Finlay Currie: Balthasar, Narrator
Judah Ben-Hur : I must deal with Messala in my own way.
Balthasar : And your way is to kill him.
[Judah's look confirms this]
Balthasar : I see this terrible thing in your eyes, Judah Ben-Hur, but no matter what this man has done to you, you have no right to take his life. He will be punished inevitably.
Judah Ben-Hur : I don't believe in miracles.
Balthasar : But all life is a miracle! Why will you not accept God's judgement?
Balthasar : [during the crucifixion] I have lived too long.
Judah Ben-Hur : He gave me water, and the heart to live. What has he done to merit this?
Balthasar : He has taken the world of our sins onto Himself. To this end He said He was born, in that stable, where I first saw Him. For this cause, He came into the world.
Judah Ben-Hur : For this death?
Balthasar : For this beginning.
Balthasar : Pardon me - you are a stranger here. Would you be from Nazareth?
Judah Ben-Hur : Why do you ask?
Balthasar : I thought... you might be the one... the one I have come back from my country to find. He would be about your age.
Judah Ben-Hur : Who?
Balthasar : When I find him, I shall know him.
[first lines and off-screen]
Balthasar : [narrating, off screen] In the Year of our Lord, Judea - for nearly a century - had lain under the mastery of Rome. In the seventh year of the reign of Augustus Caesar, an imperial decree ordered every Judean each to return to his place of birth to be counted and taxed. The converging ways of many of them led to the gates of their capital city, Jerusalem, the troubled heart of their land. The old city was dominated by the fortress of Antonia, the seat of Roman power, and by the great golden temple, the outward sign of an inward and imperishable faith. Even while they obeyed the will of Caesar, the people clung proudly to their ancient heritage, always remembering the promise of their prophets that one day there would be born among them a redeemer to bring them salvation and perfect freedom.