[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Ten_Commandments_poster.jpg]]
->''"Thus sayeth the Lord God of Israel: let my people go!"''
-->-- '''Moses'''

The last of the great Creator/CecilBDeMille epics.

This 1956 film from Creator/{{Paramount}} tells Literature/TheBible story of Moses and the Exodus. Creator/CharltonHeston plays Moses. Creator/YulBrynner plays Rameses. They are in a LoveTriangle with Nefretiri (Anne Baxter), whom Moses might have won, had the matter of injustice to Hebrew slaves not come up. Other important characters are, naturally, Moses's brother Aaron (JohnCarradine); Sephora ([[TheMunsters Yvonne de Carlo]]), daughter of Jethro and Moses's eventual wife; Joshua (Jon Derek); and Liliah (Debra Paget), the woman Joshua loves -- who happens to be the sex slave of the overseer Dathan (Edward G. Robinson, [[Film/LittleCaesar see?]]).

You know the basic tale -- or if you don't, you need either to see this or read [[Literature/TheBible the source material.]] Moses hears the voice of God while out in the wilderness. It ages him about forty years -- hey, the film may be long, but to keep the cast of characters constant, the time in which it takes place is compressed. Moses goes to Rameses to tell him that God wants him to let His people go, or else. "Or else" happens. Nefretiri tries to seduce Moses out of this position; it doesn't work...

The film won one AcademyAward for its special effects, and was nominated for seven others, including best picture. The majestic score was written by ElmerBernstein as his first major film project.

The dedicated and curious might want to compare this with ''WesternAnimation/ThePrinceOfEgypt''. The source material is the same (though this film might've been distilled through an extra novel), but the directions taken with it are very different.

There was also a ''Ten Commandments'' mini-series starring Dougray Scott which [[{{Deconstruction}} rips apart the Moses story]].

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!!Tropes:

