It’s the most expensive silent film ever made at $3.9 million and it featured a cast of over 125,000 people. This silent film made over $9 million at the box office and MGM still lost money on the film due to various expenses and the rights deal with the novelist Lew Wallace.
Before there was Charlton Heston – Ramon Novarro starred as Ben-Hur. The religious sequences were shot in two-strip Technicolor and the topless slave girls were OK with the censors at the time because it was a religious Christian epic.
The film features the same chariot race and boat battles as the remake but are an amazing sight to behold. The fact that it was made in 1925 and it stands up technically today shows why remakes in my opinion are unnecessary. 42 cameras were used to film the epic chariot race and several stuntmen were hurt (not to mention a few horses were killed).