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Samson and Delilah (1949)

Approved | | Drama, History, Romance | 21 September 1950 (Italy)
When strongman Samson rejects the love of the beautiful Philistine woman Delilah, she seeks vengeance that brings horrible consequences they both regret.


Cecil B. DeMille


Jesse Lasky Jr. (screenplay) (as Jesse L. Lasky Jr.), Fredric M. Frank (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
Won 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Hedy Lamarr ... Delilah
Victor Mature ... Samson
George Sanders ... The Saran of Gaza
Angela Lansbury ... Semadar
Henry Wilcoxon ... Ahtur
Olive Deering ... Miriam
Fay Holden ... Hazelelponit
Julia Faye ... Hisham
Russ Tamblyn ... Saul (as Russell Tamblyn)
William Farnum ... Tubal
Lane Chandler ... Teresh
Moroni Olsen ... Targil
Francis McDonald ... Story Teller (as Francis J. McDonald)
William 'Wee Willie' Davis ... Garmiskar (as William Davis)
John Miljan ... Lesh Lakish


Though his people, the Israelites, are enslaved by the Philistines, Samson, strongest man of the tribe of Dan, falls in love with the Philistine Semadar, whom he wins by virtue of a contest of strength. But Semadar betrays him, and Samson engages in a fight with her real love, Ahtur, and his soldiers. Semadar is killed, and her sister Delilah, who had loved Samson in silence, now vows vengeance against him. She plans to seduce Samson into revealing the secret of his strength and then to betray him to the Philistine leader, the Saran. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Drama | History | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Official Sites:

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Release Date:

21 September 1950 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Cecil B. DeMille's Samson and Delilah See more »


Box Office


$3,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs


(with overture and exit music)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Despite this hallowed Biblical account of their battle against the Philistines (the pronunciation of which is almost jokingly varied throughout the film), the oppressed people represented by Samson are NEVER once referred to as either "Israelites," "Hebrews" or "Jewish" people. They are only referred to only as Danites, tribal members from the city of Dan. This omission--or avoidance--occurred in an era when Hollywood studio chiefs were very sensitive to the fact that the film industry was generally considered to be "run by Jews." See more »


Just after Delilah rings for her servant to bring dinner, the mike boom can be seen casting a shadow on the inside wall of her tent. See more »


[first lines]
Narrator: Before the dawn of history, ever since the first man discovered his soul, he has struggled against the forces that sought to enslave him. He saw the awful power of nature rage against him. The evil eye of the lightning... The terrifying voice of the thunder... The shrieking, wind-filled darkness enslaving his mind with shackles of fear. Fear bred superstition, blinding his reason. He was ridden by a host of devil gods. Human dignity perished on the altar of idolatry. And tyranny ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Although the opening credits mention "Holy Land Photography," the second-unit location shooting occurred in North Africa (Algiers and Morocco), not Palestine or the Middle East. See more »

Alternate Versions

Previous home media releases of the film (LaserDisc, VHS) did not include the overture and exit music. They were restored for Paramount's official DVD release in 2013 and the subsequent Blu-ray release in 2014. See more »


Version of Samson (2018) See more »


The Fat Philistine Merchant
Written by Victor Young and Jesse Lasky Jr.
See more »

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User Reviews

Biblical story when Israelites being enslaved by the Philistines, then Samson seeks justice and vengeance
19 July 2015 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

Spectacular hokey Bible epic produced and directed by the great Cecil B Mille concerning about Samson (Victor Mature won the role over Burt Lancaster) and Delilah (Hedy Lamarr , among most serious candidates for the role were Jean Simmons , Lana Turner and Rita Hayworth) who plans to seduce him into revealing his secret and then to betray him to the Philistine leader, the Saran (George Sanders) , as she robs Samson his incredible strength . The story of Samson from chapters 13-16 of The Book of Judges , but being based on a novel titled "Judge and Fool, aka Samson the Nazarite, Samson & Prelude to Delilah" . As it is the pattern throughout the book of Judges , the Israelites again turned away from God after 40 years of peace brought by Deborah's victory over Canaan and were allowed to be oppressed by the neighboring Midianites , Amalekites and Philistines . According to the biblical account , Samson was given supernatural strength by God in order to combat his enemies Philistines ,and perform heroic feats such as killing a lion , slaying an entire army with only the jawbone of an ass, and destroying a pagan temple . Samson had two vulnerabilities, however : his attraction to untrustworthy women such as Delilah and his hair, without which he was powerless . These vulnerabilities ultimately proved fatal for him. One day the Philistine leaders assembled in a temple for a religious sacrifice to Dagon, one of their most important deities, for having delivered Samson into their hands. They summon Samson so that people can gather on the roof to watch. Once inside the temple, Samson, his hair having grown long again, asks the servant who is leading him to the temple's central pillars if he may lean against them . He pulled the two pillars together , and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people . Thus he killed many more as he died than while he lived .

¨Samson and Dalilah¨ remains an enjoyable and entertaining picture with great camp performances that still looks fine today . This dumb but fun film contains breathtaking outdoors and indoors , a lot of extras and with glorious paper-Maché sets on the temple of Dagon ; in fact , it was far and away the top-grossing film of 1949 . Victor Mature is surprisingly nice as Samson along with a young Angela Lansbury as Semadar and a cynical Saran of Gaza well incarnated by George Sanders . Victor Mature as Sansone or Samson is acceptable though his famous fight against a philistine army is hopelessly phony . For the scene in which Samson kills the lion , Victor Mature refused to wrestle a tame movie lion . The scene shows a stunt man wrestling the tame lion, intercut with closeups of Mature wrestling a lion skin . Hedy Lamarr supplies biggest surprise by playing a tempter and beautiful vixen Delilah . Being a lavish production here appears several actors usual from Hollywoood pictures such as Cecil B DeMille's long-time associated Henry Wilcoxon , Julia Faye , Fay Holden , Moroni Olsen , Mike Mazurski , George Reeves and a sympathetic boy , Russ Tamblyn , as Saul . Spectacular and climactic sequences in the Temple of Dagon , it took two tries to bring it down . During the first time, some of the dynamite charges in the miniature temple failed to go off on schedule , as the temple had to be rebuilt, and the second attempt was more successful. Colorful and luxurious cinematography by usual Hollywood director of photography George Barnes . Victor Young's lush background music, nominated for an Academy Award in the competition for 1950, would become his penultimate best-score recognition .

The motion picture was realized in Cecil B DeMille's ordinary style ; with a $28 million gross domestically , the film was Paramount's biggest hit since DeMille's silent version of Ten commandments (1923). Cecil produced and directed 70 films and was involved in many more . Many of his films were romantic sexual comedies , as he is supposed to have believed that Americans were curious only about money and sex . His best-known were biblical epics that further established him as the symbol of Hollywood such as King of Kings (1927), The ten Commandments (1923) , The Crusades (1935) and , of course , Charlton Heston's Ten commandments (1956).

Other films about this Biblic figure are the followings : ¨Gedeon and Samson¨ (1965) by Francisco Perez Dolz with Anton Geesink and Rosalba Neri ; Samson and Delilah (1984) by Lee Philips with Anthony Hamilton , Belinda Bauer , Max Von Sidow ; Samson and Delilah (1996) by Nicolas Roeg with Eric Thal , Elizabeth Hurley , Dennis Hooper ; Samson et Dalila (2002) with Plácido Domingo and Olga Borodina .

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