3-3.5. Generally a very dense, exciting movie large in scope, with debates about God and nationality texturing the characters and theme. But God also proves to be a bit of an achilles heel when the movie drags on about forty minutes past the resolution of its big conflict to indulge in the horror and rapture of the lynching/ascension of Jesus. Really, the movie should have ended with Judah forgiving Messala instead.
A solidly mounted but po-faced thick ear of a film. Like so many of these sword and sandal epics, it presents a tub-thumping faux reverence for its cod religiosity which would be bad enough let alone at well over three hours. The well-oiled male skin provides knowing distraction if not subtext.
The chariot scene is a work of art, and it has to be one of the most epic scenes in cinema history. The production design is astounding, as you'd expect from a film with a record-breaking budget for its time. But the rest is overly dramatic and the final hour is so preachy and cheesy it is hard to keep watching.