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The Ten Commandments (1956)

Approved | | Adventure, Drama | 5 October 1956 (USA)
The Egyptian Prince, Moses, learns of his true heritage as a Hebrew and his divine mission as the deliverer of his people.

Director:

(as Cecil B. de Mille)

Writers:

(this work contains material from the book "Prince of Egypt"), (this work contains material from the book "Pillar of Fire") (as Rev. J. H. Ingraham) | 5 more credits »
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2,871 ( 74)

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ON DISC
Won 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Sethi (as Sir Cedric Hardwicke)
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Olive Deering ...
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Storyline

To escape the edict of Egypt's Pharaoh, Rameses I, condemning all newborn Hebrew males, the infant Moses is set adrift on the Nile in a reed basket. Saved by the pharaoh's daughter Bithiah, he is adopted by her and brought up in the court of her brother, Pharaoh Seti. Moses gains Seti's favor and the love of the throne princess Nefertiri, as well as the hatred of Seti's son, Rameses. When his Hebrew heritage is revealed, Moses is cast out of Egypt, and makes his way across the desert where he marries, has a son and is commanded by God to return to Egypt to free the Hebrews from slavery. In Egypt, Moses' fiercest enemy proves to be not Rameses, but someone near to him who can 'harden his heart'. Written by Ron Kerrigan <mvg@whidbey.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Paramount Pictures is proud to announce the return of the greatest motion picture of all time! (1966 re-release) See more »

Genres:

Adventure | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

5 October 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Prince of Egypt  »

Box Office

Budget:

$13,282,712 (estimated)

Gross:

$93,740,000 (USA)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)| (optical prints)| (1989 re-release)| (1989 re-release)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Merle Oberon and Claudette Colbert were considered for the role of Bithiah before Cecil B. DeMille chose Jayne Meadows (who declined) and finally cast Nina Foch, on the suggestion of Henry Wilcoxon, who had worked with her in Scaramouche (1952). See more »

Goofs

As Moses is leading the Israelites through the parted Red Sea, he stands upon a tall outcropping of rock on the far end as encouragement to his followers who are still making the journey through. As his people all reach the safety of the other side, the Pharaoh's forces are seen fast approaching the escaping slaves. As Moses gives the signal, we then see the walls of water of the parted Red Sea collapse onto the Egyptian troops while the Pharaoh himself had remained standing on a rock escarpment. The remains of the gigantic waves of water sweep onto the ground surrounding his position. Unfortunately, we also see 2 large and obviously fake boulders afloat on top of the water and being swept up onto the beach to his right side (left of the screen). It could be argued that the force of the onrushing wave merely swept the rocks along, but the problem with that scenario is the fact that, while a large amount of swiftly moving water does indeed have the capacity to change entire landscapes, solid objects such as stone would be forced along the floor of the seabed or river, and not on the surface. See more »

Quotes

Joshua: Let the old woman loose!
Egyptian guard: She'll stay where she is, and you'll die in the lion pit!
Lilia: Joshua!
Yochabel: Run to the prince and beg mercy!
Lilia: Mercy from Rameses?
Yochabel: No. From Prince Moses, there on the pavilion.
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Crazy Credits

The Paramount mountain was replaced with Mount Sinai and the sky is red, also. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Popular: Misery Loathes Company (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Lilia's Song
(uncredited)
Music by Elmer Bernstein
Lyrics by Henry Wilcoxon
Performed by Debra Paget
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
So big it's in danger of falling over, but it doesn't
28 August 1999 | by (Canberra, Australia) – See all my reviews

I'm always willing to watch this, and I always enjoy it. Rather than admit that there is something wrong with my taste, then, I've come to the conclusion that it's actually rather good. It clearly has class, and spectacle. Perhaps it has other virtues as well.

Say what you will about De Mille's stagy style: it fits the Old Testament. Whereas "The Prince of Egypt" went soft and new-agey when it came to the crunch, De Mille never lets us forget the harsh world events are taking place in. With a powerful and capricious god glaring at everyone all the time, it's not surprising that people - even pagans - take to talking in speeches. (The speeches are in an attractive, flowery style that isn't biblical but has the same aesthetic standards as some biblical writing.) And the god really has some Old Testament flavour. Everyone is terrified of him, and for perfectly rational reasons would rather pretend that he doesn't exist. This gets tiresome after a while. You'd think that after watching the Red Sea part everyone would have been willing to admit that Moses courted SOME kind of supernatural influence. On the other hand, you'd be a mug to trust this influence too far.

Possibly the best thing about the movie is the way it manages to divide our sympathies without weakening them. Yes, we're on the side of the Israelites. But it's also hard not to be on the side of the Egyptians. The old Pharaoh is probably the most likeable character on display and the young Pharaoh, while he has his flaws, is a nice enough fellow done in by unfortunate circumstances. Moses gains our empathy early and keeps it even when his beard has turned to marble. Only the minor characters are villains

  • and they're fun, too.


Of course, I say all this knowing full well that the entire film is, at the same time, completely ridiculous. Well, what can I say. It's yet another instance of a general law. Simple sincerity can sometimes spin straw into gold.


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