[[quoteright:300: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, and a {{remake}} of his own 1923 silent film of the same name.

This 1956 film from Creator/{{Paramount}} tells Literature/TheBible story of [[Literature/BookOfExodus 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 (Creator/JohnCarradine); Sephora ([[Series/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 (Creator/EdwardGRobinson, [[Film/LittleCaesar see?]]).

You know the basic tale -- or if you don't, you need either to see this or read [[Literature/BookOfExodus 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 Ten Commandments'' won one UsefulNotes/AcademyAward for its special effects, and was nominated for seven others, including Best Picture. The majestic score was written by Music/ElmerBernstein as his first major film project.

The dedicated and curious might want to compare this with ''WesternAnimation/ThePrinceOfEgypt'' and ''Film/ExodusGodsAndKings''. 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.

----
!!Tropes:

* TheAce: Moses is a peerless warrior, a wise diplomat and a brilliant architect. As a shepherd he prospers and becomes known for his honest dealings. Then there's his divine destiny.
* AdaptationalVillainy: 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.
* AdaptationExpansion:
** The first half of the movie. As [[WordOfGod the director himself]] states in his introductory remarks at the start of the film, the Bible skips some 30 years of Moses' life. In Exodus the narrative skips from when Pharoah's daughter retrieves Moses from the water to when Moses kills an Egyptian who is beating one of the Hebrew slaves. DeMille says that the screenwriters had to rely on other writings through history to flesh out this part of the story.
** The fleshed-out relationship, including a LoveTriangle, between Moses and the unnamed Pharaoh in the Bible.
* AnachronismStew:
** 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 ''Literature/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 sapper.
** Moses is stated to be thirty the year of his exile, which also happens to be the year of Seti's death and the Pharaoh of the Oppression is portrayed as Rameses I. Due to Rameses I's reign only being two years long it would have been his predecessor Horemheb as the Pharaoh of the Oppression.
* AdaptedOut: The Nubian princess seen early in the film, according to the DVD commentary, is supposed to be Moses' wife, as he apparently married her during his travels, though this is not mentioned on screen. Not only is she never referred to nor seen again, no reference is made when Moses marries again later in the film.
* 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.
** Dathan, who appears in only one scene in the Bible, becomes a major villainous character in the film.
** Baka the Master [[strike:Butcher]] Builder is based on a nameless mook in the Bible. Here, he's [[MookPromotion promoted]] to Creator/VincentPrice.
* AssholeVictim:
** Rameses's son could be considered this, but that may not be fair considering he was a kid.
** Baka the Master [[strike:Butcher]] Builder, on the other hand, is definitely this.
* AwfulWeddedLife: Rameses and Nefretiri. The only thing keeping them going is their son.
* TheAtoner
* BadAssBaritone: Both Moses and Rameses, and of course God. Joshua can lower his voice to very heroic levels when necessary.
* 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'' and retained it for the rest of his life. According to the DVD commentary one reason why he was cast was that he looked better bald than some of the other actors considered for the role, including (of all people) William Holden.
* BatheHerAndBringHerToMe: Creator/VincentPrice as Baka the Master Builder [[BeamMeUpScotty never actually utters the words]]. What he says (in that inimitable Price baritone) is:
--> Tears? When you have been bathed in scented water.... when your limbs have been caressed by sweet oils... and your hair combed with sandalwood... there will be no time for tears.
** And with a "Bring the girl" to his underlings, he's off.
* 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 [[http://www.biblestudytools.com/numbers/20.html 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 (no pun intended). And the chasm actually did occur but later, in a different conflict.
* BrattyHalfPint: Rameses's son.
* BreakTheHaughty: Rameses's smugly stubborn defiance of God brings a variety of misfortunes and tragedies upon him.
** Nefreteri goes from being smug and a stereotypical rich girl (knowing the two most eligible bachelors in Egypt are vying for her attentions), to being broken after the final plague takes away her son.
* 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!"
* CatchPhrase: "So let it be written. So let it be done." by Rameses. It even gets a reprise at the end of the film (as a literal example of WordOfGod).
* 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.
* TheChosenOne
* ChickMagnet: Moses to a degree--all of Jethro's daughters, with one exception, are trying to catch his eye. (Guess which one he ends up choosing for his wife?) He also attracts Nefertiri, who ''has'' his eye for the first part of the film, and the Nubian princess Moses presents to Seti, who seems quite taken by her conqueror.
