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The Ten Commandments (1956)

7.93 h 40 min1956X-RayU
The life of Moses (Charlton Heston), once favoured in the Pharaoh's (Yul Brynner) household, who turned his back on a privileged life to lead his people to freedom.
Cecil B. DeMille
Charlton HestonYul BrynnerAnne Baxter
English [CC]
Audio Languages
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Supporting actors
Edward G. RobinsonYvonne de CarloDebra PagetJohn DerekNina FochCedric HardwickeMartha Scott
Cecil B. DeMilleHenry Wilcoxon
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4.8 out of 5 stars

5067 global ratings

  1. 85% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 10% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 3% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 1% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 1% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United Kingdom

Mervyn CapelReviewed in the United Kingdom on 28 March 2021
3.0 out of 5 stars
Spectacle Over Drama
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I was taken to see this at a cinema when I was about seven years old! How a child that young sat through nearly 4 hours I can't imagine.
I don't remember much about the film before the actual Exodus and the spectacular events beyond, but the souvenir programme we bought at the cinema I still have, and the artwork in it formed my visual concept of the Story of Moses.
Watching the film again after 60+ years, I have to say simply that it's of its time.
De Mille's zeal in remaking his old silent movie is beyond question, and the detailed historical research his team made is evident in every frame, but much of the acting style and picture composition in the "human drama" first half (largely invented for the film) harks back to the days of silent movies.
In the second, "miraculous", half the effects are stunning but look dated, at times even cartoonish.
Much of the acting is low-key and so not particularly involving. Yul Brynner glowers his way through his scenes......when did he ever do anything else?.....and Charlton Heston, though sincere, is frankly rather dull as Moses. There are memorable character sketches from veteran Hollywood 'names' like Cedric Hardwicke and Edward G Robinson. The women, led by Anne Baxter, all look very similar and have little personality.
John Dexter looks macho and striking as Joshua, but unlike the heavily bearded Modes he does not age 40 years at the end. He also miraculously acquires armour the minute the Exodus begins.....where from? It isn't Egyptian armour, so he hasn't looted it.
Which brings me to my biggest beef about this film: the sacrifice of realistic drama in favour of Spectacle.
Nowhere is this better illustrated than the Exodus.
For most of the film, the Hebrews languish in slavery in Egypt. Wearing little but rags, they are wretched, oppressed and malnourished. Then suddenly, at a blast of Joshua's shofar, they acquire colourful clothing, cattle, geese, oxen, camels and wagons! How?
No, this film was made at a time when unquestioning belief in the Bible was far more widespread in the Christian world. It is irrevocably dated now, impressive but only as a museum piece.
Strange, because at the time all the movie executives thought Moses was great in the rushes!
6 people found this helpful
Andrei sReviewed in the United Kingdom on 05 August 2017
4.0 out of 5 stars
Going the extra 'Mille
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Whenever someone may say "They don't make 'em like that anymore", there may be no better example than the best part of 4 hours of Cecil B.Demille's truly epic film of Moses and his life & tribulations, from 1956.
Not being a theologian and finding my spirit willing but my flesh weak ,I shall keep this review brief . The Film,on 2 discs has a lengthy opening introduction by Demille (that you may feel is a bit of a warning regarding 'The evils of Communism') and contains stirring Overture, entracte and exit music (by Elmer Bernstein). The sets ,design, image framing and the Technicolor-Vistavision print are outstanding in clarity,depth and colour range.The acting is certainly....theatrical & may have a rather 'camp' quality for some,used to a style of 'realism' based acting- even in the most far fetched of stories.
I found the first 'half' to be the strongest ,this is before the story requires its various special effects ,which range from the rather unconvincing to the still spectacular. The 2001 edition only extras are 3 lengthy trailers(from '56,'66 & '89).The English version is in Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, while the French ,German ,Italian and Spanish language versions are in Mono, there are subtitles in 19 languages.
The picture ratio is '1.78:1 anamorphic' widescreen. Film '222 mins approx'- region 2 .The 2004 'special edition' has a '6 part documentary'- In 2005 a 3 disc edition was released that included DeMilles' original 1923 version ,with hand tinted Red Sea & Exodus sequences & includes documentaries & commentaries to both films.) The 2disc DVD edition from 2013 is the same as I've reviewed but with a different cover image(& usually more expensive!). The bluray edition from 2013 contains a commentary.
21 people found this helpful
Mr. R. D. M. KirbyReviewed in the United Kingdom on 16 December 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Probably the most spectacular film, ever
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Long before CGI was invented, when a film producer said that there was ‘a cast of thousands’, that was what the film-goer got.
Goodness knows how much Cecil B. DeMille’s remake of his silent film (some 30 years previously) cost but I’m willing to bet he got his capital outlay back, in double-quick time.
With the possible exception of Yul Brynner (a bit wooden), the cast is excellent: Charlton Heston as Moses is impressive, Anne Baxter is a terrific, scheming princess, out for what she wants, i.e. Moses, and Edward G. Robinson is suitably slimy as the Hebrew overseer (‘Chief Hebrew overseer’, as he fawningly corrects Yul Brynner).
But leaving aside the casting, the sets and the spectacle are everything, all given a sense of urgency by Elmer Bernstein’s stirring score. The old grease woman, about to be crushed between the moving stones in Sethi’s treasure city, the ‘ping!’ of the ropes as the giant obelisk (or is it a pylon?) is lowered into place and the parting of the Red Sea with the subsequent chase by Pharaoh’s chariots are made all the more compelling by that tremendous music, plus first-rate direction.
This has got to be one of the most spectacular – if not the most – films of the 20th Century.
11 people found this helpful
Brian BathieReviewed in the United Kingdom on 05 April 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Wonderful 4K transfer
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It’s hard to believe that this marvellous film originates from 1956 as the 4K transfer is simply amazing. There is very little grain and the colours are really vibrant due to HDR. The film has been reviewed many time before and there is little I can add. except to confirm it’s quite spectacular. Of course it’s a little dated at times , it’s 65 years old and I suspect none of the main actors are no longer with us. I hope Ben Hur will have a similar release. Highly recommended.
6 people found this helpful
SGCReviewed in the United Kingdom on 08 August 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
The 4K is staggeringly good - for 65 year old stock!
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I had read that the 4K version was good. But I've had extremely varied results when 'upgrading' older DVD's to BR, so I was sceptical.
But - I happen to think this Cecil B. DeMille film is a true classic so, fingers crossed, I decided to risk my £20.
I am very fortunate to have a good Sony 4K player and a high-end 4K OLED TV; even so, the results were well beyond my expectations - and that doesn't often happen with film upgrades.
I had read that the 'colours pop' - they really do! (Not excessively, just impressively)
To factor in that this film was released in 1956, what I saw on screen was breath-taking.
So do I think it was worth the money? Guess....!
3 people found this helpful
Mr. George JohnsonReviewed in the United Kingdom on 04 February 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Superb film, a little camp in places but a great way to pass an afternoon
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A classic of cinema. The glorious presentation with classic intermission half way through, the glorious rich colour and stunning acting. Like many I have no interest in religion but I do love the Bible stories I grew up with in school. For me the stand out role was Yule Brinner's portrayal of the pharoah, especially the scene where he has to confront the truth that his young son is dead and he begins to quesiton his own faith in his own gods, all the while his wife is mocking him, just two superb actors playing roles to perfecyion. I like the overall story I find Heston to be competent but he seems to have been cast simply as "beefcake eye-candy" during Moses' earlier life, ripped shirt and bronzed complexion. Later in the film with the white beard and hair he simply looks a little too "local church production" for my liking, you half expect his beard to have those little wire hooks holding it on!

