Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ

MPAA Rating: G

Entertainment: +4

Content: +3

This 1959 adventure epic, winner of 11 Academy Awards, is set in the latter years of the life of Jesus Christ. It’s the story of Judah Ben Hur (Charlton Heston), a man who believes in God but has great doubt and confusion about who He really is. An old friend, Messala (Stephen Boyd), is now a leader in the Roman Army. Politics divide the two men, and Messala falsely imprisons Judah and his family. Now enslaved on a warship, Judah lives only to get revenge on Messala. When his ship is destroyed, Judah saves the life of a high-ranking Roman official and is given a new life and another opportunity to get even. This Four-Disc Collector’s Edition DVD includes 10 hours of bonus material: the 1925 silent-film adaptation of Lew Wallace’s novel, a 2005 documentary Ben-Hur: The Epic That Changed Cinema, a 1994 documentary Ben-Hur: The Making of an Epic, and much more. Also included is a Bible study guide of the movie written by Robert Schuller and his son. The DVD was released Sept. 13.

Beginning with the birth of Christ, this wonderful story tells of a man’s struggle with his relationship with God. Evil done to him and his family clouds his perspective, but when Jesus touches him, he is enlightened by the truth. In what may be the most powerful portrayal of Jesus ever in film, the face of Jesus is not visible and His voice is not audible. The expressions of those who see Him say a great deal about his powerful presence. Viewers hear, “Life is everlasting if we have faith,” and a small section of the Sermon on the Mount is quoted. It is also explained that Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the world. The name of God is used many times but always in an appropriate manner. The film has no bad language but includes several moderate scenes of violence, including a depiction of the crucifixion of Jesus. For these reasons, Ben Hur may be too intense for small children. With the previous warning in mind, Preview highly recommends Ben Hur.

Preview Reviewer: Alan Boyer
Warner Brothers

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: None

Profanity: None

Violence: Many times – moderate (whipping of slaves, fighting, man killed after being pushed off stairs, man is strangled to death, several men are injured in chariot races and are carried off on stretchers chariot races several crashes men seen being carried off on stretchers, man is seen being run over by horses and chariot, man is seen with hand freshly cut of, Jesus is shown being crucified with blood on his wrists and ankles)

Sex: Few times – mild (man and woman kiss a few times)

Nudity: Few times – mild (men seen without tops many times)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: None

Other: None

Running Time: 222 minutes
Intended Audience: Preteens and Older

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