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Ben-Hur (50th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition) [Blu-ray] (2011)

Charlton Heston , Jack Hawkins , William Wyler  |  G |  Blu-ray
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,062 customer reviews)

List Price: $64.99
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Ben Hur (1959)   $2.99 $9.99

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Multi-Format 4-Disc Version --  
Blu-ray 2-Disc Version $14.80  
  50th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition $39.99  
DVD 2-Disc Version $10.67  
Other [VHS] $10.10  
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Ben-Hur (50th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition) [Blu-ray] + The Ten Commandments [Blu-ray] + The Robe [Blu-ray]
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Product Details

  • Actors: Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins, Haya Harareet, Stephen Boyd
  • Directors: William Wyler
  • Writers: Karl Tunberg
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Blu-ray, Collector's Edition, Dolby, NTSC, Original recording remastered, Restored, Widescreen
  • Language: Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English, French, German, Spanish
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.55:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: G (General Audience)
  • Studio: Warner Bros.
  • DVD Release Date: September 27, 2011
  • Run Time: 212 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,062 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0013MYB9K
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,765 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Ben-Hur (50th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition) [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

Special Features

Discs 1 and 2: Movie
- The 1959 Winner of a Record-Setting 11 Academy Awards®*, including Best Picture, Actor (Charlton Heston) and Director (William Wyler) – Restored frame by frame from the original 65MM camera negative and remastered in stunning 1080p high definition for maximum picture and audio clarity
- Commentary by film historian T. Gene Hatcher with Charlton Heston
- Music-only track showcasing Miklos Rozsa’s award-winning score
- Theatrical Trailers

Disc 3: Special Features
- New Feature Length Documentary: Charlton Heston & Ben-Hur: A Personal Journey - Retrospective on the Ben-Hur star, written and directed by his son Fraser C. Heston, featuring never-before-available images and footage from the Heston Family archives
- The 1925 Silent Version – Thames Television
- Restoration with Stereophonic Orchestral Score by Carl Davis
- Vintage Documentaries: Ben-Hur: The Epic That Changed Cinema and Ben-Hur: The Making of an Epic
- Ben-Hur: A Journey Through Pictures – Audiovisual recreation via stills, storyboards, sketches, music and dialogue
- Screen Tests
- Highlights from the 1960 Academy Awards® Telecast
- Newsreels
- Monumental Collectibles!
- Charlton Heston: The Ben-Hur Diaries - Reproduction of Charlton Heston’s personal and insightful diary from January 1958 to April 1960, chronicling his time before production started through the Academy Awards
- Exclusive book with rare photos, production art and reproductions from the original theatrical pressbook

Editorial Reviews

High-definition Blu-ray hits greater heights with the arrival of the visual splendor, thundering action and towering drama of this record-setting winner of 11 Academy Awards®* including Best Picture. Charlton Heston brings a muscular physical and moral presence to his Best Actor Oscar®-winning role of Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish nobleman in Palestine whose heroic odyssey includes enslavement by the Romans, vengeance against his tormentors during a furious arena chariot race and fateful encounters with Jesus Christ. Best Director Oscar® winner William Wyler masterfully grips the reins of an enduring and spellbinding spectacular.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
407 of 424 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Biblical masterpiece December 4, 2005
Format:DVD
William Wyler's Oscar-winning BEN-HUR (1959), produced by Sam Zimbalist (who died of a heart attack near the end of filming) and based on a best-selling late 19th Century novel by Lew Wallace, is one hell of a movie experience. Watching a brand-new, pristine camera negative copy, I could not believe that the opening Nativity scene and the Resurrection finale were the same movie. There is just so much here. This remake of the 1925 silent epic, runs 3 hours and 45 minutes, including powerful roadshow bookend music by Miklos Rozsa. It takes its leisurely time in telling the story of a Jew (Charlton Heston) and a Roman (Stephen Boyd), raised as best friends, who become bitter enemies in the Holy Land of Jesus Christ's life. Director Wyler was always known as a painstaking perfectionist who would exhaust cast and crew by doing take after take after take of every scene. But the result for the audience is enthralling.

