7.9/10
52,235
247 user 62 critic

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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2,711 ( 217)

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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:

The Greatest Event in Motion Picture History 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

Martha Scott played John Carradine's, Olive Deering's and Charlton Heston's mother. She was six years younger than Carradine, six years older than Deering, and eleven years older than Heston. See more »

Goofs

During the end scene, Sephora says to Moses "You are God's torch that lights the way to freedom", but a different voice says "that lights the way to freedom." Yvonne De Carlo turned just as she said that part of the line, so it may have been dubbed. See more »

Quotes

Nefretiri: You need have no fear of me.
Sephora: I feared only his memory of you.
Nefretiri: You have been able to erase it.
Sephora: He has forgotten both of us. You lost him when he went to seek his God. I lost him when he found his God.
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Crazy Credits

This film does not end with the credit "The End", but with the written line "So it was written, so it shall be done". See more »

Connections

Referenced in Boy Meets World: New Friends and Old (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Lilia's Song
(uncredited)
Music by Elmer Bernstein
Lyrics by Henry Wilcoxon
Performed by Debra Paget
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Frequently Asked Questions

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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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