streets he collapses while carrying his cross. Judah recognizes him as the man who gave him water years before, and returns the gesture.
Judah witnesses the crucifixion of Jesus, and Miriam and Tirzah are miraculously healed during the rainstorm following the crucifixion. Judah returns home a changed man and embraces Esther, Miriam and Tirzah. By the late s, the consent decree of forcing film studios to divest themselves of theater chains  and the competitive pressure of television had caused significant financial distress at MGM.
One notable change in the film involved the opening titles. Concerned that a roaring Leo the Lion the MGM mascot would create the wrong mood for the sensitive and sacred nativity scene , Wyler received permission to replace the traditional logo with one in which Leo the Lion is quiet. Zimbalist hired a number of screenwriters to cut the story down and turn the novel into a script.
According to Gore Vidal , more than 12 versions of the script had been written by various writers by the spring of Other sources place Tunberg's initial involvement much earlier. Tunberg cut out everything in the book after the crucifixion of Jesus, omitted the sub-plot in which Ben-Hur fakes his death and raises a Jewish army to overthrow the Romans, and altered the manner in which the leperous women are healed. The writing effort changed direction when director Sidney Franklin fell ill and was removed from the production.
Zimbalist offered the project to William Wyler, who had been one of 30 assistant directors on the film,  in early Wyler did not formally agree to direct the film until September ,  and MGM did not announce his hiring until January 3, DeMille ,  and make a "thinking man's" Biblical epic. Wyler felt Tunberg's draft was too much of a morality play overlaid with current Western political overtones, and that the dialogue was too modern-sounding.
Behrman who also wrote the script for Quo Vadis and then playwright Maxwell Anderson to write drafts. Vidal's working style was to finish a scene and review it with Zimbalist. Once Vidal and Zimbalist had come to agreement, the scene would be passed to Wyler. Vidal made one structural change which was not revised, however. The Tunberg script had Ben-Hur and Messala reuniting and falling out in a single scene. Vidal broke the scene in two, so that the men first reunite at the Castle Antonia and then later argue and end their friendship at Ben-Hur's home.
Vidal also added small character touches to the script, such as Messala's purchase of a brooch for Tirzah and Ben-Hur's purchase of a horse for Messala. Vidal's claim about a homoerotic subtext is hotly debated. Vidal first made the claim in an interview in the documentary film The Celluloid Closet , and asserted that he persuaded Wyler to direct Stephen Boyd to play the role as if he were a spurned homosexual lover.
You should have seen those boys embrace! Feeney , in a comparison of script drafts, concludes that Vidal made significant and extensive contributions to the script. The final writer on the film was Christopher Fry. Charlton Heston has claimed that Fry was Wyler's first choice as screenwriter, but that Zimbalist forced him to use Vidal.
The final script ran pages. Some changes made the film's storyline more dramatic. The role of Esther was greatly expanded from that of the novel to provide a strong onscreen love interest throughout the film. Other changes included incorporating an admiration for the Jewish culture and people historical and modern , as well as representing the more pluralistic society of s America rather than the "Christian superiority" view of Wallace's novel though the movie retained a strongly positive religious portrayal of Early Christianity.
MGM opened a casting office in Rome in mid to select the 50, people who would act in minor roles and as extras in the film,  and a total of actors had speaking parts in the film, although only 45 of them were considered "principal" performers. Burt Lancaster stated he turned down the role because he found the script boring  and belittling to Christianity. Stephen Boyd was cast as the antagonist, Messala , on April 13, More than 30 actresses were considered for the role of Esther.
Robert L. Surtees , who had already filmed several of the most successful epics of the s, was hired as cinematographer for the film. Wyler strongly disliked the widescreen format, commenting that "Nothing is out of the picture, and you can't fill it.
You either have a lot of empty space, or you have two people talking and a flock of others surrounding them who have nothing to do with the scene. Your eye just wanders out of curiosity. He also had a strong preference for long takes, during which his actors could move within this highly detailed space.
The movie was filmed in a process known as " MGM Camera 65 ". A June 8, , report in The New York Times said second unit director Andrew Marton had roamed "up and down the countryside" filming footage. Principal photography began in Rome on May 18, On Sundays, Wyler would meet with Fry and Zimbalist for story conferences.
The pace of the film was so grueling that a doctor was brought onto the set to give a vitamin B complex injection to anyone who requested it shots which Wyler and his family later suspected may have contained amphetamines. Actresses Martha Scott and Cathy O'Donnell spent almost the entire month of November in full leprosy make-up and costumes so that Wyler could shoot "leper scenes" when other shots didn't go well.
Italy was MGM's top choice for hosting the production. However, a number of countries—including France, Mexico, Spain, and the United Kingdom—were also considered. Horning and Edward Carfagno created the overall look of the film, relying on the more than five years of research which had already been completed for the production. Special silk was imported from Thailand, the armor manufactured in West Germany , and the woolens made and embroidered in the United Kingdom and various countries of South America.
Many leather goods were hand-tooled in the United Kingdom as well, while Italian shoemakers manufactured the boots and shoes. The lace for costumes came from France, while costume jewelry was purchased in Switzerland. The sea battle was one of the first sequences created for the film,  filmed using miniatures in a huge tank on the back lot at the MGM Studios in Culver City, California , in November and December One of the most lavish sets was the villa of Quintus Arrius, which included 45 working fountains and 8.
Dunning , the first cut of the film was four and a half hours long. Editing was also complicated by the 70mm footage being printed. Because no editing equipment such as the Moviola existed which could handle the 70mm print, the 70mm footage would be reduced to 35mm and then cut. This caused much of the image to be lost. Artists View all. Video Playlists View all. TV Shows View all.
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