* AdaptationExpansion: Most notably the fleshed-out relationship, including a LoveTriangle, between Moses and the unnamed Pharaoh in the Bible.
* AnachronismStew: Mostly averted except for one deliberate case, which falls under RuleOfFunny. In the DVD commentary, they mention that the soldier would have said the Underworld or Hades, but it wouldn't have worked so well.
--->'''Dathan''': Where are we going?
--->'''Egyptian Soldier''': Hell, I hope.
*** Dathan actually does go to Hell.
** The representative from Troy being dressed as a Roman centurion is also wildly inaccurate, although it is a ShoutOut to ''TheAeneid'', in which the Trojans founded Rome.
*** Also according to Egyptian legend, on his way back to Troy after abducting Helen Paris arrived in Egypt during the reign of Seti II, the grandson of Ramses II. They had chosen the wrong pharaoh for a Priam reference.
** Likewise, the Egyptian soldier's sword at the very beginning of the culling of the Hebrew boys looks more like a Roman sword than anything else. The real-life Egyptians favored the khopesh, a sword whose blade looks kind of like a lower-case b, adapted from the Assyrian sappara.
* AncientEgypt
* ArcWords: "So let it be written, so let it be done."
* AscendedExtra: Joshua, who's promoted to Lancer in the film. In the scriptures, while Joshua did eventually TakeUpMySword, he didn't come into focus until they were in the desert, and was implied to be younger than Moses.
** Also Dathan, who appears in only one scene in the Bible. (See HistoricalVillainUpgrade below.)
** Baka the Master Builder is based on a nameless mook in the Bible.
* AssholeVictim: Rameses's son could be considered this, but that may not be fair considering he was a kid.
** Baka the Master Builder, on the other hand, is definitely this.
* TheAtoner
* BadassBoast: By a [[TranquilFury quietly furious]] Rameses: "The city he builds will bear my name. The woman he loves will bear my child. So let it be written. So let it be done."
* BadassBeard: Moses, with the hair to match.
* BaldOfEvil: Rameses. Yul Brynner kept the bald look from ''Theatre/TheKingAndI''.
** DyeingForYourArt: Brynner bulked up for the role of Rameses so that he did not look skinny in contrast to the imposing Charlton Heston.
*** According to the Orrison commentary track, the men were told ''not'' to bulk up, merely to get in shape so they'd look good in the skimpy outfits. (This fact makes the painting for the DVD -- in which Heston is "bulked up to conform to modern physique standards" -- even more ludicrous than it already is.) She says Brynner never worked out in the gym sense, but was very active in everyday life, so this was more or less his natural look at the time. However, there was no getting around the fact that he was seven inches shorter than Heston.[[note]]In fact, Brynner was 5'8", only one inch taller than the real Rameses.[[/note]] Blocking and camera angles were used to even things out. It's only noticeable in the scene where Moses sets off the first plague; in one shot, when the water from the jar turns red and Rameses drops it.
* BatheHerAndBringHerToMe: the TropeNamer. Although Baka never actually says those words.
* BettyAndVeronica: Sephora and Nefretiri. Unfortunately, God is the ThirdOptionLoveInterest.
* BigDamnHeroes: Moses, naturally. (Charlton Heston tended to play a lot of these during his career)
* BigNo
* BittersweetEnding: The Hebrews eventually reach Israel... but for his Wrath, Moses cannot enter the Promised Land.
* BondVillainStupidity: Rameses sending Moses into the desert to die a long slow agonizing death instead of just killing him quickly and being done with it.
* {{Bowdlerise}}: In the movie, Moses angrily throwing down the tablets results in a chasm that many of the Jews fall into. In the Bible/Tanakh, Moses gets the Levites (priests) to grab some swords and get busy. Killing 3,000 total. To be fair, keeping in the original slaughter makes Moses a DarkShepherd. And the chasm actually did occur but later, in a different conflict.
** The central conflict between Rameses and Moses was "cleaned up" to make it more palatable. In the Bible, God, looking for a chance to demonstrate his power, ''makes'' Rameses refuse Moses' request. The whole story (and all of the misery to the innocent people of Egypt, including having their first-born children die) happens because God wants a chance to show off. [[http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus+7%3A3-5&version=NIV No kidding]].
* BrattyHalfPint: Rameses' son.
* BreakTheHaughty: Rameses' smugly stubborn defiance of God brings a variety of misfortunes and tragedies upon him. (see LaserGuidedKarma below)
* BroadStrokes: The movie's approach to the source material in some areas, especially what happened to the Hebrews after the flight from Egypt.
* CanonForeigner: Lilia. Nearly every character is based on someone from the Bible, extra-biblical ancient sources, or actual historical figures, but Lilia was created for the film as Joshua's love interest.
* CaptainObvious: The movie is ''loaded'' with this; ex: "Moses' serpent swallows up the others!"
** Saved them a boatload of money animating that.
* CatchPhrase: "So let it be written. So let it be done." by Rameses.
* ChangelingFantasy: Where Moses does ''not'' enjoy learning that he is actually a Hebrew, nor does his love interest. This is [[RuleOfDrama altered for drama's sake]] from the original story, which suggests that Moses knew very well while he was growing up that he was Hebrew.
