After settling his differences with a Japanese P.O.W. camp commander, a British Colonel co-operates to oversee his men's construction of a railway bridge for their captors, while oblivious to a plan by the Allies to destroy it.
Wyoming, early 1900s. Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid are the leaders of a band of outlaws. After a train robbery goes wrong they find themselves on the run with a posse hard on their heels. Their solution - escape to Bolivia.
George Roy Hill
Judah Ben-Hur lives as a rich Jewish prince and merchant in Jerusalem at the beginning of the 1st century. Together with the new governor his old friend Messala arrives as commanding officer of the Roman legions. At first they are happy to meet after a long time but their different politic views separate them. During the welcome parade a roof tile falls down from Judah's house and injures the governor. Although Messala knows they are not guilty, he sends Judah to the galleys and throws his mother and sister into prison. But Judah swears to come back and take revenge.Written by
Matthias Scheler <email@example.com>
The chariot arena was built by more than 1,000 workers beginning in January 1958, according to some reports. It was 2,000 feet long by 65 feet wide and covered 18 acres, the largest single set in motion picture history to that time. Reputedly, 40,000 tons of white sand were imported from Mexico for the track. See more »
The shadow of the camera can be seen on Christ's back as Ben Hur is leaving Nazareth to go to the galleys (widescreen version). See more »
Just as I remember it. The courtyard where we used to play at changing the guard; the roof where we used to throw pebbles at the people in the street and then hide!
Ah, we were rascals, weren't we?
No, you were good boys! I would have that time again.
See more »
The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer lion is shown in a still-frame to appear looking peaceful at the beginning rather than roaring. See more »
One older VHS release has a fade to black in between the opening credits and the scene after that. The original version has a dissolve transition. See more »
This film is so much more than the chariot race. Undoubtedly, that is the most famous sequence and for good reason. It is stunning, electric, tense and the so very exciting. There is nothing like simply seeing a chariot race unfold by actually filming a group a chariots. But the sequence is filled with meaning because the film spends so much time building up the personal relationship between Judah and Messala; their hatred for each other displayed in the chariot race is alive and bitter. Because we have seen them expressing deep kinship and spiritual love.
There is a famous dispute between Wyler and Vidal about how much of the Judah-Messala relationship was intended to have a subtext of a gay jilted lovers. I think to dwell on that is to sort of miss the point. While it it is really easy to read an erotic love (especially on Messala's part) between the two it is clear that spiritual love is present in anycase. The erotic element is present if one cares to look but it is not needed. There is clearly an emotional intimacy between the two. This intimacy gets soured by politics. The story is richer, deeper and more personal as a result.
Richer is a good word for this movie. It is nearly 4 hours long but it is a fully fleshed out epic that engages the entire time. I rather enjoyed how the Christian themes are restrained-You never see Christ's face, you only hear what he says second hand etc.-it makes the film feel about Jesus of Nazareth and not necessarily Jesus Christ. I feel like it makes the film more accessible to nonChristians while Christians can infer what the wish. Biblical epics can often be very stuffy and overwrought. Wyler's use of deep focus really gives the film a feel of intimate epicness. The scope is grand; the focus personal,
Wyler was a very good filmmaker; this is something of a departure for him. Nonetheless this film is still the work of a master.
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