Wholly Moses! (1980) - Rotten Tomatoes

Wholly Moses!1980

Wholly Moses! (1980)

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Movie Info

A broadly farcical comedy that attempts to ape the wickedly funny, Bible-spoofing humor of the previous year's Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979), this all-star rib-tickler top-lines Dudley Moore as Herschel, a historical also-ran whose life so closely parallels that of Moses that Herschel begins believing that he, not the other guy, is God's chosen prophet, setting out to free his people from slavery even though his services are not required. Herschel's travels are always a step or two behind Moses and bring him into the company of various period personnel, including Egypt's Pharoah (Richard Pryor), the Devil (John Ritter), an angel (Paul Sand), and the beautiful Zerelda (Laraine Newman). He also discovers that his slave, Hyssop (James Coco), is actually his biological father. Herschel eventually becomes the subject of the lost "Book of Herschel," recounted in a scroll discovered by a modern-day couple (also played by Moore and Newman) vacationing in the Holy Land. Wholly Moses (1980) co-stars several other recognizable actors in supporting roles, including John Houseman, Madeline Kahn, and Jack Gilford.

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Cast

Dudley Moore
as Harvey Orchid / Herschel
Laraine Newman
as Zoey / Zerelda
James Coco
as Hyssop
Paul Sand
as Angel of the Lord
Dom DeLuise
as Shadrach
John Houseman
as Archangel
Madeline Kahn
as Sorceress
Tanya Boyd
as Princess
Ruth Manning
as Landlady
Andrea Martin
as Zipporah
Stan Ross
as Mohammed
Sam Weisman
as Talent Coordinator
Jeffrey Jacquet
as Young Pharaoh
Howard Mann
as High Priest
Hap Lawrence
as Blind Man
David Murphy
as Teenager
Tom Baker
as Egyptian Captain
Sandy Ward
as Taskmaster
Lee Wilkof
as Townsperson
Rod McCary
as Hittite Emissary
Brion James
as Guard at Banquet
Lois Robbins
as 1st Maiden
Shelley Johnson
as 2nd Maiden
Michael Champion
as Sodom Sentry
Lauren Frost
as Moses' Mother
Ion Teodorescu
as Court Magician
Nicholas Mele
as Israeli Photographer
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Critic Reviews for Wholly Moses!

All Critics (7) | Top Critics (4)

The movie's not funny on its own, and since movie audiences are scarcely going to be shocked by its mild but relentlessly repetitive irreverence, it all boils down to a very old joke.

April 30, 2018 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…

There are a couple of droll sight gags, but nothing can redeem Wholly Moses! from its destiny of eternal mirthlessness.

April 30, 2018 | Full Review…

An opportunistic attempt to cash in on the diminutive Moore's post-10 stardom by shamelessly ripping off the premise of The Life of Brian.

April 30, 2018 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Dudley Moore is funny. James Coco, Madeline Kahn and Richard Pryor are funny. Director Gary Weiss showed he was funny with his direction of Saturday Night Live. So, why isn't Wholly Moses funny?

April 28, 2018 | Full Review…

Next to the pointed, funny Life of Brian, this is absolute sacrilege.

April 30, 2018 | Full Review…

Life of Brian was protested by religious groups as heresy. Wholly Moses is silly and lowbrow enough that it never generated equal controversy. It's in every way inferior to that other film, but silly enough to provide a few cheap laughs.

April 30, 2018 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

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