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‘Ben-Hur’: The next great movie about Christ?

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Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 08/06/16

The long-anticipated film (produced by Mark Burnett and Roma Downey) opens on August 19, following in the chariot tracks of a legend: the classic, Oscar-winning 1959 movie starring Charlton Heston, directed by the great William Wyler. Will this new version be any match for the original?

We’ll find out soon enough. One sign of promise: the screenplay is credited to John Ridley, who wrote the acclaimed film “12 Years a Slave” (and won an Oscar for his efforts).

Meantime, it’s wort noting that the movie is being pitched to Christian audiences with the kind of zeal we last witnessed with “The Passion of the Christ” — study guides are being published, bulletin inserts have been made available, and there’s even a companion book by Mike Aquilina coming out this month. You can see all the resources available and view clips from the film here.

Catholic leaders are also weighing in. Cardinal Sean O’Malley says:

“Rodrigo Santoro respectfully and faithfully portrays Jesus, emphasizing the importance of faith in the midst of the furor of the events that unfold between the brothers. It is notable that Pope Francis provided his personal blessing for Mr. Santoro’s work in the film, the grace of that encouragement is evident in the performance.”

Want more? Check out this promotional video with some familiar names and faces.

And watch the full trailer below.

I have to say: this looks really good. Count me in. This is one I want to see.

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