for immediate release

Embargoed Until Monday, June 20
Award-Winning Epic Now Restored and Remastered in New
Limited and Numbered Editions from Warner Home Video
Collectible Box Set Features New High-Def Documentary about
Heston’s Filming Experiences with Never-Seen Family Footage and
Reproduction of Star’s Diary During Movie Shoot
Burbank, Calif., June 20, 2011 – Ben-Hur – William Wyler’s unforgettable epic spectacle, starring
Charlton Heston, that won a record-setting 11 Academy Awards® 1 (1959) including Best Motion
Picture, Best Actor and Best Director -- will make a dazzling debut on Blu-ray September 27 as
Ben-Hur 50th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition (UCE) from Warner Home Video
An inspiration to generations of filmmakers with its legendary scale and scope, “50 years later
filmmakers and film experts are still in awe of the film,” says Ben-Hur documentarian Gary Leva.
People like Ridley Scott, Ernest Dickerson, and others told Leva how Wyler’s film inspired them to
emulate the filmmaker years later. Even with today's technology, they still aren't sure how some of
the scenes were able to be put on film. Scott, who directed Gladiator, said his arena was onesixth the size of the one where Ben-Hur had his famous chariot race. The gigantic oval, with
incredible statues and architecture, took more than a year to build.
For this release, Ben-Hur has undergone a $1 million restoration -- frame by frame from an 8k
scan of the original 65 mm camera negative, making this the highest resolution restoration ever
completed by Warner Bros. studio.
“We have been working on this extensive restoration for several years, hoping we could be ready
with a 2009 release for the actual 50th. The meticulous process took longer than expected, but
our primary goal was to deliver the finest quality presentation possible, and we have succeeded in
doing just that,” said Jeff Baker, WHV’s Executive Vice President and General Manager,
Theatrical Catalog.
Ben-Hur has been on moratorium for the past year. Now limited and numbered, each set contains
more than four hours of extras including an all-new hi-def feature length documentary hosted by
son Fraser Heston; a reproduction of Heston's diary during filming; and an exclusive hardbound
photo book.
“The restoration is almost trumped by some newly-uncovered Heston family home movies, shot in
Italy during production, that reveal unique behind-the-scenes activity. Believed to be the only
footage of its kind in existence, this marks something truly historic and unprecedented. And we
are thrilled to be able to incorporate it into the documentary made by Laurent Bouzereau and
Charlton Heston’s son, Fraser. The documentary will be obtainable only with this release.”
Baker believes fans also will be enthralled with Heston’s diary, which “reflects his thoughts and
feelings on many of the days before, during, and immediately after the film’s physical production.
“The diary is a replica of the original,” Baker said. “We did not transpose Chuck’s words onto a
clean white piece of paper. The natural fading of the pages, and any mistakes, are all seen as
they are in the original diary. The concept is to preserve the authenticity. It’s a remarkable,
Academy Award(s)®, Oscar(s)® , Academy- Award-winning® and Oscar-winning® are the registered trademarks and service marks of
the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Ben-Hur 50th Anniversary UCE
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collectible keepsake. No other disc release in history has included a personal diary of an actor, let
alone an Oscar®-winning legend, sharing this type of personal information.”
Baker said that while under his watch Warner has produced several other Ultimate Collector’s
Editions of classic movies. “This physical package in terms of aesthetics, historical content, and
originality is the new gold standard for not only Warner, but for all studios. No one can forget
seeing Ben-Hur in a theater for the first time. And now, a half-century later, it looks the best it ever
has on Blu-ray in this pristine high-definition film restoration, perfect for holiday gift giving.”
The Ben-Hur 50th Anniversary UCE will be available for $64.99 SRP (Three-Disc Blu-ray),
$49.92 SRP (Five-Disc DVD set) and $20.97 SRP (2-Disc 50th Anniversary Edition DVD). Order
due date for all is August 23, 2011.
After attending an early screening, Fraser Heston noted in a letter to Baker, “This is
unquestionably the most remarkable restoration I have ever seen. It was an extraordinary, life
changing experience, like sitting next to Wyler in his answer print screening, only better.
The picture was clear and sharp, not crisp or brittle like some HD versions. It looks like film not
pixels. The colors were rich and vibrant but not overly so, muted where they should be muted, and
bright where they should be bright. Blacks were astonishingly, well … black! And the sound track
was a rich experience in itself - lovely clear dialogue, rich mellow score and clean effects. I look
forward to showing it to my family and friends as soon as I can.”
Details of the new bonus content for this release are:
Charlton Heston: A Personal Journey
An all-new high-definition feature-length documentary chronicling Charlton Heston’s life
while filming Ben-Hur. Includes behind-the-scenes details and home movie footage shot
by his wife Lydia while in Rome. The film shows a rarely seen, different side of Heston –
as a warm, loving father and husband balancing his home and work life, and as an artist
devoted to his craft.