Wyler had never made a Biblical epic before and wanted to work in every genre; his BEN-HUR is the one with a literate brain. It is hard to believe it had major writing problems, multiple writers, and scenes written the night before they would be filmed. It flows beautifully and is continually engrossing, despite its near four hour length. The cast is impeccable, including Martha Scott, Cathy O'Donnell, Jack Hawkins, lovely Haya Harareet, and Oscar winner Hugh Griffith.

If you are looking for the sea battle (directed by Andrew Marton), it is about 70 minutes into part one. If you are seeking out the greatest chariot race in movie history (choreographed and directed by Yakima Canutt), it is about ten minutes after the intermission. The Christ scenes are handled with taste and subtlety; we see only his back or his hand and never hear his voice.
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198 of 212 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Incredible Blu Ray Boxed Set! September 26, 2011
Format:Blu-ray
I WOULD GIVE THIS RELEASE 10 STARS if Amazon allowed me to!

Ben-Hur is one of my all time favorite films. It is probably the single greatest performance ever given by Charlton Heston and the greatest epic ever filmed until the Lord of the Rings trilogy came along but still it holds it's head high and remains a timeless classic, just as good as it ever was, maybe better today!

Much has been written about the film itself, so my review will just cover the actual Blu Ray presentation and the included extras.

Many sets have been released with much ballyhoo and assorted trinkets and swag included in the box. Much of it is useless stuff you look at once, then put away and never see again. This is NOT the case with the Ben-Hur boxed set. Everything you get in this box set is of high quality and compliments the film itself. Speaking of the box itself, it is a very VERY nice embossed keepsake box that is protected by an outer covering and when opened reveals the film along with two books. The three included discs are housed in a nice glossy fold out container with full color high quality printed photographs both inside and outside. The presentation is gorgeous, a real head turner.

You get the film, Ben-Hur spread over two BD 50GB discs for maximum quality and zero compression artifacts and presented in it's original aspect ratio of 2.76:1. This is basically the widest of the wide screen formats, filmed in luscious 70mm with 65mm used for picture information and the remaining 5% used for the original 6 track magnetic soundtrack. Ben-Hur was painstakingly restored, in fact it took them so much time that the actual 50th Anniversary of Ben-Hur was missed by a few years in order to provide us with the BEST picture and sound possible.
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91 of 98 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Low cost Blu-ray alternative March 8, 2012
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
Great movie. My primary concern when I ordered was the movie would be cropped to 1.77:1. Based on information from other sources, I took a chance. Fortunately, the product details above are wrong. The back cover says the aspect ratio is 2.76:1, not 1.77:1. On my TV, it measures out around 2.65:1. It looks like this is discs 1 & 2 from the Ultimate Edition, so if you can forgo the books, nice case, and the special features on disc 3, this is a low cost alternative.
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124 of 139 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ben Hur----- DVD Bliss*********** March 3, 2001
Format:DVD
This film when it was released in 1959 saw it's studio MGM teetering on the edge of bankruptcy and the fact that this film cost in 1958 close to $15 Million dollars was most assuredly a make or break film for the studio.
William Wyler the film's director, in order to make this film unique as if a running time close to four hours was not enough, filmed it in an aspect ratio of 2.76:1 using what was called MGM Camera 65, an Ultra Panavision process.
This film was one of only two films that were filmed in that process which is the widest of processes used in film to date.
Filmed utilizing 8000 extras, 300 sets, and over 100,000 costume changes this film epitomizes the word grand and released a few years after the Ten Commandments, it helped quench the public thirst for Biblical films.
This new DVD release is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and the LFE channel(Low Frequency Effects) is apparent on two standout scenes, the Sea Battle scene, and the now infamous chariot scene which last close to 11 minutes.
There are quite a few special features on this DVD release most of which appear on side two of this disc including a documentary, Ben Hur: The Making Of An Epic, which is just under an hour long.
There was an open casting call for the lead role in this film and they have included on this DVD the original screen tests by Leslie Nielsen, and Cesare Danova which are interesting to see even though the quality of the audio and video are not up to the level of the film itself.
Also included are storyboard art and posters as well as film biographies of the cast with pictures of them in character from the film.
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