298 user 79 critic

The Ten Commandments (1956)

1:08 | Trailer
Moses, an Egyptian Prince, learns of his true heritage as a Hebrew and his divine mission as the deliverer of his people.


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


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 »
1,972 ( 294)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 8 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »





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


To escape the edict of Egypt's Pharaoh Rameses I (Ian Keith), condemning all newborn Hebrew males, the infant Moses (Fraser C. Heston) is set adrift on the Nile in a reed basket. Saved by the pharaoh's daughter Bithiah (Nina Foch), he is adopted by her and brought up in the court of her brother, Pharaoh Sethi (Sir Cedric Hardwicke). Moses (Charlton Heston) gains Sethi's favor and the love of the throne Princess Nefretiri (Anne Baxter), as well as the hatred of Sethi's son, Rameses II (Yul Brynner). 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 II, but someone near to him who can "harden his heart". Written by Ron Kerrigan <mvg@whidbey.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The Greatest Event in Motion Picture History See more »


Adventure | Drama


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


The cloud visual effects used during the parting of the Red Sea scenes were used in various movies by director Steven Spielberg. See more »


When the Hebrews are leaving Egypt, a man throws a golden calf statue to a small boy, who catches it with no problem. If this were made of solid gold, this could be a mistake, but if it were made of wood covered in gold leaf (which was a common method) it would not have been very heavy. See more »


Rameses: No, Moses. It is I who will possess all of her.
[to Nefretiri]
Rameses: You think when you are in my arms, it will be his face that you will see, not mine?
Nefretiri: Yes. Only his face.
Rameses: [to Moses] I defeated you in life. You shall not defeat me by your death. The dead are not scorched in the desert of desire. They do not suffer from the thirst of passion or stagger blindly towards some mirage of lost love. But you, Hebrew, will suffer all these things... by living.
Nefretiri: You will let him live!
Rameses: I will not make him a martyr for...
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 print that was shown at the film's Salt Lake City preview in October 1956 ran 3 hours and 45 minutes. The reception was so successful DeMille only cut 6 minutes for the premiere print. See more »


Featured in And the Oscar Goes To... (2014) See more »


The Shrine of the River Gods
Music by Elmer Bernstein
Lyrics by Henry Noerdlinger
See more »

User Reviews

An epic, very theatrical but visually great.
1 March 2017 | by filipemanuelnetoSee all my reviews

We are facing one of the most consecrated biblical epics ever made and the magnum opus of Cecil B. DeMille. The story is well known, most people know the Bible even without having read it. Concerning the work of the cast, it's great even if we consider that they're overly theatrical and lack here some veracity and naturalness, essential to play in cinema. Charlton Heston is the great actor of the film, in the role of Moses. Yul Brynner was also excellent as Pharaoh Ramses, as Anne Baxter in the role of Nefretiri. Edward G. Robinson surprises in the role of the hypocrite Dathan. But what makes this film particularly intense is the beauty it has. The setting is one of the biggest that Hollywood has ever made, with thousands of extras with carefully detailed period costumes. Everything was thought to the detail and we love all this visual show. Of course, historical accuracy has been left in the background. DeMille had his school on Broadway and might not attach much importance to the historical details but knew how to make a great show. The visual and special effects are quite realistic, the state of the art of cinema of this time, and still can seem credible today, more than fifty years after it's premiere. The soundtrack of Elmer Bernstein is strident, betting heavily on metals and percussion, in a clearly symphonic style that was thought to make everything even more grandiose. In short: it's a consecrated epic that many people still watch, almost religiously, at Easter (in Portugal it's normal to be broadcast on TV in this period, year after year). The big problem of this film is the very theatrical dialogue and acting. It looks like theater. But we can forgive this fault because it's more or less overshadowed by the visual and sound show.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

5 October 1956 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Prince of Egypt See more »


Box Office


$13,282,712 (estimated)

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (Roadshow Version)

Sound Mix:

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


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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