The Ten Commandments (1923)

Passed  |   |  Biography, Drama  |  23 November 1923 (USA)
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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 »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Moses - The Lawgiver
Charles de Rochefort ...
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
Lawson Butt ...
Clarence Burton ...
The Taskmaster - Prologue
Noble Johnson ...
The Bronze Man - Prologue
Edythe Chapman ...
Mrs. Martha McTavish
John McTavish - Her Son
Dan McTavish - Her Son
Mary Leigh
Sally Lung - a Eurasian
Robert Edeson ...
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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Biography | Drama


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)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The effect of the parting of the Red Sea was created by placing two blocks of blue gelatin side-by-side, heating them until they melted...then running the footage in reverse. See more »


The type of staff used by Moses and his followers has a Star of David on the end. The Star of David didn't become a symbol of Judaism until the Middle Ages. See more »


Mary Leigh: I was passing by Dugan's lunch wagon when a hot dog ran out and bit me.
See more »


Referenced in Hollywood: The Golden Years (1961) See more »

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User Reviews

Church of the Poison Mind
8 February 2009 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

Cecil B. DeMille's Paramount EPIC "The Ten Commandments" tells the Old Testament's "Moses" story during its first hour. The "special effects" highlights are: Theodore Roberts (as Moses) parting the Red Sea, and the Biblical patriarch's thunderous receiving of God's commandments. The production is first rate throughout. After about fifty minutes of spectacle, the film switches to a "Modern Story" - wherein Mr. DeMille seeks to tell a morality story involving "The Ten Commandments".

For the main story (the more memorable Moses segments were a mere "prologue"), DeMille introduces the McTavish brothers - saintly carpenter Richard Dix (as John), and partying atheist Rod La Rocque (as Dan). While Mr. Dix stays home to read The Bible, with dear mother Edythe Chapman (as Martha McTavish), Mr. La Rocque breaks Commandments, with lovely Leatrice Joy (as Mary Leigh). Of course, Dix falls in love with Ms. Joy, after she becomes his brother's wife…

DeMille's morality tale is extremely heavy-handed, but nevertheless enticing, and expertly directed.

The "Biblical" and "Modern" story format recalls D.W. Griffith's superior "Intolerance" (1916). The all-star cast (it's 1923, remember) performs exceptionally, with La Rocque being seen in one of his finest performances. As any actor will tell you, La Rocque was halfway there, upon receiving the "bad brother" role, over Dix - and, La Rocque runs away with the film. His is a "Best Actor"-worthy performance. Nefarious Nita Naldi (as Sally Lung) leads a strong supporting cast.

All things considered, this one's a lot more fun than the 1956 re-make.

********* The Ten Commandments (11/23/23) Cecil B. DeMille ~ Rod La Rocque, Richard Dix, Leatrice Joy, Theodore Roberts

4 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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