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Ben Hur [Import]

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Product Details

  • Format: AC-3, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC, Import
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French, English
  • Dubbed: French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Sony Pictures
  • Release Date: April 30 2013

Product Description

In this Biblical epic, Jewish nobleman Ben-Hur struggles against Roman tyranny in first-century Palestine.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 58 reviews
32 of 39 people found the following review helpful
Sex and violence without style May 27 2013
By J. M. Cornwell - Published on
Verified Purchase
I have seen both versions of Ben Hur, its earlier black and white version and the 1959 version starring Charlton Heston and Stephen Boyd, so the comparison between the 1955 version and this one is still fresh in my mind. I had recently watched the DeMille version before watching this miniseries and the differences are monumental.

I doubt that director, Stephen Shill, set out to make an epic adventure and in that he succeeded. Shill's Ben Hur is a little movie with the emphasis on sex and as much nudity as he could get on the screen to spice up what needs no spice, rather like adding a cup full of jalapenos to an already spicy chili.

Shill's Ben Hur is earthy with a very young cast, most of whom give credible performances, but in whom there is little of gravitas or depth. Joseph Morgan broods well and purses his full lips as often as possible but fails to give more than brooding life to the character of Judah ben Hur. Kristin Kreuk is wasted as Tirzah and Alex Kingston's full blown charms fail to enliven Ruth, Judah's mother, or give her actions any heft or reality. Stephen Campbell Moore as Messala is feckless and rash without the depth of villainy that characterized Stephen Boyd's portrayal of Messala. Morgan and Moore are at best pretty boys playing at being men writ large and end up scribbled small in the sand, 2-dimensional at best, but not 3-dimensional or noteworthy. Jimenez as Athene was by far more interesting, although lacking in definable motives.

Shills' Ben Hur is a low budget bit of fluff with plenty of skin, sex, and nudity that pales in comparison to the 1955 epic saga. An actor with a little more mileage and a better understanding of the times and characters would have lifted this average film from mediocrity.

The scenery is, however, earthy and realistic and small, matching the smallness of the endeavor. In short, there is very little style or complexity in this version of Ben Hur with few standout performances.
17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Modern Story of Early 1st Century C.E. Jerusalem June 9 2013
By Monty Martinez - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Unlike the Heston epic, Christ makes just three cameo appearances. However, this is not a story of religious faith. When present, religion is subordinated in the plot by the movie director to create an intriguing modern tale. This is not a for children-recommended epic, but it is a mature, detailed-filled, contemporary interpretation of the Lew Wallace classic.

At times taking great historical license, this is the story of the Hur family: Their suffering, survival, and triumph over Roman political oppression in 1st Century C.E. Jerusalem. Deeper, this is also a tale of two individuals: one Jewish (Judah) and one Roman (Messala) and their interpersonal bonding as children and their adult psycho-political conflicts. Ultimately, this is an story of power: The Conquerors (Rome personified in the Agrippas, Arias, Pilate, and Tiberias) and The Conquered (namely, the Hur Family, Greeks, Jews, slaves, and other residents of 1 Century C.E. Jerusalem). .

As adult-level drama, the principal actors (the Agrippas, Arias, and Hur) present a tale of an aristocratic member of the Jewish upper class, Judah ben Hur, who painstakingly overcomes great obstacles (unjust imprisonment and slavery at the hands of Roman Military Tribune Messala Agrippa) and who in the end emerges victorious over his Roman oppressors (namely, the Agrippas, Pilate, Tiberias, and, by extension, Rome)..

In the end, "truth" seemingly does win out over "evil": The good does triumph over the bad. The oppressed win, at least for the moment, against the Tiberian imposed Pax Romana. As a bonus, the details of the Wallace book are more finely etched in our consciousness than those presented in the former movie version.

While not recommended for children because of several scenes of the sexual intercourse and of the graphic cruelty and violence, Ben Hur (2010) is, nonetheless, well worth watching.

Thank you.

