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Ben Hur

"an all-time classic"

"old fashioned cinema at its best"

"Far, far better than the modern Gladiator"

"Widescreen Version"

Ben Hur with Charlton Heston and Jack Hawkins

Review

A man who defies the Romans brings tragedy to himself and his family. Set against the back-drop of the life of Jesus. Winner of eleven Academy Awards. This biblical epic is best remembered for its breath-taking chariot race. Based on a novel by Lew Wallace. Includes the original theatrical trailer.

The biggest (and arguably the best) from Hollywood's Golden Age of Epic, Ben-Hur cost a staggering 15 million dollars in 1959 and was one of the largest film productions ever undertaken: the Circus Maximus set alone, constructed for the climactic chariot race, covered 18 acres and was filled with 40,000 tons of Mediterranean sand. Fittingly the movie scooped an unprecedented 11 Academy Awards that year, an achievement only equalled 30 years later by Titanic. Director William Wyler, never sacrifices the human focus of the story in favour of spectacle. Charlton Heston as Judah Ben-Hur dominates an appropriately vast ensemble cast, while the majestic musical score adds immeasurably to the occasion.

On the debit side, at four hours it's a long haul and, given the movie's theatrical aspect ratio is 2.76:1 it's a great movie but one best seen on the biggest screen possible.

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