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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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1,985 ( 269)

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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:

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

$80,000,000 (USA)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Because the only widescreen process that Paramount used at the time was VistaVision, the screen process used for the original release of this film was not as wide as those used for processes such as CinemaScope and Todd-AO. However, VistaVision had higher resolution and a flat, undistorted image. See more »

Goofs

When Miriam tells the Hebrew women to fill their jugs because there will be no water for 7 days, the reason their water did not turn to blood was because God exempted the Hebrews from the plagues. See more »

Quotes

Sephora: Which of my sisters did you choose?
Moses: I made no choice, Sephora.
Sephora: She was very beautiful, wasn't she? This woman of Egypt, who left her scar upon your heart. Her skin was white as curd, her eyes green as the cedars of Lebanon, her lips, tamarisk honey. Like the breast of a dove, her arms were soft... and the wine of desire was in her veins.
Moses: Yes. She was beautiful... as a jewel.
Sephora: A jewel has brilliant fire, but it gives no warmth. Our hands are not so soft, but they can serve. Our bodies not so ...
[...]
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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 Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: Episode #7.5 (2008) 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

 
Colossal biblical kitsch, courtesy of Cecil B. DeMille.
9 April 2001 | by (Los Angeles, California) – See all my reviews

It doesn't get any better than this. You can count on this perennial favorite to show up every Easter just as you can count on "A Christmas Carol" during the yuletide season. The daddy of all contemporary religious instruction, 1956's "The Ten Commandments" is blockbuster spiritual entertainment in every way, shape and form, as Cecil B. DeMille depicts the life of Moses from his birth to slavery to Mt. Sinai in grandiose, reverential style. And what a life!

This was the first movie I ever saw at the drive-in. I was only 6 at the time but I can remember the neighbors taking me to see this, snuggled up in pajamas and stuffed in the back seat. The parting of the Red Sea waters, the turning of the staff to a viperous snake, the green-colored pestilence of death seeping into the homes of every first-born, the creation of the tablets, the burning bush, the booming narrative. I sat in absolute silence and wonderment. This is my first remembrance of any kind of movie-making and the Oscar-winning visual effects and vivid pageantry are still pretty amazing, even by today's standards.

Charlton Heston, the icon of biblical story-telling, still towers over anybody who has ever TRIED to played Moses – before or since. Stalwart and stoic to a fault, he possess THE look...cut out of pages of my old religious instructions book....the look that radiates magnificence and glory...the look of a man who has definitely seen God. His commanding stature and voice with its slow, deliberate intonation is eerie and unmatched. Yul Brynner portrays Ramses II as if he were the King of Siam in Egyptian pants. Nobody poses or plays majestic like Yul. He's forceful, regal, imperious...everything a biblical foe should be. Anne Baxter as the tempting Nefretiri, Queen of Egypt, borders on total camp in her role, her stylized line readings and breathy allure is laughable now, with posturings and reaction shots not seen since Theda Bara. But who cares? Baxter provides the most fun and its her florid scenes that I now look most forward to – whether she's throwing herself at the totally disinterested Moses or verbally sparring with Ramses, slyly pushing his emotional buttons. She alone puts the "k" in kitsch. The rest of the huge cast is appropriately stiff and solemn.

DeMille's 1923 original version of "The Ten Commandments" is hardly subtle as well, but still impressive and certainly worth a look. In the 1956 remake, DeMille organizes a cavalcade of thousands to lend authenticity to the massive exodus scenes, while the ultimate picture-perfect frame for me is the three beautiful slave extras posing exotically and dramatically on a rock in front of a vivid blue-gray backdrop of furious, threatening clouds as Moses parts the sea. That vision alone is one for the books.

Whenever I am tempted to break a commandment or embrace that golden calf, I know I'll always have to answer to Charlton – glaring down from Mt. Sinai ready to throw those heavy tablets at me for my transgression. Charlton not only sets you straight, he makes you BELIEVE!


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