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Best Picture Collection, Vol. 1: Epic Dramas

Best Picture Collection, Vol. 1: Epic Dramas

This 1959 version of Lew Wallace's best-selling novel, which had already seen screen versions in 1907 and 1926, went on to win 11 Academy Awards. Adapted by Karl Tunberg and a raft of uncredited writers including Gore Vidal and Maxwell Anderson, the film once more recounts the


This 1959 version of Lew Wallace's best-selling novel, which had already seen screen versions in 1907 and 1926, went on to win 11 Academy Awards. Adapted by Karl Tunberg and a raft of uncredited writers including Gore Vidal and Maxwell Anderson, the film once more recounts the tale of Jewish prince Judah Ben-Hur (Charlton Heston), who lives in Judea with his family during the time that Jesus Christ was becoming known for his "radical" teachings. Ben-Hur's childhood friend Messala (Stephen Boyd) is now an ambitious Roman tribune; when Ben-Hur refuses to help Messala round up local dissidents on behalf of the Emperor, Messala pounces on the first opportunity to exact revenge on his onetime friend. Framed on a charge of attempting to kill the provincial governor, Ben-Hur is condemned to the Roman galleys, while his mother (Martha Scott) and sister (Cathy O'Donnell) are imprisoned. But during a sea battle, Ben-Hur saves the life of commander Quintus Arrius (Jack Hawkins), who, in gratitude, adopts Ben-Hur as his son and gives him full control over his stable of racing horses. Ben-Hur never gives up trying to find his family or exact revenge on Messala. At crucial junctures in his life, he also crosses the path of Jesus, and each time he benefits from it. The highlight of the film's 212 minutes is its now-legendary chariot race, staged largely by stunt expert Yakima Canutt. Ben-Hur's Oscar haul included Best Picture, Best Director for the legendary William Wyler, Best Actor for Heston, and Best Supporting Actor for British actor Hugh Griffith as an Arab sheik.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Kryssa Schemmerling
OK, so Casablanca isn't technically an epic, but it is perhaps the most beloved and iconic of all American movies, which is why it's included in this trio of films entitled Best Picture Collection: Epic Dramas -- Volume 2. All three films won Academy Awards for Best Picture; Casablanca also nabbed Oscars for Best Director and Best Screenplay. Almost as popular as the Humphrey Bogart-Ingrid Bergman classic, and more undeniably epic, is Gone with the Wind, the sprawling Civil War drama starring Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable that won a whopping 10 Oscars. Ben-Hur topped even that, winning a total of 11. William Wyler's stirring Bible epic features an unforgettable performance by Charlton Heston, as well as the most famous chariot race in screen history. Both the discs for Ben-Hur and Casablanca are accompanied by numerous extras, including documentaries, outtakes, and screen tests, making this box set a valuable addition to any screen library.

Product Details

Release Date:
Warner Home Video
Region Code:
[B&W, Letterbox]
[Dolby Digital Mono, Dolby Digital Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]

Special Features

Ben-Hur: Feature-length audio Commentary by Charlton Heston; documentary: "Ben-Hur: The Making of an Epic"; screen tests; photo gallery; cast/director career highlights. Casablanca : Documentary: "You Must Remember This" hosted by Lauren Bacall and featuring recently unearthed outtakes; all-new introduction by Lauren Bacall; theatrical trailer

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!"
Side #3 -- Casablanca
1. Main Title [1:11]
2. The Refugee Roundup [3:46]
3. major Strasser [1:32]
4. It Had to Be You [2:21]
5. Rick...& Ugarte [3:50]
6. Knock on Wood [1:13]
7. Ferrari, Yvonne & Henri [3:24]
8. Baby Face/About Victor [3:20]
9. Ugarte's Arrest [2:06]
10. Sitting With Strasser [2:32]
11. Victor & Ilsa [3:39]
12. Tango Delle Rose [2:16]
13. "Play It, Sam" [2:16]
14. Table for 4, Eyes for 1 [2:35]
15. "Of All the Gin Joints" [2:46]
16. Memories of Paris [3:22]
17. "Here's Looking at You" [5:34]
18. Ilsa's Story [3:46]
19. Detained [3:01]
20. At the Blue Parrot [2:04]
21. "My Husband" [1:49]
22. Visa for One [2:35]
23. Everybody Comes to Rick's [3:34]
24. Is Renault Trustworthy? [2:31]
25. "Les Jeux Sont Faits" [3:33]
26. Victor's Plea [1:11]
27. The Mighty Marseillaise [3:34]
28. "Were You Lonely?" [3:51]
29. Ilsa's Plea [3:46]
30. Ilsa's Story Continues [2:21]
31. "A Close One" [3:25]
32. Rick Arranges A Deal [3:09]
33. Visa Versa [3:18]
34. "We'll Always Have Paris" [2:18]
35. A Gentleman's Explanation [1:41]
36. "A Beautiful Friendship" [3:09]
Side #4 -- Side A: Gone With the Wind
1. Overture
2. Logo/Main Title
3. Introduction
4. The Tarleton Twins
5. Love of the Land
6. Dressing Scarlett
7. Twelve Oaks
8. Introducing Rhett
9. Scarlett's Admirers
10. The Debate
11. Declaration of Love
12. The Proposal
13. The Widow
14. Atlanta Bazaar
15. Rhett's Gift
16. After Gettysburg
17. Christmas Furlough
18. Belle's Donation
19. Under Attack
20. Siege
21. The Wounded
22. Prissy Finds Rhett
23. Burning of Atlanta
24. Rhett's New Resolve
25. The Journey Home
26. Return to Tara
27. Scarlett's Pledge
28. Intermission
Side #5 -- Side B: Gone With the Wind
1. Entr' Acte
2. Sherman!
3. Working the Land
4. Yankee Visitor
5. War's End
6. Ashley's Return
7. Pa's Accident
8. Ready to Wear
9. Appeal to Rhett
10. Kennedy's Store
11. The Lumber Mill
12. Shanty Town Assault
13. The Men Return
14. Melanie and Belle
15. Rhett's Proposal
16. The Honeymoon
17. Bonnie Blue's Birth
18. The Old Days
19. Surprise Party
20. Taking Scarlett
21. The Morning After
22. Bonnie in London
23. Scarlett's Fall
24. Bonnie's Accident
25. Melanie's Last Wish
26. "Frankly, My Dear"
27. The End
28. Exit Music

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