(William Wyler, US 1959, 212 min., 35mm)
Academy Awards at 90. Eleven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, went to this sword-and-sandal epic. Charlton Heston is larger-than-life as a Jewish patrician driven into servitude by the ambitious Roman Tribune Messala (Stephen Boyd). Follow Ben-Hur from galley slave to Roman glory and, finally, spiritual redemption. Ben-Hur marked the high point of Hollywood’s big response to television’s small-screen challenge in the 1950s, with its widescreen visuals, massive sets, stunning action sequences, and, most importantly, the consummate artistry of director William Wyler.