Corrected entry: In the big sea battle scene when the slave rowers break out from below deck, you can see that one of them only has one hand. He wouldn't exactly be of much use to be fair. Also in the crucifixion scene, a prisoner is shown being lifted up holding on to the beam. Shouldn't the Romans have nailed him to it?
Corrected entry: Just before the chariot race, governor Pilate tells the audience that there are contestants from Carthage and Corinth taking part in the race. Carthage and Corinth were destroyed by Rome in 146 BC. The movie is set in the time of emperor Tiberius (14-37 AD).
Corrected entry: When Judah (as Young Arius) visits Messala, he says "Find them (his mother and sister) Messala", then "I will come back tomorrow, don't disappoint me, Messala". Following that, Drusus goes to the Citadel and finds them as lepers, who are then released. However, Judah never finds out that they are alive or lepers until Messala's death speech after the chariot race weeks/months later. If he "came back tomorrow", surely he would already know their fate. He may have been told they were dead by Messala, but I'm sure they would have shown this scene as a vindication of disgust of Messala's character. I think they just forgot this speech.
Corrected entry: The actor playing Jesus could not have his face shown as it was considered distasteful to do so according to the Hayes Code.
Corrected entry: Look out for the prisoner being crucified. He is having to hold on to the beam as it is raised, as the Romans forgot to nail him to it. He grimaces in pain anyway - a touch of overacting perhaps.
Corrected entry: When the Trumpeters are beginning to play at the beginning of the Chariot Race you can see that one of the trumpeters is wearing a watch.
Corrected entry: In the scene where the rowers increase their ship to "ramming speed" and then hit the other ship, all the rowers fly forward. Anyone who rows knows that you row facing backwards, so they all would actually be thrown backwards by the impact.
Corrected entry: Gore Vidal, who worked uncredited on the screenplay, has said that he wrote the scenes between Judah Ben-Hur and Messala as if they had been former lovers. Stephen Boyd knew about this, but Charlton Heston didn't. Watch the first scene in which they appear together and pay close attention to Stephen Boyd. It all becomes very clear. Vidal, who is gay, has a reputation for writing sexually unconventional material.
Corrected entry: When the Sheik talks to Judah about the upcoming chariot race he says "...and then you'll defend, err, defeat him...". Since the Sheik's English (or whatever language English represents) is perfect except a slight accent this must be a lapse that survived editing. "Defend" is also skipped in the subtitles. (00:10:20)
Corrected entry: Early in the movie, when Messala visits Ben Hur, and tries to convince him to abandon his religion and follow the power of Rome, He says that the emperor is "real power on earth, not ..." and then gestures to something off-screen, which we never see. My guess is that the next shot showed the Temple, but was cut because it was thought to be too offensive to show as the subject of a disparaging remark and gesture.
Corrected entry: Ben Hur is seen taking off the ring he received from the Roman Emperor and giving it back - following this, in the scene where he visits the leper colony, you can see he is wearing the same ring.
Corrected entry: In the big chariot race scene, a red Austin Mini can be seen through the arcs in the back of the coliseum.