** In the Bible, [[https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Numbers+12&version=NCV Tharbis was Moses' Nubian bride]]. [[note]]Naturally, a prince should have several wives, and only Nefretiri could be the Great Royal Wife.[[/note]] De Mille wanted to establish this in the film, but realized it was too radical for audiences of his time.
* TheCommandments: Naturally!
* CrossingTheDesert: Moses does this after he's thrown out of Egypt. Ramses only gives him one day's rations, figuring he'll die that way, but he manages to make it to Midian.
* DatedHistory:
** 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).
** There are also competing archaeological theories that the Hebrews never left Palestine in the time of Joseph in the first place.
* 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.
** 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 ''beau''tiful enemy.
** Moses has his moments:
--->'''Moses''' ''(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.
* DontCreateAMartyr: Rameses exiles Moses because killing him will turn him to a martyr in Nefertiri's eyes.
* DontMakeMeDestroyYou: Seti, Moses's adopted father, is visibly distraught as Moses keeps digging himself a deeper and deeper hole in regards to his murder of a slave master. Seti must hold his adopted son accountable in the law, but does not want to sentence his own son to death -- he eventually settles on exile and [[UnPerson striking Moses's existence from all Egyptian records]].
-->'''Seti:''' Why are you ''forcing'' me to destroy you?
* TheDragon: Dathan to both Baka and Rameses.
** Ramses has another dragon (a more classical example), his top general, Pentaur, whose firstborn dies. Pentaur himself later dies when he gets consumed by the Red Sea.
* DragonAscendant: Dathan in the finale sequence.
* EarthquakesCauseFissures: When Moses throws the eponymous tablets at the Golden Calf, the Calf [[MadeOfExplodium explodes]] and a massive earthquake ensues which opens up massive rifts in the Earth, consuming the [[{{Mook}} mooks]] and TheStarscream of the piece. Justified by the fact it's the work of God.
* 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....
* 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. And when we first meet him, he's on an upper level just so he can climb down a rope accompanied by a fanfare and let us know what a stud he is.
** 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, they are all ''over''dressed.)
* FemmeFatale: Nefretiri.
* FogOfDoom: The tenth plague that kills all the firstborn in Egypt is depicted as this.
* {{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.
** In a 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'')
* GetOut: Ramses essentially does this to Moses.
-->'''Ramses:''' Come to me no more, Moses! For on the day you see my face again, you will surely die!
* {{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.
* HappinessInSlavery: Averted generally, since it is about freeing the Hebrew slaves, but Dathan (who is Hebrew) and Memnet (who is not) play this trope very straight.
* HaveAGayOldTime: The Israelites were released from their -- bondage.
* HaveYouToldAnyoneElse: Memnet comes to Nefertiri with the story of how Bithia drew Moses from the Nile. Nefertiri quickly asks, "Were you alone with Bithia?" before she kills Memnet.
* 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.
* HollywoodAtheist: Rameses. Possibly, Dathan as well.
* HollywoodCostuming: Every woman has obviously 1950s hair and makeup.
* 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.
* IAmTheNoun: Ramses: "I am Egypt."
* IAmXSonOfY: "I am Moses, son of Amram and Yochabel."
* 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.")
* INeverSaidItWasPoison: When Moses confronts Bithiah about the Levite cloth, she reprimands him for believing Memnet's lies. His response?
--> "I never said it came from Memnet"
* 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.
** Baka the Master [[strike:Butcher]] Builder, both for letting Yochebel be nearly crushed to death and trying to make Lilia his SexSlave.
* JustEatGilligan: Why did nobody suggest stoning Dathan?
* KneelBeforeZod: Defied. Ramses tells Moses to command the conquered Ethiopians to kneel before Pharaoh, but Moses tells him that he's brought the Ethiopians in friendship and tells Ramses to mind his own business.
-->"Command what you have conquered, my brother."
* TheLancer: Joshua
* LadyMacbeth: Nefretiri to Ramses, once she's decided to become vengeful.
* LargeHam: Of the WorldOfHam variety. It has Moses, Rameses, Nefretiri, Baka, The Narrator, and the biggest of them, {{God}}. And Sethi, just for the way he says "stricken" in the above speech.
