Ben-Hur

Overview

This winner of 11 Academy Awards is presented in widescreen anamorphic with an uncommon but well-suited aspect ratio of 2.76:1. Given its lengthy running time, the film has been divided onto two sides of a single disc with the flip occurring (thankfully) during the "Intermission" break. The transfer itself has few flaws, but the actual print shows countless signs of age, including color loss and grain. The audio is in English (Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround) and French (Dolby Digital 2.0) with English, French, ...
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Overview

This winner of 11 Academy Awards is presented in widescreen anamorphic with an uncommon but well-suited aspect ratio of 2.76:1. Given its lengthy running time, the film has been divided onto two sides of a single disc with the flip occurring (thankfully) during the "Intermission" break. The transfer itself has few flaws, but the actual print shows countless signs of age, including color loss and grain. The audio is in English (Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround) and French (Dolby Digital 2.0) with English, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles. Special features include a "Cast and Crew" section that is a mere film credit listing (no bios). An audio commentary track is provided by Charlton Heston and, though repetitive, it is an invaluable source of great stories and his own unique viewpoints. The track does not cover the entire length of the film, so the disc has a special, built-in "fast forward" feature which links the commentary sections together. Unfortunately, the language subtitle feature cannot be deployed during the commentary. Side B of the disc features additional extras, including an hour-long documentary entitled "Ben-Hur: The Making of an Epic." This excellent piece examines the entire history of Ben-Hur, from the initial novel to early theatrical productions and up to the film adaptations. Side B also includes a seven-minute "Screen Test" section which features actors Leslie Nelson and Cesare Danova in the roles of Ben-Hur and Messala, as well as a one-minute silent film of actress Haya Harareet that looks to be a makeup and wardrobe test. Rounding out the special features is a rather barren photo gallery with ten stills and illustrations, plus a theatrical teaser and trailer and an awards list. This disc does not match its subject's epic stature, but it's worthwhile viewing nonetheless.
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Special Features

DVD includes feature-length audio commentary by Charlton Heston; a documentary, "Ben-Hur: The Making of an Epic;" screen tests; a photo gallery; and cast and director career highlights.
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
After more than 40 years, one of the few biblical epics that doesn’t sacrifice humanity for spectacle, Ben-Hur -- an international box-office smash of legendary proportions and the winner of a then-unprecedented 11 Academy Awards -- still retains its power to enthrall viewers. This third movie adaptation of Lew Wallace’s bestselling novel provided Charlton Heston with perhaps his most memorable role: proud Jewish aristocrat Judah Ben-Hur, falsely accused of a crime and sold into slavery, later to confront his Roman enemies and have his life transformed by contact with Jesus Christ. Director William Wyler Best Years of Our Lives ensured success by surrounding himself with some of the industry’s greatest artisans, many of them rewarded with Oscars for their contributions to this flawlessly produced movie. Technical perfection aside, Wyler rated his Best Director Oscar for his superb handling of a fine cast including Jack Hawkins, Stephen Boyd, Haya Harareet, and Sam Jaffe. But Ben-Hur’s undisputed highlight remains the climactic, breathtaking chariot race, for which Heston and Boyd did most of their own stunt work. That race, and the film’s other spectacular sequences, can now be fully appreciated by home viewers in the newly mastered, wide-screen DVD edition, which augments the film with an illuminating commentary by Heston. Other extras include a documentary on the production "The Making of an Epic", a gallery of stills, a theatrical trailer, and recently discovered screen tests.
New York Times - Dave Kehr
By hiring William Wyler...MGM hoped to restore some dignity to a genre that had known its greatest triumphs thanks to the enthusiastic vulgarity of Alessandro Blasetti and the inimitable Cecil B. DeMille. The magnificently produced four-disc version of "Ben-Hur" ... ably advances that claim to respectability. It's an exhaustive, almost scholarly textural compendium, with a gorgeous, crisply detailed new two-disc transfer of the 1959 film.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/13/2001
  • UPC: 012569550629
  • Rating:

