Ben-Hur

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. (00:36:35)

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)

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)

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)

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)

NancyFelix

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: 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.

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.

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

Continuity mistake: When Judah comes back to his house and meets Esther, the curls over her forehead change several times throughout the scene. (00:52:00)

NancyFelix

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 Premium member

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)

NancyFelix

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.

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.

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.

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.

Continuity mistake: When Arrius makes the galley do a practice race and finally allows them to rest the oars are going up and down from the waves. However, when the camera is close on Judah the oars are perfectly still. (01:10:55)

NancyFelix

Factual error: Quintus Arrius is fighting an enormous fleet of Macedonian pirates. However, Macedonia had been a Roman province since 148 BC and after the defeat of the Cilician pirates by Pompey in 67 BC the Mediterranean was free of pirates. The movie is set nearly 100 years later.

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