Overtly Religious Ending — Ben-Hur
This MGM spectacle of ancient Roman society is a landmark film in the history of Hollywood. Judean Prince Judah Ben-Hur is arrested by a vengeful Roman commander and sold into slavery. Judah fights his way back to his homeland on a quest of vengeance, determined to save his surviving family and crush those who secured his oppression. Famously culminating in a ten-minute chariot race, Ben-Hur is able to win and defeat his rival Messala. It is a near-perfect climax and the movie should end about ten to fifteen minutes after that — instead, Ben-Hur begins to undergo a religious conversion, both as a film and a character.
In the last 45 minutes (a difficult add-on considering the movie is four hours) Judah’s story intersects with the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and the effect it had on him. This epic spectacle transforms into religious propaganda, with this Jewish prince embracing the tenants of Christianity in a few minutes. He pontificates about how the vengeance he has harbored for years is now gone — oh, and let’s not forget that his mother and sister are cured of leprosy the moment they begin to pray to the Christian god. For a film that embraced the brutal realism of Roman rule, it took some near-magical liberties by the overextended ending.
Image Source: IMDb