M. Monty Martinez
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Couldn't believe how much I liked this! Dec 30 2013
By Ron Hardcastle - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I belong to FSM (Film Score Monthly), a soundtrack discussion group, and we had been discussing this 2-part remake of "Ben-Hur," and I just posted the following there:


Today I watched the 3 1/4 hour "Ben-Hur," the 2010 remake with Joseph Morgan and Stephen Campbell Moore and Emily VanCamp, which I wrote about a month or so ago on another thread, probably about script adaptations, and this was the first time I had ever watched it WITHOUT commercials, and while I liked it back when I first saw it on cable, it has gained considerably in my estimation. I hadn't intended to watch it all, but couldn't turn it off. And it brought me to tears at least 3 times. I believe it was re-edited to lengthen some scenes over what was originally shown on American TV (it's, I believe, a Canadian/German/Moroccan co-production) and there's some slight male nudity as well as some above the waist female nudity that I don't remember seeing when it was broadcast in the U.S. I had picked it up (here) at Amazon for $1 plus shipping and it's one of the best deals I've found in quite some time. HIGHLY recommended.


I agree with some reviewers who bemoan the absence of a Blu-ray version of this, but the DVD is excellent, although I want to advise any who buy this to skip the lengthy flashbacks at the beginning of part 2, which is about as close to a quibble as I can get.

Ben-Hur is portrayed as a sort of Everyman and NOT as the burly superhero as played by Charlton Heston in the remake. And I'm a big fan of that version, having bought it on low fi VHS, then hi fi stereo VHS, then the first edition on DVD, then the special edition DVD, and finally the big and elaborate Blu-ray set. But, as I wrote above, I was quite taken with this version and feel that it stands on its own. And judging by the low prices one can get it here, a real bargain! As I wrote in my title, I couldn't believe how much I like this!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The best Ben Hur ever Oct. 18 2014
By Victoria C Leo - Published on
Verified Purchase
WOW - what a terrific version. Who could top Charleton Heston?? Well, this version has some variations that are closer to the original novel and some that reflect 21st century rather than 19th century sensibilities, and the ending special effects are beautifully spiritual without being cloying. Lew Wallace was a crummy general but one heck of a storyteller! The acting is uniformly understated (especially compared to Heston's physically over-the-top style) and fits the story better. You will love this one!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Interesting effort, not quite successful Nov. 28 2014
By John M. Curlovich - Published on
Format: DVD
I've seen all three versions of BEN HUR now. The 1925 version is by far the liveliest of the three (as well as being the shortest, which is always a plus with me). The 1959 remake, starring the ever-wooden Charlton Heston, is bloated, pretentious and slow by comparison. This miniseries version is somewhere between the two. On the plus side, it has the most fully-realized script of the three. The characters are fleshed out much more satisfyingly, their relationships are better defined and their motivations more sharply in focus.

But that's strictly the screenplay; the acting and direction are something else again. Joseph Morgan, in the title role, is a bit too much of a brooding male model (and a blond, blue-eyed male model, at that) to be convincing as a 1st-century Jewish prince. He does pout nicely, though, and his very brief nude scene is pleasant to see. The best that can be said is that he's more expressive than Heston, but then what actor isn't? Stephen Campbell Moore has given some good performances in the "callow young man" vein; as the villainous Messala in this series, he's a lot less than satisfying. Only James Faulkner, as Moore's villainous father, makes much of an impression.

As for Steve Shill's direction...meh. It's workmanlike, nothing special one way or the other. He certainly hasn't done much to coax good performances out of his cast. And his direction of the chariot race, which should be the dramatic high point, is notably poor; it consists of lots of seemingly random quick cuts, with no sense of the characters' interactions or even relative positions, and no sense of the flow of the action. Compared with both of the earlier versions of the race (directed by action specialists B. Reeves Eason and Yakima Cabutt, respectively) it is downright pathetic. The TV budget is everywhere apparent, but that, at least, isn't Shill's fault.

In sum, this is a lot easier to enjoy that the Heston version, not as much fun as the '25 silent version, worth a few bucks if you enjoy this kind of thing. But I'd strongly advise that no one should spend too much for it.

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