A great film to pass a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, get some snacks in and just while away a few hours enjoying a classic piece of overdone American cinema, classic!
7 people found this helpful
AlynnReviewed in the United Kingdom on 21 September 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
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Hollywood interpretation of the true story of Moses and the Hebrews.
Lots of artistic license, i.e. history shows that the tablets were nowhere near the size of tombstones! They would have been small and easy to carry :D enjoyable, and reflects an era for which it was made and stands the test of time well. If you have never heard of this before join with the audience who at the time were largely familiar with the bible story. I remember seeing this as a child and was awed by the effects - well before CGI - the parting of the Red Sea is spectacular. It brings a sense of the awesomeness of the power of God YHWH.
If you haven't watched the movies made in this genre from this time period you will realize that you have been missing a real treat.
Charlton Heston is great in the Role of Moses no-one else could have carried the role so well.
9 people found this helpful
Andrew P. WilliamsReviewed in the United Kingdom on 10 October 2017
3.0 out of 5 stars
A great old timer given a disappointing new digital lease of life
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While the movie is a masterpiece of its time and arguably De Mille's most enduring work, I find that the DVD transfer is less than marvellous. The colour is very variable. At its worst it's harsh, un-natural and unflattering, which the movie most certainly was not, and the contrast between light and dark is too pronounced, leaving an un-natural and unflattering shine on the characters faces while the colour balance is harsh and unpleasant. To compare, the quality of the scenes portrayed in the 1956 trailer, narrated wonderfully by De Mille, is very good and more even, just as the film was. So to sum up - a classic old Hollywood extravaganza, the like of which is no longer made, unless you overdose on CGI, a wonderful trip down memory lane for me, having been taken to see it in the cinema as a child, but rather a disappointment as a DVD
5 people found this helpful
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