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Sales Rank: 4,024
Actors: Ramon Novarro, Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins, Stephen Boyd, Francis X. Bushman Director: Charles Brabin Rating: Features: Box set, Closed-captioned, Collector's Edition, Color, Widescreen, NTSC Running Time: 222 minutes Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 Release Date: September 13, 2005 Theatrical Release Date: 1959 Studio: Warner Home Video
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The numbers speak volumes: 100,000 costumes, 8,000 extras, 300 sets and a staggering budget in its day the largest in movie history. Ben-Hur's creators made it the best, the greatest Biblical-era epic ever. Charlton Heston brings a muscular physical and moral presence to the role of Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish nobleman in Palestine whose heroic odyssey includes enslavement by the Romans, a bold escape from an embattled slave galley, vengeance against his tormentors during a furious arena chariot race and fateful encounters with Jesus Christ. Heston's charismatic performance brought him the Best Actor Oscar; the winner as 1959's Best Picture with the legendary William Wyler earning his third Best Director trophy, the film won a total 11 Academy Awards -- a tally unequaled until 1997's Titanic set sail.
DVD Features: Audio Commentary:Commentary by Film Historian T. Gene Hatcher with Scene Specific Comments from Charlton Heston Documentaries:New Documentary: Ben-Hur: The Epic That Changed Cinema - Current filmmakers such as Ridley Scott and George Lucas reflect on the importance and influence of the film 1994 Documentary: Ben-Hur: The Making of an Epic Hosted by Christopher Plummer Directed by William Wyler - 1986 Emmy Award-nominated documentary featuring the last interview with Wyler before his death Featurette:Ben-Hur: A Journey Through Pictures - New audiovisual recreation of the film via stills, storyboards, sketches, music and dialogue Other:The 1925 Feature-length Silent Version of Ben-Hur with a stereophonic orchestral score by composer Carl Davis. Vintage Newsreels Gallery Highlights from the 1960 Academy Awards Ceremony Theatrical Trailer Gallery Outtakes:Screen Tests: Leslie Nielsen and Cesare Danova Leslie Nielsen and Yale Wexler George Baker and William Russel Haya Harareet Hair and Make-up Tests
Ben-Hur scooped an unprecedented 11 Academy Awards® in 1959 and, unlike some later rivals, richly deserved every single one. This is epic filmmaking on a scale that had not been seen before and is unlikely ever to be seen again. But it's not just running time or a cast of thousands that makes an epic, it's the subject matter, and here the subject--Prince Judah Ben-Hur Charlton Heston and his estrangement from old Roman pal Messala Stephen Boyd--is rich, detailed, and sensitively handled. Director William Wyler, who had been a junior assistant on MGM's original silent version back in 1925, never sacrifices the human focus of the story in favor of spectacle, and is aided immeasurably by Miklos Rozsa's majestic musical score, arguably the greatest ever written for a Hollywood picture. At four hours it's a long haul especially given some of the portentous dialogue, but all in all, Ben-Hur is a great movie, best seen on the biggest screen possible. --Mark Walker