The Ten Commandments (1956 movie)

From Academic Kids

This article is about the 1956 film. For the Biblical phenomenon, please see Ten Commandments.

Missing image
The artist's rendering of a bare-headed Charlton Heston as Moses was bulked up to modern physique standards when the DVD was released

The Ten Commandments is a 1956 epic film from Paramount Studios in VistaVision directed by Cecil B. DeMille, which tells in the broadest Hollywood style the Bible story of Moses (Charlton Heston) as he struggles to get Pharaoh Ramses (Yul Brynner) to let the Israelites leave Egypt.

It is the 5th highest grossing movie of all time, adjusted for inflation, with collections of $838,400,000.[1] ( In non-adjusted dollars, it held the record as the highest-grossing film with a religious storyline until the 2004 film The Passion of the Christ.



Critics have argued that considerable liberties were taken with the Biblical story, affecting the film's claim to authenticity, but this has had little effect on its popularity. For decades, a showing of The Ten Commandments was a popular fund-raiser among revivalist Christian churches, while the film was equally treasured among film buffs for DeMille's "cast of thousands" approach and the heroic but antiquated silent-screen-type acting.

In 1999, satisfying both audiences, the film was deemed "culturally significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

The movie's cast evokes its period: Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner, Anne Baxter, Edward G. Robinson, Yvonne De Carlo, Debra Paget, John Derek, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Nina Foch, Martha Scott, Dame Judith Anderson, Vincent Price and John Carradine.

The parting of the Red Sea won the film its Oscar for Special Effects, while the worship of the Golden Calf owed something to opera staging of Saint-SaŽns' Samson et Dalila. The giving of the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai is also considered a dramatic highlight.

Aside from the Academy Award for Best Effects, Special Effects and was nominated for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Color, Best Cinematography, Color, Best Costume Design, Color (Edith Head, Ralph Jester, John Jensen, Dorothy Jeakins and Arnold Friberg), Best Film Editing, Best Picture and Best Sound, Recording.

The film was adapted by Aeneas MacKenzie, Jesse Lasky Jr., Jack Gariss and Fredric M. Frank from the J.H. Ingraham novel Pillar of Fire, the A.E. Southon novel On Eagle's Wings and the Dorothy Clarke Wilson novel Prince of Egypt.

DeMille had previously made the film in a silent 1923 version.


One legacy of the movie are scores of public displays or monuments of the Ten Commandments that DeMille paid to be erected around the country as a publicity stunt. Known as decalogues, the displays were set up by the group Fraternal Order of Eagles, sometimes in or near government buildings. Several have been involved in court battles over whether their presence violates the First Amendment to the United States Constitution's Establishment Clause.

Famous quotes

The screenplay was the creation of a committee of writers, headed by "Rev." J. H. Ingraham (actually a novelist who wrote Pillar of Fire) and "Rev." A.E. Southon (actually the novelist of On Eagle's Wing), who were listed as Reverends to add to credibility for the script. Dorothy Clarke Wilson, Aeneas MacKenzie, Jesse Lasky Jr., Jack Gariss, and Fredric M. Frank also contributed.

  • "The city is made of bricks. The strong make many, the starving make few, the dead make none." (Answering accusations that he is treating the slaves too generously)
  • "Blood makes poor mortar."
  • "The city that he builds shall bear my name, the woman that he loves shall bear my child." (Ramesses, speaking about Moses)
  • "It would take more than a man to lead the slaves from bondage. It would take a god."
  • "Better to die in battle with a God than to live in shame".
  • "So let it be written, So let it be done" or "So it shall be written, so it shall be done." (repeated 10 times throughout the movie)
  • "Oh Moses, Moses, you stubborn, splendid, adorable fool!" (Anne Baxter as Princess Nefertiri to Charlton Heston as Moses)
  • "Those who shall not live by the law, shall die by the law" (upon breaking the covenant over the Golden idol in Mount Sinai)

External link

es:Los diez mandamientos pt:The Ten Commandments


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