Make no mistake — Ben-Hur is not great art. But it is great fun. Judah Ben-Hur (Charlton Heston), a contemporary of Jesus, is a Jewish prince in Roman-ruled Judea newly reunited with his boyhood friend Messala (Stephen Boyd). Messala, a Roman, has just returned from the empire’s capital to reign as tribune, a sort of lieutenant governor, of Judea. These old pals now find themselves separated by politics — one is the ruler, the other the ruled.
In postwar 1946, three soldiers are coming home to their small midwestern city. Air Force Captain Fred Derry (Dana Andrews), a soda jerk before the war, returns to the railyard slums of his parents; Army Sergeant Al Stephenson (Frederic March), VP of a small bank, has a lovely wife (Myrna Loy) and two perfect children waiting for him in their luxury apartment; Homer Parrish (Harold Russell), a Navy grunt and a kid from a middle-class family, has lost both his hands and hides himself away in his parents’ house.
Mrs. Miniver is a strikingly unsentimental account of the theft of England’s innocence in the early days of WWII. Kay and Clem Miniver (Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon) head up a stalwart middle-class family in the small town of Belham. It is the summer of 1939, and village life plods along as idyllically as it always has.