The Ten Commandments (1956) Poster

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8/10
Colossal biblical kitsch, courtesy of Cecil B. DeMille.
gbrumburgh9 April 2001
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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No better Moses. No finer cast.Simply Outstanding.
qazifaisal_a7 April 2000
Nobody ever wants to see a movie more than once because the quality and charm of the movies of today are just not enough to coax you to. But every once in a while there comes a movie which, firstly never lets you take your eyes off the screen for the full length of its feature and secondly,makes you want to watch it over and over again without boring you. Not only that, the more times you watch it, you feel that you missed something the last time. Cecil B. DeMille's THE TEN COMMANDMENTS is that kind of a movie. There have been many movies made on the topic of this Hebrew born prince of Egypt, but none compare to the way in which it has been portrayed in THE TEN COMMANDMENTS. There are a number of reasons for that:

1. When casting the role of Moses, Charlton Heston was chosen above all others including Bert Lancaster, not because of his knowledge of the Bible, but of his striking Physical resemblance to Michelangelo's sculpture of Moses especially the facial structure not to mention the stout build of a prince.

2. The sets for the film were specially designed and the splendour of ancient Egypt in all its glory was recreated especially for this movie.

3. The role of Rameses II was given to Yul Brynner after DeMille observed his magnificent performance as the King of Siam in Rodgers & Hammerstein's THE KING AND I, confirming that he is well suited for a stubburn and malificent heir to the Egyptian throne.

It was not only Heston as Moses who made this movie a success, but all the elements that came together, the cast of thousands, the special effects,the costumes, the sets and most of all the simply unbelievable "parting of the red sea".

It is a wonder why this movie only received one oscar; that of the Special effects, yet I think it deserved alot more. It did not even strike at the box office. Even then it never fails to enchant millions, no matter what religion they follow. Movies like THE TEN COMMANDMENTS and it success in the hearts of millions, shows quite clearly that a movie, in order to be loved by millions the world over, does not necessarily have to strike gold at the box office.

To watch this film, you don't have to believe in God, but if you believe in good triumphing over evil and freedom from slavery of foreign masters, then this is the movie for you.
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9/10
Underrated Classic
jerkyshaw31 August 2005
The parting of the red sea! The confrontation at Mount Sinai! This movie is full of spectacular scenes and images! De Mille truly was a great filmmaker. His powerful imagination is evident in the Ten Commandments. This is his masterpiece. It carries you along on an epic adventure that is as big as the old testament. It captures the ancient, epic feel of the original Bible story. It has several stunning performances that could have easily been cheesy and fake, but are convincing and fascinating. Some say that the dialog is campy. I don't think so. I've seen this movie many times and have never thought so. It's nothing like the terrible dialog in Plan 9 From Outer Space from the same decade. The romance may be a cliché now, but it was quite original when it first came out and is still interesting. I personally don't like romance, so the fact that I wasn't bothered by this one is really saying something. This marvelous story is wonderfully told by De Mille and I would strongly recommend it.
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10/10
The eyes of the audience are filled with spectacle!
Nazi_Fighter_David20 April 2000
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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10/10
DeMille's Final Film as a Director
cwente217 November 2005
"The Ten Commandments" is a milestone film. For some, those of us in their 50's or older, it represents the end of an era: Some call it "The Golden Age of Hollywood"; the beginning of the end of the studio system; and the end of a period in which the real founders of the "public art" took, or began to take, their final bows -- DeMille, Zukor, Goldwyn, Selznick, and others.

For those of us who saw "The Ten Commandments" on the big screen and in one of the now extinct gilded movie palaces of yesteryear, the picture holds special memories. There is a sense of nostalgia that accompanies any new viewing of this one-of-a-kind Victorian pageant. For many, I'm sure, the nostalgia extends beyond the film itself.

There were problems in the mid-fifties, as in every decade since the real Moses came down from Mount Sinai. Polio, the continuing menace of poverty, the material and spiritual separateness of what we called "colored people", Communism, etc. But . . . there were virtues too, many reflected in the writing and performances of "The Ten Commandments": Virtues like courage, strength of character, personal honor, and endurance were paramount (no pun intended). The biggest problem in schools was students chewing gum in class. Today, it's students "shooting-up" in parking lots or shooting down their classmates in the halls. . . America had an identity then.

DeMille's vision was, always, of "an ideal". He painstakingly produced authentic looking packages in which to wrap his vision -- embellished by the "glitz" of what was, then, the "ideal" Hollywood portrait: Bluer than blue skies; shimmering, jewel-encrusted costumes; out-sized architecture; dramatically convenient thunderbolts; and perfectly lovely female leads, with make-up invariably and predictably un-smudged. DeMille gave his audience what they expected from an "A" picture. He wasn't interested in realism. His idea was to reinforce values he'd learned from his parents and his brother (a noted playwright) in a dramatic format which could be "felt" by young and old, alike . . . more a reverence for time-honored principles than the analytical, ironic, and questioning approach dominant in the films of today. There was in the 50's and the 40's a more amicable attitude toward "orthodoxy" -- in all its forms. Hence, the overwhelming popularity of every DeMille production released during that period.

