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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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When strongman Samson rejects the love of the beautiful Philistine woman Delilah, she seeks vengeance that brings horrible consequences they both regret.

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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?


1600 craftspeople built the giant Egyptian sets at Guadalupe Sand Dunes. See more »


When the Red Sea is parting, it's clear that the filmed footage was played in reverse. See more »


Mrs. Martha McTavish: Whatever you've done is my fault because I taught you to fear the Lord but never to love Him, and LOVE is the most important thing.
See more »


Referenced in The Bible According to Hollywood (1994) See more »

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User Reviews

Thou shalt remember Cecil B.De Mille...
13 June 2007 | by See all my reviews

Today,all his epics ("ten commandments" 1 and 2,"sign of the cross" "Samson and Delilah" ...° have worn remarkably well.

Like many people ,I saw the 1956 version well before the silent one.The prologue (which is very long for a prologue) has a plot similar to the 1956 version from the plagues to the golden calf orgy.Even the Parting of the Red Sea (and it's quite impressive for 1923!) and the writing of the Holy Tablets are here (it looks more like some kind of mystic firework here).As for the orgy,it's simply better than the color version.That said I like that latter version best,because the gap between the biblical tale and the modern one makes that the two parts do not hang very well,in spite of a brilliant transition : Moses and his people saga suddenly segues into a mother reading the Bible to her sons.

The second part will deal with the story of two brothers,one of whom trying to break these "fusty" commandments and not be broken by them. There are interesting parallels: the workers on the building site and the slaves working for pharaoh on the pyramids,the hero who ,like "pharaoh's tribe ,is drowned in the tide" .Little by little,the film becomes slowly but inexorably overtly Christian: the momma hints to carpenters,nice carpenters,there's a short return to biblical times but depicting a scene of Jesus' s life and unlike the bad woman who became a leper in the prologue,salvation is around the corner for the evil millionaire's wife.Lines from St Matthew ("he gained the world but lost his soul") add to this feeling a redemption.

Despite the reservations expressed above,De Mille was a storyteller extraordinaire,who equaled D.W .Griffith .Thou shalt not overlook him.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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