The Ten Commandments (1956)



Critic Consensus: Bombastic and occasionally silly but extravagantly entertaining, Cecil B. DeMille's all-star spectacular is a muscular retelling of the great Bible story.

Movie Info

Based on the Holy Scriptures, with additional dialogue by several other hands, The Ten Commandments was the last film directed by Cecil B. DeMille. The story relates the life of Moses, from the time he was discovered in the bullrushes as an infant by the pharoah's daughter, to his long, hard struggle to free the Hebrews from their slavery at the hands of the Egyptians. Moses (Charlton Heston) starts out "in solid" as Pharoah's adopted son (and a whiz at designing pyramids, dispensing such … More

Rating: G
Genre: Drama, Faith & Spirituality, Classics
Directed By: ,
Written By: Jesse Lasky, Aeneas MacKenzie, Fredric M. Frank, Jack Gariss, Jesse Lasky Jr.
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 30, 1999
Paramount Pictures


as Rameses

as Nefretiri

as Lilia

as Joshua

as Bithiah

as Yochabel

as Miriam

as Jethro

as Hur Ben Caleb

as Amminadab

as Pentaur

as Elisheba

as Jethro's Daughter

as Jethro's Daughter

as Jethro's Daughter

as Jethro's Daughter

as Jethro's Daughter

as Jethro's Daughter

as Rameses' Charioteer

as Infant Moses

as Rameses' Son

as The Blind One

as Gershom

as Rameses I

as Korah's Wife

as King of Ethiopia

as Hebrew at Golden Cal...

as High-Ranking Officer...

as Commander of the Hos...

as Amalekite Herder

as Sheik of Ezion

as Court Lady

as Rameses' Charioteer

as Corporal

as Pretty Slave Girl

as Architect's Assistan...

as Architect's Assistan...

as Fan Bearer

as Sardinian Captain

as Old Hebrew at Moses'...

as Taskmaster

as Hebrew at Golden Cal...

as Libyan Captain

as High Official

as Cretan Ambassador

as Taskmaster/Flagman

as Old Man Praying/Old ...

as Old Slave Man/Hebrew...

as Slave Carrying Load

as Drum Player

as Princess Tharbis

as Eleazar

as Hebrew at Golden Cal...

as Child Slave

as Hebrew at Golden Cal...

as Slave, Hebrew at Cr...

as Taskmaster

as 2nd Wazir

as Egyptian Soldier

as Man with Bedding

as Trojan Ambassador

as Grease Woman

as Young Aide

as Slave, Hebrew at Go...

as Corporal

as High Offical

as Jethro's Daughter

as Spearman/Hebrew at G...

as Amalekite Herder
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Ten Commandments

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Critic Reviews for The Ten Commandments

All Critics (36) | Top Critics (8)

There is no other picture like it. There will be none. If it could be summed up in a word, the word would be sublime. And the man responsible for that, when all is said and done is Cecil B. DeMille.

Full Review… | April 7, 2015
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

DeMille's direction of the action is superb and the various roles are played with feeling by a large and competent cast, headed by Charlton Heston.

Full Review… | December 10, 2014
New York Daily News
Top Critic

With a running time of nearly four hours, Cecil B. De Mille's last feature and most extravagant blockbuster is full of the absurdities and vulgarities one expects, but it isn't boring for a minute.

Full Review… | March 4, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

DeMille remains conventional with the motion picture as an art form. The eyes of the onlooker are filled with spectacle. Emotional tug is sometimes lacking.

Full Review… | October 19, 2007
Top Critic

It's the gigantic vulgarity, the obsessive righteousness of the director himself, which keeps the show on the road and suffuses the movie with its daft power.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

The crammed contents are linked ponderously in a long, warning movie sermon that has authority but little power.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Ten Commandments