After fifty years, "The Ten Commandments" is still impressive visually, dramatically, and especially in terms of the intensity of its convictions (reflected in all the biographies of the principals) . . . something which cannot be said of many similar big-budget pictures of the same era.

One day, someone may attempt a re-make. Expect that it will be visually impressive and less "stagy". But . . . expect, as well, that it will be punctuated with the obligatory mandates of political correctness; an uncertainty about its message; and a healthy dose of Twenty-First Century cynicism. It will be more "realistic" to be sure, but far less "authentic" -- like a perfume ad, physically attractive, but without a "heart".
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Behold HIS mighty hand..DeMille's I mean.
Scaramouche200410 September 2004
What a fantastic movie to climax DeMille's illustrious career.

Charlton Heston, king of the biblical epics, shines brightly as Moses, the one time Egyptian Prince, who now carries staff and perm in order to work Gods will and free his enslaved people from bondage.

Yul Brynner, in what I believe to be his finest turn before the camera plays Rameses the Pharoah who's hateful relationship with Moses spans the entire epic. He is charismatic and shows off the arrogance of a stubborn Pharoah to perfection. This is indeed a film stealing performance.

The beautiful Anne Baxter is at her sultry best as Nefretiri, the woman who would be queen to Rameses, but a slave in love to Moses. However the character is complex and I certainly had trouble in deciding who's side she was on in this epic battle of good verses evil. In the beginning she claims not to care for Moses' discovered background and is willing to be with him no matter what, however as the film progresses she does nothing but ridicule him and belittle him in true anti-semitic fashion.

Edward G. Robinson, Vincent Price, John Derek, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Yvonne De Carlo, Nina Foch, John Carradine, and Debra Paget all lend fine and memorable support, to an already colourful and breathtaking experience.

Incidentally it is worth mentioning that so convincing was Martha Scott in her role as Moses' mother Yochabel, that she was given the chance to play Charlton Heston's mother again in the later epic Ben-Hur.

Another interesting fact is, it was Charlton Heston's own voice who spoke the words of God. It was Heston's own idea that to hear God would be to feel God from within, which is why he thought it would be interesting to hear His voice as his own.

A remake of DeMille's earlier screen adaptation of the fine book of Exodus, many can see why this film ranks as his ultimate achievement. The sets were lavish and the story handled with suitable reverence and dignity.

People today often make the mistake of comparing older films like this to the modern epics of today with regards to their effects and they quite wrongly categorize them as inferior. Today anyone can create CGI images on their PC. Even my three year old daughter can make something look convincing with a mouse and a keyboard and although these effects are great, people have to remember that CGI was not available in 1956.

Okay there are a few obvious matte backdrops used here, but to achieve the effects they did nearly fifty years ago was an outstanding and impressive feat which took talent and knowledge. I tend to look upon these effects as superior because it took the use of mans own brain to bring them about. The human brain is the best computer available, yet one seldom used in todays world. So please take this on board before you slam The Ten Commandments for it's "cheap and nasty" look as one reviewer called it.

This movie is ALMOST faultless, even the length is forgivable as I was so engrossed, I hardly notice the time passing.

One fact that did rouse my curiosity was Moses' appearance throughout the film. I know he went to speak to God at the burning bush, but did he really have to stop off at the salon on the way back? Or did God appear to Moses complete with curling tongs and hair dryer? "Just a little off the top Oh Lord."

And why did Moses seem to age more than everyone else? It seemed like he went from a youthful dark to everyones favourite Santa in the space of a week.

