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mdtinney's Movie Reviews (315)

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Ben-Hur (1959) 
Epic that will stand the test of time.
3.5/4 stars

Ben Hur is one of the greatest movies of all time. I just wish Hollywood could make a movie like it now. It's a story that plays like a novel (cause it's based on one). Charlton Heston (Judah Ben Hur) is great in the movie. I like his acting. Ben Hur has some of the best action ever and as a story can't hardly be beat. It's drama at its best. It's the story of a family that had it all, was destroyed and then given their lives back. Ben Hur depicts both the best and worst of the Roman Empire, its glory and progress and the oppression of the less fortunate who lived under its rule. There are two action scenes that really get my heart pounding each time I see the movie. First, the scene on the galley where the slaves are put through a grueling, forced rowing of their ship under the eye of General Quintus Arrius. The way that scene builds with the alternating of the camera from the slaves to the drums to the general, all the while picking up the pace, is quite riveting. Second, the chariot race. Some of the best action ever produced by Hollywood. The race itself keeps people on the edge of their seats. It appears to have been put together close to real time, which makes it all the greater. Although the movie slows down after the race I am still moved by what happens later. The movie follows up with how Judah dealt with the festering anger inside him and what happens to his mother and sister. His love, Esther, helps the family and tries to console Judah. Most of all, the greatest character of all in this movie is that of Christ. In Christ we see someone suffering without the hatred and vengeance that is so shown by Judah. A favorite scene of mine is when Christ gives Judah water to drink. The Roman commander orders him to stop. Jesus looks at him and the soldier is speechless. That says it all. Charlton Heston has said that this movie could not be made today because of the prohibitive budget that would be required. True. But this movie also could not be made today because Hollywood is no longer capable of portraying Christ in a positive light. Instead, Hollywood's attitude is one of prejudice towards Him. How far it has come in the last 50 years.
This a great movie that is must see for everyone


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