Although there were many aspects to the movie, I would say the theme of revenge stuck out the most. Two childhood friends brought back together only to be torn apart by conflicting beliefs. Something that I personally have never experienced but made for an interesting story. Messala felt so strongly about his beliefs and the opportunities he had within the Roman Empire that he was willing to sacrifice a family who he had been close to since boyhood. That is something that I cannot relate to, and is hard for me to write about. This is probably because I am a "people pleaser". I hate having people not like me or be upset at me. So if I had been in Juda's or Messala's position I probably would have tried to come to some sort of agreement or even maybe gone along with my friend's opinion just to end the argument and move on.
Something else that surprised me during the movie was the lack of reconciliation between Messala and Judah. When Messala calls Judah to his death bed and refuses treatment until he sees him, I thought that this would be the moment where the two would realize their mistakes and ask for forgiveness from one another. Instead, Messala decides to use his last dying breath to take one more stab at Judah's heartstrings. I thought that moment was a great change from what viewers would have expected to happen and I must admit, that I felt bad for Messala laying on that table in so much pain until he showed no remorse, and then I didn't feel so badly anymore.
After watching Ben-Hur I can see why it is on the AFI Top 100 list. For being made in 1959 it had pretty realistic action scenes and special affects (it won the Oscar for Best Special Effects), as well as convincing acting on the part of Charlton Heston (Judah) and Stephen Boyd (Messala). There were times during the movie that I expected dramatic music to suddenly be played to emphasize the emotion of the scene, but realized that it was not needed because the emotion from the actors faces showed it all. Something I do not recall happening very often in current movies.
One of my favorite quotes from the movie was when Sheik Ilderim commented: One God, that I can understand; but one wife? That is not civilized. It is not generous!
I did enjoy watching Ben-Hur, even if it was over three hours long. I suggest watching it over the span of two nights or maybe on a rainy saturday afternoon, when you don't have any other plans for the day. Also, make sure whoever you are watching it with can sit for more than an hour without having their ADD kick in and distract you from the movie :o)
I hope you enjoyed my first post, and please leave your own thoughts about the movie below!!!!