This aside, this film is a fantastic piece of cinema and must rate as a personal favourite of all fans of Biblical epics.
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9/10
Still does it for me
beresfordjd18 April 2006
Every time it played at our local cinemas I went to see it and sat through it at least twice. I cannot remember how many times I have seen this wonderful movie. I first saw it when I was about 11 and marvelled at it as a spectacle. I wept when Heston wept and rejoiced when he did. As I grew older I came to love Brynner's fantastic performance and lust after Anne Baxter (only better in All About Eve). Cedric Hardwicke, Edward G. and Debra Paget (Hubba Hubba)all impressed me. I was sorry Vincent Price was killed so early - what a great villain. It still demands my attention when it appears on TV. I swear I have seen it enough, but if I catch a glimpse then I have to see it again!! I find it unbelievable that it won almost nothing at the Oscars. At least best Actor for Brynner and best supporting actor for Edward G.!! No costume design? No set design? No Music? A travesty!! See this if you have not already - you are in for a treat- it still stands up. Long but absorbing.
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8/10
"Moses, Take What Spoils You Will From Egypt And Go"
bkoganbing17 February 2006
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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10/10
Anne Baxter should have won the Academy Award for Best Actress.
PWNYCNY4 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers
When will Paramount Pictures re-release the 1956 movie The Ten Commandments to movie theaters? I know that the movie is shown on television and is on DVD, but this epic and incredibly successful movie is meant for the theater. Besides having a great cast, the movie tells a great story and tells it well. This movie will resonate with today's audience. Today's audience would enjoy watching Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner, Anne Baxter, Yvonne De Carlo, John Derek, Debra Paget, Edward G. Robinson and the others in the cast and would greatly enjoy the finale, including the parting of the Red Sea and the creation of the actual Ten Commandments. Technologically, the movie compares favorably with today's movies. Today's audience would respond favorably to the rich colors by Technicolor and to the music by Elmer Bernstein. In addition, the movie will help educate a new generation about events in history that have had a profound and lasting impact on the world. It will introduce the audience to powerful and memorable characters such as Moses, Ramesses, Sethi, Nefreteri, Bithiah, Aaron and Dathan as well as provide a glimpse of ancient Egypt. The scene where Moses confronts Ramesses and demands, "Let my people go!" is iconic and will definitely make an impression on today's audience. Today's audience will appreciate Anne Baxter's powerful performance. Why keep this movie in DVD land? Let it spread its wings on the wide screen in theaters for all to marvel.

Watched this movie again and again this movie warrants only superlatives. GREAT story, GREAT cast, GREAT acting, GREAT special effects, GREAT costumes, GREAT EVERYTHING. This movie is one of the greatest epics ever produced by Hollywood. The scenes with Yul Brynner and E. G. Robinson and Charlton Heston are iconic; the scenes between Mr. Heston and the beautiful Anne Baxter are cinematic gems. Moreover the story is told in a straightforward way giving the movie the continuity it requires to stay on track, which is essential for a movie that is almost four hours long. Moses was a hero, Rameses his nemesis and Nefeteri the woman who had and then lost the man she loved, a Hebrew man named Moses.

The acting is stagy, but the story is great, and Charlton Heston IS Moses. This is Charton Heston's greatest role. He is what makes this movie work. Heston gives one of the greatest performances in the history of Hollywood. Whether as the prince of Egypt, or as a slave, or as a shepherd, or as a leader and a prophet, Charlton Heston is the central player in this story. Yul Brynner, Anne Baxter, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, E. G. Robinson, etc., are great in their supporting roles too, but this is Charlton Heston's movie. This movie conveys the intensity of a time when a people held in cruel bondage were soon to be freed and were soon to be led by someone whose emergence onto the scene is so improbable as to confound everyone around him. For who was Moses? Was he an Egyptian posing as a slave? Was he a Hebrew masquerading as an Egyptian prince? Was he a prophet? Or was he an opportunist, using the plight of the Hebrews to gain a following and thereby confront and defeat his rival Rameses? The movie raises these questions. Now the movie may not be historically accurate, but that's not important. What IS important is the story this movie tells, which is about a man who is on a mission to liberate an entire people from the shackles of slavery and sacrifices everything - wealth, power, the love of Pharoah's daughter - to accomplish what he sets out to do - and does it.

There are some critics who make fun of this movie for its stagy acting and stodgy story. Well, this is complete balderdash. Yul Brynner and Charlton Heston were never better and Anne Baxter is positively beautiful. The movie is a story about liberation, redemption and hope. It's about people who were led from the house of bondage and became a nation, guided by the great and profound prophet, Moses. That this movie is remembered over fifty years after its release is proof enough of its timelessness.
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10/10
I Command You to See this Great Film! ****
edwagreen11 December 2005
What was the Academy of Motion Pictures thinking in 1956? Outrageous that 10 Commandments lost to Around the World in 80 Days.

The entire cast should have been nominated for Oscars. Here is how I see it: Best Actor: Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner

Best Actress: Anne Baxter

Best supporting actor: Edward G. Robinson,Cedric Hardwicke John Derek, Vincent Price. Best Supporting Actress: Nina Foch, Martha Scott, Judith Anderson, Debra Paget.

Shockingly, no one in the stellar cast received acting nominations. Only the lord knows why.

Yes, as my rabbi pointed out many years ago, the alleged romance between the Egyptian queen and Moses was overplayed. However, it can't take away from the magnificent acting and quality of this totally absorbing movie.

They just don't make movies as great as this one anymore. They'd never have actors and actresses to replace the above great people.

