In our inaugural weekly edition of Scenes We Love, I wanted to find a perfectly topical scene, seeing as it is Easter Sunday. But as it turns out, there aren’t too many great scenes worth revisiting from “Easter movies.” Unless, of course, you’d like to re-watch Jim Caviezel being whipped to shit as Jesus in Mel Gibson’s 2004 The Passion of the Christ. It’s a well constructed scene that delivers the maximum possible emotional impact, especially for those who really love their Jesus, but it’s not exactly a scene we love. We appreciate it, but we don’t love it.
So instead of making you watch Jesus get brutalized, lets watch one of the all-time great race scenes, the Chariot Race from the 1959 William Wyler epic Ben-Hur, starring Charlton Heston.
The story of Judah Ben-Hur is intercut with that of Jesus of Nazareth, so it’s more than topical on Easter. Also, this scene — much of which would not have been possible were it not for some incredible planning and choreography from assistant directors Andrew Marton and Yakima Canutt — is a testament to the will of a filmmaker to make something that is intensely real and simultaneously so grande that it becomes surreal. It’s a monumental scene on the landscape of cinema history. A scene that we love dearly, especially on Easter.
Watch the Ben-Hur chariot race scene below: