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

5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
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Product Description


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

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Most helpful customer reviews
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grandiose! 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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ben Hur . Astonishing! Dec 26 2011
By Skouly
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars sensational epic Jan. 27 2014
By George Jones TOP 100 REVIEWER
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ben-Hur's a hit! Jan. 13 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Terrifie combination! Thanks not just for the widescreen edition of the movie, but also for all the extras. Great value.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 50th Aniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition 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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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Deal! July 10 2013
By Liz
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is a classic and you get so much for a great price. I would highly recommend it to anyone that loves this movie.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning Quality! Jan. 7 2013
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
I'll keep it short, as many others have made the same comments, but the picture quality is simply amazing! The colours pop off the screen. You would think the movie was made yesterday. The sound is also excellent, even more amazing when you consider the film is over 50 years old. Some parts of the film have aged better than others. (There are definitely parts that are a little slow by today's standard, and some of the special effects are not so special any more, like the galley battle at sea), but for the chariot race alone it is worth owning, just to wow your friends. Hearing the score by Miklos Rosza in Dolby lossless makes it an even more worthwhile investment. This is a movie you actually want to watch the opening credits every time just to hear the incredible music.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Heston at his best!
Uniquely packaged and worth the money. We have not watched the entire program but this is definitely a beautiful movie that must be seen in HD to really appreciate all the colour... Read more
Published 21 months ago by ELLE
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb
An excellent film. I think the "making of" documentaries have given me a greater appreciation for all the work involved in making an epic. Read more
Published on March 19 2012 by Joseph M. Lenarcik
5.0 out of 5 stars They don't make them like this anymore
A stunning achievement in epic film-making, this still stands as one of the best of any of the biblical films ever made. Read more
Published on Feb. 19 2012 by Trevor Street
5.0 out of 5 stars genial coleccion
Esta en español castellano. Presentación impecable, contenido unico y una imagen remasterizada buenisima

Totalmente recomendable para todos los amantes del... Read more
Published on Feb. 19 2012 by Pepe
5.0 out of 5 stars Ben Hur-Collector`s version
Highly recommend this movie as it was remastered to absolute perfection to my delight. Having seen the movie no less than 21 times in the past, I must... Read more
Published on Jan. 8 2012 by George Machtans
5.0 out of 5 stars Stellar
What a great product for the price. The colour in this version is spectacular. This is the best quality restoration I have ever seen...and I've seen many! Read more
Published on Jan. 3 2012 by D. Hidlebaugh
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome quality for an awesome movie
There is definitely a big difference between the Ultimate Collector's Edition and the "old" format versions, the colors seemed improved as well as the audio, there is more clarity... Read more
Published on Dec 30 2011 by Cinthia E. Torres
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