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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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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)
 »

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

Several shots that appear throughout the movie are shots that were matted together from scenes shots on location in Egypt and scenes shots at the Paramount Pictures lot in Hollywood. Most notable scenes featuring this multi-location matte-shooting are the scenes in which Moses and Sethi watch the Obelisk being raised; the slaves in the background were shot in Egypt, the foreground with Moses and Sethi shot in Hollywood, and the background pylons were matte paintings. See more »

Goofs

The floating basket bounces in the water when the lid is closed, as would be expected; but scenes in which the lid is open and the baby Moses is visible, the basket is stationary, very obviously supported under the water. Maybe the basket could not float with the weight of the baby, or maybe it was for safety reasons. See more »

Quotes

Dathan: For ten talents of gold, I'll give you the wealth of Egypt! Give me my freedom and I'll give you the scepter! Give me the water girl, Lillia, and I'll give you the princess of your heart's desire. Give me this house of Baka's and I'll give you the throne! Give me all that I ask... or give me leave to go.
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Crazy Credits

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


Soundtracks

Song of Joseph
(uncredited)
Music by Elmer Bernstein
Lyrics by Henry Noerdlinger
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
DeMille's Final Film as a Director
17 November 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"The Ten Commandments" is a milestone film. For some, those of us in their 50's or older, it represents the end of an era: Some call it "The Golden Age of Hollywood"; the beginning of the end of the studio system; and the end of a period in which the real founders of the "public art" took, or began to take, their final bows -- DeMille, Zukor, Goldwyn, Selznick, and others.

For those of us who saw "The Ten Commandments" on the big screen and in one of the now extinct gilded movie palaces of yesteryear, the picture holds special memories. There is a sense of nostalgia that accompanies any new viewing of this one-of-a-kind Victorian pageant. For many, I'm sure, the nostalgia extends beyond the film itself.

There were problems in the mid-fifties, as in every decade since the real Moses came down from Mount Sinai. Polio, the continuing menace of poverty, the material and spiritual separateness of what we called "colored people", Communism, etc. But . . . there were virtues too, many reflected in the writing and performances of "The Ten Commandments": Virtues like courage, strength of character, personal honor, and endurance were paramount (no pun intended). The biggest problem in schools was students chewing gum in class. Today, it's students "shooting-up" in parking lots or shooting down their classmates in the halls. . . America had an identity then.

DeMille's vision was, always, of "an ideal". He painstakingly produced authentic looking packages in which to wrap his vision -- embellished by the "glitz" of what was, then, the "ideal" Hollywood portrait: Bluer than blue skies; shimmering, jewel-encrusted costumes; out-sized architecture; dramatically convenient thunderbolts; and perfectly lovely female leads, with make-up invariably and predictably un-smudged. DeMille gave his audience what they expected from an "A" picture. He wasn't interested in realism. His idea was to reinforce values he'd learned from his parents and his brother (a noted playwright) in a dramatic format which could be "felt" by young and old, alike . . . more a reverence for time-honored principles than the analytical, ironic, and questioning approach dominant in the films of today. There was in the 50's and the 40's a more amicable attitude toward "orthodoxy" -- in all its forms. Hence, the overwhelming popularity of every DeMille production released during that period.

After fifty years, "The Ten Commandments" is still impressive visually, dramatically, and especially in terms of the intensity of its convictions (reflected in all the biographies of the principals) . . . something which cannot be said of many similar big-budget pictures of the same era.

One day, someone may attempt a re-make. Expect that it will be visually impressive and less "stagy". But . . . expect, as well, that it will be punctuated with the obligatory mandates of political correctness; an uncertainty about its message; and a healthy dose of Twenty-First Century cynicism. It will be more "realistic" to be sure, but far less "authentic" -- like a perfume ad, physically attractive, but without a "heart".


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