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Ben-Hur (50th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition) (Bilingual)

39 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Various
  • Directors: Various
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 5
  • Canadian Home Video Rating : Parental Guidance (PG)
  • Studio: Warner Bros. Home Video
  • Release Date: Sept. 27 2011
  • Run Time: 212 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0054RG2X8
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #24,148 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

Product Description

Ben-Hur: 50th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition (DVD)

Experience the visual splendor, action and drama of this record-setting Academy Award-winning film. Charlton Heston, in his Best Actor Oscar-winning role, is Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish nobleman in Palestine whose heroic odyssey includes enslavement by the Romans, vengeance against his tormentors during a furious arena chariot race and fateful encounters with Jesus Christ. Winning an Oscar® for Best Director, William Wyler masterfully grips the reins of an enduring and spellbinding spectacular.

Based on Lew Wallace’s best-selling novel and adapted by Karl Tunber, Ben-Hur stars Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins, Haya Harareet, Stephen Boyd, Hugh Griffith, Martha Scott, Cathy O’Donnell and Sam Jaffe.

Ben-Hur: 50th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition
A limited-edition restoration of the original epic. Click here for a larger image

Unique Features

For this release, Ben-Hur has undergone a $1 million restoration, the highest resolution restoration ever completed by Warner Bros. studio. Filmed with a process known as MGM Camera 65, one of the widest prints ever made, Wyler was able to capture spectacular panoramic shots and bold action sequences.

Fraser Heston (son of Charlton Heston) noted in a letter to Baker, “This is unquestionably the most remarkable restoration I have ever seen. It was an extraordinary, life changing experience, like sitting next to Wyler in his answer print screening, only better.”

With 100,000 costumes, 15,000 extras, 300 sets and a $15 million budget that, at the time, was the most expensive in MGM’s history, Ben-Hur is widely considered to be one of the most accomplished Biblical-era epics of all time. The film ranks #13 in all-time box office when adjusted for inflation (source: Box Office Mojo).

Exclusive Content

Released in limited quantities and individually numbered, this set features exclusive, never-before released content:

Charlton Heston as Ben-Hur
Charlton Heston: A Personal Journey

An all-new high-definition feature-length documentary chronicling Charlton Heston’s life while filming Ben-Hur including behind-the-scenes details and home movie footage shot by his wife Lydia while in Rome. The film shows a rarely seen, different side of Heston – as a warm, loving father and husband balancing his home and work life, and as an artist devoted to his craft.

Charlton Heston: The Ben-Hur Diaries

A first-time exclusive look into an Oscar-winning actor’s experience while making an award-winning film, this reproduction of Charlton Heston’s private and insightful diary from January 1958 through April 1960, documents his time before production of the film all the way through his Oscar win. Included are personal photos from the Heston family and Charlton Heston’s own sketches.

Ben-Hur 50th Anniversary Hardbound Book

Exclusive hardbound book with rare photography, production art and reproductions from the original theatrical press book.

Special Features

The Chariot Race
A scene from the famous Chariot Race
Discs One & Two: The Movie
  • Newly remastered and restored from original 65mm film elements
  • Dolby Digital 5.1 Audio
  • Commentary by film historian T. Gene Hatcher with scene specific comments from Charlton Heston
  • Music-only track showcasing Miklos Rozsa’s score
Discs Three-Five: Special Features
  • Charlton Heston: A Personal Journey (78 min) [HD]
  • Ben-Hur: 1925 Silent Version, from the Thames Television Restoration with stereophonic orchestral score by composer Carl Davis (143 min)
  • 2005 Documentary: Ben-Hur: The Epic That Changed Cinema - Current filmmakers such as Ridley Scott reflect on the importance and influence of the film on modern epics (58 min)
  • 1994 Documentary: Ben-Hur: The Making of an Epic Hosted by Christopher Plummer (58 min)
  • Ben-Hur: A Journey Through Pictures - Audiovisual recreation of the film via stills, storyboards, sketches, music and dialogue
  • Screen Tests (30 min)
  • Vintage Newsreels Gallery
  • Highlights from the 1960 Academy Awards® Ceremony
  • Theatrical Trailer Gallery
Additional Movie Stills
Ben-Hur: From slave to hero
Judah Ben-Hur: From slave to hero
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Ben-Hur Famous Chariot Race
Charlton Heston in the famous Chariot Race
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Charlton Heston and Stephen Boyd
Charlton Heston and Stephen Boyd
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Roman Legion
The Roman Legion filmed with MGM Camera 65
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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Joseph Lee #1 REVIEWER#1 HALL OF FAME on Sept. 28 2011
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase

MGM originally filmed the movie in Camera 65. Video resolution now is 1080p with 2.76:1 aspect ratio. The film has been spread across the set's first two discs (BD-50) with the break coming at the film's intermission. The work on this release began several years ago and has involved a $1 million restoration frame by frame from an 8k scan of the original 65mm camera negative. It had been hoped to have the work completed in time for a 2009 release (hence the 50th anniversary designation that still appears in the release title), but the meticulous process took longer than expected and to Warners' credit, they did not rush it to meet an artificial marketing deadline.

