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It's 'Ben' a Long Time: 'Ben-Hur' Is Back in All Its Chariot Race Glory for a New Generation


Nearly 60 years after Charlton Heston first graced the chariot track, Ben-Hur is back as a remake returns to the big screen Friday.

The film is produced by Roma Downey and her reality TV producer husband Mark Burnett, the creators of the popular Bible series.

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Downey told Inside Edition at the film's premiere: “It's a timeless story, this was the time.”

Actor Jack Huston plays the title role. He told Inside Edition that it took three months to film the chariot race scene, the most iconic of the original. 

“Every time you see us on those chariots, that's us on those chariots. It was an incredible moment,” he said. “There's no denying this was incredibly dangerous.”

The original film made a profit of $20,409,000 on its initial release in 1959, and another $10.1 million in profits when re-released in 1969. By 1989, Ben-Hur had earned $90 million in worldwide theatrical rentals.

The 1959 classic, which starred Heston, is considered one of Hollywood’s greatest epics, according to Ben Mankiewicz, a film host at Turner Classic Movies.

“It is as grand a spectacle as Hollywood has ever had. And it made a ton of money too,” he told Inside Edition.

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Mankiewicz added: “The chariot scene itself in the 1959 version took 10 weeks to shoot and cost $4 million. That's more than 25 percent of the movie's budget. [It is] one of the greatest stunts in American cinematic history."

At the red carpet for the latest version, Downey told Inside Edition: “You can imagine the relief we felt when it was finally filmed and that there were no horses hurt. None!”

The original Ben-Hur won 11 Academy Awards, a record tied by Titanic and The Lord of the Rings: The Return Of The King in 2003.

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