Character sheet for the 1956 film The Ten Commandments.
The son of Hebrew slaves, raised in the Egyptian court. He is the prophesied "deliverer" of the Israelites.
- The Ace: He's very skilled and wise at being a general, architect, diplomat, administrator, and merchant, and he's a huge hit with the ladies.
- Adopted into Royalty: And does such a damn good job that Sethi wants him to be his heir.
- Badass Beard: With the hair to match.
- Badass Pacifist: After finally accepting his role as the Deliverer, Moses declines Joshua's proposal to raid an armory and get weapons. He declares that the Hebrews will not be delivered by the sword, but by the staff of a shepherd.
- Bittersweet Ending: While he succeeds in leading his people to freedom, because of an act of disobedience to God committed (offscreen) during a moment of wrath during the forty years of wandering in the wilderness, he forfeits the right to enter the Promised Land, although God does permit him to the Promised Land if only from a distance as he climbs up to the top of Mount Nebo and then die.
- Cassandra Truth: At first with Rameses II, later with his own people after their self-corruption, to the eventual regret of all.
- Changeling Fantasy: Moses at first does not enjoy being told he is actually Hebrew, although it is implied in the Book of Exodus he is brought up actually knowing his Jewish identity.
- Chick Magnet: 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 Nefretiri, who has his eye for the first part of the film, and the Nubian princess Moses presents to Seti, who seems quite taken in by her conqueror.
- The Chosen One: Though he initially tries to avoid this.
- Crossing the Desert: When banished to the desert, Moses is only given one day's ration, but manages with the grace of God to cross it alive, albeit barely.
- Deadpan Snarker: He 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.
- Four-Star Badass: We are introduced to Moses as an adult amidst a great victory parade, having defeated Ethiopia in war. He's also skilled as a warrior, as we see when he defends Jethro's daughters from a group of Amalekite marauders.
- Happily Adopted: After he finds his birth family, Moses still assures Bithia he's her son and will always love her. Aww.
- Heel Realization: After learning he's actually a Hebrew, Moses spends time as a slave in the mud pits. His experience makes him realize the plight of the Hebrews and vows to free them.
- I Am X, Son of Y: "I am Moses, son of Amram and Yochabel."
- I Did What I Had to Do: His justification for for betraying Sethi. Sethi turns this right back on Moses in ordering his punishment.
- I Never Said It Was Poison: He uses this ruse to trick his adopted mother Bithia, letting her assume at first that it was Memnet who told him of his secret parentage, then throwing her off guard by informing her it wasn't Memnet who told him.
- King Incognito: After learning that he's Hebrew, he goes anonymously among the slaves.
- The Leader: What he starts off as under Pharaoh Sethi, leading his uncle's military campaigns, then later under God leading the Hebrew people. Needless despite the many difficulties with the latter, he is successful with both.
- Locked into Strangeness: He gets grey streaks in his hair after seeing the burning bush, and goes completely grey upon receiving the commandments.
- Not So Stoic: After his encounter with God, he 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.
- Oh, Crap!: When Nefreteri tells him that Rameses has ordered the murder of the Hebrew children, meaning that the Egyptian firstborn, not the children of Goshen, will perish.
- Pragmatic Villainy: As an Egyptian, he's still willing to use slave labor, but recognizes that fed and rested slaves are more productive.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Particularly when he is in charge of building the city. He recognizes that slaves who are fed and rested are more productive, allowing him to accelerate construction.
- Refusal of the Call: At first.
- Ascended Extra: He's promoted to Lancer in the film. In the scriptures, while Joshua did eventually Take Up My Sword, he didn't come into focus until they were in the desert, and was implied to be younger than Moses.
- Badass Baritone: He can lower his voice to very heroic levels when necessary.
- Born into Slavery: Though he never really lets that break him.
- Establishing Character Moment: 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.
- Fate Worse than Death: He's sent to the copper mines for trying to kill Baka and rescue Lilia, but later escapes.
- The Lancer: He's firmly by Moses' side and is the one who organizes the logistics of the exodus.
- The Leader: What he becomes after Moses goes up to Mount Nebo to die at the end.
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: His escape from the Sinai copper mines.
A Hebrew who serves the Egyptians as a slave overseer.
- Adaptational Villainy: Though briefly introduced in the Book of Exodus, Dathan played a more minor role in the Numbers account, leading a revolt against Moses and getting swallowed up by the ground. Here, he becomes The Quisling, is responsible for the Golden Calf incident, and was responsible for driving Moses out of Egypt to begin with.
- Antagonistic Governor: As part of his demands, Dathan is appointed Governor of Goshen after Baka's death.
- Ascended Extra: Dathan, who appears in only one scene in the Bible, becomes a major villainous character in the film.
- Asshole Victim: Dathan, who like Rameses spends much of the film doubting Moses's faith in God, learns the hard way what happens when you decide to worship a false idol.
- Les Collaborateurs: Is definitely this.
- The Dog Bites Back: After they're freed, the Hebrews work to make his life miserable. For instance, Dathan is thrown from his cart and his seat is given to an old woman.
- The Dragon: To Baka and Rameses, with Baka starting out as the first dragon until he is slain by Moses, followed by Dathan being promoted to Rameses's dragon until his house is marked by lamb's blood and he is forced to join the other Israelites on their journey into the wilderness.
- Dragon Ascendant: Dathan in the finale sequence.
- Establishing Character Moment: Everyone walks away when Dathan comes sniffing around.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He has a brother, Abiram. While we don't see their living conditions as an overseer, Dathan does bring his brother to live with him after he is appointed governor.
