The Ten Commandments (1956)

ten commandments poster 1956 movie
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 10/10

Amazing visuals for the time, epic film

Long, not the best acting

Movie Info

Movie Name: The Ten Commandments

Studio: Paramount Pictures

Genre(s): Drama/Seasonal/Family

Release Date(s): October 5, 1956

MPAA Rating: Not Rated


Awesome! Free baby!

Yoshebel (Martha Scott) sends her child down the Nile to protect him from the Pharaoh’s attempt to prevent a prophecy that a slave will overthrow him. Found by Bithiah (Nina Foch), Moses (Charlton Heston) is raised as a prince…never knowing his true heritage. Favored by Ramses I (Ian Keith), Moses is selected to be the next pharaoh over the pharaoh’s own son Ramses II (Yul Brynner). When Moses learns his true origin and kills a slave master (Vincent Price) trying to hurt another Jewish worker named Joshua (John Derek), Moses is exiled to the desert. Moses finds himself touched by God and returns to Egypt to lead his people to freedom.


Hey Rhames II, bro…set my peeps loose

Directed by Cecil B. DeMille, The Ten Commandments was one of the all time great money makers. A holiday tradition, the movie still airs yearly on ABC before Easter and the epic has been passed down as a family tradition. It won an Academy Award for its visual effects but lost the Best Picture award to Around the World in 80 Days.

The Ten Commandments is a big epic style picture that doesn’t exist today. Movies like Gladiator and The Lord of the Rings might feel epic, but most of the effects are created through computers. When a movie like The Ten Commandments needed a mob, they had to get a mob of people. The Ten Commandments did rely on a lot of (at the time) cutting edge special effects. DeMille kept a lot of his tricks secret and events like the splitting of the Red Sea were unheard of before The Ten Commandments.


Moses on spring break

The movie is a Charlton Heston movie. The acting is over-the-top like Ben-Hur and other Heston films. It isn’t like movies like David Lean’s films like Lawrence of Arabia, Bridge on the River Kwai, or Dr. Zhivago where the acting is also top notch. The movie is filled with celebrities of the time. Here the acting is so-so on most parts, and the movie mostly relies on the grandiose effects and sets.

Story-wise there has been some debate on to the accuracy of the story that DeMille pieced together to make The Ten Commandments. DeMille actually introduces The Ten Commandments and admits that the information is collected from various sources. The movie is of course extremely long. It crawls at points, but the second half of the movie moves quite quickly. I was always particularly terrified by the night of Passover…the creepy green smog coating the city always seemed quite real and deadly.


You guys are so busted

The Ten Commandments is a tradition. Like other movies like The Wizard of Oz and The Sound of Music, it is a television institution, and unlike The Wizard of Oz, it survived the conversion to VCR, DVD, and now Blu-Ray and continues to air on TV.  If you are big fans of the film, you might want to check out the Blu-Ray since the transfer is fantastic (though too good at some points when you can see the weaknesses of some of the effects).   When something is aways on, it tends to not be appreciated so check out The Ten Commandments and enjoy a classic.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response