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The Ten Commandments (1956)

Approved | | Adventure, Biography, Drama | 5 October 1956 (USA)
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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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3,081 ( 125)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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Olive Deering ...
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Storyline

To escape the edict of Egypt's Pharoah, 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

Plot Keywords:

egypt | hebrew | pharaoh | desert | well | See All (126) »

Taglines:

It would take more than a man to lead the slaves from bondage. It would take a God. See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

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Release Date:

5 October 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Prince of Egypt  »

Box Office

Budget:

$13,282,712 (estimated)

Gross:

$80,000,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The pillar of fire, which kept the Egyptians from getting closer to the Israelites just before they crossed the Red Sea, was not achieved through the use of actual flames, but was instead, an animated fire. Of all the special effects in the film, it is the one that looks the least realistic to modern audiences, and probably seemed just as unrealistic in 1956. See more »

Goofs

Jethro tells Moses his people, the Midianites, were descendants of Abraham through Ishmael, "his first born." According to Genesis, the Midianites were descended from Midian, one of six sons of Abraham's second wife, Keturah. See more »

Quotes

Lilia: You are strange to the pits. Your back is unscarred.
Moses: You bring a warm smile with your cool water.
Lilia: My smile is for a stonecutter. The water is for you.
Moses: I thank you.
Lilia: Your voice is not strange. You are...
Moses: [Moses spoke very quickly, preventing Lilia from recognizing his voice] One of many who thirst.
Baka: You there! Come here!
Lilia: That is Baka, the master builder.
Moses: Does he call me or you?
Baka: You, water girl! I'm thirsty.
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in 30 for 30: There's No Place Like Home (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Chant of Priest and Priestesses
(uncredited)
Music by Elmer Bernstein
Lyrics by Henry Noerdlinger
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Behold HIS mighty hand..DeMille's I mean.
10 September 2004 | by (Coventry, England) – See all my reviews

What a fantastic movie to climax DeMille's illustrious career.

Charlton Heston, king of the biblical epics, shines brightly as Moses, the one time Egyptian Prince, who now carries staff and perm in order to work Gods will and free his enslaved people from bondage.

Yul Brynner, in what I believe to be his finest turn before the camera plays Rameses the Pharoah who's hateful relationship with Moses spans the entire epic. He is charismatic and shows off the arrogance of a stubborn Pharoah to perfection. This is indeed a film stealing performance.

The beautiful Anne Baxter is at her sultry best as Nefretiri, the woman who would be queen to Rameses, but a slave in love to Moses. However the character is complex and I certainly had trouble in deciding who's side she was on in this epic battle of good verses evil. In the beginning she claims not to care for Moses' discovered background and is willing to be with him no matter what, however as the film progresses she does nothing but ridicule him and belittle him in true anti-semitic fashion.

Edward G. Robinson, Vincent Price, John Derek, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Yvonne De Carlo, Nina Foch, John Carradine, and Debra Paget all lend fine and memorable support, to an already colourful and breathtaking experience.

Incidentally it is worth mentioning that so convincing was Martha Scott in her role as Moses' mother Yochabel, that she was given the chance to play Charlton Heston's mother again in the later epic Ben-Hur.

Another interesting fact is, it was Charlton Heston's own voice who spoke the words of God. It was Heston's own idea that to hear God would be to feel God from within, which is why he thought it would be interesting to hear His voice as his own.

A remake of DeMille's earlier screen adaptation of the fine book of Exodus, many can see why this film ranks as his ultimate achievement. The sets were lavish and the story handled with suitable reverence and dignity.

People today often make the mistake of comparing older films like this to the modern epics of today with regards to their effects and they quite wrongly categorize them as inferior. Today anyone can create CGI images on their PC. Even my three year old daughter can make something look convincing with a mouse and a keyboard and although these effects are great, people have to remember that CGI was not available in 1956.

Okay there are a few obvious matte backdrops used here, but to achieve the effects they did nearly fifty years ago was an outstanding and impressive feat which took talent and knowledge. I tend to look upon these effects as superior because it took the use of mans own brain to bring them about. The human brain is the best computer available, yet one seldom used in todays world. So please take this on board before you slam The Ten Commandments for it's "cheap and nasty" look as one reviewer called it.

This movie is ALMOST faultless, even the length is forgivable as I was so engrossed, I hardly notice the time passing.

One fact that did rouse my curiosity was Moses' appearance throughout the film. I know he went to speak to God at the burning bush, but did he really have to stop off at the salon on the way back? Or did God appear to Moses complete with curling tongs and hair dryer? "Just a little off the top Oh Lord."

And why did Moses seem to age more than everyone else? It seemed like he went from a youthful dark to everyones favourite Santa in the space of a week.

This aside, this film is a fantastic piece of cinema and must rate as a personal favourite of all fans of Biblical epics.


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