- Happiness in Slavery: Certainly, as overseeing his own people.
- Hollywood Atheist: Much to his eventual regret.
- It Will Never Catch On: Before leaving with the Hebrews, Dathan tells Pentaur that he fully expects to return to his house, saying that when Moses inevitably dooms them in the desert, he'll return them to Egypt.
- Jerkass Has a Point: He correctly points out that the recently freed, malnourished Hebrews have no chance of stopping the Egyptian chariots.
- The Mole: Acts as Rameses' and Baka's spy at the beginning.
- Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Edward G. Robinson was cast as the villain Dathan, whom he played in his usual New York gangster style.
- Oh, Crap!: What essentially he realizes when he sees Moses' tablets destroy his Golden Calf, before the true God he doubted in causes the earth to swallow him and his co-conspirators up.
- Professional Butt-Kisser: To Rameses.
- The Quisling: He's Hebrew, but firmly on the side of their Egyptian masters.
- Scarpia Ultimatum: He 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.
- Servile Snarker: Dathan, to Rameses:Dathan: Joshua's strength didn't kill the master builder.Rameses: Now speaks the rat that would be my ears.Dathan: Too many ears tie a rat's tongue.
- Tyrant Takes the Helm: Technically averted when Dathan is promoted to governor upon Baka's death — while he is certainly a Bad Boss, he's nowhere near as tyrannical as Baka.
Moses's wife who he meets in Midian.
- "Blind Idiot" Translation: Though not so noticeable to most, her name is usually given as Zipporah.
- Betty and Veronica: Is the "Betty" to Nefretiri's "Veronica", though ultimately God takes a platonic "third".
- Cool Big Sis: To her younger sisters, despite their snarky comment to Moses that she "is the oldest".
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Somewhat downplayed, but she does seem not as interested in winning Moses' hand as her younger sisters, but guess who he ends up choosing? And though she tries to at first not to show it, it is clear his attraction is not unnoticed.
- Faux Action Girl: Though she admirably stands up to the Amalekite bullies who harass her and her sisters, it is Moses who actually comes to her rescue.
- Happily Adopted: Though not technically Hebrew, her people and Moses' do share a common ancestor, namely the patriarch Abraham, and despite cultural differences, she has no qualms about switching over to his people.
- Happily Married: At least until he "finds his God."
- Hollywood Homely
- Informed Attribute: 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.
- Mama Wolf: To her son Gershom, to the point that when Nefretiri secretly warns her of her husband's plot to kill him along with the rest of the Hebrew firstborn that she flees with him back to Midian rather than wait for Moses.
- Second Love: For Moses.
- Spiking the Camera: 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.
- True Beauty Is on the Inside: During Nefretiti's attempt to win back Moses's love, she argues that Sephora is not as attractive as her, but Moses tells her that she fails to understand that there is a beauty of spirit.
A water girl who is in love with Joshua.
- Affectionate Nickname: Joshua calls her "water lily."
- Born into Slavery
- Canon Foreigner: 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.
- Deadpan Snarker: Actually becomes this to Dathan after they are cast out of his mansion thanks to Joshua, as she realizes he is now powerless to harm him. Which is one reason why he vengefully chooses her later as a sacrifice for the Golden Calf, as well as an indirect revenge on Joshua.
- Fate Worse than Death: Being Dathan's sex toy.
- Joshua: They said you were dead.
Lilia: To all who I love, Joshua, I am dead.
- Hollywood Old: Lilia in the final scene is obviously just 23-year-old rising-star-beauty-queen Debra Paget wrapped in a blanket.
- Human Sacrifice: Nearly becomes one of these during the Golden Calf incident.
- Leitmotif: "Death Cometh To Me".
- Please, I Will Do Anything!: Does this to save Joshua, the result of which is her marrying Dathan.
- Please Spare Him, My Liege!: She does this twice to save Joshua. The first is when he strikes an overseer to save Yochabel, and fortunately Lilia begs the reasonable Prince Moses. Later, she begs Dathan to save him from being executed.
- Sex Slave: She's chosen as this by Baka, who's killed before he can do anything, and later Dathan.
- So Beautiful, It's a Curse: Baka the Master Builder lusts after her, leading the other Hebrews to comment about how beauty is a curse, with one saying, "Beauty is but a curse to our women."
- The Woobie: She is definitely this, until the very end.
Moses' and Miriam's older brother, son of Yochebel and later co-leader in the Exodus.
- Badass Baritone: Although really a Bass. He was played by John Carradine after all.
- Cool Old Guy: He is clearly Moses' elder. And he is bold enough at least with Moses and God at his side to stand up to Pharaoh Rameses II himself.
- Dark and Troubled Past: With Miriam. Imagine what that was for both of them.
- Demoted to Extra: To a point. He is still prominent in accompanying his brother in his visits to the Royal Court, though unlike the Scriptures' account, Moses actually does much of the talking.
- High Priest: Unofficially for his people, although eventually he becomes so in the Book of Exodus, Chapter 28.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Or rather, what he failed to do. His guilt and remorse at seeing how his inability to prevent his people from corrupting themselves is painfully clear.
- Never My Fault: He pathetically tries to avoid responsibility for his own part in his people's downfall, after Moses finally comes down from Mount Sinai with the tablets and he is called out for it.
- Number Two: To Moses.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: To the point that Moses entrusts him to look after the Hebrew people's needs when he goes up to Mount Sinai to consult with God and receive His commandments. Unfortunately Aaron isn't as strong a leader as Moses, as he proves unable to prevent the majority of his people from being swayed by Dathan to allow him to take charge and then force Aaron, who has had experience in making images for the Egyptians, to create the Golden Calf under threats to him and his loved ones.