Charlton Heston: The Ben-Hur Diaries
First-time exclusive look into an Oscar-winning actor’s experience while making an awardwinning film. A reproduction of Charlton Heston’s private and insightful diary from January
1958 through April 1960, documents his time before production of the film all the way
through his Oscar win. Includes personal photos from the Heston family and Charlton
Heston’s own sketches.
Exclusive hardbound book with rare photography, production art and reproductions from
the original theatrical press book.
Ben-Hur will be available digitally for the first time On Demand and for download through online
retailers including iTunes and Amazon On Demand
For more information, log onto
More About Ben-Hur
With 100,000 costumes, 15,000 extras, 300 sets and a $15 million budget that, at the time, was
the most expensive in MGM’s history, Ben-Hur is widely considered to be one of the most
accomplished Biblical-era epics ever made. Based on Lew Wallace’s best-selling novel and
adapted by Karl Tunber, Ben-Hur stars Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins, Haya Harareet, Stephen
Boyd, Hugh Griffith, Martha Scott, Cathy O’Donnell and Sam Jaffe. The film ranks #13 in all-time
box office when adjusted for inflation (source: Box Office Mojo).
Ben-Hur 50th Anniversary UCE
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Heston brings a solid physical and moral presence to the title role of Judah Ben-Hur, and his
charismatic performance earned him one of the film’s 11 Academy Awards® (a feat equaled only
by Titanic and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King). In addition to the Best Actor
award, Ben-Hur also captured Oscars for Best Motion Picture, Best Director, and Best Supporting
Actor (Griffith).
The movie was filmed in a process known as MGM Camera 65, one of the widest prints ever
made, with a width almost three times its height. This allowed for spectacular panoramic shots
and bold action sequences. Even by today’s standards, Ben-Hur’s now legendary chariot race
still astonishes. The lack of computer-generated effects, the visually stunning MGM Camera 65
process, and excellent cinematography all make the scene one of the most memorable in modern
Experience the visual splendor, thundering action and towering drama of this record-setting
Academy Award-winning film. Charlton Heston, in his Best Actor Oscar-winning role, is Judah
Ben-Hur, a Jewish nobleman in Palestine whose heroic odyssey includes enslavement by the
Romans, vengeance against his tormentors during a furious arena chariot race and fateful
encounters with Jesus Christ. Best Director Oscar-winner William Wyler masterfully grips the reins
of an enduring and spellbinding spectacular.
Blu-ray Special Features Include*
Disc One & Two: The Movie
 Newly Remastered and Restored from Original 65mm Film Elements
 Dolby Digital 5.1 Audio
 Commentary by Film Historian T. Gene Hatcher with Scene Specific Comments from
Charlton Heston
 Music-Only Track Showcasing Miklos Rozsa’s Score
Disc Three: Special Features
 Charlton Heston: A Personal Journey (78 min) [HD] NEW!
 Ben-Hur: 1925 Silent Version, from the Thames Television Restoration with Stereophonic
Orchestral Score by Composer Carl Davis (143 min)
 2005 Documentary: Ben-Hur: The Epic That Changed Cinema - Current filmmakers such
as Ridley Scott reflect on the importance and influence of the film on modern epics (58
 1994 Documentary: Ben-Hur: The Making of an Epic Hosted by Christopher Plummer (58
 Ben-Hur: A Journey Through Pictures - Audiovisual recreation of the film via stills,
storyboards, sketches, music and dialogue
 Screen Tests (30 min)
 Vintage Newsreels Gallery
 Highlights from the 1960 Academy Awards ® Ceremony
 Theatrical Trailer Gallery
The DVD UCE will have the feature film restored and remastered for standard definition plus the
same Special Features spread over five discs.
Ben-Hur 50th Anniversary UCE
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The 2-Disc 50th Anniversary Edition DVD will have the feature film restored and remastered for
standard definition with commentary plus a special edition poster mail-in offer and a
commemorative o-sleeve.
Street Date: September 27, 2011
Order Date: August 23, 2011
Run Time: 222 minutes (Feature Only)
Rated G
Cat # / UPC: 1000124668/ 883929119202
SRP: $64.99
Cat # / UPC: 1000124669/ 883929119219
SRP: $49.92
Two-Disc Special Edition DVD
Cat # / UPC: 1000186097/ 883929178261
SRP: $20.97
*All enhanced content listed above is subject to change.
About Warner Home Video
With operations in 90 international territories, Warner Home Video, a division of Warner Bros. Home
Entertainment Inc., commands the largest home entertainment distribution infrastructure in the global video
marketplace. Warner Home Video's film library is the largest of any studio, offering top quality new and
vintage titles from the repertoires of Warner Bros. Pictures, Turner Entertainment, Castle Rock
Entertainment, HBO Video and New Line Cinema.
WHV Publicity Contacts
Warner Home Video, Ronnee Sass, 818/977-6439 / Janet Keller, 818/977-7831
Carl Samrock Public Relations, Marie Remelius, Karen Penhale, 818/260-0777
E-mail requests for materials to;