Ben-Hur (1959)

Ben-Hur (1959)


Ben-Hur's deservedly famous chariot racing scene occupies 20 minutes of a relentlessly epic 212 minutes of screen time, but much else besides happens in this famous 'Tale of the Christ'. Opening with a full overture played against Michelangelo's ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, you know that you're in for something unembarrassed by its own grandiosity. Dodgy Judean masonry drops wealthy prince, Ben-Hur (Chuckles Heston) in big trouble when he is framed for an attempt on a Roman governor's life. Condemned to the galleys, his wife and sister imprisoned, he prays for vengeance on his old friend, Messala (Stephen Boyd), now an officer of the Roman legions, and sets about achieving it. This is the gospel according to Hollywood where no amount of messianic jabber about forgiveness can halt the inevitable drive towards gory comeuppance. (Source: BBC)

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