In 1956, Brynner did win the best actor Oscar for The King and I. He was far better here. Though, the award should have gone to Kirk Douglas for Lust for Life. Douglas losing, Ten Commandments losing, any message to be learned here? As for the film itself, it should serve as a pre-requisite for those in the industry who wish to make biblical epics. The sets were absolutely lavishing. I guess that opulent would be the best word to describe them. Who can ever forget the dialogue? Remember those princely plots. What alliteration! They just don't open the Red Sea like that anymore.
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9/10
So big it's in danger of falling over, but it doesn't
Spleen28 August 1999
I'm always willing to watch this, and I always enjoy it. Rather than admit that there is something wrong with my taste, then, I've come to the conclusion that it's actually rather good. It clearly has class, and spectacle. Perhaps it has other virtues as well.

Say what you will about De Mille's stagy style: it fits the Old Testament. Whereas "The Prince of Egypt" went soft and new-agey when it came to the crunch, De Mille never lets us forget the harsh world events are taking place in. With a powerful and capricious god glaring at everyone all the time, it's not surprising that people - even pagans - take to talking in speeches. (The speeches are in an attractive, flowery style that isn't biblical but has the same aesthetic standards as some biblical writing.) And the god really has some Old Testament flavour. Everyone is terrified of him, and for perfectly rational reasons would rather pretend that he doesn't exist. This gets tiresome after a while. You'd think that after watching the Red Sea part everyone would have been willing to admit that Moses courted SOME kind of supernatural influence. On the other hand, you'd be a mug to trust this influence too far.

Possibly the best thing about the movie is the way it manages to divide our sympathies without weakening them. Yes, we're on the side of the Israelites. But it's also hard not to be on the side of the Egyptians. The old Pharaoh is probably the most likeable character on display and the young Pharaoh, while he has his flaws, is a nice enough fellow done in by unfortunate circumstances. Moses gains our empathy early and keeps it even when his beard has turned to marble. Only the minor characters are villains - and they're fun, too.

Of course, I say all this knowing full well that the entire film is, at the same time, completely ridiculous. Well, what can I say. It's yet another instance of a general law. Simple sincerity can sometimes spin straw into gold.
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10/10
I loved this movie!
pac6147 April 2012
I was 16 years old in 1956 when this movie was made. I don't remember how many times I've seen this movie over the years, but I was super impressed tonight.

People today find it hard to believe there were movies made during that era that had these graphics and sound effects! I think maybe the redoing of them with Dolby sound and other effects make them more interesting to watch.

I enjoyed seeing Charlton Heston, Yul Brenner, Yvonne DeCarlo and all the other actors when they were young. Most of them have probably passed on.

This is truly a masterpiece! Wonder if they will ever remake it in 3d!
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10/10
"So it is written, so it shall be done."
cinephile-2769024 June 2018
How could one not like The Ten Commandments! ABC plays it every Easter Time at 7 pm! If you have not seen this, whether you believe in Moses or not, take the chance! It's the best epic ever made! It is nearly four hours long but so what? Moses wandered in the desert for 4 decades! It's not 100% bibical but historical documents were used as well. What else can be said, but it's The ten Commandments, an undeniable must see!
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10/10
The Bible movie of Biblical proportions!
Darth_Osmosis11 June 2018
This movie is a great watch for everyone from devoted Christians to movie buffs to people who just like a spectacle! Everything in it is larger than life and over the top, the scope, the acting, the effects, the themes.. well the last one is a given. It manages to make Biblical stories to feel like a fantasy blockbuster, without losing it's themes and meanings! It's never boring or overly preachy, some of the acting is over the top, but it almost has to be. In it's essence it is a story of good vs evil and a great one at that. Charlton Heston's Moses is awe inspiring and cool like Moses always should be. This film inspired Metallica's song "Creeping death" that's not what many movies can claim! A must see film for anyone who like good movies.
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7/10
Impressive in scale and execution, in spite of stilted moments.
barnabyrudge27 March 2007
Warning: Spoilers
To mount an epic movie based on the story of Moses delivering the slaves out of Egypt is an ambitious and logistically challenging task at the best of times. To have done this in 1956, without the aid of computer-enhanced effects for believable crowd scenes or real-looking historical sets, is more remarkable still. When our screen is filled with tens of thousands of soldiers or slaves, stretching right to the horizon, what you see on the screen really was in front of the camera. That level of resourcefulness and organisation is staggering to think about, and makes The Ten Commandments an admirable achievement by any standards. Having said that, there are moments when you might find that the epic proportions of what is before your eyes creates a stronger impression than the "divinely inspired story" (as Cecil B. DeMille calls it in his introductory speech).

