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The Ten Commandments (1923)

The first part tells the story of Moses leading the Jews from Egypt to the Promised Land, his receipt of the tablets and the worship of the golden calf. The second part shows the efficacy ... See full summary »

Director:

Cecil B. DeMille (as Cecil B. De Mille)

Writer:

Jeanie Macpherson (story)
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Theodore Roberts ... Moses - The Lawgiver
Charles de Rochefort ... Rameses - the Magnificent: Prologue (as Charles De Roche)
Estelle Taylor ... Miriam - The Sister of Moses
Julia Faye ... The Wife of Pharaoh - Prologue
Pat Moore Pat Moore ... The Son of Pharaoh - Prologue (as Terrence Moore)
James Neill ... Aaron - Brother of Moses
Lawson Butt ... Dathan - The Discontented
Clarence Burton Clarence Burton ... The Taskmaster - Prologue
Noble Johnson ... The Bronze Man - Prologue
Edythe Chapman ... Mrs. Martha McTavish
Richard Dix ... John McTavish - Her Son
Rod La Rocque ... Dan McTavish - Her Son
Leatrice Joy ... Mary Leigh
Nita Naldi ... Sally Lung - a Eurasian
Robert Edeson ... Redding - an Inspector
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Storyline

The first part tells the story of Moses leading the Jews from Egypt to the Promised Land, his receipt of the tablets and the worship of the golden calf. The second part shows the efficacy of the commandments in modern life through a story set in San Francisco. Two brothers, rivals for the love of Mary, also come into conflict when John discovers Dan used shoddy materials to construct a cathedral. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Mightiest Dramatic Spectacle of All the Ages.


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 November 1923 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Die zehn Gebote See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,800,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$5,357,807

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$9,156,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Silent

Color:

Black and White | Color (2-strip Technicolor) (some sequences)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The enormous sets of ancient Egypt have become a Hollywood legend in themselves. The "City of the Pharaohs" was constructed of wood and plaster in the Guadalupe Dunes, an 18-mile stretch of coastal sand 170 miles north of L.A. The sets featured four 35-foot-tall statues of the Pharaoh Ramses, 21 five-ton sphinxes, and city walls over 120 feet high. An army of 2,500 actors, extras, carpenters, plasterers, painters, cooks, staff, and film crew members inhabited the set for three months, housed in a virtual army camp that featured nearly 1,000 tents. (3,500 animals, used in recreating the scenes of ancient Egypt, were housed in a huge corral downwind of the camp.) When shooting wrapped, Cecil B. DeMille simply had the massive Egyptian city sets bulldozed, and buried in a huge pit beneath the sand, where they remain to this day. For years, the legendary "Lost City of DeMille" was spoken of by locals in Guadalupe who had worked on the film set. Artifacts from the Egyptian sets were found in the dunes, and can sometimes be found in local houses in the area. (DeMille even said in his autobiography, "If 1,000 years from now, archaeologists happen to dig beneath the sands of Guadalupe, I hope that they will not rush into print with the amazing news that Egyptian civilization extended all the way to the Pacific Coast of North America.") In 1983, documentary filmmaker Peter Brosnan located the remains of the DeMille sets, still buried beneath the dunes. The site is now recognized as an official archaeological site by the state of California, and it is against the law to remove artifacts from the site. Brosnan has been trying for many years to raise money from the Hollywood studios to excavate the site, but so far has been unable to do so. See more »

Goofs

When God gives the commandments through the eruption of Sinai, it's clear that the explosion graphics are being played backwards. See more »

Quotes

Redding - an Inspector: Listen Boy - 'every day in every way' we're getting slicker and slicker! But we're building this church on filled ground - and I tell you it isn't safe!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Wind at My Back: The Strap (1999) See more »

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User Reviews

Thou shalt not give a stupid review.
22 October 2003 | by sadie_thompsonSee all my reviews

Oops, broke that one. All joking aside, this film is incredible. Astonishing effects for the early 20s, where you couldn't twist any digital domain to your whims. The parting of the Red Sea is pretty convincing, even if was Jello. (Can you imagine wading through Jello? Ick.)

This film is told in two parts, as we get to see Moses receiving the Ten Commandments from God in what looks like a Fourth of July celebration. One with good fireworks. Most people know that story--Moses goes to deliver the Commandments, only to find everyone involved in a massive orgy. Here de Mille is in his element. He did so many massive orgies that he should have copyrighted them. We see people making out (not having sex--that would be wrong), men licking wine off women's feet (that is wrong, by gum), and a huge number of people trying to climb up what looks like a curtain. Why they're doing this only de Mille knows. All we need is Gloria Swanson being pawed by a tiger to make everything perfect. As some viewers may not know, de Mille can show whatever sin and debauchery he wants, because the sinners are going to get it in the end. They're gonna get it bad. From the giddy Israelites and their golden calf we're transported to the modern day (1923), where a woman reads the Bible. She can't be the sinner. A son stands nearby, looking very noble and content. Can't be him. Then, we see the other son. He looks bored and disbelieving. We have a sinner! Oh, and he's a bad one. He dances on Sunday, he steals women from their intendeds, he's involved in dozens of dirty dealings, and he's dating an Oriental leper. Beg pardon? I guess she's just thrown in for fun.

Of course, all's well that ends well, and everything turns out okay. This movie is silent, so the acting is a bit in-your-face, and the characters are extreme, but hey. It's necessary--literacy wasn't rampant back then, so filmmakers had to make everything painfully obvious. Some people weren't able to read the title cards, and they'd be lost without the silent films' distinctive pantomime.

Side benefit--the version I have on video features a nifty soundtrack by that powerhouse of the movie palace, the Wurlitzer organ.


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