Samson and Delilah (1949) - Rotten Tomatoes

Samson and Delilah (1949)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Samson and Delilah is Cecil B. DeMille's characteristically expansive retelling of the events found in the Old Testament passages of Judges 13-16. Victor Mature plays Samson, the superstrong young Danite. Samson aspires to marry Philistine noblewoman Semadar (Angela Lansbury), but she is killed when her people attack Samson as a blood enemy. Seeking revenge, Semadar's younger sister Delilah (Hedy Lamarr) woos Samson in hopes of discovering the secret of his strength, thus enabling her to destroy him. When she learns that his source of his virility is his long hair, Delilah plies Samson with drink, then does gives him the Old Testament equivalent of a buzzcut while he snores away. She delivers the helpless Samson to the Philistines, ordering that he be put to work as a slave. Blinded and humiliated by his enemies, Samson is a sorry shell of his former self. Ultimately, Samson's hair grows back, thus setting the stage for the rousing climax wherein Samson literally brings down the house upon the wayward Philistines. Hedy Lamarr is pretty hopeless as Delilah, but Victor Mature is surprisingly good as Samson, even when mouthing such idiotic lines as "That's all right. It's only a young lion". Even better is George Sanders as The Saran of Gaza, who wisely opts to underplay his florid villainy. The spectacular climax to Samson and Delilah allows us to forget such dubious highlights as Samson's struggle with a distressing phony lion and the tedious cat-and-mouse romantic scenes. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Classics , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Paramount Home Video

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Victor Mature
as Samson
Hedy Lamarr
as Delilah
George Sanders
as The Saran of Gaza
Olive Deering
as Miriam
Fay Holden
as Hazel
Julia Faye
as Hisham
Lane Chandler
as Teresh
Moroni Olsen
as Targil
Francis McDonald
as Story Teller
John Miljan
as Lesh Lakish
Arthur Q. Bryan
as Fat Philistine Merchant
Kasey Rogers
as Spectator
Victor Varconi
as Lord of Ashdod
John Parrish
as Lord of Gath
Frank Wilcox
as Lord of Ekron
Russell Hicks
as Lord of Ashkelon
Fritz Leiber
as Lord Sharif
Mike Mazurki
as Leader of Philistine Soldiers
Davison Clark
as Merchant Prince
George Reeves
as Wounded Messenger
Pedro de Cordoba
as Bar Simon
Frank Reicher
as Village Barber
Charles Evans
as Manoah
George Zoritch
as Sword Dancer
Hamil Petroff
as Sword Dancer
Frank Mayo
as Master Architect
Lloyd Whitlock
as Chief Scribe
Crauford Kent
as Court Astrologer
Harry Woods
as Gammad
Steve Roberts
as Bergam at Feast
Ed Hinton
as Makon at Feast/Double for Victor Mature
Carl Saxe
as Slave
James Craven
as Prince
Nils Asther
as Prince
Harry Cording
as Prince
Colin Tapley
as Prince
Charles Meredith
as High Priest
Pierre Watkin
as Priest
Fred Graham
as Priest
Boyd Davis
as Priest
John 'Skins' Miller
as Man with Burro
Olive Carey
as Miriam
Lester Sharpe
as Saddle maker
Edgar Dearing
as Tax collector
Hugh Prosser
as Tax Collector
John Merton
as Assistant tax collector
Al Ferguson
as Villager
Tom Tyler
as Philistine Captain of Gristmill
Ray Bennett
as Overseer at Gristmill
Charles Judels
as Danite Merchant
Brahm van den Berg
as Temple Dancer
Eric Alden
as Courtier
Bob Kortman
as Vendor
Philo McCullough
as Merchant
Ted Mapes
as Captain Killed by Jawbone
Betty Boyd
as Woman
Jeff York
as Spectator
Bert Moorhouse
as Spectator
Margaret Field
as Spectator
John Kellogg
as Spectator
Charles Dayton
as Midget at Arena
Henry Wills
as Saran's charioteer
Stephen Roberts
as Bergam at Feast
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Critic Reviews for Samson and Delilah

All Critics (8) | Top Critics (3)

Cecil B. DeMille has again dipped into the Bible for his material, made appropriately dramatic revisions in the original, and turned up with a DeMille-size smash.

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

Wonderfully chintzy and hokey Bible epic once described as the only film in which the hero had bigger tits than the heroine.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

If you'll settle for gold-plated pageants, for muscular episodes and for graphic inducements to wolf-whistling, then "Samson and Delilah" is for you.

Full Review… | March 25, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

The film cannot avoid the broad contours of Samson's story, of course, but it does tweak things in ways that make Samson look a little more heroic.

Full Review… | March 26, 2014

Here DeMille, the master of the crowd scene, is in top form managing thousands of extras, particularly in the savage battle scenes in which Samson destroys the Philistine army with the jawbone of an ass.

Full Review… | March 5, 2014
TV Guide

Lavishly produced, this Oscar nominated epic is a good example of DeMille's type of spectacles.

Full Review… | April 27, 2011

Audience Reviews for Samson and Delilah


DeMille is like a circus programmer, always thinking about what the yokels might squeeze the moolah out for and then working to give 'em just that. And here is a great example of his brain at work (you can practically feel it working!) every scene prepared like a Halloween funhouse meant to rouse you from whatever ails you. Be it with action, or eye candy, or music, or lighting, this knucklehead guy really bends over backwards to please, to justify your money. Oh, and there's some Bible story too. The story very nearly stalls only when that its a Biblical tale is trotted out. George Sanders, underappreciated character actor, very nearly steals the whole film.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

Samson and Delilah (1949) ??? Highly entertaining DeMille epic with strongman Samson rejecting the love of the beautiful Philistine woman Delilah, who then seeks vengeance that brings horrible consequences they both regret. Classic story told with delicious DeMille flourishes. Victor Mature is surprisingly good as Samson, though it's pretty tricky to accept Hedy Lamarr as Angela Lansbury's older sister. Great special effects throughout. Art Direction and Costumes won Oscars.

Tanner Bartko
Tanner Bartko

Brilliant movie classic and a lesson to all that women arent to be kidding.

Barry Lappin
Barry Lappin

Super Reviewer

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