A Hebrew, sister of Moses and Aaron, and daughter of Yochebel.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Like Aaron. Watched over Moses as a child when he was sent off by their mother on a bulrushes basket onto the Nile River, and saw him be rescued by Bithia.
- Demoted to Extra: Along with Aaron, although she does have her moments, such as assisting newly appointed Lancer Joshua in organizing the Exodus.
- Guile Hero: Although it happens offscreen, after witnessing Bithia adopt her baby brother Moses, she boldly leads Memnet to a Hebrew woman who is able to wetnurse the child, who naturally is his actual mother. Memnet and Bithia guess the truth.
- I Just Knew: Is this in later life, especially to the Hebrew women as shown when she warns them to stock up on the water since there will be none for seven days. It's implied she uses this gift often ("Miriam is always right").
- It is mentioned in Exodus, Chapter 15, that she is a prophetess.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Or rather like Aaron, what she fails to do, namely in their inability to prevent their people from corrupting themselves in Moses' absence, and like her brother, she clearly shares his guilt and remorse over it.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: We're not told of her fate in this film after the Golden Calf incident; but it is sadly obvious that like the majority of her generation, she fails to survive their collective punishment of forty years of extra wandering in the wilderness, and thus fails to enter the Promised Land.
A Hebrew slave, and mother of Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.
- "Blind Idiot" Translation: Well, not so harsh, but her name is usually translated as Jochebed.
- Cool Old Lady: The fact she can face a Pharaoh's daughter with quiet courage indicates this. And she initially refuses Bithia's desperate offer of freedom because she cannot bring herself to leave her people behind. It is only when Bithia points out to her what Moses may lose that she changes her mind.
- Foreshadowing: She predicts to her children after her reunion with Moses that he must be the Chosen One to deliver their people, proudly proclaiming, "...(Blessed} am I among women!"
- I Have No Son!: Invoked and downplayed by Yochabel when she asks the Armor-Piercing Question before Moses embraces his Hebrew heritage afterwards and recognizes Yochabel as his true mother:Moses: I love you, my mother, but am I your son... [Moses glances at Bithiah] or yours?
Yochabel: No, you are not my son. If you believe that men and women are cattle to be driven under the lash, if you can bow before idols of stone and golden images of beasts, you are not my son.
- But ultimately, she can't deny her son when he in turn looks her in the eye and asks his Armor-Piercing Question that if she can swear by her own God she is not his true mother.
- Killed Offscreen: As Rameses informs Moses as he is being dumped onto the desert, upon learning of her son's exile, Yochabel personally delivers to him a tribal robe as a parting gift, adding that she dies immediately afterwards (presumably of a broken heart) as a parting Take That! to his ex-rival.
- Mama Wolf: In her own quiet way, as she desperately tries to prevent Moses from being killed as a baby. It works, to the benefit of not only himself, but her people. Sadly, she fails to live to see it.
- Playing Gertrude: In real life, Martha Scott the actress who played Yochebel was actually eleven years older than Charleston Heston, who played her son Moses.
- Oh, Crap!: When she is about to be crushed by the granite she is greasing.
- You Can't Fight Fate: She warns Bithia that, no matter what, if God has a purpose, Moses will be unable to resist.
First-born son of Moses and Sephora.
- Adult Fear: Sephora is clearly afraid for his safety after taking him with her and Moses to Egypt, especially after Nefretiri secretly visits her to warn her of Rameses' plan to kill the Hebrew firstborn, so that she agrees to quickly take herself and her son and join a caravan heading back to Midian without waiting for her husband. Nevertheless, she still manages to get herself and her son out of Egypt in time to avoid the Plague of the Firstborn even though at the time she is unaware of it.
- Comic Relief: His well-meaning attempt to blow a warning on his father's shepherd's horn amuses his father.
- Exposition: Somewhat. When we first see him, we see Moses telling him the story of how his maternal ancestor Ishmael was saved from dying in the desert by God's mercy, thereby indicating Moses has learned of his and Sephora's peoples' collective history during his time with her.
- Generic Cuteness: He is clearly put into the film to provide this.
- Good Counterpart: Roughly the same age (in this film) and complete opposite to his bratty cousin Prince Amun.
- Not Even Bothering with the Accent: The child playing Gershom clearly had little acting experience or training, judging from his rather wooden delivery of his lines as well as his inability to hide his obviously American accent.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Apparently his concerned mother leaves him with her own people before rejoining the Hebrews in the wilderness, and we never hear what happens to him since.
A Hebrew slave Moses befriends at the mud pits, who later becomes one of his strongest supporters.
- Befriending the Enemy: Despite his initial suspicion of her because of her being from the Royal Family that oppressed his people, Mered actually befriends Bithia to the point that he prevents her from throwing herself in front of Rameses' charging army.
- According to Jewish legend, Mered and Bithia actually became a couple!
- Born into Slavery: No wonder he is so bitter when we first meet him -Mered: The only Deliverer we know is Death.
- The Skeptic: Is initially this when Moses first encounters him over the likelihood of an old prophecy of a Hebrew Deliverer likely to pass, but after learning who Moses is, his hope is restored irrevocably.
- Throw the Dog a Bone: He is clearly won over to Bithia after witnessing her kindness to the dying Amminadab in honoring his final request.
Brother of Dathan.
Cousin of Moses and willing conspirator with Dathan in his plot to take control over the Hebrews.
