Set in the time of Christ during the height of the mighty Roman Empire, historical epic Ben-Hur follows the lives of two former childhood friends Judah Ben Hur (Charlton Heston) and Messala (Steven Boyd), who become the bitterest of enemies as they grow older, as the latter shows unswerving blind loyalty to the Roman Empire. After Ben Hur refuses to help Messala round up what he perceives to be enemies of the Empire, he is framed for a crime he did not commit and is sentenced to a life of living hell on a galley ship as a slave.
His blind belief in his fate coupled with a thirst for vengeance helps him to survive this torturous existence. For three years, he is chained to an oar until during a battle with Greek pirates he saves the life of the Roman commander Quintas (Jack Hawkins), who takes Ben-Hur under his wing and frees him from his life of bondage. He becomes the main trainer of Quintas's stables and in time his adopted son and heir. Believing that Massala has killed his mother and sister, Ben-Hur exacts revenge by challenging him to a chariot race.
The 40 minute race took three months to shoot, in an arena that was a year in the making, and was one of the most ambitious set pieces ever staged by a major Hollywood studio, forming the focal point of the movie.
Classic Quotes ( just click on link to listen to quote)
Jack Hawkins as Quintus Arrius ... "How do you fight an idea, especially a new idea?"
Stephen Boyd as Messala ... "There is rebellion in the wind. It will be crushed."
Quintus Arrius ... "We keep you alive to serve this ship. So row well....and live."
Hugh Griffith (I) as Sheik
Ilderim ... "Laugh, Believe me my friend, it is a great advantage to
have many wives."
Charlton Heston as Judah Ben-Hur ... "Someday I hope to have one."
Sheik Ilderim ... "One wife! One God, that I can understand, but one wife, that is not civilized, it is not generous.