It is prophesised in Ancient Egypt that a Hebrew slave will be born who will one day deliver the other slaves from a life in chains and lead them to freedom. Jittery, the pharaoh demands that all first-born Hebrew babies must be slain to prevent the prophecy from coming true. One Hebrew family put their baby son into a basket and cast him onto the Nile, hoping that he will somehow reach safety from this awful fate. Instead, the baby floats right into the gardens of a royal palace, where he is found by Bithiah (Nina Foch) She takes the baby as her own and names him Moses. Years later, Moses has grown up within the Egyptian royal family and is revered as a noble, wise and resourceful Prince of Egypt. One day he may even become the next pharaoh, much to the envy of the existing pharoah's birth son Ramases (Yul Brynner). Moses and Ramases are also locked in a battle for the affections – and eventual hand in marriage – of the beautiful Nefertiri (Anne Baxter). Ramases spends most of his time plotting a way to discredit Moses so that he might beat him in their mutual race for the throne and the woman of their desires. Then, unexpectedly, Moses learns about his true ancestry. When he discovers that he is, in fact, of Hebrew birth parents he forsakes his royal status and becomes a slave. After many years of hardship - including a long period of being banished into the wilderness - Moses learns from God that he has been chosen to deliver the slaves from their appalling existence in captivity. He returns to Egypt and leads his people to freedom.

Cecil B. DeMille had already made this film, under the same title, in 1923. This lavish and expensive remake is a better film though. Heston is excellent as Moses – the role requires tremendous presence, and he provides it in abundance. Brynner is also very good as Ramases, etching a character whose burning envy towards his rival is convincing and memorable. At times, the dialogue is a little stilted and lofty; at other times it is actually quite eloquent (the parts narrated by De Mille himself are especially articulate). Elmer Bernstein's score is appropriately stirring, and the cinematography by Loyal Griggs is truly outstanding (hard to accept that Griggs lost out in the Oscars that year to Lionel Lindon's work in Around The World In 80 Days!!) The Ten Commandments features some fabulous cinematic highlights – the 10th plague, the parting of the sea, and the writing of the commandments are a few that spring to mind. In between the highlights the film has its lulls, but even at an elephantine 220 minutes it never lapses into total boredom, and is well worth catching if you're a fan of biblical epics or old-style Hollywood pageants.
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8/10
An epic, very theatrical but visually great.
filipemanuelneto1 March 2017
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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1/10
Oh Moses, Moses, you dam' fool!
winner5529 September 2007
If Charlton Heston wasn't sure he could over-act before he made this film, he certainly proved it to himself - and everybody else - here. It's hard to believe in a 'prophet' who can't seem to lower his voice below a shout.

What's really sad about films like this is that it plays well for people who deeply believe themselves to be devout Christians, even though the Sermon on the Mount makes so little sense to them, they tell their children to ignore it, "nobody could live that way".

Of course, this is the "Old Testament" story, so references to mercy and justice and charity are somewhat out of place, anyway. DeMille, quite accidentally, has played up and reminded us that ancient Judaism was an essentially tribal religion. How it became an all-embracing world religion and how it spawned Christianity in that process, is a long and complex story - and why bother if you can load the screen with beefcake heroes, rivers flowing backwards, chariots, and dancing girls? And it's just as well Heston over-acts like he's just taken Angel Dust, because everyone else underacts embarrassingly. Most notable are Edward G. Robinson - looking like a toga-wearing '30s B-movie gangster - and Yul Brynner. Brynner especially sleepwalks the film, looking dazed and confused; clearly awaiting instructions from the director that never arrive.

Why is DeMille considered a great director? Because Americans love a truly clever con-artist. We know that DeMille, selling beefcake and cheesecake and special effects, is garnishing all this with the words many call 'sacred' in our culture, even though we don't really believe in them. He is not only playing to our baser instincts, but also to our hypocrisy.

Anyway, his film has no right to condemn any 'Golden Calf', because it is itself a golden calf, an idol of the herd.
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9/10
Not such a bad guy...
joebergeron9 April 2007
Warning: Spoilers
It seems to me that Ramesses gets an unfairly bad rap from this movie. Sure, he's arrogant and bossy, but after all, he was of the royal line of Egypt! In his competition with Moses, he was straightforward, honest, and did not stoop to unfair subterfuge. Why shouldn't he consider Dathan's revelation a valid reason to disqualify Moses from becoming Pharaoh? Even after achieving this victory, and having Moses totally at his mercy, he does not execute his rival, but exiles him, even predicting that he'll forget his troubles with another woman.

After several years, Moses shows up again, in total violation of the Pharoah's edict. Ramesses reacts to this with unusual forbearance. He merely smirks, and permits Moses to hang around his court. Moses disrupts the river purification ceremony, but Ramesses prevents anyone from killing him. Moses turns up on a private terrace while Ramesses is trying to read, and instead of having Moses killed, Ramesses merely tries to ignore him and wishes he'd quit bugging him. In fact Moses is attacking his kingdom with multiple supernatural assaults, yet Ramesses tries to shrug it all off as natural events and fails to molest his foster brother, or the Hebrews, until he has endured many provocations. Finally he reaches the reasonable decision to free the slaves, only to be turned from this by the manipulations of Nefretiri, a foolish act of pride and weakness on his part, not of evil. By the way, in the Bible it is God who mysteriously hardens Pharaoh's heart all these times, not Nefretiri.

