On DVD

Ben-Hur

PLUGGED IN RATING

Watch This Review

Movie Review

Winner of eleven Oscars, Ben-Hur remains one of the most inspirational, reverent spectacles ever made by a major Hollywood studio—an uplifting adventure full of subtle life lessons.

Charlton Heston portrays Judah Ben-Hur, a kind, wealthy Jew whose life is thrown into turmoil when he is betrayed and falsely accused of crimes against Rome. Judah spends three years as a galley slave before heroics restore him to high standing and a chance to exact revenge on his enemies. But will he repay evil with evil? Vital to Judah's story—and his resolution of conflicting passions—is a gentle carpenter from Nazareth who, though rarely seen, is the real Hero of this film.

Soul-stirring scenes of Christ's birth and crucifixion provide biblical bookends for MGM's action-packed epic. In between, the story exalts love, loyalty, perseverance, forgiveness, faith, nobility, healing and a sacrificial commitment to family. Parents and teen viewers may also want to discuss:

— What was conveyed through Judah and Esther's brief encounters with Jesus?

— How did Messala's ambition negatively impact his character? (Hab. 2:4-5)

— What is leprosy, and how is this disease a lot like bitterness and hatred?

— How did Judah's work with the sheik's horses illustrate how individuals' differences can make a team stronger?

— How was Judah's enslavement both physical and spiritual? (Key line: "I felt His voice take the sword out of my hand.")

Though rated G, two intense and occasionally violent scenes (a battle at sea and the famous chariot race) make PG a more appropriate label for families with young children.

Like the $200 million Titanic, Ben-Hur was the costliest film ever made at the time of its release—$15 million in 1959. That paid for 300 sets, 50,000 extras, 100,000 costumes and a God-honoring message that makes Ben-Hur a vintage blockbuster.

Advertisement

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Awards

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

G

Readability Age Range

Genre

Drama

Author

Cast

Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins, Stephen Boyd, Haya Harareet, Hugh Griffith

Director

William Wyler and Andrew Marton

Distributor

MGM

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

In Theaters

Year Published

Reviewer

Bob Smithouser Bob Smithouser