* LaserGuidedKarma: The various misfortunes and tragedies that Rameses endures are his own fault due to his defiance of God.
* TheLastThingYouEverSee: Bithiah says it to Memnet, when making her swear to keep quiet about Moses.
-->'''Bithiah''': The day you break that oath will be the last your eyes will ever see.
** And her proclamation comes true. Even though it's Bithiah threatening to kill Memnet should she open her mouth, it's Nefreteri who does so when Memnet spills the beans to her.
* {{Leitmotif}}: Lilia's theme, "Death Cometh To Me".
* LittleGirlsKickShins: Pharaoh's son kicks Moses in the shins, presumably so we don't feel too bad when the little brat dies.
* LockedIntoStrangeness: Moses gets grey streaks in his hair after seeing the burning bush, and goes completely grey upon receiving the commandments.
* LogoJoke: The logo is cued over an image of Mount Sinai, rather than the usual mountain.
* LostInTranslation: When Bithia adopts Moses, she says, "Because I drew you from the water, you shall be called 'Moses.'" This makes no sense in English. In Hebrew, she calls him Moshe (the Hebrew equivalent of Moses), because she ''mishituhu'' (which translates to, "I drew him out") from the water.
* 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!
** Although generally only seen from a far distance, it's pretty obvious that Rameses' army does this when the sea un-parts.
* MookDepletion: Rameses sends his army after Moses and the departing Israelites only to be told that they were all killed when the Red Sea parted, and then un-parted. The final shot of him is on his throne, silently contemplating how he can rule his country with no army to back him up. In this case it happens because the opponent's might (God's) is such that it wipes the whole army out in one swift strike.
* MosesInTheBulrushes: Duh!
* MrFanservice: CharltonHeston, Yul Brynner and John Derek all provide plenty of it.
* MsFanservice: Anne Baxter's virtually see-through outfits are surprisingly risque for 1956.
* NamedByTheAdaptation: The movie names the unnamed Pharaoh of the Literature/BookOfExodus as Rameses.
* 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 her nasty taunts "hardened his heart" to keep the Hebrews slaves just so Moses would stay in Egypt.
* NiceJobBreakingItHerod: Rameses I ordering the murder of all Hebrew newborns to [[SelfFulfillingProphecy thwart the prophecy of the deliverer]].
* NotEvenBotheringWithTheAccent: Edward G. Robinson was cast as the villain Dathan, whom he played in his usual New York gangster style.
* NotSoStoic: After his encounter with God, Moses is always either very dignified or very subdued, but when he learns what the Pharaoh has planned for the slaves, and realizes what's going to happen, he is horrified and his bearing slips all the way to pleading with God for mercy.
* OldWindbag: Sethi's court announcer. This is exactly what everyone kept calling him..."the old windbag".
* 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.
* OrphansPlotTrinket: The blanket that covered baby Moses as he drifted down the river.
* OurAngelsAreDifferent: The angel of death is depicted as a sinister green mist that descends from the sky and then spreads over Egypt.
* PapaWolf: While it may take some prodding Rameses vows to avenge his son's death. [[spoiler:It doesn't work out for him.]]
* PetTheDog: Rameses has his moments, so much so that it's very hard to dislike him. It's not like it's his fault Moses is more competent and his own father clearly favors Moses over him. He's polite and soft-spoken to other Egyptians, shows genuine sympathy to one of his men when the 10th Plague kills the man's son, is devastated when his own son dies, is ready to kill Dathan for accusing Moses, and deals fairly with Dathan by keeping his word to him instead of just killing him and using his information about Moses anyway. Brynner wanted the character to be complex and multi-faceted, and he succeeded. Take him out of the film and it's a lot less interesting. And it can't be denied that Rameses could have easily had Moses killed instead of exiling him. Sure, he gave an excuse, but you can't watch the scene and the movie without thinking that Moses and Rameses probably grew up together and have a history that's more than being rivals. Like Seti refusing to kill Moses, it's not that much of a stretch to think that Rameses probably just could not bring himself to do it either.
* PlayingGertrude: Both Martha Scott (eleven years older than Charlton Heston) and Nina Foch (one year younger).
* PleaseIWillDoAnything: Lilia does this to save Joshua, the result of which is her marrying Dathan.
