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The Ten Commandments (1956)

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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:

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

Writers:

Dorothy Clarke Wilson (this work contains material from the book "Prince of Egypt"), J.H. Ingraham (this work contains material from the book "Pillar of Fire") (as Rev. J. H. Ingraham) | 5 more credits »
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Popularity
2,688 ( 60)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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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 »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Charlton Heston ... Moses
Yul Brynner ... Rameses
Anne Baxter ... Nefretiri
Edward G. Robinson ... Dathan
Yvonne De Carlo ... Sephora
Debra Paget ... Lilia
John Derek ... Joshua
Cedric Hardwicke ... Sethi (as Sir Cedric Hardwicke)
Nina Foch ... Bithiah
Martha Scott ... Yochabel
Judith Anderson ... Memnet
Vincent Price ... Baka
John Carradine ... Aaron
Olive Deering ... Miriam
Douglass Dumbrille ... Jannes
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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:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 October 1956 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Prince of Egypt See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$13,282,712 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$93,740,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$196,344,381
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Roadshow Version)

Sound Mix:

Stereo (Western Electric Recording)| Mono (optical prints)| 70 mm 6-Track (1989 re-release)| Dolby Stereo (1989 re-release)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The red smoke on top of Mt. Sinai, which symbolized God's presence on the mountain, was a matted special effect superimposed over a shot of Mt. Sinai filmed on location. See more »

Goofs

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. See more »

Quotes

[Opening line and sentences as movie started]
Narrator: And God said Let there be light, and there was light. And from this light, God created life upon earth. And man was given diminion over all things upon this earth and the power to choose betweem good and evil. But each sought to do his own will because he knew not the light of God's law. Man took dominion over man, the conquered were made to serve the conqueror, the weak were made to serve the strong, and freedom was gone from this world. So did the ...
See more »

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 »

Alternate Versions

In all of the film's theatrical releases, Cecil B. DeMille appears in a short prologue in which he prepares the audience for what they will see, including the fact that the picture will concentrate heavily on the early years of Moses before he led the Hebrews out of Egypt; he also indicates the length of the film and the fact that it will be shown with an intermission. This prologue has always been cut in the film's network television showings. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Naked Archaeologist: Who Invented the Alphabet? (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Lilia's Song
(uncredited)
Music by Elmer Bernstein
Lyrics by Henry Wilcoxon
Performed by Debra Paget
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
"Moses, Take What Spoils You Will From Egypt And Go"
17 February 2006 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

When I was 10 years old I saw The Ten Commandments in the the theater which is the only place it really should be seen. At the time I thought it was the greatest film ever. All that splashy color cinematogaphy and eye filling spectacle. The guy that put this together is some kind of special genius. Then I grew up.

Today in a lot of quarters this and other DeMille sound films are viewed as pretty high camp. Especially those that touch on a religious theme. It's that dialog and The Ten Commandments longer than any other of his films has more of it. People talking some of that high falutin' nonsense, together with a good mixture of sex.

What a lot of people fail to remember is that before Cecil B. DeMille came to Hollywood he was an actor and playwright on Broadway. He learned his trade at the feet of David Belasco, the premier Broadway producer/playwright of his day. In that Victorian/Edwardian era, ALL the actors, in Belasco plays especially spouted that stuff. I recall Anne Baxter saying that Moses spurned her like a strumpet. How many people do you know who use the word strumpet in their every day conversation? Or Yvonne DeCarlo saying to Charlton Heston that he Moses is God's torch to light the way to freedom and that by the way she loves him?

DeMille made one great casting decision in getting the only actor who could play Moses and make it believable. This indeed was Charlton Heston's career role and as he said in his autobiography if you can't make a career out of the lead in two DeMille pictures it ain't happening.

One other member of the cast Edward G. Robinson as Dathan loved this picture. Robinson had been dropping in star status since the late Forties and was now doing mostly B films. DeMille, whose rightwing politics Robinson despised, gave him this part and Robinson's career got a big shot in the arm. Robinson was grateful and gave him full credit in his unfinished memoirs. Most of the last half of The Ten Commandments is a running verbal battle between Heston and Robinson who is trying to keep some kind of control. Robinson is almost like the leader of a company union with the Hebrew slaves as members and Robinson sure enjoys the perks of office.

The first half of the film is the sex part, hovering over all the biblical jargon. DeMille used an old gambit of his, two men in a rivalry over a woman. It worked in previous films like Northwest Mounted Police, Reap the Wild Wind, Unconquered and now here. Anne Baxter is a royal princess promised to the next Pharoah designate. But who will Sir Cedric Hardwicke designate. Charlton Heston his nephew or Yul Brynner his son? Anne Baxter has Nefretiri has both these guys hormones in overdrive. She favors Moses, but then Moses gets a higher calling.

Though he was no director of actors and his sense of drama was generations old, DeMille was a firm believer in two things, fill the screen and make the films move. 50 years later the parting of the Red Sea will still make one gasp. It's not just publicity hype when The Ten Commandments is advertised with a cast of thousands, that is thousands you're seeing on that screen.

Elmer Bernstein wrote the musical score for The Ten Commandments one of his first. He credited DeMille with teaching him how to write musical scores for film that underscore movement. This score brought him his first real notice as a film composer and he certainly became one of the best.

Given the computer technology available today, one can only imagine what Cecil B. DeMille could create today. Of course he'd insist on some of the same writing, but then again without it, it wouldn't be a DeMille picture.


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