Deliver us, Lord of all,
Remember us, here in this burning sand.
Deliver us, there's a land you promised us.
Deliver us to the promised land..."
The Prince of Egypt is a 1998 animated film based on the biblical Book of Exodus, as well as the very first 2D animated film made by DreamWorks Animation. Until The Simpsons Movie came out in 2007, it was the highest-grossing traditionally animated non-Disney film of all time.
The film covers part of the life of Moses, from his being found and adopted by Pharaoh's family to his young adulthood, where he discovers his Hebrew heritage, to his adult life, when God tells Moses to confront the current Pharaoh and persuade him to free the Hebrew slaves in Egypt.
The Prince of Egypt admits up front in a disclaimer that it takes liberties with the original story, but is nonetheless one of the more accurate retellings in cinema. The film has an All-Star Cast to voice its characters, including several of the smaller roles, and featured numerous musical numbers throughout. The film won considerable acclaim in its time, and even got an Oscar for the song "When You Believe".
A stage musical based on the movie debuted in 2017.
Provides Examples of:
- 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: Moses's basket and the plague of frogs, among other things, have much more dimension than the rest of the animation. According to the commentary, this was intentional.
- Accidental Murder: In Egypt, Moses tries to stop an Egyptian foreman from beating a slave and accidentally throws the former off the scaffolding in the process.
- Actor Allusion:
- This isn't the first time (or the last) that Helen Mirren played the role of a queen.
- In "Playing With the Big Boys Now" Hotep, played by Steve Martin, briefly does a goofy Egyptian walk. Just like ol' King Tut!
- Once again, Ralph Fiennes is a font of misery for the Hebrew/Jewish people.
- Hotep and Huy's powers can be explained as the Egyptian equivalent of Stage Magic. Steve Martin performed as a magician.
- Adaptational Angst Upgrade: For Moses. As he was happily raised as a member of Pharaoh's household in this version, the plagues see him destroy the home and family he loved. He also never knew his real family, which adds to the angst.
- Adaptational Heroism:
- Rameses is a much more sympathetic and tragic character here than the Biblical Pharaoh of the Exodus. In the musical, he goes further, after remembering his life with Moses, he holds back on ordering the Egyptians to advance by the Red Sea, but is overruled by Hotep.
- Moses also kills the Egyptian overseer accidentally rather than deliberately. He shows a lot of guilt over it, and exiles himself as punishment.
- Adaptational Villainy: In Exodus the Egyptian magicians acknowledge in light of the evidence that Moses is genuinely backed by a god a few plagues in. That never happens here.
- Adaptation Distillation: Of the first half of the Book of Exodus.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: The historical Rameses II was red-haired, a detail which can still be seen on his mummy. Here he is black haired - when he is haired at all, as his head is mostly shaved in traditional pharaonic fashion. This was discovered in 1994, the same time the film entered development so unlike The Ten Commandments it does not have the excuse of predating the discovery. This dye-job extends to the royal family as a whole, since Rameses came from a family of redheads.
- Adaptation Expansion: In the Book of Exodus, everything from Moses' birth to his exile and marriage is covered in a single chapter, which in a printed book would take up less than two pages. These two pages are expanded into the first half of the movie.
- Adaptation Title Change: The Prince of Egypt is a retelling of the biblical story of Exodus.
- Adapted Out:
- Moses and Tzipporah had two sons in the Bible, Gershom and Eliezer, but they don't exist here. Neither does Joshua, who plays a big part in the Book of Exodus and is actually the one of the few people from the original group of Hebrew slaves to reach the Holy Land.
- The historical Ramses II had seven wives, three or four of whom were his own daughters, with whom he produced something like one hundred children. In the film, this is pared down to just one wife and one son. And while not quite as prolific as his son, Seti I also produced several children that are not included in the movie. It should be noted that all seven of Ramses' wives were Great Royal Wife at some point, the film just seems to be depicting the then Great Royal Wife.
- Ramses II owned a lion as a pet who even fought alongside him at Kadesh. No such animal appears, indeed there is a strange lacking of felines in the film considering how Egyptians thought them sacred.
- Adult Fear: The murder of the newborns in the prologue, which is the reason why Yocheved sends baby Moses away in the river. Also, the final plague.
- Seti shows shades of this when he reprimands the boys after the disastrous chariot race. As furious as he is about the damage to the temple, it's clear that he's much more upset with his sons for doing something that could have gotten them hurt.
- Age Cut: Whilst Moses is in the desert several years are implied to have gone by, shown by his beard growth between shots, and the fact that Tzipporah's youngest sister eventually looks to be in her early teens, if not older.
- Alas, Poor Villain: Rameses's downfall is portrayed with all the pathos of a family member suffering hardship. As punishment for not releasing the Hebrews, God's ten plagues devastate Egypt, with the final plague taking his son. Later, when Moses parts the Red Sea to take the freed Hebrews to the Promised Land, he tries to charge at them with his army, only to have them completely wiped out when the Sea closes up. All he can do is scream out Moses's name as the he lays broken and defeated.