The extreme width (2.76:1) is requisite to convey the breadth and grandeur of the settings, and when you see the Roman legions marching from one end of the screen to the other, you know it's wide. And all those spectators in the stand are not digital artifacts, but real people.

To complement the screen's vast dimensions, the colour and definition are superb. Indeed, the high-definition image is spectacular, beautifully restored and remastered from 65 mm elements, remarkably detailed, always sharp, always brilliantly in focus, and more clearly delineated than ever before. Grain is handled extraordinarily well. Colours look vividly deep, particularly reds and blacks, accompanied by pinpoint definition, and have been treated with utmost care: even the skin tones (typically a trouble spot for films from the 50s and 60s) come off cleanly and accurately. Black levels are also rock-solid. The halos and edge enhancement that marred the earlier 4-disc DVD editions have been erased completely.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Skouly on Dec 26 2011
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
As one of my favourite movies, I don't ever recall viewing the movie with such a pristine and clear video image. The colours absolutely pop off the screen in this blu-ray version and I don't think I spotted a video flaw or artifact anywhere. Picking up this blu-ray with the added goodies, at the price that I paid, was a fantastic deal for any Ben Hur fan. I haven't even gotten through the hours of extras yet! There is just so much crammed into one package. Highly recommended!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ben Mears on Jan. 18 2012
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Ce classique a bénéficié d`une excellente restauration.Les images sont très belles et la bande sonore est parfaite.Un pur plaisir pour les cinéphiles.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By George Jones TOP 500 REVIEWER on Jan. 27 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Included with this Collector's Edition are these interesting extras: a documentary of Charlton Heston and Ben-Hur - A Personal Journey; the 1925 silent version; vintage special features; production art book and a 64 page book with rare photos. I have to smile when I hear people complain today about how long a movie is (2 hours) compared to epics like this one of 3 1/2 hours. We watched it over two evenings.

For a movie made in 1959, Ben-Hur proved to be a magnificent undertaking, which is why I gave it 5 stars. Even by today's standards with all the available technology and special effects, Ben-Hur is still considered a remarkable production. Some of the sets are stunning and the sea battle and chariot race are intense and totally convincing. The photography during the chariot race could rival anything that might be done today.

Ben-Hur was a winner of 11 Academy Awards. The storyline tended to be a bit confusing in a couple of places, and was slow moving in the beginning, but overall it kept us involved until the end. The costuming was carefully researched and proved very authentic. The casting for the roles was quite good with one exception. The actress chosen to play Esther, the young slave girl loved by Judah Ben-Hur, was miscast. Surrounded by people speaking English in a certain accent (mainly American), she plays her part with an accent that not even her father has. Also, the characters in the movie were dressed according to the environment (read "dirty" and mostly "poor" here), yet this former slave girl wears beautiful, clean clothes, has not a hair out of place in her elaborate hair-do, and flawless make-up throughout the story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael Trimboli on Dec 14 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I had bought this as a gift for my brother in law. Part of me wishes I had bought it for myself! I opened it to ensure that nothing was missing and was amazed at how pleasantly it was packed and arranged. If you are someone who loves the movie Ben-Hur then this is the best edition you could possibly want!
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
At the climactic moment at the end of the film, the music track echoes an hallelujah chorus. I could almost sing that all the way through this blu-ray. The remastered hi def image looks spectacular. It's a major upgrade from the 4-disk anniversary DVD issued a few years ago. The other special features from that disk are part of this package as well: two interesting and informative documentaries on the making of the film and the influence the film has had over the years and the 1925 silent production.
In addition to the improved image, upgrades from the previous DVD anniversary package are a glossy picture book describing the production -- a slight but worthwhile read -- and a retrospective looking at what playing Judah Ben-Hur meant in the life and career of Charlton Heston which adds an important personal touch to the package.
This set will give hours of entertainment, not just the three-and-a-half hours of the main feature. The two-and-a-half hour 1925 silent is an impressive film in its own right, every bit as spectacular and innovative for its time as the 1959 version. And (unlike too many other disc packages, where the extras are little more than long promotional pieces) the supplemental documentaries will bear repeat viewing, at least for those interested in film history and studies.
The combination of features about the film and its star make this a doubly interesting package.
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