- Ascended Extra: Like Dathan and Abiram, though not as much as he comes in much later during the final segment of the film.
- High Priest: It is his being so named by Dathan that ensures his co-operation, and as it is mentioned in the Book of Exodus that he is Moses' cousin, there is no doubt some personal jealousy involved.
- Oh, Crap!: When he realizes too late that he has gone over his head with the One True God.
- Religion of Evil: What he essentially heads as puppet leader of the cult of the Golden Calf.
- Exposition: In effect. It is his questioning during his family's first ever Passover meal over why they eat unleavened bread with bitter herbs that prompt his elders to explain to him (for the benefit of us who aren't Jewish)the symbolism involved, the bitter herbs representing the Hebrew nation's bondage and the unleavened bread the haste with which their Egyptian overlords will be ushering them out of their kingdom. In so doing, the boy unwittingly sets into precedence the ceremony involving future Jewish Passover family meals (the youngest member of the household, traditionally a boy, must always ceremonially ask the questions that Eleazar asked).
- High Priest: We know from reading the Book of Numbers (Chapter 20) that he will be succeeding his father Aaron as High Priest for his people, and he is definitely among the adult elders at the end of the film who look on as Moses climbs up unto the top of Mount Nebo to view the Promised Land and then die.
An elderly Hebrew slave that Moses meets in the mud pits.
- Died in Your Arms Tonight: Moses holds him in his arms after carrying him out of the mud pits, so that he can die with some dignity.
- Dramatic Irony: As he dies, Simon laments that he will not know the face of the deliverer, not knowing that he has already been talking to him.
- Foreshadowing: Before a taskmaster strikes him down, Simon in his disgust at seeing Baka force Lilia into his household as a sex slave, curses him declaring, "May the Hand of God strike him", not realizing that the actual "Hand of God" (Moses) in right there next to him, and will later carry out his curse though the poor old slave would not live to see it.
A blind elderly Hebrew slave who joins the Exodus supported by his two grandchildren.
- Exposition: His essential function in his scenes, interpreting to his grandchildren (for our similar benefit) the significance of various aspects of the Exodus as they describe them to him. For example, he identifies to his grandchildren the preserved body of their great ancestor Joseph as it being borne by Jewish elders to buried in the Promised Land, and later identifying the golden image of a calf handed to him by a fellow freed slave as an idol, an object of pagan worship which he rejects in horror. Significantly, this object later becomes inspiration for Dathan and his conspirators in creating a giant replica in order to trick the people into following them instead of Moses.
- Foreshadowing: His identifying the Golden Calf as an object of forbidden worship proves tragically significant.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Sadly, we never see the Blind One and his two grandchildren again after they pass through the Red Sea with their people. Though hopefully he was not among those majority who fell, due to his old age he undoubtedly never made it to the Promised Land though his two grandchildren probably did.
Aaron's father-in-law; an elderly Hebrew slave befriended briefly by Moses' adopted mother Bithia at the beginning of the Exodus.
- Throw the Dog a Bone: Although Bithia, after taking in his frail and helpless condition, kindly offers him her seat on her litter, he sadly declines informing her that he is now dying and unable to make the trip. She comforts him by taking from him a sapling fig tree he wanted to plant in the Promised Land, assuring him that she will have it planted there for him as his legacy.
Son of Sethi and Moses's adopted brother, later Pharaoh of Egypt during the Exodus.
- Arranged Marriage: With Nefretiri.
- Awful Wedded Life: With Nefretiri, especially from her viewpoint, though it does become mutual towards the end, especially after the death of their son.
- Badass Boast: "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."
- Bald of Evil: Courtesy of Yul Brynner.
- Big Bad: For much of the film until towards the end, when Dathan takes over as Dragon Ascendant.
- Bond Villain Stupidity: Sending Moses into the desert to die a long slow agonizing death instead of just killing him quickly and being done with it.
- Break the Haughty: His smugly stubborn defiance of God brings a variety of misfortunes and tragedies upon him.
- Catchphrase: He apparently inherited "So let it be written, so let it be done" from his grandfather and namesake.
- Cruel Mercy: After becoming Pharaoh, he chooses to banish Moses to the desert rather than have him killed.Rameses: 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.
- Deadpan Snarker: When his army has cornered the Israelites against the Red Sea, he remarks "The God of Moses is a poor general, to leave him no retreat."
- Death Glare: Gives this several times, but significantly when Nefretiri gives this order when he sets to hunt down Moses and his people:Nefretiri: Bring back Moses' blood on your sword.
Rameses: I will...to mingle with your own!
- Don't Create a Martyr: He exiles Moses because killing him will turn him to a martyr in Nefertiri's eyes.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: When his son dies, he's absolutely devastated.
- Evil Is Sexy: At least it is with Yul Brynner in the role.
- General Ripper: He leads his chariot host with the intent of wiping out the escaping slaves.
- Get Out!: 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!
- A God Am I: As a Pharaoh, he views himself as this, hence his resistance to the true God's demands.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Rameses has this something fierce where Moses is concerned, since everyone can see how awesome he is, including Rameses' own father.
- Heart Broken Badass: He is genuinely devastated by the death of his son.
- The High King: Eventually becomes this as Pharaoh despite all the stacks against him because of Moses' accomplishments.
- Historical Villain Upgrade: The real Rameses II was almost certainly not the Pharaoh of the Exodus, and there's no evidence that an ethnic group was enslaved under his reign. Moreover, the attempted slaughter of the first-born Hebrews seems very out of character for the historical Ramses, considering there's no evidence of him even considering such an atrocity.
- Hollywood Atheist: Is arguably this, though eventually he learns different.
