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The Ten Commandments (1956) Poster

Goofs

Anachronisms 

When Bithia brought Moses out of the Nile, there is a blatant zipper up the back of her dress.
As Moses approaches the Burning Bush on Mount Sinai, tire tracks from the camera dolly are visible on the ground behind him.
The safety pin on the infant Moses' diaper can be seen when the baby is floating down the Nile.
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When Rameses was casting Moses out of Egypt, we see one of the Pyramids which looks just as brown and worn down as it does today. In Rameses' time, the Pyramids were covered with shiny white limestone.
When Nefretiri is playing "Hounds and Jackals" and talking with Rameses, the lace trim at the top of her brassiere is visible.
Early in the film, Debra Paget's high-heeled shoes can be seen, although her dress was specially designed to hide them.
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Miriam tells the women at the well to fill their jars, because there will be 7 days without water. But Pharoh had a jar of water, which then turned red, so why would the women's' jars not also be red?
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Audio/visual unsynchronised 

When Moses was standing on the rock with the Ten Commandments tablets in his hands, he pointed to the Hebrews and said "Blasphemers! Idolaters!", but his lips never opened.
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During the end scene, Sephora says to Moses "You are God's torch that lights the way to freedom", but it's a different voice says "that lights the way to freedom." Actress Yvonne De Carlo turned just as she said that part of the line, so it might have had to be dubbed for the original film.
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When Sephora's six unnamed sisters danced in the tent in front of Moses and the Sheiks, the background music could be heard just before the musicians actually began their "playing".
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Character error 

When Moses is confronting Rameses just before changing the sea into blood, on the ground can be seen a black object moving about (probably a button or a part of a costume coming off).
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When Yochabel was caught between stone blocks, the tongue on the left-hand stone was obviously too tall and too wide to fit the hole in the right-hand stone.
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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.
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Continuity 

When the chariots are riding out of the city, the shots alternate between a clear blue sky and a sky with clouds.
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When Nefretiri has Moses brought from the brickworks to her barge, he is filthy, and he holds himself back from embracing her. At one point in the conversation, though, he grabs her shoulders, but leaves no marks on her nor on her dress. Later in the conversation, he refrains from holding her again for fear of leaving her dress soiled.
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When Moses is about to lead the Hebrews out of Egypt, he is standing with his staff in his left hand, but in the reverse shot, the staff has jumped to his right hand.
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When the Hebrews are going out of Egypt, a camel eats some fruit that a man is carrying on his back. In the next shot, the amount of fruit has decreased markedly (too much for the camel to have eaten it all).
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As the sheep shearing festival, the wool is sold to Lugar, then Jethro's six daughters danced for Moses and the sheiks. Moses left them to seek out Sephora. While they talk, there are many sheep in the background still in possession of all their wool. After a sheep shearing, one would expect to see nude sheep.
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When the Pharaoh's chariots leave the city gates to go after the slaves, some shots of the chariots have long shadows, as if shot in late afternoon. But in other shots of the chariots, their shadows are short, as if shot in mid-day.
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The position of Pharoah's arm changes when he calls "Forward!"
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The Red Sea changed color many times while being parted. Perhaps, this is due to the blue screen process, color-timing errors, or print degradation, but at times it appears blue, green, and even gray in color. When later remastered (for TV and DVD) the Red Sea became deep blue in color without a hint of green in it.
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After the Red Sea has parted, it is shown refilled, then parted, then refilled again.
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After Moses told Nefretiri he has a shepherd girl as his wife, Nefretiri then asked Moses whether his wife has hair with an "odor like sheep"; her position in relation to Moses changed between the two scenes.
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When Moses is on the shore of the Red Sea and Dathan approaches, the sea behind is calm. However, when Dathan reaches him the sea behind is now turbulent.
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As Nefretiri watched Rameses lead the chariots out of the palace to catch up and try to destroy the Hebrews, the shadows from the chariots and Nefretiri were cast from two different angles.
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When Moses & Aaron appear before Rameses & Nefretiri in the throne room, and Moses says "let my people go" for the first time, Moses is standing in front of and between the ruling couple, with Nefretiri at stage left. As Nefretiri realizes it is indeed Moses, she looks up and to her left at him. However, the longer shot shows her correctly looking up and to her right at him, as he is between her & Rameses.
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When Moses was talking to the Hebrew crowd as their deliverer for the first time, the staff in his hand changes hands because it was filmed from different positions.
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When Yochabel is trapped under the stone, her robe's rope belt varies in length.
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Nefretiri's position changes while playing Hounds and Jackals against Sethi when told that Moses and Rameses are coming.
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Dathan is holding a golden vessel near the top edge. A moment later, he is holding it near the middle.
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Crew or equipment visible 

