The Purpose of Life
The Purpose of Life Website Ministry
Here's the 1961 general release theatrical trailer for Ben-Hur
When I saw Ben-Hur on television about 1995 (the classic 1959 '11 oscars' version with Charlton Heston), it wasn't the first time that I'd seen it, but it sure felt like it! There were many memorable scenes throughout, but I was especially moved by the closing scenes. This is when Judah's mother and sister were healed of their leprosy, and Judah's own healing had begun in his heart, all resulting from their brief encounter with Christ, particularly at the crucifixion. These are extremely powerful scenes!

I'd actually forgotton how much the story revolved around the events of Jesus' life. In fact, the original novel by Lew Wallace published in 1880, which the film was based on, was titled
Ben-Hur: A Tale of The Christ.

The impact of this was even greater for me on that day in 1995 when I realised that the movie was being shown on 14th Nisan, which is the Jewish day for the biblical Passover feast. And what's more, the crucifixion scene occurred in late afternoon - at about the actual time that Jesus was sacrificed as the Passover Lamb of God on that sad, yet momentous, day in 33 AD (or possibly 30 AD). Very powerful indeed!
I also loved the scene where Judah is in a Roman 'slave chain gang' and they stop in Nazareth. In his thirst, Judah is refused a drink of water by the Roman soldier, and eventually falls to the ground in despair and prays, "God help me." Then a man appears on the scene from amongst the local people, who is evidently Jesus, and he caringly gives Judah a drink of water, which subsequently angers the Roman soldier, who then threatens 'this man.' But Jesus just stands there looking at the soldier, and the soldier slowly backs off, puzzled and somewhat subdued!
(
This scene is available below via a link to YouTube)

Throughout the whole film you never see Jesus' face, yet every scene that he appears in has a strange power to it and is often very moving - especially for those who know the spirit of the real Jesus!

Clearly, Ben-Hur is a classic film in the annals of movie history. It may be long (particularly the full-length 'roadshow' version with Overture and Intermission), and very melodramatic at times, but that's what these big-budget Epics were all about! And scenes like the chariot race truly make it a movie of EPIC proportions.
They certainly don't make them like this anymore! To fully appreciate this film in all its glory, you need to watch it in widescreen!

I also can't imagine a film in our modern era ever winning 11 academy awards that has the Christian Gospel story at its heart! How times have changed!
Ben-Hur 50th Anniversary Collector's Edition Website

• Here's a link to a high quality video of the scene I mentioned above where Judah meets Jesus.