Director: William Wyler
Entertainment grade: B–
History grade: C
During the first century Ad, the Roman empire took control of the Mediterranean. The eastern province of Judaea was ruled by prefects Valerius Gratus from 15-26Ad and Pontius Pilate from 26-36Ad.
Lew Wallace, previously a general in the American civil war, wrote his epic Ben-Hur in 1880, when he was governor of New Mexico territory. To the modern reader its appeal may be difficult to unlock, but Wallace's pious, turgid and contrived novel was a massive 19th-century bestseller. Despite the subtitle, A Tale of the Christ, Jesus of Nazareth is an incidental character. The film's director, William Wyler, avoids showing his face. "The Christian world would not tolerate a novel with Jesus Christ its hero,