(Kalem Company, 1907)
Jerusalem is in a state of rebellion against its Roman overlords. During a Roman procession, Judah Ben Hur wounds Valerius Gratus when he accidentally shakes loose a roof tile and it falls on the procurator. Messala — once Ben Hur's friend, now a Roman legionary — betrays him and he is sent to the galleys. The ship he is enslaved on sinks. Ben Hur survives and also rescues the ship's captain, Quintus Arrius. In gratitude, Arrius adopts him as his son. Messala challenges Ben Hur to a chariot race, which Ben Hur accepts — competing not only against Messala, but against Rome itself.
Starring Herman Rottger and William S. Hart · Directed by Sidney Olcott, Frank Oakes Rose, and H. Temple