  • Source: Warner Home Video
  • Region Code: 1
  • Aspect Ratio: Theatre Wide-Screen (1.85.1)
  • Presentation: Letterbox
  • Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Language: English, Français
  • Time: 3:32:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Charlton Heston Judah Ben Hur
Stephen Boyd Messala
Jack Hawkins Quintus Arrius
Haya Harareet Esther
Hugh Griffith Sheik Ilderim
Sam Jaffe Simonides
Martha Scott Miriam
Cathy O'Donnell Tirzah
Finlay Currie Balthasar
Frank Thring Pontius Pilate
Terence Longdon Drusus
Andre Morell Sextus
Marina Berti Flavia
George Relph Tiberius
Adi Berber Malluch
Stella Vitelleschi Amrah
Jose Greci Mary
Laurence Payne Joseph
John Horsley Spintho
Richard Coleman Metellus
Duncan Lamont Marius
Ralph Truman Aide to Tiberius
Richard Hale Gaspar
David Davies Quaestor
Dervis Ward Jailer
Mino Doro Gratus
Robert Brown Chief of Rowers
Maxwell Shaw Rower No. 43
Emilio Carrer Rower No. 28
Tutte Lemkow Leper
Howard Lang Hortator
John Le Mesurier Doctor
Stevenson Lang Blind Man
Hector Ross Officer
Al Silvani Man in Nazareth
Enzo Fiermonte Galley Officer
Tiberio Mitri Roman at Bath
Pietro Tordi Pilate's Servant
Jerry Brown The Corinthian
Cliff Lyons Lublon
Joe Yrigoyen Egyptian
Joe Canutt Sportsman
Michael Dugan Seaman
John Glen Rower No. 42
Ferdinand "Ferdy" Mayne Captain of Rescue Ship
Reginald Lal Singh Melchior
Karl Tunberg
Raimondo Van Riel Old Man
Technical Credits
William Wyler Director
Edward C. Carfagno Production Designer
John D. Dunning Editor
Arnold A. Gillespie Special Effects
Elizabeth Haffenden Costumes/Costume Designer
William Horning Art Director
Robert MacDonald Special Effects
Andrew Marton Asst. Director
Miklós Rózsa Score Composer
Robert Surtees Cinematographer
Karl Tunberg Screenwriter
Ralph Winters Editor
Sam Zimbalist Producer
Gore Vidal Source Author
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Scene Index

Side #1 -- Side A: Ben-Hur: Part One
1. Overture
2. Nativity Prologue
3. Credits
4. March Through Nazareth
5. Messala in Command
6. Fighting An Idea
7. Still Close in Every Way
8. A Toast
9. Gifts Exchanged
10. Judah's Choice
11. Esther's Request
12. A Ring for A Kiss
13. March into Jerusalem
14. The Accident
15. Jailbreak Attempt
16. Making an Example
17. Bondage
18. Water From A Stranger
19. Quintus Arrius
20. Ramming Speed
21. Strange, Stubborn Faith
22. Sea Battle Begins
23. Galley Rescues
24. Saving Arrius
25. Victory
26. The Divine Emperor
27. A Son of Arrius
28. Thinking of Judea
29. Balthazar and Ilderim
30. Arabians Night
31. Many Paths to God
32. Homecoming
33. Survivors Reunited
34. "We Stood Here Before"
35. Confronting Messala
36. Finding Miriam and Tirzah
37. Vow in the Darkness
38. "Forget Messala"
39. Intermission
Side #2 -- Side B: Ben-Hur: Part Two
40. Entr'Acte
41. A Wager
42. Chariot Practice
43. "This Is the Day"
44. Chariot Procession
45. The Entrants
46. Early Eliminations
47. Neck and Neck
48. Fallen Driver
49. Judah Triumphant
50. The Race Goes On
51. Valley of the Lepers
52. "Is Judah Well?"
53. Thirsty Still
54. "I Am Judah Ben-Hur"
55. Becoming Messala
56. Recovering Miriam and Tirzah
57. The Young Rabbi Sentenced
58. An Offer of Water
59. The Crucifixion
60. Cleansing Rain
61. "Hallelujah!"
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Menu

