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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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2,688 ( 60)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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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:

The Greatest Event in Motion Picture History 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

In June 2008 this film was ranked #10 on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the genre "Epic". See more »

Goofs

As Moses leads the Israelites through the parted Red Sea, he stands on a tall outcropping of rock on the far end, to encourage his followers who are still making the journey through. As his people reach the other side, Pharaoh's forces approach quickly. Moses gives the signal, and the parted Red Sea collapses onto the Egyptian troops, while Pharaoh stands on a nearby rock. The remains of the gigantic wall of water sweep onto the ground, surrounding his position. Two large, obviously fake boulders float on top of the water, landing on the beach on the left of the screen. It could be argued that the force of the onrushing wave merely swept the rocks along. While a large amount of swiftly moving water can change entire landscapes, solid objects such as stone would move along the floor, not on the surface. See more »

Quotes

Moses: [to Sethi, after Sethi came to see Moses, as he was completing the city to be built] Pharoah is pleased?
Sethi: With the obelisk, yes. But not with certain accusations made against you.
Moses: By whom?
Sethi: You raided the temple granaries?
Moses: Yes.
[Rameses puts first weight on weight scale, while weight scale on opposite side, stays up]
Sethi: You gave the grain to the slaves?
Moses: Yes.
[Rameses puts second weight on weight scale, while weight scale on opposite side, still stays up]
Rameses: You gave them one day in seven to rest.
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the end of the opening credits, we see a credit which begins; "Those who see this film - PRODUCED AND DIRECTED BY CECIL B. DEMILLE"... and continues in the same style and finishing with: "Based on the writings of (J.H. Ingraham) and THE HOLY SCRIPTURES" See more »

Alternate Versions

The Prologue and intermission music have been included in the 2004 DVD release. These are taken out on all network TV showings to cut down the length. Also edited out of network showings is an Overture which has also been restored to the DVD release. See more »

Connections

Featured in Timeshift: Epic: A Cast of Thousands! (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Chant of Priest and Priestesses
(uncredited)
Music by Elmer Bernstein
Lyrics by Henry Noerdlinger
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Colossal biblical kitsch, courtesy of Cecil B. DeMille.
9 April 2001 | by gbrumburghSee 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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