Chariots are like the motorcycles of the ancient world: They’re lean, mean, tricky to control, and people look pretty epic riding them. No wonder they're all over the place in 'Exodus: Gods and Kings' -- and in these other movies.
This Best Picture Oscar winner set the standard for every chariot scene to com. Its famous race between Judah Ben-Hur (Charlton Heston) and his frenemy Messala (Stephen Boyd) remains one of cinema’s most iconic action sequences.
This silent adaptation has a chariot race that’s thrilling in its own right. The sets are real, the crowds are real and the danger is very real: An accidental pile-up made it into the final cut, and a stuntman and several horses were killed during filming.
Naturally, chariots abound in this Roman epic, especially in the tremendous Coliseum battle, where Russell Crowe, Djimon Hounsou and their fellow slaves make mincemeat out of their chariot-riding attackers.
Proving that the Romans didn’t have a lock on chariots, here’s Trojan prince Paris (Orlando Bloom), cruising around town with his Greek lover Helen (Diane Kruger) on his own leather-bound ride -- complete with slave-held pink parasol.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)
We warp into the far-flung future to find chariots still in use. Since the post-American dictatorship of Panem takes many of its cues from the Roman Empire, it’s no surprise to see chariots employed in the Hunger Games’ opening ceremonies.
Flash Gordon (1980)
A far more fabulous future is depicted in this camp classic. There may not be horses in space, but Flash (Sam J. Jones) doesn’t need any to power his Jet Ski-like sky chariot. He’ll save every one of us!
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)
This promotional image for Disney’s blockbuster fantasy shows the White Witch (Tilda Swinton) astride her fearsome chariot, pulled by a trio of polar bears. Some call the vehicle a sleigh, but trust us -- this baby’s got wheels.
The Little Mermaid (1989)
What’s cooler than a chariot pulled by polar bears? How about one pulled by dolphins. Such a ride befits the mighty King Triton. By the way, can you spot Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy below Triton’s flowing white hair?
The Ten Commandments (1956)
“They shall remember the name of Moses -- only that he died under my chariot wheels!” So says Ramses (Yul Brynner) in Cecil B. DeMille’s forerunner of ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings.’ Of course, Moses (Charlton Heston) and the Red Sea get the last laugh.
The Prince of Egypt (1998)
The tale of Moses and Ramses was told again in this hit animated musical. A wild chariot race, when the two future enemies still considered each other brothers, is one of the film’s highlights.
History of the World: Part I (1981)
Chariots have appeared in comedies as well, from the 1933 Eddie Cantor vehicle ‘Roman Scandals’ to this Mel Brooks gag fest, where Brooks (left) and company cross a river parted by Moses -- whose hands are up because he’s being mugged.
Finally, here’s evidence that, along with ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings,’ the chariot is alive and well in 2014 cinema. ‘Hercules’ is packed with them, as Dwayne Johnson and his cronies recognize how awesome these vehicles look on the big screen.
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