After his plan to kill the Hebrew firstborn backfires, he again decides to free the slaves. The damage to Egypt would have been contained if not for the further scheming of Nefretiri. Of course we know from history that Ramesses II was one of the most successful of all Egyptian pharaohs, and went on to an extraordinarily long and prosperous reign.

I am left with the impression that Ramesses regarded Moses with a certain respect. Moses was certainly a more interesting character before his encounter with the Burning Bush. I think if these two guys had ever sat down together without their respective sticks being inserted, they could have worked things out and avoided all kinds of trouble. Of course that might have taken a toll on the movie's dramatic content.
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9/10
A Classic-whether you like it or not, that's your own affair.
HistoryJonah11 April 2010
Warning: Spoilers
A movie with a biblical story. A movie with biblical proportions. A movie with…well…quite a few biblical inaccuracies. Despite this, Ten Commandments is one of my favorite movies. Now everyone will be in shock when I say this, but it's a fairly modern and deep movie. It's a movie that uses old style, with new methods. Let's take a look line by line.

Direction- Cecil B. Demille is a overdone, theatrical kind of director, and the result is a theatrical overdone kind of movie. But when the Bible is concerned, that's really the way to do it. Overdone gestures, poetic screenplay, massive sets and thousands of extras make this film a giant in Hollywood's history. Demille pulls it off however with his overblown style and flair. There are a few cringe worthy moments of poorly directed extras, but it generally works. It's overdone style was the director's intent.

So I bet you're wondering how could this possibly be modern? Well it's Demille's amazing effects he used, lavish sets and deep story that makes it modern. Most movies at the time would cut away when the dead sea caves in, or show just a facade of a city, or a backdrop. Demille shows it all. Scenes such as the slaughtering of the newborn or the Passover were fairly intense at the time, and most movies would, no pun intended, pass over them. So like I said, Demille does this all in old theatrical style, but the actual content of the film was fairly advanced for the time.

Charlton Heston- Very few can part the dead sea and you'll believe they just did it. Very few can be Moses. Heston gives a great performance of Moses that seems just like how you picture him when you read it in the bible. Search for someone else to play a better Moses, but I bet it'll be in vain.

Yul Brynner- Cast as Ramses the Pharaoh, he steals the show in his outstanding performance. He's pompous, arrogant, but delivers great lines. He's also very deep, as that he's simply a leader who was determined, just for the wrong cause. He loves his son and his wife, despite the fact that the latter never returns any love to him. He delivers such a great performance, that he almost makes you want him to win. In the end, he won't however, no matter how long he may pray before the mighty falcon.

Anne Baxter-Is the film's 'Beautiful enemy'. She's in the center of the love triangle between Ramses and Moses, the latter of who she is madly in love with. She's plays someone who's self centered, manipulative, power hungry and superficial and she plays it with remarkable ability. She fit's the classic 'Queen of Egypt' model movies strive for back then. I personally would have liked to seen her play Cleopatra. Sure, it may have been a semi-repeat role playing another Egyptian, but "She was Egypt".

Sir Cedric Hardwicke- He plays the first Pharaoh seen in the film, father of Ramses. He does a terrific job in that role, playing a wise, understanding but firm leader. He speaks his line in stage like fashion and is all together convincing. He may have one of the deepest characters, as you will see in the film.

John Derek- All films have their weaknesses, and this film's weakness is John Derek's portrayal of Joshua. Overacting, even on Demille's standards, and poor delivery of his lines makes his performance almost laughable. He brings the film down a little and is probably the worst part of the film. I don't see how he was cast, maybe he thought it would be the day his career is born. As it turns out, it's not that day, Joshua.

Edward G. Robinson- Yes, America's favorite gangster was cast as a Hebrew turncoat, Dathan, who is an informant with 'Rat's ears and a ferret's nose'. Despite people's criticism of his performance, I thought he did a rather good job. He had his moments where I thought he'd say 'Step back Moses, or I'll plug ya, that goes for you too Joshua and the rest of you mugs' but he was still pretty good.

Other Supporting characters- The rest of the cast is pretty good, Yvonne DeCarlo is solid and Vincent Price has a scene stealing performance as Baka, the Master Builder.

