Ben Hur (1959)
Director: William Wyler
Writers: Lew Wallace, Karl Tunberg
Starring: Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins and Stephen Boyd
Right at the outset, Ben Hur strikes you as a well done master piece.
The sets and costumes put you right into the story.
As Rome seeks to conquer the world to extend its power and influence they are bound to come knocking on the doors of Jerusalem where Judah Ben-Hur is a powerful Jewish merchant and breeder of Arabian horses.
His boyhood friend, Messala (a roman military tribune) has just come back to Jerusalem as the new commanding officer of the Roman garrison and seeks to make an ally of Judah to help him conquer his own people.
Judah quickly figures out Messala's plan and from that point on they become enemies.
As the new Judean governor, Valerius Gratus, arrives he is received with a parade that marches in front of Judah's house, when unexpectedly a tile falls from his balcony and startles the governor's horse knocking him to the ground and injuring him in the process.
Judah and his mother and sister are immediately arrested. He is sent to the galleys and looses track of his mother and sister at the hands of Messala.
On his way to the seas, as a thirsty and tired slave, he meets Jesus in Nazareth who quenches his thirst and revives his spirit.
At the galleys he gains the favor of Consul Quintus Arrius whom he saved after a battle he thought was lost, but upon return to Rome the Consul is hailed as a hero while never forgetting that it was Judah who saved him.
Judah is now a well known name in Rome, a champion charioteer and the heir of Consul Quintus Arrius but must leave it all behind and return home where he engages in a search for his mother and sister while having been re-united with the woman he plans to marry, Esther.
She is the daughter his most faithful servant whom he's always regarded as a dear friend and manager.
After Judah pays a visit to Messala as a high Roman Consul, he demands to know the whereabouts of his family, but after learning that they are lepers they are released after 4 years inside a dark dungeon.
They manage to find their way to their home where they reveal to Esther their illness and make her promise not to tell Judah.
When Judah learns of the illness, he rages with sorrow and anger but does not quite know how to act.
As the story unfolds, there is nowhere else to turn even though the obvious choice is the Messiah, Jesus....
It must be noted that, Ben Hur is the story of a good and faithful Jewish man who's riches and position seem to matter less than the MAN himself.
His skills, charisma, and other traits help him rise above any circumstance life may throw at him.
Something reminiscent of Joseph, son of Jacob and even Hebrew history itself.
But in the midst of all his success and sorrows he overlooks the Messiah Jesus, the troubles of life and his quest for revenge blinds him in more ways than one.
But his family is the perfect example of broken lives whom Jesus has just given his life to save and restore.
What a wonderful movie,
I hope you all watch it.