CastCharlton Heston DirectorWilliam R. Kowalchuk Jr. Release dateFebruary 15, 2003 (2003-02-15) WriterAbi Estrin Cunningham, Lew Wallace (novel) Adapted fromBen-Hur: A Tale of the Christ GenresAnimation, Epic film, Adventure Film, Family, Drama film Similar moviesCharlton Heston appears in Ben Hur and Ben-Hur
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Ben Hur is a 2003 animated film based on the 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 giving voice to the title character. Heston had won an Academy Award for playing the same role in the 1959 version.
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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.