Ben Hur (2003)


Introduction

Ben Hur is a 2003 animated drama film based on the 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, by Lew Wallace.

It is the fourth film adaptation of the novel.

Charlton Heston’s production company, Agamemnon Films (in association with GoodTimes Entertainment), produced this direct-to-video animated version of the story, with Heston himself reprising his role as the title character.

Outline

The animated version tells the same story as the 1959 film, with some differences. The story begins with Balthazar waiting in the desert for the two other wise men for a journey to Bethlehem. The story of Ben-Hur begins 30 years after the birth of Christ.

In contrast to the 1925 and 1959 versions, the face of Jesus is shown and his words are heard in this film.

The character of Messala is different from the 1959 film. Appearing lame, he approaches Ben-Hur for forgiveness, and joins Ben-Hur’s family and Balthazar to witness the passion of Jesus. Ben-Hur gives water to Jesus on the way to Calvary. As Jesus dies, Ben-Hur and his family, with Balthazar, Messala, and Esther, clasp their hands in prayer. Miracles occur when Jesus heals Ben-Hur’s family of leprosy, and enables Messala to walk again. He comes near the cross thanking Jesus for the miracle.

At the film’s end, Mary Magdalene sees Jesus emerge from the tomb and he ascends into heaven, giving the promise to the apostles to preach the gospel. Ben-Hur, now married to Esther, shares with his children his story and faith in Jesus.

Cast

  • Judah Ben-Hur – Charlton Heston.
  • Jesus – Scott McNeil.
  • Pontius Pilate – Gerard Plunkett.
  • Messala – Duncan Fraser.
  • Miriam – Tabitha St. Germain.
  • Esther – Kathleen Barr.
  • Tirzah – Willow Johnson.
  • Balthazer – Long John Baldry.
  • Gaspar – French Tickner.
  • Melchior – Duncan Fraser.
  • Sheik Ilderim – Dale Wilson.
  • Herod Antipas – Duncan Fraser.
  • Rabbi – Mackenzie Gray.
  • Mystic – Gerard Plunkett.
  • Quintus Arrius – Richard Newman.
  • Gesius – Ian James Corlett.
  • Mary – Willow Johnson.
  • Joseph – Michael Dobson.
  • Judas – Lee Tockar.
  • Peter – Rob Court.
  • Andrew – Ian James Corlett.
  • Woman – Tabitha St. Germain.
  • Roman Captain – Long John Baldry.
  • Number 59 – Scott McNeil.
  • Angel Gabriel – Dale Wilson.
  • Female Angel – Kathleen Barr.
  • Shepherd #1 – Richard Newman.
  • Shepherd #2 – Lee Tockar.
  • Priest – Mackenzie Gray.
  • Jewish Man – French Tickner.
  • Innkeeper – Duncan Fraser.
  • Roman Merchant – Russell Roberts.
  • Mary Magdalene – Kathleen Barr.
  • Roman Citizen – Long John Baldry.
  • Roman Soldier – William Samples.
  • Young Woman – Tabitha St. Germain.
  • Another Man – Ian James Corlett.
  • Scientist – Dale Wilson.
  • Merchant – Richard Newman.
  • Man – Rob Court.
  • Guard – Lee Tockar.
  • Soldier #1 – Mackenzie Gray.
  • Soldier #2 – Michael Dobson.
  • Bystander #1 – Duncan Fraser.
  • Bystander #2 – Gerard Plunkett.
  • Art Instructor – Scott McNeil.
  • Archery Instructor – Russell Roberts.
  • Leading Soldier – Long John Baldry.
  • Slave – Lee Tockar.
  • Doctor – French Tickner.
  • Leper – Rob Court.
  • Woman #1 – Kathleen Barr.
  • Woman #2 – Tabitha St. Germain.
  • Citizen – Long John Baldry.

Trivia

  • This would prove to be Charlton Heston’s final film role before his death in 2008.

Other Versions

Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s): William R. Kowalchuk Jr.
  • Producer(s): William R. Kowalchuk Jr and John Stronach.
  • Writer(s): Abi Estrin Cunningham.
  • Music: Keith Heffner and Michael Lloyd.
  • Cinematography:
  • Editor(s):
  • Production: Agamemnon Films and Tundra Productions.
  • Distributor(s): Goodtimes Entertainment.
  • Release Date: 15 February 2003.
  • Running time: 80 minutes.
  • Country: US and Canada.
  • Language: English.

Video Link

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