Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ is the story of faith, revenge, and triumph over adversity. Ben-Hur is a tale known for generations. Ever since the book was published in 1880, then adapted as a 1907 short. Like many, I was only familiar with the most famous adaptation. Until I sought out the silent 1925 original. Which is just as impressive in its own right. I learned the story of Ben-Hur by watching this version.
Judah Ben-Hur is a wealthy Jew betrayed by his childhood Roman friend Messala. Separated from his mother & sister, Ben-Hur vowed revenge. As he survived working on a slave galley, was adopted by its Roman admiral, grew as an athlete, and fell in love with Esther. The centerpiece of the story will always be the great climactic chariot race. I don’t know how they pulled it off back then, but it sure does hold up now. The sequence even features a who’s who of classic Hollywood stars in background roles.
Ben-Hur’s story is pure fiction, but it’s paired up with the reality of Jesus Christ. As both stories are done in tandem with Jesus as an unseen presence. These parts are extremely easy to follow since I know the tale of the Christ by heart. The moments they cross paths are pivotal with Jesus giving a thirsty Ben-Hur water and Jesus healing the sick before his crucifixion. Like the tagline says, every Christian outta see it. I’ve gotten used to silent films and the color isn’t always black & white. Scenes from the Bible are in Technicolor. As difficult as it may have been to film, Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ remains an epic first step.