- Honor Before Reason: Even after seeing their path blocked with fire and the Red Sea parting, Rameses's commander Pentaur, ever the most rational of his counselers, says they should leave. Rameses's response? "Better to die in battle against a god than live in shame."
- Humiliation Conga: The plagues set upon Egypt because of his stubbornness could be seen as this.
- I Am the Noun: "I am Egypt."
- I Want Them Alive: When ordering his men to pursue the fleeing Hebrews, he commands them to kill everyone else, but bring Moses to him alive.
- I Warned You: You can't say he hadn't been warned. Nice work, Rameses.
- Jerkass Woobie: He clearly brings on all that happens to him and his people because of his stubborn pride, though in a tragic way.
- Just Eat Gilligan: His failure to kill his adopted brother outright and banishing him instead can be argued as this, but as they had been brought up as brothers, and You Can't Fight Fate, it was just as well.
- Kneel Before Zod: Defied. His arrogant command to the Ethopian king and his daughter to kneel before his father Sethi. Moses however puts him in his place. ("Command who you have conquered, my brother.")
- Kubrick Stare: Seems to be his default expression, especially whenever Moses is receiving kudos for being awesome.
- Laser-Guided Karma: The various misfortunes and tragedies that he endures are his own fault due to his defiance of God.
- Named by the Adaptation: The movie names the unnamed Pharaoh of the Book of Exodus as Rameses.
- Nepharious Pharaoh: Like most works based off the Book of Exodus from The Bible, it has the Pharaoh Ramses as the Big Bad.
- Never My Fault: He blames Nefreteri 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.
- No Sympathy: Towards the Hebrew slaves.
- Outliving One's Offspring: His greatest loss to him.
- Papa Wolf: Subverted; while it may take some prodding, he vows to avenge his son's death. It doesn't work out for him.
- Pet the Dog: 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.
- Spared by the Adaptation: In the bible and the original film, the Pharaoh/Rameses died when the Red Sea rejoined.
- Sins of Our Fathers: Although it is his grandfather Pharaoh Rameses I who staged the death of the Hebrew babies when Moses was born, it is his grandson and namesake on whom his sin is visited. Not that Rameses was unwilling to commit his own sins by outdoing what his grandfather started...
- Threat Backfire: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.
- Tyrant Takes the Helm: He's far more cruel than the reasonable Sethi.
- The Unfavorite: Rameses is clearly this to Moses as Sethi 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.
- Villainous BSoD: After watching the Red Sea part for the Israelites' escape and then close up again to drown his army, he can only return to his court and utter to his scornful Queen Nefretiri in blank defeat, "His god... is God."
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Ultimately towards the Hebrew people following the death of his son.
- Would Hurt a Child: He was willing to reenact his grandfather's crime against the slave nation by wiping out their firstborn. God had other plans though...
- Worthy Opponent: After he returns from a humiliating defeat, he tells Nefretiri:Rameses: His god... is God.
Princess of Egypt and the arranged wife of the next Pharaoh.
- Arranged Marriage: She's betrothed to the next Pharaoh, whomever that may be.
- Awful Wedded Life: How she views her marriage with Rameses. It was an Arranged Marriage after all, what kept it going was their son.
- Betty and Veronica: Is the "Veronica" to Sephora's "Betty".
- Break the Haughty: She 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.
- Deadpan Snarker:
- Sethi: It is pleasing to the gods to see a man honored by his enemies.
Nefretiri: And such a beautiful enemy.
- Death Glare: Gives a ferocious one to the Ethiopian princess flirting with Moses.
- Entitled Bitch: She is so insistent that Moses will cease being God's deliverer and come back to her.
- Evil Is Sexy: Though at first she is more spoiled than evil, it is clear she uses her seductive wiles as the film goes on.
- Femme Fatale: Naturally.
- Have You Told Anyone Else?: 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.
- The High Queen: To Rameses II's High King.
- Jerkass Has a Point: When she catches Moses in the mud pits slumming as a slave, she has him brought to her private barge, pointing out to him that if he goes ahead with revealing his secret and renouncing his status, he will break both Bithia's and Sethi's hearts, and guarantee that his own people will suffer far worse with Rameses as their next overlord, whom incidentally she will be forced to marry. She actually gets Moses to agree, but then he sets out saying he intends to have a word with the Master Builder...
- Jerkass Woobie: Becomes nastier and nastier during the film, but seeing what she has to put with, it is easy to see why.
- Lady Macbeth: She tries to goad Rameses into being more aggressive against Moses.
- Mama Bear: Although at first her priorities seem mixed, she ultimately does love her son, and is thoroughly devestated when he dies, to the point that she ultimately blames Moses, and taunts her husband into taking revenge.
- Manipulative Bitch: Isn't it obvious?
- Ms. Fanservice: Those are some lovely, almost see-through outfits that she wears.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Moses tells her himself that she'll be part of God's plan to free the slaves.
- Oh, Crap!: When she realizes too late after silencing Memnet that she forgot to get rid of the Levite wrapping cloth that the old nurse brought to back up her secret concerning Moses until Moses himself discovers it, and starts asking questions...
- Outliving One's Offspring: Arguably, her greatest sorrow next to losing Moses.
- Sex Slave: She probably saw her marriage to Rameses as this.
- Stepford Smiler: Her initial response to Moses' prediction that her son will die. She can't accept it will happen, until it ultimately does.
- "Take That!" Kiss: To Ramses. 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..."
- The Vamp: Of course.
- Violently Protective Girlfriend: She kills Memnet to keep her from spilling the beans about Moses.
