In this remake Prince Judah Ben Hur (Jack Huston) takes the blame for an assassination attempt on a Roman prefect and his whole family is taken into slavery by his adopted brother, a Roman Centurion (Toby Kebbell). After five years of tortuous punishment in a warship's slave galley, the former prince escapes and finds his way to Jerusalem's Roman circus. Also with Morgan Freeman, Nazanin Boniadi and Rodrigo Santoro. Directed by Timur Bekmambetov. [2:10]
SEX/NUDITY 2 - A man and a woman hug in a dark street and kiss for several seconds. A man and a woman kiss in a tent and the camera cuts to a close-up of their faces and the tops of their bare shoulders as they talk while lying on something (sex suggested).
► A soldier tells an officer, "She wants you," as men laugh, snicker and cheer; the officer argues mildly with his sister-in-law, and says, "She's asking too much" (implying that she is a prostitute).
► Several men in half a dozen scenes are shown shirtless; their backs and shoulders are covered with long whipping scars and some open bleeding wounds and they wear loincloth-like wraps. Three men on crosses wear only cloth groin wraps. A tribe of men wear loin cloths in battle.
VIOLENCE/GORE 6 - We see three men hanging on crosses with some blood on their chest, arms and legs and open wounds on their shoulders; a man on a cross stutters, gasps and dies, a soldier pierces the dead man's side with a spear (we see blood and water), the sky darkens and it rains (we see thick rivulets of blood flow down a cross).
► Eight drivers race four-horse chariots between stone walls on an oval dirt track; sparks fly as wheels scrape rock, a driver is thrown from his chariot, horses trample him and he is quickly removed on a stretcher (injuries are not visible); chariot wheels collide and a second driver falls as two horses do a forward tumble in the dirt, another driver laughs at the scene and the fallen man is carried away on a stretcher; horses knock a third driver off a chariot and he screams as other horses run over him and a stretcher comes and whisks him away; horses trample over a soldier and we don't see him again; a fourth driver is carried off the track quickly and one horse of another team falls and the chariot breaks apart as loose horses trample a fifth driver who is carried away in a long shot.
► Two chariot drivers compete at a Roman circus: one man falls and is dragged on his back a full circuit of the track, is almost trampled by another horse team before pulling himself back onto the chariot and the other driver reaches over and whips him several times and slaps the whip all the way around his neck (we see a bleeding cut) as chariot wheels collide and one man falls off in clouds of dirt; the other man is thrown off the chariot as it crosses the finish line and slams to the ground (we see his scraped face and limbs as he limps and holds his arms in pain); a horse lies on the ground, unmoving, but its eye blinks several times.
► We see through the wood cracks of a ship men swinging swords on another ship, through another crack we see a ship tilt over and lose a mast as a large rat runs toward the camera and rowers reach ramming speed and strike another ship that cracks apart with a loud slam and the rowers are tossed off their benches while the captain on deck falls onto an oar and then into the sea, likely dead as flaming arrows penetrate the galley and set two men on fire, one man running and the other man continuing to beat a drum.
► We see several ships sinking in big smoke clouds and some flames after a battle and a ship rams the galley of one ship that creates a hole through which many men fall; water fills the hold and many men look dead, while some are breathing (we see bubbles and some dead men are chained together in pairs under water); one man releases his chains from a dead man and surfaces and he later swims to nearby land and collapses on a beach.
► Thousands of soldiers wearing helmets, armor and cloaks march or ride horses while chanting loudly; a man on a rooftop shoots an arrow at on official with the march, but the arrow drives deep into a soldier's neck and he falls down, then shudders and dies with a bloody neck wound; several soldiers fire arrows into the sky, hitting no one.
► Several sword battles occur with slashing, stabbing, punching and leaping (we see blood on some blades, but not on combatants); two battles happen at night in heavy rain and mud and one battle occurs in snow against larger men wielding axes while another battle occurs among a tribe that throws spears that strike soldiers, who fall off-screen.
► A warship captain enters the rowers' galley and demands to know why the ship is so slow and then pulls a sword and slices toward a man below the frame (we hear no other sound, but the man may be dead).
► Jesus is shown carrying a heavy cross and wearing a crown of thorns that poke him in the face (we see his bloody face and bloodshot eyes); he falls and a man gives him water before being whipped by a soldier and the man picks up a rock to throw but Jesus stops him, saying, "My life I give of my own free will" as Jesus picks up the cross and walks, blood dripping in each footstep.
► A man slaps a woman hard in the face. A man puts a sword to a soldier's throat, but the first man punches him hard twice, felling him. People shout in a public area about a man on the ground who needs punishment while others stone him, but Jesus interrupts and covers the victim with his own body; another man sees this and says that the man is dangerous. Soldiers grab two men in the street and strike them with short clubs, then grab women and the scene ends (we hear that 20 men and women were killed).