Side #1 -- Side A: Ben-Hur: Part One
   Play Movie
   Scene Selections
   Special Features
      Cast & Crew
         Cast
            Charlton Heston
            Jack Hawkins
            Stephen Boyd
            Hugh Griffith
         Crew
            Directed By William Wyler
      Commentary By Charlton Heston
   Languages
      English
      Français
      Subtitles: English
      Subtitles: Français
      Subtitles: Español
      Subtitles: Português
Side #2 -- Side B: Ben-Hur: Part Two
   Play Movie
   Scene Selections
   Special Features
      Cast & Crew
         Charlton Heston
         Jack Hawkins
         Stephen Boyd
         Hugh Griffith
      Crew
         Directed By William Wyler
      Commentary By Charlton Heston
      Ben-Hur-The Making of an Epic
         Introduction
         Publishing Phenomenon
         A Major Stage Production
         The 1907 Short Film
         The 1925 Silent Epic
         Italian Production Woes
         The Chariot Race
         1959: Zimbalist and Wyler
         Italian Locations
         The Sea Battle; No Script
         Lovers Quarrel; Rewrites
         Celebrity Visitors
         Casting an Epic
         "Ben-Hur Killed Him"
         Religious Aspects
         The Score; Matte Shots
         The Chariot Sequence
         P.R. Campaign; Academy Awards
         A Crowning Achievement
         End Credits
      Screen Tests
      Photo Gallery
   Languages
      English
      Français
      Subtitles: English
      Subtitles: Français
      Subtitles: Español
      Subtitles: Português
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    TIMELESS: BEN-HUR IS STILL A GREAT FILM

    This film stands the test of time. It is as relevant now as it was when it was made. Despite the advances made in special effects, all of the action sequences are thoroughly believable. More importantly, the acting, sets, and music combine to make one feel as if one is traveling alongside Judah. Esther is the most believable character, but seeing Charleton Heston at his best is an eye opener. It is easy to see why he was chosen for so many Large roles (and his physique is also of heroic proportions, even by today's standards, and he surely must have embarrassed a few other box office heroes of the time.).

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Ben-Hur Remains the Gold Standard

    Ben-Hur is very possibly the best epic film in the history of motion pictures. In addition to the spectacular sets, outstanding widescreen photography and glorious music, the story is compelling and the acting superb. Very definitely the gold standard by which to judge other films of the epic genre.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Don't believe the hype!

    Maybe I missed something, but this movie wasn't worth what seemed like an eternity of my time. Those are hours of my life that cannot be replaced. The climax of the movie.... a chariot scene......OOOOOOOOh, Ahhhhhhhhh, Snooooooze. Maybe I've been a little spoiled by todays movies, but I will never again watch a movie made before 1974.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Simply the GREATEST

    You won't find top actors doing these dangerous stunts today, most current actors want big money and to hell with acting. Heston and Boyd do a excellent job as child-hood friends that become bitter rivals. The movie does very well in DVD, sea battles, the great race, love interests, etc. make this a must have for any movie buff

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    GREATEST MOVIE EVER MADE

    BEN HUR IS SIMPLY THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER MADE. IT HAS THE BEST DIRECTING ,GREAT ACTING, FANTASTIC SOUNDTRACK, BEAUTIFUL COSTUMES,SPECTACULAR SCENES GREAT STORY AN EPIC DONE WITH REVERENCE AND HUMAN FEELINGS

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    simply the greatest movie of all time!!!!

    i've been a Charlton heston fan for as long as i can remember, I love him....ben hur is just the biggest gift he could have ever given to the world...........

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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