- Woman Scorned: 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. When her son was killed, she wants Moses dead.
- World's Most Beautiful Woman: Considered this when she becomes Queen of Egypt.
- You Fool!: Does it in a more teasing way to Moses "...You stubborn, splendid, adorable fool..."
Son of Rameses I, brother of Bithia, father of Rameses II, and previous Pharaoh of Egypt.
- Age Lift: Although he comes off as a much older man in this film, historically he was only forty-four years old when he actually died.
- Arbitrary Skepticism: He is dismissive of the supposed deliverer, noting that it has been foretold by every falling star since his father's time but hasn't come to pass.
- Deadpan Snarker: He's a wise old leader at least as depicted in this film, and still sharp as a tack."I send Moses to destroy a city, he returns in triumph. I send you to build a city. Where is it?"
- Don't Make Me Destroy You: He 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 nephew accountable in the law, but does not want to sentence his own nephew to death — he eventually settles on exile and striking Moses's existence from all Egyptian records.Seti: Why are you forcing me to destroy you?
- Famous Last Words: Even after Unpersoning Moses, Sethi dies speaking Moses' name.
- Four-Star Badass: Moses makes sure that his treasure city commemorates Sethi's great victory at Kadesh against the Amorites.
- Get Out!: When Rameses brings Moses before Sethi's court:Bithiah: My brother, it was I who deceived you, not Moses. He was only a child!
Sethi: Leave me. I shall not see your face again.
- The High King
- I Have No Son!: Sethi is genuinely heartbroken when he has to exile Moses."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."
- Reasonable Authority Figure: He listens to both sides before making a decision. This is best shown when Moses is accused of using the slaves to launch an insurrection. When the Prince shows that his reforms have made the slaves more productive, Sethi is convinced that Moses must be his heir.
- Tyrant Takes the Helm: Averted somewhat, for while the Hebrew slaves still suffer much, Sethi proves a much more reasonable ruler than his father Rameses I. His son the future Rameses II however...
- Villains Out Shopping: He's shown playing a game with Nefretiri. (It's "Hounds & Jackals", a real Egyptian board game.)
- Why Are You Not My Son?: He clearly considers Moses a more worthy successor than his actual son.
Daughter of Rameses I, sister of Sethi and Moses's adoptive mother. She raises Moses in the palace and ultimately joins him on the Exodus.
- The Atoner: Becomes so after being brought back from exile and joining the Exodus with her adopted son and his true people whom hers had enslaved. We see her offering her litter to former Hebrew slaves in greater need, courageously attempting to stop her nephew's charging army by herself, and later guiding lost Hebrew children through the Red Sea. She even tries in vain to convince the Hebrews to give her son more time in Mount Sinai ("Would a God who has shown you such wonders let Moses die before his work was done?").
- Befriending the Enemy: Despite Moses' Jewish family's initial hostility towards her, Bithia partly through Moses' support manages to win them over starting with Mered, who soon becomes a very loyal friend to her.
- According to Jewish legend, she and Mered eventually became a couple despite their cultural and background differences.
- The Bus Came Back: Although Bithia is sent into exile by her brother Pharaoh Sethi for deceiving him over Moses' true parentage, she is brought back by her nephew Rameses II in time to reunite with her adopted son Moses and join him and his people on their Exodus.
- Cool Old Lady: Despite her advancing age at that time, her bold attempt to stop her nephew's charging army was very impressive, though it undoubtedly would have cost her her life, as Mered points out to her as he stops her.
- Death Glare: What she gives Memnet more than once when she starts to protest too much.
- Happily Adopted: Her adopted son happily welcomes her into his circle when she is brought back from exile, and she in turn happily adopts her son's beliefs with an open mind.
- I Reject Your Reality: Her attitude when she determines to adopt Moses as her son despite her disapproving attendant Memnet's objections.
- Iron Lady: Her glare to Memnet with her "Or Else!" attitude.
- The Last Thing You Ever See: 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.
- Mama Bear: Although not Moses's birth mother, she 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, Nefretiri just beats her to the punch.
- Oh, Crap!: When she realizes her mistake in assuming when Moses confronts her about the truth of his parentage that Memnet told him until he tells her it wasn't Memnet who told him...
- Playing Gertrude: In real life Nina Foch, who played Bithiah, was actually one year older than Charleton Heston, who played her adopted son Moses!
- Throw the Dog a Bone: Does this with her attendants in asking Moses to take them in along with her, although they are Nubians, not Egyptians. Also does this in her brief encounter with Amminadab, first offering him her litter, then taking a sapling fig tree from the dying old slave so that he will have the comfort of knowing he will have some legacy in the Promised Land he always dreamed of.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Though we are not told what happens to her after the Golden Calf incident, she clearly took no part in it, and definitely came over to her son's side and thus escaped God's wrath. Nevertheless, she undoubtedly must have passed by the time Moses dies.
Commander of the Pharaoh's chariot host.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: He's on the receiving end of one when God releases His hold on the Red Sea, drowning the chariot host.
- The Dragon: To Rameses.
- Everyone Has Standards: He protests in vain when Rameses orders that Moses be given only one day's food and water for his long journey to cross the desert. And having served with Moses in war, when putting on the former prince's Levite robes sent by his true mother at the start of his exile, he sadly informs him, "I'd rather this was your armor."
- Frontline General: He leads the charge across the parted Red Sea to attack the Israelites.
- Honor Before Reason: Zig-zagged. He is one of Rameses' more reasonable advisors and tries to convince him to let the Hebrews go. However, he still follows his Pharaoh's order to pursue the slaves across the departed Red Sea, which results in his death and his army's.
