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Ben-Hur (1959)

Charlton Heston , Jack Hawkins , William Wyler  |  G |  DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (935 customer reviews)

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Multi-Format 4-Disc Version --  
Blu-ray 2-Disc Version $14.49  
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  Full Screen Edition $16.62  
Other [VHS] 35th Anniversary Edition $18.97  

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Product Details

  • Actors: Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins, Stephen Boyd, Haya Harareet, Hugh Griffith
  • Directors: William Wyler
  • Writers: Christopher Fry, Gore Vidal, Karl Tunberg, Lew Wallace, Maxwell Anderson
  • Producers: Joseph Vogel
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: G (General Audience)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: June 1, 2004
  • Run Time: 212 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (935 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000056BP4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,812 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Ben-Hur" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Documentary Ben Hur: The Making of an Epic
  • Newly discovered screen tests of the final and near-final cast including Leslie Nielson, Cesare Danova, and Haya Harareet
  • Addition of the seldom-heard Overture and Entr'acte music
  • On-the-set photo gallery featuring Wyler, producer Sam Zimbalist, cameraman Robert Surtees, and others

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

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

Product Description

After his boyhood friend Messala's fanatic loyalty to Rome makes him a powerful enemy, Judah Ben-Hur is found guilty of an attempted murder he did not commit. His family is banished and he is enslaved on a warship. Through his ferocity in a raging sea battle, he is able to escape and become a horse trainer. To exact his revenge, Ben-Hur decides to compete against Messala in the Roman chariot races. They race, locked in a battle to the death. Barely surviving, Ben-Hur forsakes the sword for Christ and finally finds redemption. Winner of a record 11 Academy Award, including Best Picture and Actor (Charlton Heston).

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
398 of 415 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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187 of 198 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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86 of 90 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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119 of 134 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic
Just classic. Good flick, good Truth. It was remade the last few years and a lot of junk put into it. I wouldn't watch the newer one.
Published 2 days ago by Jenese Garland
4.0 out of 5 stars Long, but very good
I had never seen Ben Hur, but I thought it would be cool to watch. Charleston Heston is exactly as fabulous in this role as you might expect. Read more
Published 3 days ago by JustSayin'
1.0 out of 5 stars poor colors
the quality of the movie iv very poor
Very Dark colors - But the movie is very good-
I will recommend the movie
Published 7 days ago by margherita balasco
5.0 out of 5 stars Ben Hur Blu ray Movie info
This movie blu ray contains subtitles in Spanish? Please, I need that information to make the purchase. Thank you so much.
Published 8 days ago by Elizabeth Talledo Neyra
1.0 out of 5 stars SENT MOVIE THAT WILL NOT PLAY I USA.
THIS PLACE SELL STUFF TO A PLACE THAT THEY KNOW IT WILL NOT PLAY, BUT THEY SELL ANYWAY , BEWARE
Published 8 days ago by reed66
5.0 out of 5 stars Good DVD Source
Classic film--one of the greatest. They don't make movies like this anymore. Pity. One of the great stories of all timel
Published 8 days ago by nablmc
5.0 out of 5 stars It's A Great Movie And Holds Up After 50 Plus Years.
Definitely great movie making and powerful performances. This is a two disk set and runs 220 minutes. One of the best action sequences ever filmed (the chariot race). Read more
Published 9 days ago by Holly
5.0 out of 5 stars Good buy
Grought back memories of how they made movies "back when". Wonderful. Loved the musical soundtrack....and of course the film itself.
Published 11 days ago by CBodie
5.0 out of 5 stars A cinematic masterpiece about faith and restoration
I love this movie but do not call it a biblical masterpiece because it only refers to Jesus and employs several of his life's major incidents(his birth, his sermon on the mount,... Read more
Published 11 days ago by Jaime Contreras
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Chariot Race
This is one of the best moives I have ever had. I loved it when it was new and I still love it. Heston is one of my favorite actors... Read more
Published 14 days ago by Mamie Thomas
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Defective BluRay discs? What to do?
Question... At this moment, I just made an order, is that, a failed run?? of this box set??
Feb 19, 2012 by Pablo D. Villarroel |  See all 4 posts
Languages and subtitles
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
German Dolby Digital 5.1
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1
Castillian Dolby Digital 5.1
Portuguese Monaural
Czech Dolby Digital 5.1
Hungarian Monaural
Polish Dolby Digital... Read more
Sep 15, 2011 by Javier Sopena Mas |  See all 12 posts
Region coding
Do you mean the DVD or Blu-ray? Region 4 is a DVD region. Check on Amazon's UK website as some Warner Brothers DVDs are dual-coded Regions 2 and 4 (PAL).

If you mean the Blu-ray, it is region-free. So far all Warner Brothers and Universal Blu-rays released worldwide have been region-free. Again... Read more
Oct 26, 2011 by Christopher Jones |  See all 6 posts
Weight of the box set?
Walmart has a shipping weight of 3.64 pounds and Target estimates it at 3.63 pounds.
Sep 28, 2011 by JASON M |  See all 3 posts
Documentary Not On DVD?
you can get the documentary on a DvD that is billed as a double bill: Love Trap and the documentary Directed by William Wyler.
Mar 16, 2011 by G. Hall |  See all 2 posts
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