7.8/10
6,904
56 user 25 critic

Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925)

Not Rated | | Adventure, Drama, Romance | 8 October 1927 (USA)
A Jewish prince seeks to find his family and revenge himself upon his childhood friend who had him wrongly imprisoned.

Directors:

Fred Niblo, Charles Brabin (uncredited) | 3 more credits »

Writers:

Lew Wallace (novel) (as General Lew Wallace), June Mathis (adaptation) | 3 more credits »
Reviews
Popularity
1,999 ( 11,696)
1 win. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Adventure | Action
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Seeking revenge, an athletic young man joins the pirate band responsible for his father's death.

Director: Albert Parker
Stars: Douglas Fairbanks, Billie Dove, Tempe Pigott
Certificate: Passed Biography | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

After hearing the story of Moses, the sons of a devout Christian mother go their own ways, while the atheist brother's breaking of the Ten Commandments leads to tragedy.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Theodore Roberts, Charles de Rochefort, Estelle Taylor
The Wind (1928)
Drama | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A frail young woman from the east moves in with her cousin in the west, where she causes tension within the family and is slowly driven mad.

Director: Victor Sjöström
Stars: Lillian Gish, Lars Hanson, Montagu Love
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Jesus Christ faces religious and political oppression during his ministry and in the days before his death and resurrection.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: H.B. Warner, Dorothy Cumming, Ernest Torrence
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A young American soldier witnesses the horrors of the Great War.

Directors: King Vidor, George W. Hill
Stars: John Gilbert, Renée Adorée, Hobart Bosworth
La Bohème (1926)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A group of starving artists try to survive in 1830s Paris, including a seamstress and the would-be playwright she loves.

Director: King Vidor
Stars: Lillian Gish, John Gilbert, Renée Adorée
Way Down East (1920)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A naive country girl is tricked into a sham marriage by a wealthy womanizer, then must rebuild her life despite the taint of having borne a child out of wedlock.

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Lillian Gish, Richard Barthelmess, Mrs. David Landau
Action | Adventure | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The young Gascon D'Artagnan arrives in Paris, his heart set on joining the king's Musketeers. He is taken under the wings of three of the most respected and feared Musketeers, Porthos, ... See full summary »

Director: Fred Niblo
Stars: Adolphe Menjou, Mary MacLaren, Nigel De Brulier
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Childhood friends are torn apart when one of them marries the woman the other once fiercely loved.

Director: Clarence Brown
Stars: John Gilbert, Greta Garbo, Lars Hanson
Arsenic and Old Lace (TV Movie 1969)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A drama critic learns on his wedding day that his beloved maiden aunts are homicidal maniacs, and that insanity runs in his family.

Director: Robert Scheerer
Stars: Helen Hayes, Bob Crane, Lillian Gish
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An extended family split up in France and Germany find themselves on opposing sides of the battlefield during World War I.

Director: Rex Ingram
Stars: Rudolph Valentino, Alice Terry, Pomeroy Cannon
Certificate: Passed Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

After having a child out of wedlock, a young Puritan woman is pressured to reveal the name of her lover.

Director: Victor Sjöström
Stars: Lillian Gish, Lars Hanson, Henry B. Walthall
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Ramon Novarro ... Ben-Hur
Francis X. Bushman ... Messala
May McAvoy ... Esther
Betty Bronson ... Mary
Claire McDowell ... Princess of Hur
Kathleen Key ... Tirzah
Carmel Myers ... Iras
Nigel De Brulier ... Simonides (as Nigel de Brulier)
Mitchell Lewis ... Sheik Ilderim
Leo White ... Sanballat
Frank Currier ... Arrius
Charles Belcher Charles Belcher ... Balthazar
Dale Fuller ... Amrah
Winter Hall ... Joseph
Edit

