Ben-Hur (1959)

49 mistakes

(17 votes)

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. (00:53:20)


Continuity mistake: After Judah knocks out the prison guards he grabs a spear and busts into Messala's room. Two other guards standing far down the hall start running after him. Seen from inside the room, the guards enter directly after Judah. (00:52:15)


Continuity mistake: After Tirzah causes the tiles to fall from the roof, there is a wide shot from above, showing Judah and Tirzah now standing at a different part of the wall than where the tiles fell. (00:46:25)


Factual error: Before the spectacular chariot race, we have the "Parade of the Charioteers." Around the arena you see classical statues. They are just props, they do not influence the storyline at all, they are just dotted around the set to remind us that we are in the Roman Empire. All the statues are just plain white stone. Archaeological research shows that the great Greek and Roman sculptors always painted their sculptures. Skin, clothes, eyes, hair, were all carefully painted to make the statues look 100% lifelike. In the next thousand years the paint wore away, and now, when you go to a museum and look at Greek and Roman sculptures you only see plain stone figures. Yet in ancient Greece and Rome all those statues were elaborately painted. This error applies not just to Ben Hur but probably every classical epic film ever made.

Rob Halliday

Continuity mistake: When Jesus Christ is bearing his cross in Jerusalem, in the first shot the sign text on the cross in Latin (and presumably also Hebrew?) is displayed flipped/mirrored/backwards. In the next shot with the sign it is perfectly legible.

Arnoud van den Eerenbeemt

Continuity mistake: In the first scene of part 2 the Romans are relaxing in the bath. Then the arrival of Sheik Ilderim is announced, and when the camera switches to him the positions of many extras in the scene change, like one masseur in red (first kneeling, then squatting). (00:04:30)


Factual error: The circus maximus was built in such a way as to allow the entire track to be visible to the spectators. This is not the case in Ben Hur.

Factual error: Emperor Tiberius of Rome was a reclusive and vicious tyrant by 26AD when "Ben Hur" is set. Furthermore, by that time, he had retired to Capri and was rarely in Rome. In the movie, he's the picture of Regal benevolence, basking in the love of the crowds and showering glory on Arrias in victory. In real-life that never would have happened. Tiberius' Governor Sejanus would have presided over Arrias' triumph, not Tiberius. (01:23:00 - 01:26:00)

Factual error: When Judah is being led to the galleys after Jesus give him some water you see hills in the background, and a highway is going through them. (01:05:10)

Quintus Arrius: Now listen to me, all of you. You are all condemned men. We keep you alive to serve this ship. So row well, and live.

More quotes from Ben-Hur

Trivia: Although Martha Scott plays Charlton Heston's mother in this film, she was only ten years his senior.

More trivia for Ben-Hur

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