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The Ten Commandments (1923)

The first part tells the story of Moses leading the Jews from Egypt to the Promised Land, his receipt of the tablets and the worship of the golden calf. The second part shows the efficacy ... See full summary »


(as Cecil B. De Mille)



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Moses - The Lawgiver
Rameses - the Magnificent: Prologue (as Charles De Roche)
Miriam - The Sister of Moses
Pat Moore ...
The Son of Pharaoh - Prologue (as Terrence Moore)
James Neill ...
Aaron - Brother of Moses
Clarence Burton ...
The Taskmaster - Prologue
The Bronze Man - Prologue
Edythe Chapman ...
Mrs. Martha McTavish
John McTavish - Her Son
Dan McTavish - Her Son
Mary Leigh
Sally Lung - a Eurasian
Redding - an Inspector


The first part tells the story of Moses leading the Jews from Egypt to the Promised Land, his receipt of the tablets and the worship of the golden calf. The second part shows the efficacy of the commandments in modern life through a story set in San Francisco. Two brothers, rivals for the love of Mary, also come into conflict when John discovers Dan used shoddy materials to construct a cathedral. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Mightiest Dramatic Spectacle of All the Ages.


Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

23 November 1923 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die zehn Gebote  »

Box Office


$1,800,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


| (2-strip Technicolor) (some sequences)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Julia Faye, who plays the Pharaoh's wife, also played Elisheba, Aaron's wife, in Cecil B. DeMille's 1956 remake of The Ten Commandments (1956). See more »


The McTavish carpenter shop is always portrayed to be on the ground floor, but at the very end, when John reads the bible to Mary, the view from the window behind them clearly shows an overhead view of the city. See more »


Mary Leigh: [catching John with another woman] There's still one commandment he hasn't broken, he hasn't killed anybody yet.
See more »


Referenced in The Passion: Films, Faith & Fury (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

Thou shalt not give a stupid review.
22 October 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Oops, broke that one. All joking aside, this film is incredible. Astonishing effects for the early 20s, where you couldn't twist any digital domain to your whims. The parting of the Red Sea is pretty convincing, even if was Jello. (Can you imagine wading through Jello? Ick.)

This film is told in two parts, as we get to see Moses receiving the Ten Commandments from God in what looks like a Fourth of July celebration. One with good fireworks. Most people know that story--Moses goes to deliver the Commandments, only to find everyone involved in a massive orgy. Here de Mille is in his element. He did so many massive orgies that he should have copyrighted them. We see people making out (not having sex--that would be wrong), men licking wine off women's feet (that is wrong, by gum), and a huge number of people trying to climb up what looks like a curtain. Why they're doing this only de Mille knows. All we need is Gloria Swanson being pawed by a tiger to make everything perfect. As some viewers may not know, de Mille can show whatever sin and debauchery he wants, because the sinners are going to get it in the end. They're gonna get it bad. From the giddy Israelites and their golden calf we're transported to the modern day (1923), where a woman reads the Bible. She can't be the sinner. A son stands nearby, looking very noble and content. Can't be him. Then, we see the other son. He looks bored and disbelieving. We have a sinner! Oh, and he's a bad one. He dances on Sunday, he steals women from their intendeds, he's involved in dozens of dirty dealings, and he's dating an Oriental leper. Beg pardon? I guess she's just thrown in for fun.

Of course, all's well that ends well, and everything turns out okay. This movie is silent, so the acting is a bit in-your-face, and the characters are extreme, but hey. It's necessary--literacy wasn't rampant back then, so filmmakers had to make everything painfully obvious. Some people weren't able to read the title cards, and they'd be lost without the silent films' distinctive pantomime.

Side benefit--the version I have on video features a nifty soundtrack by that powerhouse of the movie palace, the Wurlitzer organ.

19 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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This movie needs to be on DVD! Barry-73
so THIS is what they did before the talkies huh? digitalfortress0
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