Storyline

Erstwhile childhood friends, Judah Ben-Hur and Messala meet again as adults, this time with Roman officer Messala as conqueror and Judah as a wealthy, though conquered, Israelite. A slip of a brick during a Roman parade causes Judah to be sent off as a galley slave, his property confiscated and his mother and sister imprisoned. Years later, as a result of his determination to stay alive and his willingness to aid his Roman master, Judah returns to his homeland an exalted and wealthy Roman athlete. Unable to find his mother and sister, and believing them dead, he can think of nothing else than revenge against Messala. Written by Doug Sederberg <vornoff@sonic.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

BEN-HUR is a picture that brings to your door the realms of beauty and magnificance never before conceived by man; it unfolds before your eyes scenes so aw-inspiring in their grandeur, so poignant and breathtaking in their tremendous action that it will enthrall you from beginning to end. (Print Ad- Cody Enterprise, ((Cody, Wyo.)) 29 February 1928) See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 October 1927 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ben-Hur See more »

Filming Locations:

Anzio, Rome, Lazio, Italy See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$3,950,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (restored)

Sound Mix:

Silent

Color:

Color (2-strip Technicolor) (nine sequences)| Black and White (tinted)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The first attempt to film the chariot race was on a set in Rome, but there were problems with shadows and the racetrack surface. Then one of the chariots' wheels came apart and the stuntman driving it was thrown in the air and killed. See also Ben-Hur (1959). See more »

Goofs

The position of the body of the charioteer killed in the training session at Sheik Ilderim's camp. See more »

Quotes

Iras: Curiosity consumes me! Why do you race as the Unknown Jew?
See more »

Alternate Versions

Many prints re-printed the Technicolor scenes in black and white. See more »

Connections

Featured in Birth of Hollywood: Episode #1.3 (2011) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Absolute Silent-Movie MASTERPIECE!!!
31 July 2004 | by marcin_kukuczkaSee all my reviews

Anyone who is interested in the history of cinema must have heard of the version of 1959 which got so many Oscars. Yes, indeed, William Wyler's BEN HUR (1959) is a masterpiece. This is the version that I have watched for many years not being aware much of the 1925 version. I had only heard about this movie from my Grandma who watched it in the 1930s and absolutely loved it. I somehow underestimated it considering this movie too old and out-of-date. However, when I watched it for the first time last year, I did realize that this silent movie is an utmost masterpiece for its era. AS IMPRESSIVE AS THE 1959 VERSION! There are a lot of factors that make this movie worth watching at least once.

The cinematography is of very high quality. I dare claim that some scenes are equally well shot as the ones in the 1959 version. The sea battle when Juda Ben Hur is in the galleys, the tile falling on the Roman governor, the meeting of Judah and Messala and their quarrel are still memorably presented. As far as the chariot race is concerned, the scene is gorgeous as for the silent era: these crowds of people, the decorations, everything is filled with splendor!

The cast give very fine performances. Novarro as Juda Ben Hur is, in my opinion, not better than Heston, but indeed not worse. Francis X. Bushman with his facial expressions, his Roman nose really fits to the role of Messala. May Mc Avoy as Esther is not as good as Haya Harareet in 1959 version. There, Haya looks more like a Jew, she is more gentle and beautiful. However, May's portrayal of Esther, though different, is also worth consideration. The figures of Quintus Arrius and Balthazar are not very developed here. Nevertheless, all other characters do appear like in BEN HUR (1959), and they perform really well.

The moments with Jesus Christ from this movie and from the one of 1959 are VERY SIMILAR! SOMETIMES EVEN IDENTICAL! In both movies, we can't see Jesus' face. He is portrayed as a Messiah, powerful and calm. In this 1925 version, you can see Christ's figure full of divine light and most these scenes are shot in early Technicolor. What is more, this film stresses clearly the expectations that Jews had concerning Christ. Juda Ben Hur gathers legions to be led by the divine king. The final scene is a bit different but equally touching as in the 1959 version:

"Weeping may endure for a night, but in the morning cometh JOY" (strikingly similar to SOLOMON AND SHEBA (1959)

All in all, this film is an unforgettable experience. For me, it is something that I could only dream about to realize how perfectly they could make a movie in 1925. ABSOLUTE MASTERPIECE OF SILENT MOVIES which can't be skipped in my film gallery...


43 of 45 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 56 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed