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Fun Facts: Ben-Hur

Fun Facts: Ben-Hur

• Charlton Heston was taught to drive a chariot by the stunt crew, who offered to teach the entire cast. Heston was the only one who took them up on the offer.

• Rock Hudson was offered a record $750,000 to star in the movie, but turned it down in order to star in A Farewell to Arms.

• Charlton Heston himself wrote some additional scenes between Ben-Hur and Messala. They were never used as William Wyler deemed them to be "the phoniest thing" he'd ever had to deal with from an actor.

• Leslie Nielsen made a screen test for the part of Messala, part of which can be seen in the documentary Ben-Hur: The Making of an Epic.

• Paul Newman was offered the role of Judah Ben-Hur but turned it down because he said he didn't have the legs to wear a tunic.

• Sidney Franklin had initially been courted to direct the film.

• Sergio Leone has an uncredited second unit director credit. In later years, he claimed that he directed the chariot race scenes, but that turned out to be false.

• Robert Ryan was considered for the role of Messala, with Burt Lancaster as Ben-Hur.

• For some sequences in the chariot race, some of the chariots had three horses instead of four. This enabled the camera car to move in closer.

• It was the first "remake" to win the Oscar for Best Picture. The Departed became the second "remake" to do so, 47 years later.

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