The Ten Commandments is a biblical masterpiece directed by Cecil B. DeMille and released in 1956. The movie stars Charlton Heston, Ann Baxter, and Yul Brenner. The Ten Commandments surrounds the life of Moses, a son of Hebrew slaves who is raised as an Egyptian in the court of the Pharaoh Seti. Because of a prophecy, Seti's father Rameses I issues an edict ordering all first-born Hebrew males to be slaughtered. In order to save Moses, his mother places him in a basket and sets him upon the Nile River. Moses is pulled from the river by Seti's sister Bithiah, who raises him as her own child. As Moses grows into adulthood, he gains the favor of Seti, who places him before his own son, Rameses. Because of this perceived slight, Rameses despises Moses. Through a series of unfortunate events, Moses' true Hebrew heritage is revealed. Hebrews believe he is the man chosen by God to lead them from bondage. Moses is exiled from Egypt but eventually makes his way back to face off with Rameses. This time he brings God's decree: "Let my people go."moreless
As realistic for the day The Ten Commandments' location sequences appear, only 5% of the movie was actually shot in Egypt.
In the narrated scene of Moses leaving Egypt for the first time and walking through the desert, he walks through a massive sand storm. The production crew did not have enough large studio fans to create the effect DeMille wanted, so planes from the Egyptian Air Force were brought in and their props used to create the storm blasts.
Nefretiri: I saved your son!
Moses: It is not my son who will die, it is the first born of Egypt, it is your son, Nefretiri!
Nefretiri: You would not dare strike Pharaoh's son!
Moses: In the hardness of his heart, Pharaoh has mocked God and brings death to his own son.
Nefretiri: But he is my son. You would not kill my son.
Moses: Without God I am nothing. I am the tool by which He works His will.
Nefretiri: (emphatically) But I saved your son!
Moses: I cannot save yours.
Nefretiri: You will be king of Egypt and I will be your footstool!
Moses: The man stupid enough to use you as a footstool would not be wise enough to rule Egypt.
Ramses: So, Moses, it is I who own your woman. (turning to Nefretiri) I know that when I hold you in my arms, it will be his face that you will see, not mine.
Nefretiri: Yes...only his face.
Ramses: I have defeated you in life, Moses. You shall not defeat me with your death. The dead do not scorch in the desert of desire, suffer from the thirst of passion, nor stumble blindly towards some mirage of lost love. But you, Hebrew, will suffer all these things...by living.
Nefretiri: You will let him live?
Ramses: I will not make him a martyr for you to cherish. No phantom will come between you and me in the night. Yes, I will let him live. From where I send him there is no return. You will never know if he has found forgetfulness in some other woman's arms. Now, look upon each other for the last time.
Joshua: Four hundred years we have waited.
Moses: Pharaoh's soldiers will not wait so long.
Joshua: The Almighty has heard our outcry. YOU are the Chosen One!
Moses: I know nothing of your god.
Joshua: He knows you, Moses. He has brought you to us, and you cannot turn your back upon Him. You will deliver us!
Ramses: (to Nefretiri) You will be mine, like my dog, or my horse, or my falcon, except that I shall love you more...and trust you less.
Ramses: (to Nefretiri) You will be my wife. You will come to me whenever I call you, and I will enjoy that very much. Whether you enjoy it or not is entirely your own affair...but I think you will.
Over 14,000 extras were hired for the filming of The Ten Commandments. Over 15,000 animals were also used during the production.
Cecil B. DeMille's first choice for Moses was Hopalong Cassidy's William Boyd. After Boyd turned the part down, DeMille settled on Charlton Heston because the actor favored Michelangelo's Roman sculpture of Moses.
The voice of God was provided by Charlton Heston, heavily modified and combined with sound effects.
75 year old director Cecil B. DeMille suffered a heart attack during the production of The Ten Commandments after he climbed 130 feet to check a camera position on one of the huge gates used during the exodus scene. After spending only two days in the hospital, he returned to the set, against doctor's orders, to finish the film. The Ten Commandments would be the last movie DeMille would direct. He passed away a little over two years after it's release.
The Ten Commandments Won the following Academy Awards:
and received nominations for:
Best Film Editing
Best Art Direction-Set Decoration - Color
Best Cinematography - Color
Best Costume Design - Color
Best Sound - Recording
#6 Ranked movie of all time per adjusted gross box office.
Domestic Total Gross: $65,000,000