When Moses encounters Joshua in his sheep fields ("Moses, there is a man among the sheep!"), Moses casts three shadows as he approaches Joshua, clearly revealing the positioning of studio lights.
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During the end scene, we see multiple shadows for Moses and the rest, indicating multiple lights used for the scene.
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Errors in geography 

Rameses stands in front of the Saqarra pyramids, with the Nile in the background and deports Moses into the desert. Unfortunately this will send Moses due west into the Sahara, instead of east across the Sinai.
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After Ramesses tells Moses that the slaves are free to go, the Hebrews line up along a road lined with many identical sphinxes, which the narrator identifies as the "Avenue of the Sphinxes." That road was, and still exists, in the ancient Egyptian capital of Thebes, now known as Luxor. Yet in the background you can see the pyramids. Those pyramids, however, are in Giza, which is near Cairo, about 315 miles (500 Km.) north of Luxor.
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Factual errors 

On the night of the 10th plague, the shadow of The Destoyer appears over a 3/4-moon. It should be a Full Moon, as Passover (as this night is now celebrated) commences on the first Full Moon after the Vernal Equinox.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

Differences from the source material, and most other historical inaccuracies, are exempt from being listed as goofs--especially when they're caused by dramatic decisions, reliance on ceremonial traditions, or Renaissance-Baroque artistic depictions.
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Plot holes 

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.
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Miriam tells the women at the well to fill their jars, because there will be 7 days without water. But Pharoh had a jar of water, which then turned red, so why would the womens' jars not also be red?
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Revealing mistakes 

When the Israelites are making the golden calf, one of the male dancers carelessly, but harmlessly, backs into the pot of molten metal.
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When the Hebrews are leaving Egypt, a man throws a golden calf statue to a small boy who catches it with no problem. Both of these actions would be highly unlikely because of how heavy gold actually is.
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As Moses was completing the building of an Egyptian city, and called for a blue pennant, the guard waves a blue flag in front of the backdrop, and the flag is filtered out and becomes transparent, alluding to the fact that there is in fact a blue-screened backdrop and not an actual city behind them.
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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.
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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.
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During the chase in the Red Sea, the lead chariots are riding on ground that was already neatly grooved with wheel tracks; there is no evidence of the footsteps made by thousands of slaves and animals. A shot of the slaves exiting the Red Sea reveals how trampled the ground should have looked.
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The Red Sea just parted, the sea floor should be mud or wet sand, yet it is completely dry.
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When Sephora calls to Moses that she sees a man (Joshua) among the sheep Moses says to her; "Your eyes are as sharp as they are lovely." Yvonne DeCarlo mistakenly looks straight into the camera, effectively breaking the fourth wall. This can be a little unsettling to the viewer.
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Spoilers

The goof items below may give away important plot points.

Continuity 

When Nefretiri appears carrying their newly-dead son to Rameses, the boy's skirt is hanging very low. In the next shot, the excess skirt is suddenly wrapped back up, under her arm.
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Revealing mistakes 

Just after Sethi dies, as the camera focuses on Rameses saying "The Royal Falcon has flown into the sun," we can see Sethi's closed eyelids continuously moving.
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See also

Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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