Ben-Hur (1959)

56 mistakes

(19 votes)

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. (00:20:50)

Revealing mistake: When one of the ships collides with the other, you can clearly see that the rowers being hit are dummies. (01:19:00)

Ben-Hur mistake picture

Continuity mistake: Judah Ben-Hur removes the large ring he had received from Arrius and gives it to Pontius Pilate to return to Arrius. Following this, he returns to the leper colony with Esther, and he reunites with Miriam. When Judah is told Tirzah is dying, as Judah searches the cave for Tirzah, he is once again wearing the large ring he had received from Arrius, on his right index finger. Then, that ring vanishes when he finds Tirzah.

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Suggested correction: Ben Hur got the ring from Arrius, not from the Emperor. When he goes to the leper colony the first time he is still wearing the ring. Later he gives the ring to Pontius Pilate to return it to Arrius. Then, when he goes to the leper colony the second time he is not wearing the ring anymore.


Aside from changing the mistake's wording to Arrius, the mistake is indeed correct. Rewatch the scenes. Judah Ben-Hur takes off the large ring he had received from Arrius and gives it to Pontius Pilate to return to Arrius. After that scene, he meets with Esther, and they both return to the leper colony. Judah speaks with Miriam, his mother, and he's told Tirzah is dying. Then, as Judah begins to search the cave for Tirzah, Judah is now wearing the large ring he had received from Arrius, on his right index finger. That ring vanishes when he finds Tirzah. The mistake is quite valid.

Super Grover

Continuity mistake: During the race, when Ben Hur is about to defeat Messala, his opponent's wheel disintegrates. However, as the chariot flips over, we see a complete wheel on both sides. (00:28:20)

Revealing mistake: There is a hex bolt holding the spikes to the chariot wheel hub. (00:14:10)

Factual error: The galley during the battle scene is rowed by slaves. Romans during this time period didn't use slaves to row their galleys. Rowers had to be able fight. If not, the Romans would be outnumbered 200 to 30 when they boarded the pirate ship as the pirates rowers would be able to fight.

Continuity mistake: Count the number of chariots that start the race. Then count the chariots that get thrown out and the number that finish - there's one too many. There are 9 at the start, 6 get thrown out, and 4 finish.

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: 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. (01:38:00)


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. (00:07:40)

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.

Factual error: The actors and stunt drivers use only two reins to control the four horses that pull each chariot in the race. However, charioteers in ancient Rome used separate harnesses with two reins controlling each horse. In a race such as the one depicted in the movie, where four horses draw the chariot (two-horse races were common, as well), a real charioteer from the era would be holding eight reins.

Ben-Hur mistake picture

Revealing mistake: During the race Judah runs into the remains of another chariot and almost falls off the cart. You can see that the guy who is doing the handstand on the railing is a stuntman. (00:26:15)


Continuity mistake: During Ben Hur and Messala's duel on the chariots, Messala's wheel-scythes tear away most of the right hand side of Ben Hur's chariot. When Messala has been thrown and Ben Hur crosses the finish line a few moments later, however, the camera has zoomed out far enough to reveal that his chariot is perfectly intact.

Ben-Hur mistake picture

Continuity mistake: Right before the chariot race, when Sheik Ilderim is standing at Judah's right side and tells Judah, "Be careful, don't let him near you," Judah places his hand on the Sheik's forearm as the fanfare starts. Then it cuts to a long shot, with the Sheik now suddenly on Judah's left side, and Judah removing his hand from the Sheik's forearm.


Upvote valid corrections to help move entries into the corrections section.

Suggested correction: The sheik actually moves around the chariot to the right side. No continuity error.

You can't assume that the sheik moves. It's not shown and the shots are so quick in succession the sheik didn't have time to move.


Oh, but actually, there is indeed a continuity error, and it occurs between shots. Sheik Ilderim is standing on one side of the chariot, then in the very next shot he is standing on the other side of the chariot. The suggested correction is wrong.

Super Grover

Factual error: Before the chariot race, Sheik Ilderim pins a Star of David on Ben Hur's belt. The Star of David did not become a Jewish symbol until the Middle Ages.


Messala: Sextus, you ask how to fight an idea. Well I'll tell you how... With another idea!

More quotes from Ben-Hur

Trivia: The 'Greek chariot' Mesalla uses in the race is based on the Persian scythed chariots which Darius III attempted to use against Alexander the Great's troops at the battle of Gaugamela, though with only insignificant success.

More trivia for Ben-Hur

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