On August 19 a new epic sword and sandal film hits theaters – BEN-HUR. What is truly fascinating about this film is it is the third edition based on a novel, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, written by Lew Wallace in 1880. The novel was the bestselling book in America for fifty years until Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind was published. The 1959 Charlton Heston adaption won eleven Academy Awards in 1960 which is tied for the most Academy Awards for a single movie of all time.
Impressive. So what is different about the 2016 MGM and Paramount adaptation?
Biblical faith-based films used to be tentpole movies for the studios, and we may be seeing a resurgence of these films. BEN-HUR is executive produced by Mark Burnett and Roma Downey who helmed THE BIBLE SERIES, SON OF GOD and A.D. THE SERIES, and is probably the biggest budget film that evangelical audiences will love. It is true to the 1959 film most of us remember, which was a cinematic undertaking in its time. The new version will be competing in the Hollywood landscape and delivers modern special effects that will wow every moviegoer.
Even with big stars, budgets and special effects, at the heart of BEN-HUR is the story of forgiveness and Jesus. Judah Ben-Hur is a Jewish noble that is betrayed and forced into slavery. Only after his vengeance is quenched does he experience the crucifixion of Jesus where he hears the glorious words, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” There, at the foot of the cross, does he lay down his anger and pride.
Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OE46mqgXqo&feature=youtu.be
The film has some intense violence and will be rated PG-13. LifeWay is proud to team up with Pastor Greg Laurie who has written a companion Ben-Hur Bible Study set to release in August as well.