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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
2,918 ( 99)
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:

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

Nina Foch, who played Bithiah, was actually one year younger than Charlton Heston, her 31-year-old on-screen son, Moses. See more »

Goofs

When the Israelites are making the golden calf, one of the male dancers carelessly, but harmlessly, backs into the pot of molten metal. See more »

Quotes

Dathan: [pulling his cart through the parted Red Sea] Pull! Pull for your lives!
Lilia: Is your life worth so much?
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 »

Connections

Referenced in Scenes from a Gay Marriage (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
The eyes of the audience are filled with spectacle!
20 April 2000 | by Nazi_Fighter_DavidSee all my reviews

Cecil B. DeMille was a motion-picture producer-director whose use of spectacle attracted vast audiences and made him a dominant figure in Hollywood... He was successful in a genre - the epic - that he made definitely his own, until William Wyler came along three years later with "Ben Hur."

In his first epic role, Charlton Heston is cast as Lord Moses, prince of Egypt, son of the pharaoh's sister...

As a true prince, he saves a slave's life; as a great prince, he gives the priest's grain to the slaves and one day in seven to rest; as a man of justice, he confronts Nefretiri with a piece of Hebrew cloth, the key to his origin; as a warrior and in excellent physical condition, he kills a tough and cruel master builder; as a courageous Hebrew, son of slaves, he tells the pharaoh: "It would take more than a man to lead the slaves from bondage, but if I could free them, I would!" As a man of prowess, he shows his latest methods of combat when he takes on the shepherds and routed them; as God's torch, he proves to be the Deliverer of the Hebrews, their prophet and leader; as the Lawgiver of the Covenant, he is the founder of the community; and as interpreter of "The Ten Commandments," he is an organizer and legislator...

Yul Brynner is superb as Rameses, the rival of Moses... His arrogance and swaggering snobbery are well represented... Brynner delivers an intelligent cynical role... Regarding himself as divine, he rejects the demand of this unknown God and responds by increasing the oppression of the Hebrews...

Anne Baxter is Nefretiri, the sensual princess who leaves her scar upon Moses' heart... Nefretiri is beautiful as a jewel, and her eyes green as the Cedars of Lebanon... For Moses, she is always ready to lie, to kill and betray... She is selfish in her life as certainly in her love...

Edward G. Robinson plays Dathan, the chief Hebrew overseer who confessed to Rameses: "Give me my freedom and I'll give you the scepter. Give me the water girl Lilia and I'll give you the princess your heart's desire." As a treacherous overlord, he charges to the people yelling: "Go where? To drown in the sea?"

Yvonne De Carlo plays Sephora, the midnight shepherdess to whom Moses is wed... Sephora couldn't fill the emptiness of Moses' heart, but promised not to be jealous of the memory...

John Derek is Joshua, the stone cutter, who is totally convinced that Moses is God's Messenger...

Debra Paget plays the delicate flower who quench the thirst of the working slaves... For her the hour of deliverance will never come...

Sir Cedric Hardwicke plays Sethi, the mighty Pharaoh, whose words to his son mark great significance: "Who would take a throne by force that he has earned by deeds?"

Nina Foch plays Bithiah, pharaoh's sister, who discovers the basket in which Moses has just floated down the Nile...

Vincent Price plays Baka the sadistic, covetous, murderous whip-wielding slave-driver...

"The Ten Commandments" is filled with tremendous special effects: Moses's staff turns to a snake; Moses turning the Nile to blood; the Passover of the Angel of Death striking all the Egyptian first-born; the tremendous pillar of fire which halts Rameses' men; the Exodus from Egypt; the parting of the Red Sea; and the delivery of the "Laws of life, and right, and good, and evil."

The relationship between God and man is the powerful drama in our world... Moses is 'every man,' in his pride and humility, in his courage and prowess, in his love and hatred, in his weakness and confusion,in his conduct and ability...

DeMille's "The Ten Commandments" is a moving story of the spirit of freedom rising in a man under the divine inspiration of his Maker... It is a remarkable spectacle with great music, filled with exceptional setting and decor...


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