In the 1950's, big, bold ambitious epics were the norm, The Ten Commandments being one of the most famous films of the era, I quite enjoyed the film, but for me, my favorite epic is Ben-Hur. Nonetheless, this film is quite the undertaking to watch, but the performances are really what keeps you involved for the nearly four hour run time. The film has a grand story, and it boasts some impressive visuals, which for its time were quite the feat in the cinematic medium, but still hold up to this day. The Ten Commandments is a blistering picture, one that is beautifully shot, with grand, ambitious storytelling and exceptional performances. This film is one of the most engrossing film experiences that I have seen, and it's a definite classic. However, I must warn potential viewers that you must be committed in seeing this one due to its length, and it's not for everyone either. I enjoyed the movie, and I found it to be one of the best films of the genre. However, I preferred Ben-Hur a bit more. Also the film could have been a little shorter as well. Nonetheless the film is superb in every way, and the storytelling here is ambitious, and it's a compelling picture that certainly is a feat in filmmaking. The Ten Commandments is a near perfect picture that is more captivating due to its performances from its cast, and each actor brings something unique to make the film truly something remarkable. The film is worth seeing if you're a diehard film fanatic that loves all sorts of genres, and in terms of epics, this is certainly one of the biggest along with Ben-Hur, and countless others that followed. This film set the standards of filmmaking even further and it succeeds quite well at grabbing your attention, and it is a riveting, sweeping picture that you soon won't forget. However, it is a long movie, and at times you're anxious for the film to conclude, but you're invested deeply at the same time due to the very good story and great acting that you see unfolds before your eyes. Seeing The Ten Commandments, you realize that movies where they tend to focus on big, gripping and ambitious storytelling and that's the best type of films to watch.

Alex roy

Super Reviewer


The Ten Commandments is certainly extravagant. It was the most expensive film ever made up to that point. All exterior shots were actually photographed on location in Egypt. It employs a cast of thousands with 70 speaking parts. In an era where they really had to hire all of those people you see in the background, this was truly an epic undertaking. No computer animation. This is all practical effects. In a surprising bit of restraint, only 3 of the 10 plagues are depicted: the water turning into blood, thunder & hail storm, and killing of the oldest sons. The latter features an Angel of Death imagined as a thick, green mist that creeps through the streets claiming the lives of Egypt's firstborn sons. As memorable as that was, it pales next to one of the greatest special effects sequences of all time that follows the Exodus of over 12,000 extra. The production culminates in Moses' parting of the Red Sea in the climatic scene. Even now it's a visual feat to be admired. It was nominated for 7 Academy Awards winning 1 for Best Visual Effects. To this day, the movie is the sixth most successful ever when adjusting for inflation. It remains the yardstick by which all biblical stories must be measured..

Mark Hobin

Super Reviewer

This was Cecil B.De Mille's last theatrical feature,with a running time of nearly four hours(basically the running time of 3 hours and 40 minutes which includes the opening overture,intermission, and exit music),this stunning and most extravagant blockbuster is full of absurdities and vulgarities,but in all aspects this star-studded widescreen Vista Vision and Technicolor spectacle is ravishing,and De Mille's form of showmanship,which includes his own narration,never falters. Charlton Heston might be said to achieve his apotheosis as Moses-unless one decides that it's Moses who's achieving his apotheosis as Heston-and most of the other in the star-studded epic which is based on the Holy Scriptures are comparably mythic. Simultaneously ludicrous and splendid,this epic is driven by the sort of personal conviction one almost never finds is subsequent Hollywood monoliths. The scenes with includes the parting of the Red Sea is one of the best special effects ever made. With its all-star cast that includes Yul Brenner(Rameses), Anne Baxter(Nefertiri), with Yvonne De Carlo(Sephora), Debra Paget(Lilia), John Derek(Joshua),
Edward G. Robinson(Dathan), Cedric Hardwicke(Sethi), Nina Foch(Bithiah),
Martha Scott(Yochabel). The film was nominated for an impressive Nine Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director(but lost the Best Picture Oscar to "Around The World in 80 Days"),and won the Oscar for Best Special Effects(John P. Fulton,with some of the effects coming from the Disney studios). If you want to see "The Ten Commandments",my advice is not to see this on television(since seeing it on TV around Easter time doesn't do any justice,or for that manner seeing it on DVD),but see this movie the way it was suppose to be a movie theater equipped with full 70MM projection and experience it in full six-track stereophonic sound.

Mister Caple

Super Reviewer

The Ten Commandments Quotes

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– Submitted by Adam O (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Adam O (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Adam O (2 years ago)

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