Special Effects- Phenomenal. Who needs CGI when you can build the city of Pi-Ramses instead? This coupled with the partying of the Red Sea, the Nile turning to blood, the hail turning the fire, the staff turning into a snake along with countless other effects are amazing to watch. Most old movies would avoid those effects by cutting away-not the Ten Commandments. I'd say it has the best pre-1990's special effects of all time.

Costumes- Breathtaking. The bright and ornate costumes really capture the essence of the time.

Set Design- Incredible. Like I said for the special effects, do you really need Digital effects if you can just do this? Very few movies can rival the massive sets of this film. It's as if you are actually in Egypt.

Musical Score- A joy to listen to. The pompous overblown score fits with the rest of the feel of the movie. Who else wouldn't want to enter and exit a room wit the same fanfare that Ramses does?

All in all, the Ten Commandments is a classic. It is a surprisingly deep film, that uses theatrical style with modern methods. The film is among my favorites. With outlandish sets and costumes, over the top music, a poetic screenplay, outstanding effects, and exceptional acting, this is a film that is great in all regards, and will be enjoyed with all generations, a film worthy of 'the gods'.

So it shall be written, so it shall be done.
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Sexodus
LeslieHell3 April 2002
This movie is so funny, I don't know where to begin. Cecil B. even got the testaments mixed up. Early in "The Ten Commandments," the Egyptian big shots declare that they must find the infant Moses and that "a star proclaimed his birth." Wrong Jew, idiots! That star didn't happen for, oh, just years and years yet. But wait, in the words of Margo Channing, "It gets better!"

The whole movie is one delicious,vulgar hoot after another. When it first was released in 1956, "Time" magazine, in a rare burst of wit, titled their review "Sexodus." I mean, there are Jethro's horny, whorey daughters out in the desert dancing like fools for the visitor Moses; then at the end of one scene Yvonne deCarlo looks directly into the camera for no particular reason as if to say "So, do I move here or what?" You'll love hot Yul Bryner with his braided pony tail coming out the side of his head (looking about as Egyptian as Omar Shariff looked Russian in "Zhivago"); the flirtatious Ethiopian princess, just drooling all over Moses (contrary to the plot of "Aida," and History in general, her country is only too happy to have been invaded and conquered by Egypt); and that blind man's line at the parting of the Red Sea about how God separated the waters with a blast of his nostrils is such a reverent moment in cinema.

The plagues are embarrassing; no wonder the pharaoh didn't give in, and that Hallmark card "burning bush" was anything but on fire. Even as a child, I thought "Aww, hell, they could have done that one better." The Death Angel is only a trail of creeping green fog! Get out! Why didn't the Jews just use their fans to blow it the other way? God's voice is full of testosterone, as usual, but He sounds bored for most of the movie.

And there are strange unexplained items such as how come the Golden Calf was sitting down? It only looks like a half-calf. What is Vincent Price doing in here? How many times did Martha Scott play Charlton Heston's mother? Where are the rest of the plagues? Where's the manna? Why is Miriam always in a bad mood?

Lovely Debra Padget deserved a better musical number than "Death Commith To Me." I'd have chosen a ballad, myself, something like "Prisoner of Love" or maybe "Suppertime," because it was, after all, the first Passover. John Derick flashes some decent thigh.

But, except for the bodies of Charlton Heston and Yul Bryner, Anne Baxter takes the plaid rabbit. She's the only one (except for maybe Edward G. Robinson) who seems to be in on the joke. She vamps and camps, seems to be having a great time. "Your tongue will dig your grave, Mamnet," she says before sending Judith Anderson off to her big dirt nap. "Do you hear laughter, Ramses?" she taunts. I wanted her to say "Not the laughter of Kings or Jews, but the audience! We're a hit, Baby! We can work this from here to Hackensack! We're killin' 'em!"
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9/10
Makes you feel kind of like a blasphemous b**tard
Caesaria24 February 2002
Meaning that, while I am supposed to cheer on Moses, I just couldn't. When Ramses is played by Yul Brynner - officially the sexiest man in the history of the universe - how can you not be for the Egyptians? And Anne Baxter's Nefreteri, while amusingly bitter, really should have seen the light of a different kind. Yul Brynner - perfection at its most aware (survived by The Rock) vs Charlton Heston - pompous blowhard. Oh, who to choose? Every scene Yul is in is just exquisite - he's cruel and amusing and just drop dead gorgeous. I'm really, really into that royal blue clour on him, and that black mourning robe that showed off his upper body (and what an upper body). I know I should get a life, but all this needed to be said. Fans of Yul Brynner, unite!
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10/10
The Ten Commandments Is A Must See Epic
Desertman8424 September 2012
Warning: Spoilers
The Ten Commandments is an epic film that is based on the biblical story of the Exodus, in which the Hebrew-born Moses, an adopted Egyptian prince, becomes the deliverer of the Hebrew slaves. It starred Charlton Heston in the lead role together with Yul Brynner as his adoptive brother, Pharaoh Rameses II, Anne Baxter as Nefretiri, Edward G. Robinson as Dathan, Yvonne De Carlo as Sephora, Debra Paget as Lilia, and John Derek as Joshua. The supporting cast includes Sir Cedric Hardwicke as Pharaoh Seti I, Nina Foch as Bithiah, Martha Scott as Yoshebel, Judith Anderson as Memnet, Vincent Price as Baka, and John Carradine as Aaron.It was directed by Cecil B. DeMille,his last film.