* ChekhovsGunman: Dathan all the way. From a minor role in Literature/TheBible to one of the major characters in the film.
* TheChosenOne
* ChickMagnet: Moses to a degree--all of Jethro's daughters, with one exception, are trying to catch his eye.
* TheCommandments: Naturally!
* DemotedToExtra: Miriam and Aaron
* DeadpanSnarker: Seti
--> '''Priest''': "Because of Moses, there is no wheat in the temple granaries!"
--> '''Seti:''' "You don't look any leaner."
** In addition, the soldier who evicts Dathan.
---> '''Dathan:''' "Why do you come here? I put no blood on my door!"
---> '''Egyptian Soldier:''' "Then stone bleeds!"
** Nefretiri:
---> '''Sethi:''' "It is pleasing to the gods to see a man honored by his enemies."
---> '''Nefretiri:''' "And such a beautiful enemy."
** Moses has his moments:
--> ''(To Baka)'' "Are you a master ''builder'' or a master ''butcher''?"
** Later, when Moses allows the Hebrews to eat the temple grain:
--> '''Rameses:''' I don't have to remind you, Moses--the temple grain is for the ''gods''....
--> '''Moses:''' What the ''gods'' can digest will not sour in the belly of a slave.
* DeathGlare: several, but Nefretiri gives a ferocious one to the Ethiopian princess flirting with Moses.
* DoingInTheWizard: After nine plagues, Rameses informs Moses that he'd learned of a volcano erupting that would explain all nine of those plagues.
** Interestingly, it is a serious theory that the plagues and the parting of the sea, and the pillar of smoke and flame, and for an encore a scene in ''JasonAndTheArgonauts'' where they get pelted with rocks, are all explicable somewhat by a truly MASSIVE eruption in the Aegean Sea - Antikythera or Santorini. Pretty good reference...
** It gets better. The Ten Plagues were actually recorded on the stele of Ahmose. The current most probable theory is that a climatic variation caused extremely heavy rainfall in the Ethiopian highlands, resulting in the Nile being choked with red, acidic mud. The river became as blood, fish died, frogs left the river, and so on. The same variation resulted in unusually dry weather in the locusts' spawning grounds, hence the plague of locusts, and the enormous sandstorm that hid the sun. The deaths of the firstborn of Egypt? All those dead fish sank, then the water became supersaturated with toxic gasses, and when they came out of solution, the firstborn sons, who alone among the inhabitants of Egypt slept inside, at ground level, smothered. Everyone else was fine because the custom was to sleep outside, on the roof. Imagine [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Nyos#The_1986_disaster this]] on a nation-wide scale. They say God works in mysterious ways...
** Although, in TheMovie, since Rameses actually sees Moses turn the water into blood, without a volcano being involved, this comes across more as a WhatAnIdiot moment. (Doubly so since he also saw the water ''in the jar that he was holding, which had no contact with the river,'' turning into blood before his very eyes.)
* TheDragon: Dathan to both Baka and Rameses.
** Ultimately DragonAscendant in the finale sequence.
* EldritchAbomination: The Angel of Death. Rather than being a human looking angel (or TheGrimReaper,) it's portrayed as a cloud of bluish fog descending from the sky in the shape of a creepy hand. It makes sense for the Angel to take on this kind of form, given the nature of its job but still, it's incredibly creepy....
** Even better: the {{Metallica}} song "Creeping Death" is about the Exodus (and specifically to this film), and the title refers to the appearance of the Tenth Plague.
* EpicMovie: Thousands of extras, grand set pieces and environments, and a running time of ''220 minutes''.
* EstablishingCharacterMoment
** Joshua ziplining from the top of a quarry shows him as the prototypical swashbuckler action hero of the time.
** Everyone walks away when [[TheQuisling Dathan]] comes sniffing around.
* FateWorseThanDeath: How Joshua describes working in the copper mines.
** For Lilia, it is being Dathan's sex toy.
--> '''Joshua:''' They said you were dead.
--> '''Lilia:''' To all who I love, Joshua, I ''am'' dead.
* {{Fanservice}}: By modern standards, many of the outfits worn by the women in the palace are pretty revealing. In the 1950s, they were pushing the limits of what was allowable on screen.
** By ancient Egyptian standards, of course, they were way ''overdressed.''
* FemmeFatale: Nefretiri.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: Moses told Nefretiri that God will use her to work his will. Her manipulations would later backfire and lead to the plague on the firstborn and help the Israelites go free.
** And, in a sort of a TearJerker moment when Moses is disguised and helps a mortally wounded slave:
-->'''Dying old man:''' Thank you, my son ... but death is better than bondage, for my days are ended; and my prayer...unanswered.
-->'''Moses:''' What prayer?
-->'''Dying old man:''' That before death closed my eyes, I might behold the deliverer...who will bring all men...to freedom...(''dies'')
* {{God}} -- or His voice, anyway.
* HamToHamCombat: It's a toss up among Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner and Anne Baxter. Brynner is arguably the least hammy though; he's actually quite subtle in some scenes.
