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Ben-Hur (Widescreen)

170 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins, Stephen Boyd, Haya Harareet, Hugh Griffith
  • Directors: William Wyler
  • Writers: Christopher Fry, Gore Vidal, Karl Tunberg, Lew Wallace, Maxwell Anderson
  • Producers: Joseph Vogel
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: G
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • Release Date: March 13 2001
  • Run Time: 212 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (170 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000056BP4
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #30,068 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

Product Description

Product Description

After his boyhood friend Messala's fanatic loyalty to Rome makes him a powerful enemy, Judah Ben-Hur is found guilty of an attempted murder he did not commit. His family is banished and he is enslaved on a warship. Through his ferocity in a raging sea battle, he is able to escape and become a horse trainer. To exact his revenge, Ben-Hur decides to compete against Messala in the Roman chariot races. They race, locked in a battle to the death. Barely surviving, Ben-Hur forsakes the sword for Christ and finally finds redemption. Winner of a record 11 Academy Award, including Best Picture and Actor (Charlton Heston).

Ben-Hur scooped an unprecedented 11 Academy Awards® in 1959 and, unlike some later rivals, richly deserved every single one. This is epic filmmaking on a scale that had not been seen before and is unlikely ever to be seen again. But it's not just running time or a cast of thousands that makes an epic, it's the subject matter, and here the subject--Prince Judah Ben-Hur (Charlton Heston) and his estrangement from old Roman pal Messala (Stephen Boyd)--is rich, detailed, and sensitively handled. Director William Wyler, who had been a junior assistant on MGM's original silent version back in 1925, never sacrifices the human focus of the story in favor of spectacle, and is aided immeasurably by Miklos Rozsa's majestic musical score, arguably the greatest ever written for a Hollywood picture. At four hours it's a long haul (especially given some of the portentous dialogue), but all in all, Ben-Hur is a great movie, best seen on the biggest screen possible. --Mark Walker

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By David Butterworth on June 3 2004
Format: DVD
I have lost count of the times I've seen this movie, and have lately sat through yet another viewing. As it is deep, exploratory and powerfully moving, I make no apologies for still finding something in it. I may even be preaching to the nostalgically converted when, as a boy, I grew up with it, seeing it on its territory, the 'big screen.' Having felt the same satisfaction then, I now find the space to appreciate it at a deeper emotive level. Those timeless emotions of thought and feeling in it, are layers I continue to find and appreciate. Why does this film continue to stand the test of time? Because of its eloquent handling of feelings and conditions everyone feels, from the brutality of tyranny to subsequent reconciliation. I have read some overtly
critical opinion about Heston's acting being 'wooden,' 'overblown,' 'pretentious.' If his is bad acting, what do you consider good? Isn't it just a case of appropriate or straight acting?
I think Heston's performance is sedate, solemn, deep with meaning, as is the case with most of the other stars who compliment his. William Wyler judges walking towards doorways and entrances, standing in them, turning up unexpectedly, with
classic precision which is almost theatrical.
The scene where Hur meets and crippled dying Messala learning his mother and sister have become lepers, is one of my favourites, dealing with the theme of human intimacy and tragedy in a moving way. Heston's shadowy figure standing in the doorway at Boyd's assertion, 'there Drusus, I knew he'd come,' is beautifully harmonised by Miklos Roza's music. I therefore agree with a comment that Boyd is Heston's foil dominating every scene he's in, making Hur see the incompletness or hollowness of his chariot victory.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jenny J.J.I. TOP 100 REVIEWER on April 24 2008
Format: DVD
It's definitely one of my favorites of all time because it's got stuff that most movies don't have: Everything. MGM and company unintentionally created a work of popular art that could only be fully appreciated in its original, pristine print, 70mm, super widescreen glory. It is no longer possible to make a film like Ben-Hur. Oh, George Lucas tries with all his computerized graphics, but this is a REAL spectacle, not some virtual one. 8,000 extras, tens of thousands of costumes, a $15 million budget (in the 1950's!), massive sets depict the power of Rome on the grandest possible scale. It took six years to complete production. Yet, its focus remains sharply on the detail, the private human experience of it all. The story doesn't get lost in the enormous vision of the work.

Ben-Hur is a drama at its best. It's the story of a family that had it all, was destroyed and then given their lives back. Ben Hur depicts both the best and worst of the Roman Empire, its glory and progress and the oppression of the less fortunate who lived under its rule.

There are two action scenes that really get my heart pounding each time this. First, the scene on the galley where the slaves are put through a grueling, forced rowing of their ship under the eye of General Quintus Arrius. The way that scene builds with the alternating of the camera from the slaves to the drums to the general, all the while picking up the pace, is quite riveting. Second, the chariot race. Some of the best action ever produced by Hollywood. The race itself keeps people on the edge of their seats. It appears to have been put together close to real time, which makes it all the greater.

Although the movie slows down after the race I am still moved by what happens later.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By TDN on March 29 2011
Format: DVD
MGM at its peak, with a very capable acting group. Carries a fantasy story about a man who eventually becomes a Christian. Without many of the distortions about Jesus and gives a fairly accurate view of life under Roman domination and corruption, however clearly missing the true nature of Jewish rebellion and the religous hypocrisy that existed at that time. Much of the picture does not deal with the religous opposition Jesus faced and their role in turning Jesus over to the Romans. However it does accurately protray how many Jews were attracted to Jesus message and flocked to him and adopted his teaching.
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Format: Blu-ray
BEN-HUR [1959] [3-Disc Ultimate 50th Anniversary Collector's Edition] [Blu-ray] [UK Release] The Entertainment Experience of a Lifetime!

Meticulously restored frame by frame and digitally remastered. This High-definition Blu-ray 3-disc masterpiece, hits greater heights with the arrival of this stunning visual splendour, thundering action and towering drama of this record-setting winner of 11 Academy Awards® including Best Picture. Charlton Heston brings physical and moral presence to his Best Actor Oscar® winning his role of Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish nobleman in Palestine, whose heroic odyssey includes enslavement by the Romans, vengeance against his tormentors during a furious arena spectacular chariot race and the fateful encounters with Jesus Christ, Best Director Oscar ® winner William Wyler masterfully grips the reign of an enduring and spellbinding spectacular. Narrated by Finlay Currie.

FILM FACT: Awards and Nominations: 32nd Academy Awards® for Best Picture for Sam Zimbalist (posthumous award). Academy Awards® for Best Director for William Wyler. Academy Awards® for Best Actor in a Leading Role for Charlton Heston. Academy Awards® for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Hugh Griffith. Academy Awards® for Best Art Direction for Set Decoration, Color, Edward C. Carfagno and William A. Horning (posthumous award) (art direction); Hugh Hunt (set decoration). Academy Awards® for Best Cinematography, Color, Robert L. Surtees. Academy Awards® for Best Costume Design, Color, Elizabeth Haffenden. Academy Awards® for Best Special Effects for A. Arnold Gillespie, Robert MacDonald and Milo Lory. Academy Awards® for Best Film Editing for John D. Dunning and Ralph E. Winters. Academy Awards® for Best Music for Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture, Miklós Rózsa.
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