Directed by William Wyler
Nominated for 12 Oscars, Won 11
Up Against: Anatomy of a Murder, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Nun's Story, and Room at the Top
Wow, I can't believe it's been almost two months since I've reviewed a film! I'm so sorry for the delay in everything! But I've been pretty busy. I took a trip out to Los Angeles right after I wrote my last review, and from there I've been working funny hours that lets me only watch movies on Saturday and Sundays, and those days I'm usually busy being with friends (ok, my boyfriend), and just relaxing, not feeling like watching a 3 hour epic. But I thought I'd hunker down and get this movie done! That, and it finally, finally arrived for me at the library and I couldn't renew it since it's so popular. But I promise I'll be more solid on my reviews. My review for Argo (which I'm seeing tomorrow) will be up over the weekend sometime, and I'll get around the Sound of Music soon!
But for now,
Judah Ben-Hur is a Jewish prince living in Jerusalem during the time of Christ. His old friend Messala, an officer in the Roman legions, returns home, they find their varying views on religion and politics seperate them. After a disagreement, the Roman legion rides through town, with their new governor. Judah and his sister watch from a balconey above, and stones get loose and fall upon the parade. Messala and the rest of the legion barracade the house, and Messala, still angered by their disagreement, has no mercy upon Judah, his sister, and his mother, throwing them into jail. After Judah escapes and confronts Messala, he is sent to be rower in the galleys of a war ship, while his sister and mother stay in jail. Judah swears he will come back for his family, and for revenge on Messala. And he comes back in a way no one imagined.
Ben-Hur is that movie that's always on TV around Easter time, and seems to be on the entire day. Sitting at 222 minutes (or 3 hours and 43 minutes for those of you counting), it's considered a great historical epic. At the time, it was the most expensive film ever made, costing somewhere around $15 million.
A remake of a silent film, based off the 1880 book by Lew Wallace, it took several years until it finally went into production. With several legends turning down the role of Judah (including Paul Newman, Marlon Brando, and Kirk Douglas, after finally settling on Charlton Heston.)
In all honesty, I really really enjoyed this movie! The cinematography was beautiful, the costumes were great, and Charlton Heston was really, really great. But most of all, it was fast moving, it was a "rags-to-riches" story. (Or actually, more of a riches-to-rags-to-riches revenge movie..). Being a Christian, I really have an appreciation for Biblical epics (even if this wasn't necessarily Biblical). Most people, I would assume, just dismiss this movie, and it's whole storyline with Jesus and the Crucifixion.
But, obviously, the winning prize, the crown jewel, of the film was the chariot race. Not only was it exciting to watch, but it was impeccably filmed. The parade with all the chariots, around the ring, was honestly so spectacular, how trained the horses were, the cinematography, the music, etc. But seriously, it was really the best part of the movie, and is well deserved as being thought of as a influential and iconic moment in cinema.
Overall, I don't have all that many complaints about the film really. Well-acted, looked amazing, etc. It truly did deserve every Oscar it won, and deserves to be remembered as one of the 3 films that won the most Oscars. And it deserves to be remembered as a classic film.