** And in universe, the "old windbag" announcer.
** Honorable mention goes to Vincent Price.
* HaveAGayOldTime: The Israelites were released from their -- bondage.
* HappilyAdopted: After he finds his birth family, Moses still assures Bithia he's her son and will always love her. Aww.
* HeartBrokenBadass: Rameses is genuinely devastated by the death of his son.
* HisNameIs: Seti on his deathbed breaks his own decree by saying Moses's name.
* HistoricalVillainUpgrade: Dathan played a more minor role in the Exodus account, leading a revolt against Moses and getting swallowed up by the ground. Here, he becomes TheQuisling, is responsible for the Golden Calf incident, and was responsible for driving Moses out of Egypt to begin with.
* HistoryMarchesOn: Most modern estimates put the Exodus in the reign of Thutmose III, not Rameses II. Though to be fair, there isn't clear consensus among scholars and reconciling Old Testament timelines with historical dates is tricky at best.
** Also, Rameses II ''did'' lose his first-born son (the tomb was found).
* HollywoodAtheist: Rameses. Possibly, Dathan as well.
* HollywoodOld: Lilia in the final scene is obviously just 23-year-old rising-star-beauty-queen Debra Paget wrapped in a blanket.
* HumanSacrifice: Lilia nearly becomes one of these during the Golden Calf incident.
* HumiliationConga: The plagues set upon Egypt because of Rameses' stubbornness could be seen as this.
* IDidWhatIHadToDo: Moses's justification for for betraying Sethi. Sethi [[IronicEcho turns this right back on Moses]] in ordering his punishment.
* IJustKnew: Miriam when she warns the women to stock up on water since there will be none for 7 days. It's implied she uses this gift often ("Miriam is always right.")
* InsultBackfire:
--> '''Ramses''': "You have a rat's ears and a ferret's nose."
--> '''Dathan''': "[[TheQuisling To use in your service]], [[ProfessionalButtKisser son of Pharaoh]]."
* IWantThemAlive: When ordering his men to pursue the fleeing Hebrews, Rameses commands his troops to kill everyone else, but bring Moses to him alive.
* IWarnedYou: "If there is one more plague on Egypt, it is by your word that God will bring it." Shoulda kept your mouth shut, Rameses.
* InformedAttribute: Unless you really believe Charlton Heston is slow of speech and thick of tongue...
** Nefretiri being more attractive than Sephora. Well, Anne Baxter wasn't a bad looking woman by any means, but Yvonne De Carlo as a supposedly "plain" sheep herder is a little hard to swallow.
* {{Intermission}}
* {{Irony}}: The following quote:
--> '''Sethi:''' "Let the name of Moses be stricken from every book and tablet, stricken from all pylons and obelisks, stricken from every monument of Egypt. Let the name of Moses be unheard and unspoken, erased from the memory of men for all time."
* JerkAss: Dathan. Dathan. '''Dathan'''.
** Rameses certainly qualifies, as does Nefretiri after she's been married to him long enough.
* JustEatGilligan: So Moses, why don't you wait for Seti to die, be crowned ruler of Egypt, and set the slaves free yourself? Lampshaded by Nefretiri "Will Ramses hear [the slaves'] cries when he is Pharoah?" and Bithiah's "Cannot justice and truth be served better upon a throne?"
** Except, in RealLife, Ancient Egypt was extremely stiff. The one time a pharoah, Ikhnaten, tried to make significant changes, it didn't end well.
** Also, in the film, it is implied that Moses plans to do this, but he is stopped when he gets caught having killed Baka to save Joshua and Lilia.
** In addition, YouCantFightFate.
** Why did nobody suggest stoning Dathan?
*** Except that though Moses had been raised by the daughter of Pharaoh, he is never said to be part of the royalty. Indeed, the New Testament states that he 'preferred suffer with his people than enjoy the temporary usufruct of the sin'.
* TheLancer: Joshua
* LadyMacbeth: Nefretiri to Ramses, once she's decided to become vengeful.
* LaserGuidedKarma: The various misfortunes and tragedies that Rameses endures are pretty much his own fault due to his defiance of God.
* {{Leitmotif}}: Lilia's theme, "Death Cometh To Me".
* LockedIntoStrangeness: Moses gets grey streaks in his hair after seeing the burning bush, and goes completely grey upon receiving the commandments.
* LoveTriangle
* MamaBear: Bithiah, although not Moses's birth mother, certainly is the trope. She cautions Memnet that if she ever speaks of Moses's true heritage, she will die. And Bithiah is more than willing to follow through on this threat, [[spoiler: Nefritiri just beats her to the punch.]]
* ManipulativeBitch: Nefretiri.
* MassOhCrap: Seen on the side of those who worshipped the golden calf as Moses pass judgement.
--> '''Moses:''' Those who shall not live by the law, shall die by the law!
* MosesInTheBullrushes: Of course!
* [[NiceJobBreakingItHerod Nice Job Breaking It, Pharoah:]] Rameses I ordering the murder of all Hebrew newborns to [[SelfFulfillingProphecy thwart the prophecy of the deliverer]].
* MrFanservice: CharltonHeston, Yul Brynner and John Derek all provide plenty of it.
* NephariousPharaoh: Like most works based off the Literature/BookOfExodus from Literature/TheBible, it has the Pharaoh Ramses as the BigBad.
* NeverMyFault: Rameses blames Nefeteri for the death of their son because he "hardened his heart" to keep the Hebrews slaves just so Moses would stay in Egypt.
* NeverTrustATrailer: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1kqqMXWEFs This]] hilarious fake trailer.
