Ben-Hur Review

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Jewish prince Judah Ben-Hur is betrayed by his childhood pal, who gets him thrown in the galleys. He escapes, gets adopted by a Roman captain and returns to confront his betrayer.


Still making waves in movies today - from The Phantom Menace's Podrace to the whole of Gladiator - little can come close to captivating the grandeur and epic quality of William Wyler's magnificent bum numb-er.

Shot in over nine months at Rome's Cincittà studio (the outdoor sets built for the chariot race - the largest ever built - are still impressive) and forged without a pixel in sight, set-pieces such as the galley ship insurrection and chariot race still fuel the blood. Yet Wyler doesn't fluff the human drama - Jewish nobleman Judah Ben-Hur (Heston) is betrayed by lifelong friend Messala (Boyd) and takes vengeance - that's anchored by a barnstorming central performance by the mighty Chuck.

William Wyler's magnificant epic arrives with an informative documentary but not much else to recommend the extras.