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.
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 #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