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Ben-Hur

Revealing mistake: During the chariot race, where the contestants are riding towards the screen, tyre tracks from the camera vehicle are clearly visible imprinted in the sand.

Continuity mistake: Ben-Hur places his crown on a table when he visits the fallen Messala, but upon returning the table and crown are gone.

Revealing mistake: When one of the ships collides with the other, you can clearly see that the rowers being hit are dummies.

Continuity mistake: When Judah takes rest on his way to Jerusalem funny things happen with his headgear. First, when he lies down it suddenly disappears under his head. Then he falls asleep, and when Balthasar from Alexandria approaches him a little later and he quickly gets up there is nothing under his head and back.

NancyFelix

Continuity mistake: When Judah comes back to his house and meets Esther, the curls over her forehead change several times throughout the scene.

NancyFelix

Revealing mistake: When Stephen Boyd is showing off the spikes on his chariot wheel you can see welding beads along the projecting hub.

Revealing mistake: During the naval battle, the same footage of a sinking galley is used several times, apparently to represent the sinking of several galleys.

wizard_of_gore

Continuity mistake: At one time during the chariot race Judah and Messala are going side by side. Then Judah steers his horses against the inner wall and almost comes to a complete halt. However, an instant later he is abreast with Messala again.

NancyFelix

Continuity mistake: Ben Hur's horses change position. When the chariots are preparing for the race and at the starting line, the horse with the pink nose is third from the left, but at the end of the race, the pink-nosed horse is fourth from the right.

Continuity mistake: At the very end, the scaffold that was used to erect the crosses vanishes between shots.

Continuity mistake: During the scene when Ben-Hur meets his servant, Simonides, he removes his turban, and his hair is flat and sweaty. The shot pans to his mother, and when it cuts back, his hair is dry and combed.

wizard_of_gore

Revealing mistake: When the slaves are walking through the desert on their route to Tyros, in several scenes it's obvious that a double is standing in for Charlton Heston as Ben-Hur.

wizard_of_gore

Continuity mistake: Right before the chariot race, Sheik Ilderim is on Judah's left side, pointing out the spikes on Messala's wheels. There's a shot of the wheels and then back to Judah, where the Sheik is now on Judah's right side. Judah holds the Sheik's forearm as the fanfare starts. Then a long shot, showing the Sheik, now on Judah's left side again, and Judah removing his hand from the Sheik's forearm.

ChiChi

Continuity mistake: When Judah goes to the place where the leper lives, a man tells him it's a cursed place and puts a lettuce or a cabbage on a plate. It has disappeared the shot later.

Dr Wilson

Continuity mistake: During his brief escape Judah threatens Messala who is standing behind his desk. The arrangement of things on the desk changes many times throughout the scene, most noticeably the three books on the right.

NancyFelix

Deliberate mistake: During the chariot race, the chariots crash together but the arrangement of the horses make it impossible for them to actually collide. In some instances (particularly in an aerial shot as Ben Hur and Messala round the turn) it is obvious that they repositioned the shaft of the chariot to between the first and third horses instead of being in the centre between the second and third.

Continuity mistake: One of the first shots in the picture is a wide angle establishing shot showing a street scene in Jerusalem, with milling people, animals, etc. A tall figure in the background is slowly walking toward the camera. The figure is Charlton Heston, and the shot is an earlier segment of a shot used later in the movie when Ben-Hur is returning home from a trade expedition. Heston's costume is the same, but he's only clearly recognizable in the second sequence. Since the two scenes are set 33 years apart, perhaps the earlier figure is Ben-Hur's father.

Factual error: When Messala is passing through Nazareth, he says they will be in Jerusalem by tomorrow night. Nazareth is approximately 90 miles from Jerusalem. It would take three days to cover that distance, not one.

Factual error: Al-Tair and al-Deberan are the names of the Arab Sheikh's horses, and he states they're named after the stars. Those stars were given their names by Arabian astronomers, and calculated astronomy by the Arabs emerged during medieval Islam in the 7th and 8th century CE, 674 years after the plot of the movie takes place.

Revealing mistake: When Miriam, Esther and Tirzah find shelter from the storm in a cave, the storm is violent and the wind is howling, but the trees visible in the background are barely swaying.

wizard_of_gore

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Quotes

Quintus Arrius: Your eyes are full of hate, forty-one. That's good. Hate keeps a man alive. It gives him strength.

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Trivia

The spectator crowd in the chariot race scene was partially made up of small wood models.

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