[narrating, off screen] In the Year of our Lord, Judea - for nearly a century - had lain under the mastery of Rome. In the seventh year of the reign of Augustus Caesar, an imperial decree ordered every Judean each to return to his place of birth to be counted and taxed. The converging ways of many of them led to the gates of their capital city, Jerusalem, the troubled heart of their land. The old city was dominated by the fortress of Antonia, the seat of Roman power, and by the great golden temple, the outward sign of an inward and imperishable faith. Even while they obeyed the will of Caesar, the people clung proudly to their ancient heritage, always remembering the promise of their prophets that one day there would be born among them a redeemer to bring them salvation and perfect freedom.

Balthasar

[greedily] Drusus, as a boy I dreamed of commanding this garrison. And now the wheel has turned. Now, I am in command.

Messala

Miriam: [speaking of Christ] As though he were carrying that cross the pain of the world.
[she whispers]
Miriam: So fearful.
Tirzah: And yet why is it... I'm not afraid anymore?
[thunder rumbles]
Esther: The shadow of a storm.
[they go inside a nearby cave; the sky goes dark outside]
Esther: A strange darkness, but still day.
[a violent storm begins]
Miriam: His life is over.
[lightning cracks]
Tirzah: He's here. It's tearing... I feel the pain!
Miriam: I feel it too.
[They seem to faint]
Esther: [concerned] Miriam?
[Miriam presses Esther's hand]
Esther: I thought that... Miriam! Do you see your hand?
[They look; Tirzah sits up, healed]
Esther: Tirzah! Miriam!
[They touch each other's faces, feel their hands, embrace as they realize they've been healed]

Balthasar: [during the crucifixion] I have lived too long.
Sheik Ilderim: Bonehead! Give me those reins! You think you can treat my horses like animals? To drive cows and goats is all you're fit for! Get off, idiot!
[he kicks the driver off the chariot]

Miriam: [hesitating as they leave the Valley of the Lepers] I'm afraid.
Esther: [embracing her] No cause. The world is more than we know.

Sextus, you ask how to fight an idea. Well I'll tell you how... with another idea!

Messala

Judah Ben-Hur: He gave me water, and the heart to live. What has he done to merit this?
Balthasar: He has taken the world of our sins onto Himself. To this end He said He was born, in that stable, where I first saw Him. For this cause, He came into the world.
Judah Ben-Hur: For this death?
Balthasar: For this beginning.

Tiberius Caesar: [Tiberius Caesar sees Judah Ben-Hur, in Arrius' chariot] This man riding beside you, who is he?
Quintus Arrius: The man who saved me, divine Emperor, to return and serve you.
Tiberius Caesar: Is that all you know of him?
Quintus Arrius: No. He was accused of an attack on the governor of Judea. But he was innocent.
Tiberius Caesar: If not, there is a strange inconsistency in this man, who tries to kill my governor, yet saves the life of my Consul. Come tomorrow, and we will talk of him.

Judah Ben-Hur: If I cannot persuade them, that does not mean I will help you... "murder" them. Besides, you must understand this, Messala. I believe in the past of my people, "and" in their future.
Messala: Future? You are a conquered people!
Judah Ben-Hur: You may conquer the land; you may slaughter the people. But that is not the end. We will rise again.

Messala: Look to the West, Judah! Don't be a fool, look to Rome!
Judah Ben-Hur: I would rather be a fool than a traitor... or a killer!
Messala: I am a soldier!
Judah Ben-Hur: Yes! Who kills! For Rome! Rome is evil!
Messala: I warn you...
Judah Ben-Hur: No! I warn you! Rome is an affront to God! Rome is strangling my people and my country, the whole Earth! But not forever. I tell you the day Rome falls there will be a shout of freedom such as the world has never heard before!

Quintus Arrius: [startled from sleep by Judah's arrival] Why are you here?
Judah Ben-Hur: I was ordered to report to you during my relief.
Quintus Arrius: Oh yes, I had forgotten.
[he rises]
Quintus Arrius: You could have killed me as I lay there! You're a condemned man, why didn't you?
Judah Ben-Hur: I'm not ready to die.
Quintus Arrius: What do you think will save you?
Judah Ben-Hur: The God of my fathers.
Quintus Arrius: Your God has forsaken you. He has no more power than the images I pray to. My gods do not help me. Your God will not help you. I might. Does that interest you, Forty-One?
[pause]
Quintus Arrius: I can see that it does. I'm a fighting man by profession, and in my leisure moments, it amuses me to train fighting men. I own some of the best gladiators and charioteers in Rome. Would you like to become one of them?
Judah Ben-Hur: To die as your slave?
Quintus Arrius: Better than to live in chains below these decks.
Judah Ben-Hur: I will not be here forever.
Quintus Arrius: No? What would you do, if you escaped?
Judah Ben-Hur: Two people were condemned with me, my mother and sister, even though they were innocent. I will not rest...
Quintus Arrius: [interrupting] You do not say that you were innocent.
Judah Ben-Hur: Would it do any good to say it again?
Quintus Arrius: No. Now consider my offer carefully. You will never escape while we are victorious. If we are not, you will sink with this ship, chained to your oar.
Judah Ben-Hur: I can't believe that God has let me live these three years, to die chained to an oar.
Quintus Arrius: It's a strange, stubborn faith you keep. To believe that existence has a purpose! A sane man would have learned to lose it long before this.
Judah Ben-Hur: As you have. What drove it out of you?
Quintus Arrius: Go back to your oar, Forty-One.

[on Arrius' orders, Judah is left unlocked for the upcoming battle; Judah touches his unchained ankle, bewildered]
Rower No. 42: Forty-one, why did he do that?
Judah Ben-Hur: I don't know.
[remembering Nazareth]
Judah Ben-Hur: Once before, a man helped me. I didn't know why then.

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