The story relates the life of Moses, from the time he was discovered in the bull rushes as an infant by the Pharaoh's daughter, to his long, hard struggle to free the Hebrews from their slavery at the hands of the Egyptians. Moses starts out as Pharoah's adopted son and an expert at designing pyramids but when he soon discovers his true Hebrew heritage, he attempts to make life easier for his people. Banished by his jealous half-brother Rameses, he returns fully bearded to Pharoah's court, warning that he's had a message from God and that the Egyptians had better free the Hebrews post-haste if they know what's good for them. Only after the Deadly Plagues have decimated Egypt does Rameses give in. As the Hebrews reach the Red Sea, they discover that Rameses has gone back on his word and plans to have them all killed. But Moses rescues his people with a little Divine legerdemain by parting the Seas. Later, Moses is again confronted by God on Mt. Sinai, who delivers unto him the Ten Commandments. Meanwhile, the Hebrews are forgetting their religion and behaving like libertines.High atop the mountain, Moses witnesses God's creation of the stone tablets containing the Ten Commandments. When he finally climbs down, Moses beholds his people's iniquity and hurls the tablets at the idol in a rage. The idol explodes, and Dathan and his followers are killed. After God forces them to endure forty years' exile in the desert wandering lost, to kill off the rebellious generation, the Hebrews are about to arrive in the land of Canaan. An elderly Moses, who, however, is not allowed to enter the promised land, because he disobeyed the lord at the waters of strife,then appoints Joshua to succeed him as leader, says a final good bye to Sephora, and goes forth to his destiny.

DeMille's last film may not be the most subtle and sophisticated entertainment ever concocted, but it tells its story with a clarity and vitality that few Biblical scholars have ever been able to duplicate. With a running time of nearly four hours, it is the most extravagant movie that is full of the absurdities and vulgarities one expects and it isn't boring for a minute.Also,it is the director's biggest, most spectacular epic, excessive and lurid but extravagantly entertaining, this all-star spectacular is a spectacular retelling of the great Bible story in which displays himself as a showman.

It is definitely a must see!!!!
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1/10
What a silly film! ^_^
Mimi-168 September 2009
I'm not making fun of anyone's religion. But gadzooks! This film is gloriously bad.

My friends and I get together every year to have food and drink making fun of this film ala MST3K. From horrible dialogue to DeMille's visual sexual innuendoes aimed at his long-time mistress, this movie is an expensive hack-job of work.

When I was a child and US network television broadcast it, I thought it was awesome comic- book fare. As an adult, it's very bad ( and hilarious ) comic-book fare.

Well-crafted, hokey, wooden, childish, hypocritical, and garish junk.

1 star as art. 10 stars as fuel for a drinking-party. ^_^
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1/10
Boring and cheesy spectacle
aurlb21 December 2005
I don't believe a word of this story (the magic, oh, oh, oh! the power of God, ah, ah, ah!) but I wouldn't mind having a good time. Unfortunately, it's interminable. The actors look ridiculous. Yul Brynner is constantly showing his pecs. Charlton Heston is taking himself too seriously (as often) and Anne Baxter is so far away from "All about Eve", "A Royal Scandal" or "I Confess" you might think it's another actress. The same goes for poor Edward G. Robinson of "Little Caesar" and "Double Indemnity" fame. The director is so proud of his settings, costumes and special effects he succeeds in making the spectacle tiresome. The ten commandments" rings false and stinks of the worst Hollywood.
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10/10
Magnificent
TheLittleSongbird27 January 2011
This is one magnificent film. Brilliantly directed by Cecil B DeMille, it boasts some splendid cinematography and gorgeous scenery and attention to detail. Not only that, but also a script that positively sparkles, characters that are refreshingly complex, a rousing score courtesy of the great Elmer Bernstein and a compelling story. Also impressive, perhaps even more so, are the astonishing set pieces and the acting. In the lead Charlton Heston is very powerful while Yul Brynner too gives one of his best performances. The supporting cast are equally impressive, Cedric Hardwicke, Vincent Price, Judith Anderson, John Carradine, Edward G. Robinson, Yvonne DeCarlo and Debra Paget are all memorable. All in all, The Ten Commandments is nothing short of the epitome of magnificence not just in its scope but also its complexity. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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