* 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...]]
* 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.
* 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.
* TheRemake: The movie is also a remake of the 1923 silent movie of the same name. Cecil B. DeMille directed both.
* SayMyName: A motif. People say "Moses, Moses" many times in the movie.
* ScarpiaUltimatum: Dathan promises not to have Joshua executed if Lilia agrees to be his sex slave and let everyone believe it's of her own free will. As big a {{Jerkass}} as Dathan was, he actually upheld his end of the bargain.
* SecondLove: Sephora is this for Moses.
* SettingUpdate: A minor example. Rabbinical Judaism tells us that Moses lifespan corresponds to 1391-1271 BC, telling us the Exodus happened in 1311 BC and thus that the Pharaoh of the Exodus would have been Horemheb, the predecessor of Ramesses I whom we see early in this film. Jerome, on the other hand, gives Moses' year of birth as 1592 meaning the Exodus would have been in 1512 with Thutmose I as the Pharaoh and Ussher gives Moses' year of birth as 1571 meaning the Exodus would have been in 1491 with the Pharaoh being Thutmose II.
* SexSlave:
** Liliah is blackmailed into this position via ScarpiaUltimatum by Dathan, who promises not to have Joshua executed if she agrees to it ''and'' tells anyone who asks that it's consensual. Despite [[{{Jerkass}} the type of man Dathan has proven to be thus far]], he keeps his end of the bargain.
** 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.
** The red white black pattern of the Tribe of Levi ''is'' actually the pattern associated with the Tribe of Levi.
* SmugSnake: Baka and Dathan.
* SoBeautifulItsACurse: Baka the Master Builder lusts after Liliah, leading the other Hebrews to comment about how beauty is a curse, with one saying, "Beauty is but a curse to our women."
* 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.
* SparedByTheAdaptation: In the bible and the original film, the Pharaoh/Rameses died when the Red Sea rejoined.
* SpikingTheCamera: Sephorah warns Moses of an intruder nearby; Moses tells Sephorah "Your eyes are sharp as they are beautiful". Yvonne De Carlo responds by staring straight into the camera, ''away'' from where she's just said the danger was.
* StubbornMule: One of these appears during the leaving of Egypt.
-->'''Joshua''': Four hundred years in bondage and today he won't move!
* TakeThatKiss: Nefretiri to Ramses and vice versa. An unusual example -- she did it to show how much she loves Moses and hates Rameses. "Did you think that was a promise of what you will have? No -- that was to show you what you will never have..."
* ATasteOfTheLash: The sound version. Baka intends to kill Joshua this way after Joshua attacks him to free Lilia, but Moses intervenes and kills Baka before he can finish.
* ThereAreNoCoincidences: During production, the man who designed Moses's 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]].
* ThirstyDesert: Crossed by Moses after being exiled from Egypt. He's given a little bag of food and a little bag of water. He's half-dead by the time he reaches a well, but fortunately not too far gone to fight off a band of marauders.
* 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? (Even if they were all raging atheists, one would not want to tempt fate in jumping into what was clearly a strange phenomena that could have ended at any moment.)
** 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. 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?"
** Nefertiri played into God's plan, as Moses said.
* TyrantTakesTheHelm:
** 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! 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: Nefretiri.
* VillainousBSOD: Ramses, after watching the Red Sea part for the Israelites' escape and then close to drown his army, can only return to his court and utter to Nefretiri in blank defeat, "His god... ''is'' God."
* WhipItGood: Baka sadistically tells Joshua (who he's about to torture) that he can "flick a fly from my horse's ear without breaking its stride". [[HoistByHisOwnPetard Moses then strangles him with it.]]
* WalkingShirtlessScene:
** [[EvilIsSexy Rameses.]]
** Moses and Joshua.
* WomanScorned: Nefretiri becomes this toward the end. She was once betrothed to Moses but now married to Rameses. When Moses returns, Nefretiri puts the moves on him, but is "spurned like a harlot in the street." She decides to get back at him by being the one who hardens Pharaoh's heart.
* 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*.
* YouFool:
-->'''Memnet''': You fools! Talk of empty hearts before the Pharoah's daughter.
** Nefretiri later does it in a more teasing way to Moses "...You stubborn, splendid, adorable fool..."
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