Best Movies by Farr
Ben-Hur Poster
Released Runtime Category
1959 222 Action/Adventure
Director Language
William Wyler English
Charlton Heston, Stephen Boyd, Haya Harareet, Jack Hawkins, Martha Scott


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What's it About

In the first century A.D., at a time when Jesus Christ is roaming Palestine spreading radical new teachings, Jewish prince Judah Ben-Hur (Heston) and his family are living comfortably in Judea. But when Ben-Hur refuses to assist his childhood friend Massala (Boyd), now an ambitious Roman politician, in the rounding up of imperial dissidents, Massala frames him for murder. Robbed of his life and liberties, and enslaved on a galley ship, Ben-Hur embarks on a lifelong odyssey of vengeance against his malefactor. 

Why we love it

One of MGM's finest widescreen spectacles, involving thousands of extras, over 300 sets (including a life-size replica of a Roman hippodrome), and a cadre of stunt coordinators, this massive production nearly bankrupted the studio when first produced. But the payoff was equally grand: Heston's Oscar-winning performance and a hefty box-office gross validated the costs of operating on such a vast canvas. It is also epic filmmaking at its best, featuring a mesmerizing escape at sea and the most thrilling, heart-poundingly authentic chariot race ever seen on film — clocking in at 20 minutes, no less! Majestic in scale, yet sensitive in its portrayal of a vengeful man touched by his encounters with Christ, "Ben-Hur" is a monumental entertainment directed with unwavering commitment and faultless taste by old pro William Wyler.

BEST MOVIES BY FARR is your personal guide to great movies to rent, stream, or buy; to watch at home or on-the-go. Led by film advocate John Farr, the Best Movies by Farr team works as a "quality filter" for the discerning moviegoer. Every day, we bring you the best of the best, the fantastic familiar films and hidden gems, to answer that age-old question: "What should we watch tonight?"