1959 G 3h 42m Blu-ray / DVD


1959 G 3h 42m Blu-ray / DVD
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Charlton Heston plays Judah Ben-Hur, a proud Jew who runs afoul of ambitious boyhood friend Messala (Stephen Boyd) in this 1959 epic that boasts an unforgettable chariot race and earned 11 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Heston) and Best Director (William Wyler). Condemned to life as a slave, Judah swears vengeance against Messala and escapes, later crossing paths with a gentle prophet named Jesus.
Blu-ray DVD
Widescreen 2.76:1
English, French, Spanish (Neutral)
English: Dolby Digital 5.1, French: Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen 2.76:1
English, French, Spanish (Neutral)
English: Dolby Digital 5.1
G - All ages admitted. Nothing that would offend parents for viewing by children.
age 13+
Common Sense rating OK for kids 13+
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age 13+

Common Sense Note

Parents need to know that, as early "spectacle" movies go, this one has few peers. Ben-Hur was a landmark achievement in grand biblical storytelling. Set in ancient Israel during Christ's young adulthood and focused on a stalwart Jewish patriot and his family, spiritual beliefs and Judeo-Christian values inform both the characterizations and the plot. Clear messages from the gospel are delivered throughout ("blessed are the merciful," "love your enemy"). The Roman villains are brutal slave masters, whipping and beating their way into town, and bent on destroying the peaceful citizens of ancient Israel. Several scenes take place in a leper colony where two principles are shown with open, rotting sores. The climactic chariot race, which includes collisions, men dragged under chariots, bloody injuries, and intensely suspenseful competition, set new standards for action-filmmaking without modern cinematic razzle-dazzle. By modern standards of gore and gristle (seen in some horror movies and their parodies), however, Ben-Hur is not shocking as it once was but still is bloody, savage in parts, and too intense for younger kids.¿

Sexual Content

Two love scenes include kissing and passionate embraces.


Numerous scenes portray man's inhumanity to man. People are marched through a broiling desert; one man falls and is kicked down a sandy hillside to die. In a lengthy sequence set in an ancient galley ship, chained men in loincloths are whipped and forced to row until they keel over; they're later involved in a battle at sea that results in fatal injuries (including one bloody stump) and sea water turning red with the blood of the drowning men. Jesus's crucifixion is graphic and bloody; nails are pounded into him and the cross is covered in his blood. The climactic action sequence is a chariot race in which many accidents and cruelties occur: collisions, men being dragged through the dirt, horses being whipped continuously, and steel blades being purposefully maneuvered to destroy competitors. In the aftermath, a principal player with grisly injuries is at center stage through several scenes before he dies.


Social Behavior

Promotes loyalty, staying true to one's principles, and preserving freedom. The story, set during Jesus Christ's lifetime, introduces Christian doctrine and affirms Judeo-Christian values. Includes numerous biblical quotations, such as "Blessed are the merciful; blessed are the peacemakers"; "Life is everlasting; death is nothing to fear"; and "Love your enemy."


Not applicable

Drugs / Tobacco / Alcohol

Not applicable

  • Age appropriate
  • Not an issue
  • Depends on your child and your family
  • Parents strongly cautioned
  • Not appropriate for kids of the age

This information for parents is provided by Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving kids' media lives.

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