After his boyhood friend Messala's fanatic loyalty to Rome makes him a powerful enemy, Judah Ben-Hur is found guilty of an attempted murder he did not commit. His family is banished and he is enslaved on a warship. Through his ferocity in a raging sea battle, he is able to escape and become a horse trainer. To exact his revenge, Ben-Hur decides to compete against Messala in the Roman chariot races. They race, locked in a battle to the death. Barely surviving, Ben-Hur forsakes the sword for Christ and finally finds redemption.