► A man at a harbor drags a shackled slave (perhaps dead) up a long gangplank by his ankles as another slave walks down the gangplank to the belly of the ship and is forced to row (the men around him have bloody wounds and long scars on their backs, shoulders and faces) as a slave driver whips several men with loud cracking whips and kicks one man a few times as a drummer drums loudly at the front of the rowers (we see all the slaves five years later with very long, straggly hair and beards).
► A man enters his stable at night to find another man who pulls out a long knife and then puts it away; the first man sees two whimpering men in a stall and finds one to be injured, then heats a long knife to cauterize a large bloody wound on the arm of the injured man (gagged with a cloth, the patient still screeches loudly and convulses in pain).
► We hear that soldiers are attacked and we see some soldiers carried off streets on stretchers, while several soldiers lie sprawled in a graveyard with badly cut and bleeding faces (many of them are unmoving and seem dead).
► A horse falls on a trail among boulders, dumping its rider and another man finds bloody scrapes on the victim's face and neck and the camera cuts to the second man carrying the victim over his shoulders to their home, blood dripping by his feet with each step; he shouts for help and a woman tells the rescuer to pray; we later see the injured man under covers in bed and with his head wrapped in bandages. A large stone is moved and we see a soldier under it with his face red and black with grime and blood (he is alive).
► An officer meets a man in a boarded up stone building and the man slaps the officer in the face; soldiers enter, shouting, and the man escapes (the slapped officer has a reddened jaw and later admits to his superior that he was struck; the superior orders the unit to round up and kill 20 men, because a Roman man is worth 20 Jews.
► Soldiers push a man along a street while he has a heavy yoke strapped to his shoulders and chains between his ankles; he falls, and we see blood on his face and one knee (Jesus stares down the soldiers, gives the injured man water, and helps him up). Soldiers raid a home and throw a man and three women onto a tile floor while an elderly man lies dead on another floor (no blood showing); the man says that he fired an arrow at an official, hoping to spare his family with a false confession, but the soldiers arrest them all, placing burlap bags on their heads and the man is made a rowing slave in a warship. A shackled man tries to run, but falls when his chained ankle stops him.
► Two men approach a heavy wooden door behind which we hear loud screaming and inside a dark chamber two women lie against a wall on a low bench (one woman's face is covered and the other woman's face seeps infection from boils and sores from leprosy).
► A chariot driver loses control of a chariot, falls off and the four horses run through a tent, destroying everything in it while another man stops the horses and two other men carry the other driver away unconscious.
► Several four-horse chariots and single-horse races show men shouting at horses and each other, apparently whipping the horses that are off-screen.
► Starving people sit on mats outside in snowy weather and we hear that the Romans steal everything and gorge themselves as the people starve. At a Roman circus, the Prefect calls out, "You will see them die for you!" and at the end of the exhibition, men and soldiers in the stands cheer, chant, fistfight and laugh. Jesus berates Peter for cutting off a soldier's ear and we see a bit of blood briefly. A man finds another man lying on a bench with his leg missing from the knee down and his face, arms, and other leg are scraped and bloody; the wounded man pulls out a wide short-sword and threatens the other man, then drops the sword and asks forgiveness as they embrace. A scene and a flashback of two men on chariots lining up for a race include one man saying, "You should have killed me," and the other man replies, "I will"; during both scenes, thousands of soldiers shout, cheer, and fistfight in the stands of a coliseum.
► An officer demands that another officer have every able bodied man in Jerusalem killed (this does not happen). Two men argue about Zealots and Romans, one wanting to kill all the Zealots and the other man wanting to give the Zealots back land that was stolen from them. A man tells another man that there is no law in the Roman circus and they plan together to win a chariot race. A man says that his son was dragged through the streets and had his throat slit by Romans. A man says that Romans killed his father and brother. We hear that a military officer's grandfather was crucified. We hear that a mother and her adult daughter were crucified. A Roman soldier has a deep scar across his ear and cheek and he tells a woman that he was run through with a sword in battle. A man jokingly tells a woman that he may kill her brother one day for interrupting their conversations and she says, "I may kill him first."
► A soldier gives a man a sword for protection. A man awakens in a tent, finds a sick horse and gives it water.
PROFANITY 1 - Name-calling (idiots, cheap, traitor, pathetic, coward, fool, old man, murderers, charlatans), 8 religious exclamations (e.g. Go With God, Oh My God, Oh God, My God, Which Of Our 359 Gods Will Smile On Me, God Is Love, God Punishes Just As God Forgives, Oh For God's Sake). [profanity glossary]
SUBSTANCE USE - Several scenes show a few men drinking from small glasses or metal bowls of wine in a variety of settings.
DISCUSSION TOPICS - Genocide, slavery, power, greed, pride, blood sports, blood thirsty people, conquest, starvation, suffering, determination, courage, sacrifice, loyalty, forgiveness, reconciliation, faith, family, brotherhood, mentors, friendship, love, Christianity, crucifixion, miracles.
MESSAGE - Jesus's life brought love, forgiveness, and miracles to Jews and Romans alike.