- The Lancer: He arrives standing behind Moses upon their return from defeating Ethiopia.
- Officer and a Gentleman: He is clearly that, a noble warrior caught on the wrong side.
- Outliving One's Offspring: His firstborn son is killed before his eyes during the final plague. He then dies soon afterwards when the Red Sea drowns him with his army.
- Punch-Clock Villain: He's the Pharaoh's top commander. He's served with Moses and has a great deal of respect for him, leaving him disappointed when he has to see him exiled. As the plagues ravage Egypt, he speaks with Rameses' other advisors to let the Hebrews go.
High Priest of Egypt.
- Ascended Extra: More or less. It is never mentioned in the Book of Exodus that he was the High Priest, and he doesn't actually appear until quite late among other court magicians, and he is not actually named, although he is referred to as Jannes in other sources along with another magician named Jambres, including one of the Pauline letters in the New Testament (2nd Timothy 3:5). It is possible that Jambres did appear in this film as an unidentified fellow priest who we see producing a similar rod like Jannes' that also magically turns into a cobra to combat the one Moses' rod turns into, suffering the same fate as Jannes'.
- Berserk Button: Never interrupt Jannes in the middle of one of his lengthy proclamations, or the pompous Old Windbag will threaten you with the point of a sword snatched from the nearest guard!
- Comic Relief: To a point. Actually, in his initial scene at the beginning, he comes off as rather sinister as he advises Rameses I in preventing the prophecy of a future Hebrew deliverer by killing all the male babies born at the time predicted. (He is clearly played by a younger and slimmer actor in the opening scene, so that helps a bit...)
- Court Mage: In addition to his being the High Priest, and one of the Pharaoh's top advisors.
- Evil Chancellor: He can be viewed as this, for although he is loyal to the pharaohs he serves, he clearly has his own agenda, and it is his evil advice at the beginning that leads to the death of so many innocent Hebrew children.
- Fat Bastard: He is clearly that in his later years, and his frustrated rage at Moses taking away his and his priests' hoarded grain from their Temple to feed the starving slaves is what ultimately turns the High Priest against him and side with Rameses. Take this revealing dialogue exchange when he makes an (unsuccessful) bid for sympathy from Pharaoh Sethi.Jannes: Because of Moses there is no wheat in the Temple graineries!
Sethi: You don't look any leaner!
- Harbinger of Impending Doom: It is his prophecy at the beginning to Rameses I of a future Hebrew deliverer who would grow up to free the Hebrew nation from their bondage coupled with his advice, that prompts his Pharaoh to make his cruel decree to prevent that from happening.
- High Priest
- Inept Mage: God through Moses humiliates him in front of Rameses II and the Royal Court first by having Moses' rod turned serpent swallow his, then taking away his and his gods' credibility by causing the Plagues he proves unable to stop.
- Jerkass Woobie: Is this though not as tragically as Rameses II, as Moses and God constantly humiliate and discredit him in front of his Pharaoh.
- Large Ham: To the point that Sethi calls him "the old windbag."
- Nice Job Breaking It, Herod!: It is ironically his advice to Rameses I at the beginning of the film prompting his Pharaoh's action in ordering the death of the Hebrew male babies, that leads to Moses being secretly rescued by his Pharaoh's daughter and growing up to fulfill the prophecy.
- Old Windbag: Pharaoh Sethi frequently refers to him as this during his pompous pontificating.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: We're not shown his reaction when he learns of Rameses II's failure to keep his promise of returning to him and his priests the Temple treasuries and grains the slaves took with them on their Exodus, but it can't have been a happy one.
Sethi's Master Builder for his treasure city.
- Ascended Extra: He's based on a nameless mook in the Bible. Here, he's promoted to Vincent Price.
- Asshole Victim: Due to his cruelty to the slaves, it's hard to feel sorry for him when Moses kills him.
- Badass Baritone: Again Vincent Price.
- Bathe Her and Bring Her to Me: He 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.
- The Butcher: Moses calls him "Master Butcher".
- Evil Is Sexy: At least with Vincent Price.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Or least by his whip. See below.
- Jerkass: Both for letting Yochebel be nearly crushed to death and trying to make Lilia his Sex Slave.
- No OSHA Compliance: He has no concerns for the safety of the Hebrew slaves.
- Oh, Crap!: When he realizes that Moses has him in a death grip.
- A Taste of the Lash: 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.
- We Have Reserves: Baka tells Moses that it's no loss if some old woman is killed greasing the granite blocks, leaving the Prince disgusted.
- Whip It Good: He sadistically tells Joshua (who he's about to torture) that he can "flick a fly from my horse's ear without breaking its stride." Moses then strangles him with it.
An Egyptian slave-nurse who witnessed Moses' arrival into Egypt.
- Character Death: She is killed by Nefretiri for saying that Moses is Hebrew.
- Get Out!: She orders the Egyptian girls to leave after Bithiah asks to be alone with the baby she found, thinking she has been insulted by their comments about finding men after Bithiah's husband has died.
- Happiness in Slavery: As royal house-nurse and a native Egyptian, she has little reason to complain.
- Have You Told Anyone Else?: Another thing Memnet should have considered before answering Nefretiri's question truthfully.
- Secret Keeper: Bithiah orders her to remain silent about Moses' origin, under pain of death.
- You Fool!: How Memnet impatiently addresses Bithia's waiting women thinking at the time that Bithia wanted to get rid of them because of their indiscreet talk about husbands in her presence. It was because Bithia didn't want them see the baby Moses in his bulrush basket that she pulls out of the Nile.
