Charlton Heston plays Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish man who is betrayed by his friend and put into slavery by the Roman Empire. After some time and hardship, Judah escapes and saves a Roman leader who allows him to live and return a free man. Judah now seeks revenge on the people who enslaved him. Judah uses his new found skills to enter the chariot races which is where Judah wishes to seek his revenge and learn where his mother and sister (who are exiled due to leprosy) are being held prisoner.
The most expensive movie ever made (at the time) and tied with Titanic and The Return of the King for 11 Oscar wins (12 Nominations total), Ben-Hur is said to be one of the “biggest” motion pictures in history with help from it’s epic run time of 212 minutes! It also has one of the most memorable scenes in all of film with the 9 minute long chariot races. Having said all that, Ben-Hur has it’s negatives coming from someone who has had the luxury of seeing films in the 21st century. Watching Ben-Hur, it felt like they took the Ten Commandments and The Count of Monte Cristo and mashed them together. The massive runtime began to drag after the chariot races which is what I think should have been the film’s end scene since I was bored with the film after that. Coming in at #100 on the AFI top 100 list, I understand it’s place in history, but I’ve seen bigger and better since that made me not so involved with Ben-Hur. Co-starring Jack Hawkins, Hugh Griffith, Stephen Boyd, Haya Harareet, and Sam Jaffe.
6/10 Stars – If it weren’t so long….
I can see why Ben-Hur is on the AFI Top 100 List, it is quite the production. It’s akin to The Ten Commandments which I am not exactly sure why that isn’t ont he list. There is a decent amount of action to keep you semi-involved but after a time even that begins to drag. It is a rather long film, makes Gone With the Wind feel short. The best scene has to be the chariot race, its pretty awesome. Any true movie aficionado should see this but I wouldn’t suggest just picking it up as something to watch on date night or with the family.
6/10 Stars – Impressive in some ways but a bit too long for my taste.
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