starring Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins, Haya Harareet, Stephen Boyd
screenplay by Karl Tunberg, based on the novel by Lew Wallace
directed by William Wyler
Editor's Note: Warner has just reissued Ben-Hur on Blu-ray minus the third disc and material bonuses of the box set, although this release does include the commentary and isolated music score. Technical specs remain unchanged.
by Jefferson Robbins Charlton Heston's Judah Ben-Hur is a Jew in a Roman world, but his emotional journey is all Greek. It's 26 AD, and Judah's bond of friendship, his philia, with Roman noble Messala (Stephen Boyd), is sorely tested. When this bond breaks and Judah's entire family suffers under the Roman version of justice, his romantic love, eros, for his servant's daughter, Esther (Haya Harareet), is smothered by hate and vengefulness. What is left him? Only a really bitchin' chariot race--the paramount action-chase scene in movie history, not matched for twenty years (see below) and still never bettered--and the hope of agape, the love and yearning between Man and God. This faithful but frustrated son of the Torah must learn that path through brushing contact with the new rabbi in town: a humble carpenter's son, bound for glory on the Hill of Skulls.