First-born son of Rameses II and Nefretiri.
- Adult Fear: As evil as Rameses II has been, it is hard not to feel for both him and Nefretiri when their son dies.
- Age Lift: According to Rameses II in this film, as he sees his first-born son (whose name is not mentioned here) being claimed by the last plague, the child is his only one. Historically however, Rameses II's thirteenth son and eventual successor Merneptah would have been nineteen when his father's first-born son Amun-her-khepesef actually died. This boy hardly looks twelve or thirteen.
- All In The Manual: Though the film doesn't mention it, the name of the first-born son of Rameses II was Amun-her-khepesef.
- Bratty Half-Pint: No doubt so we don't feel too sorry for him later.
- Captain Obvious: When he observes Moses' first demonstration at the Royal Court of God's power -Rameses' Son: Mother, mother, he turned his staff into a cobra!
- Little Girls Kick Shins: Although to most viewers he seems to be kicking Moses in the shins, Amun is actually kicking his uncle's rod as assurance it turning earlier into a cobra was just a harmless trick; nevertheless by doing so he still insults both his uncle Moses and God. This is no doubt so we don't mind what later happens to the spoiled princely brat.
- Morality Pet: Whatever his parents' faults, they both loved their son, the one thing that kept their troubled marriage together.
- Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Like the child actor playing Moses' son Gershom, the child actor playing Amun clearly speaks with an American accent, in contrast to Yul Brynner as his father.
Father of Sethi and Bithia, grandfather of Rameses II, and previous Pharaoh of Egypt.
- Affably Evil: He appears initially in his only brief scene at the beginning to be as reasonable a ruler as his son will be, but by the end proves to be as ruthless as his grandson will be when it comes to his legacy and kingdom being threatened.
- Anachronism Stew: At the end of his scene, he is hailed by Jannes as "Pharaoh Rameses I", which is actually inaccurate as he would not have been called that in his lifetime. He would only be called the First of his name posthumously, when a successor bearing his name (Rameses II) comes to power.
- Big Bad: At the beginning. It is his decision to order the slaughter of the Hebrew male babies to stop the prophecy of a future Hebrew Deliverer being born among them that starts off the events of the film.
- Catchphrase: Besides his name, his grandson also inherited what would be his famous catchphrase ("So let it be written. So let it be done").
- The High King
- Killed Offscreen: Implied, for when we skip ahead some thirtysomething years later, we find that his son Sethi is now ruler of Egypt, and when Rameses I is referred to at all, it is in the past tense. (Historically, he only ruled a couple of years.)
- Nepharious Pharaoh: Need we say more?
- Nice Job Breaking It, Herod!: His cruel attempt to prevent the prophecy ironically only leads to baby Moses being taken in by his own daughter as her adopted son, and growing up to make the prophecy actually come true.
- Pragmatic Villainy: He sees no value in killing a slave nation that have been so useful to him and his people, but has no qualms about sacrificing their male babies to prevent an inconvenient (for him) prophecy from coming to pass.
- Would Hurt a Child: If it threatens his legacy, yes.
Sheik of Midian and father of Moses' future wife Sephora.
Daughters of Jethro and younger sisters of Sephora.
- All There in the Script: Their names are Lulua (wears olive green with golden headdress; only one named onscreen), Saada (light blue), Iyda (gold with red headdress), Dhira (blue with red headdress), Nura (dark green), and Nassura (red).
- Deadpan Snarker: They are that when they introduce Sephora to Moses. ("She's the oldest"...)
- Nice Girls: Over all, they are very nice to Moses, but granted he's the first handsome man they've ever seen...
Other Characters of Significance
The Divine Spirit and True Creator of the world, and the God of Moses' people.
- Acting for Two: He is voiced by the same actor who plays Moses. Later adaptations have followed suit with this.
- Berserk Button: Do not question His will, or test His limits, as Rameses and Dathan learn to their cost.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Though He comes off in this film as a bit more patient than even the original Scriptures, it is still not wise to question His will or to disobey Him.
- Big Good: Is definitely this to Moses and anyone else who follows Him willingly.
- Divine Intervention: Is definitely this also.
- Does Not Like Shoes: Asks Moses from the Burning Bush to remove his sandals, as he is standing on hallowed ground.
- Papa Wolf: Definitely becomes this to Moses and His people.
- Physical God: Actually does not take this form, He mainly appears in a glowing light accompanied by a deep, impressive voice.
- Third-Option Love Interest: In a platonic way. In effect, both Sephora and Nefretiri lose Moses in his making his relationship to God his ultimate top priority. As Sephora sadly comments to Nefretiri -Sephora: He has forgotten both of us. You lost him when he went to seek his God. I lost him when he found his God.
- Worthy Opponent: Ultimately Rameses is forced to acknowledge this ("His God is God").
- Would Hurt a Child: Though He clearly takes no pleasure in this, it is clear His final plague of the Death of the Firstborn is delayed justice on Rameses' grandfather's sin in killing the Hebrew people's male babies.
- You Are Not Alone: Constantly assures Moses of this, no matter what setback he undergoes.
The angel sent by God to deliver the final plague over Egypt.
A Nubian princess whom Moses brings to Sethi from a campaign along with her father the King of Ethiopia.
- Adapted Out: According to DVD commentary and Jewish tradition, Moses was supposed to have married Tharbis.
- While it is possible by implication that he did marry her in this film, it is very likely Sethi would have had it annulled and either married her off to someone else or sent her back to her own people after Moses is sent into exile.