Ben-Hur

LORELAI: Hey, you in the belt – get in.
LUKE: What? Oh, no, I was just sort of checking things out.
LORELAI: Come on. We can pull a Ben-Hur and take down Taylor’s sleigh.

Ben-Hur, 1959 religious epic film directed by William Wyler and starring Charlton Heston, previously discussed, in the title role. It’s based on the 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ by Lew Wallace, and a remake of the 1925 silent film version.

The film focuses on a Jewish prince named Judah Ben-Hur, living in Jerusalem during the days of Christ’s ministry. Unfairly condemned to the galleys as a slave after an accidental death, Ben-Hur is later freed and becomes a champion charioteer, the film reaching its climax with a thrilling race-to-the-death against the man who sent him to the galleys.

Ben-Hur had the largest budget and the largest sets built of any film produced at the time, leading to the phrase “bigger than Ben-Hur” to describe anything on a grand scale. It was the #1 film of 1959 at the box office, received overwhelming critical acclaim, and was the second-highest grossing film of that time, after Gone With the Wind. It won a record eleven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor in a Leading Role, and Best Cinematographer. It is considered one of the greatest epics of all time, and one of the best films in cinematic history.

The film was released on DVD in 2001, suggesting the possibility that Lorelai had watched it fairly recently.

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