* OldWindbag: Sethi's court announcer is kind of the TropeNamer.
* OhCrap: The look on Baka's face when he sees that the slave who is about to strangle him is actually Moses.
** Moses' birth mother, when she is about to be crushed by the granite she is greasing.
** Moses himself, when Nefeteri tells him that Rameses has ordered the murder of the Hebrew children, meaning that the Egyptian firstborn, not the children of Goshen, will perish.
* PapaWolf: While it may take some prodding Rameses vows to avenge his son's death. [[spoiler:It doesn't work out for him.]]
* PetTheDog / PragmaticVillainy: Prince Moses has no problem using the Hebrew slaves to build the treasure city, but he knows that happier and healthier slaves are more productive. So he increases their rations and gives them one day in seven to rest, and construction thus accelerates.
--> '''Moses''': "A city is made of brick, Pharaoh. The strong make many. The weak make few. The dead make none."
* PleaseSpareHimMyLiege: Lilia does this twice in order to save Joshua's life. The first time, it was to Prince Moses. The second time, it was to Dathan. [[ScarpiaUltimatum But there was a catch in Dathan's case...]]
* TheQuisling: Dathan, who is of Hebrew descent but gladly works as an overseer.
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure: Seti listens to both sides before making a decision. However, that decision isn't necessarily in favor of the protagonists.
** Moses is one of these, particularly when he is in charge of building the city.
* RefusalOfTheCall: Moses at first.
* SayMyName: A motif. People say "Moses, Moses" many times in the movie.
* ScarpiaUltimatum: Dathan gives this to Liliah
* SecondLove: Sephora is this for Moses.
* SexSlave: Liliah
** Nefretiri probably saw her marriage to Rameses as this.
* ShoutOut: Moses's hair and beard are patterned after Michelangelo's sculpture in Rome. (Heston later played Michelangelo in ''The Agony and the Ecstasy'')
* ShownTheirWork: According to Katherine Orrison, De Mille's biographer and protégé of De Mille's friend Henry Wilcoxon, De Mille did a HUGE amount of research, using not only the Bible but the Qur'an and various Hebrew traditional texts including the Midrash.
** Plus, the red-white-black pattern of the Tribe of Levi ''is'' actually the pattern associated with the Tribe of Levi.
* SmugSnake: Baka, Dathan.
* SoBeautifulItsACurse: "Beauty is but a curse to our women." Poor Liliah.
* SomethingOnlyTheyWouldSay: Baka realizes that the Hebrew slave is actually Moses when he (Moses) refers to him as the "Master Butcher" -- which Moses has called him before. A little too late, as he said this while he was strangling Baka to death.
* TakeThatKiss: Nefretiri to Ramses and vice versa.
* ThereAreNoCoincidences: During production, the man who designed Moses' distinctive rust-white-and-black-striped robe used those colors because they looked impressive--he only later discovered that [[GeniusBonus these are the actual colors of the Tribe of Levi]].
* ThreatBackfire:
--> '''Rameses:''' Come to me no more, Moses! For on the day you see my face again...you will surely die!
--> '''Moses:''' (deadpan) So let it be written.
* TooDumbToLive: The Egyptian army following the fleeing Israelites into the parted sea. Did NOBODY realize that God could (and would) solve that little problem simply by letting things return to normal?
** "Better to die before a God than live in shame", according to Rameses. [[RevengeBeforeReason He knew there was a chance his army could die but he ordered them to charge anyway]].
*** Also, after ''seeing with their own eyes'' God part the waters of the sea, the Hebrews are quick to question the existence of Him while waiting for Moses to return from Mount Sinai. [[WhatAnIdiot So they decided to forge a golden idol to worship instead]].
**** Bithiah even points this out: ''Would a God who's shown you such wonders let Moses die before his work was done?''
* TyrantTakesTheHelm: Played straight with Rameses succeeding the relatively [[ReasonableAuthorityFigure reasonable]] Seti. Technically averted when Dathan is promoted to governor upon Baka's death -- while he is certainly a BadBoss, he's nowhere near as tyrannical as Baka.
* TheUnfavorite: Rameses is clearly this to Moses as Seti heaps praise after praise after praise upon his adopted son while leaving Rameses out in the cold. Granted, he's an evil jerk so he brings it on himself.
* {{Unperson}}: Sethi proclaims that Moses' name be erased from every carving, and never be spoken again, after learning that he is the one destined to free the Israelites. So let it be written, so let it be done! Obviously, that didn't take.
** In ancient Egypt, this was done to ensure that a person would not only disappear from everyday life, but would have no life after death. De Mille biographer Katherine Orrison says that was the very reason Moses' name was spoken so often in the film. It was De Mille's symbolic attempt to ensure the real Moses could enter heaven.
* TheVamp: Nefertiri.
* WhipItGood: Baka.
* WalkingShirtlessScene: [[EvilIsSexy Rameses.]]
** Moses and Joshua.
* WomanScorned: Nefretiri becomes this toward the end.
* WorldsMostBeautifulWoman: Nefretiri is considered this when she becomes queen.
* YouCantFightFate: Lampshaded by Yochabel, who warns Bithia that, no matter what, if God has a purpose, Moses will be unable to resist.

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