- Alternate Landmark History: Rameses and Moses race their chariots through the monument construction grounds, causing a pile of bricks to knock off the nose of a statue, in allusion to the The Sphinx.
- Amazon Chaser: Both averted and played straight. While Rameses and Moses are both initially attracted to Tzipporah's beauty, once she tries to bite Rameses he quickly loses interest and foists her off on Moses. On the other hand, Moses is completely smitten after she ties up his guards and climbs out his window.
- A Million Is a Statistic: Defied. Seti and Tuya adopted a Hebrew baby and love him as their own son. However, they think nothing of enslaving and slaughtering countless other Hebrew babies since they don't know any them. When Moses learns the truth, they try to convince him it doesn't matter since "they were only slaves." However, even though Moses doesn't personally know the countless Hebrew slaves in Egypt, he's so haunted by empathy for their suffering that it's part of what pushes him to obey God's will to free them.
- Anachronism Stew: For all the filmmakers' efforts to accurately portray 19th-Dynasty Egypt, some mistakes managed to slip through the cracks:
- The film is supposed to take place during the reigns of Seti I (1290 - 1279 BCE) and Ramses II (1279 - 1213 BCE), yet in the wall murals shown during Seti's lifetime, the cartouches don't bear his names◊, but rather those of Akhenaten◊ (1353 - 1336 BCE). Due to his monumental shake-up of the cultural/religious establishment during his reign, Akhenaten and his successors (Smenkhara, Tutankhamun, and Ay) were systematically erased from the official records, and their monuments either destroyed or usurped by later kings. Come Act 2, however, the cartouches correctly contain Ramses II's names◊.
- In one frame◊ during "All I Ever Wanted," we see a zebra skin on the floor in Moses' room. Zebras did live in Egypt during the last Ice Age, but as the Sahara dried out, they went regionally extinct, and wouldn't be seen in Egypt again until after it had become part of the Roman Empire (over 1,200 years after Ramses II died).
- Ancient Egypt: The basic setting and circumstance. The film features references to the Egyptian pantheon and culture, and illustrates several of its buildings and landmarks.
- Angry, Angry Hippos: After nearly getting eaten by a crocodile, baby Moses' basket is then picked up and bumped along by a chain of hippos, who nearly kill him.
- Angry Mob Song: The slaves' part of "Deliver Us", though in the way that "Look Down" from Les Misérables is an Angry Mob Song; a desperate, bitter, pleading sort of anger.
- Animated Musical: The film won an Oscar for its songs.
- Animation Bump: The scenes which use CGI for the backgrounds.
- Antagonist in Mourning: Inverted. Moses, the protagonist, breaks down in tears after the final plague. He is crying not only for the loss of his nephew, and by extension all the first born of Egypt, but the loss of his relationship with Rameses.
- Anti-Villain: Rameses, to the point where the creators had to rewrite some scenes between him and Moses because he came off as too sympathetic and Moses as too cruel. He is forcing the Hebrews to work as slaves and refuses to let them go, just cracking down harder on them when Moses returns and demands their freedom. However, we are shown that he has been raised on the beliefs of his father, that a single weak king could cause the collapse of a long and proud dynasty, and Rameses refuses to let that be him.
- Arc Words: "All I ever wanted."
- "The weak link in the chain."
- Artistic License History:
- The Bible never identifies Pharaoh by name, but the film goes with Seti I as the Pharaoh who ordered the purge, and Ramses II as the Pharaoh at the time of the Plagues. This is one possibility, but not one considered very likely by most scholars, mostly because Egypt thrived under Ramses II and Canaan was part of the Egyptian Empire during his time. Most scholars today do not even think the Exodus story really happened, or at least not in anything like the manner described in the Bible. In fact, the term "Pharaoh" wasn't even used until after Ramses died, so clearly it was written down later.
- Ramses is portrayed as having been a small child when his father Seti I ordered the execution of the firstborn Hebrew children. Historically, Ramses was thirteen when Seti became Pharaoh; he would have been a small child during the reign of Horemheb (1306 — 1292 BCE), his grandfather's predecessor.
- Similar to the above, Ramses' firstborn son, Amun-her-khepeshef, is portrayed as having been a child when he died. Ramses' thirteenth son and ultimate successor, Merenptah, was nineteen when Amun-her-khepeshef died.
- The term "Pharaoh" was not used contemporaneously for a ruler until 1200 BCE, thirteen years after the death of Rameses II and had been used posthumously for his son and successor, Merenptah. Of course, that one may be chalked up to Translation Convention.
- We have a three-fer in Moses and Ramses being shown knocking off the nose of The Sphinxnote while it's still under construction. First, the ancient monuments for which Egypt is so famous were built by paid laborers, not slaves. Second, the Sphinx itself was already ancient by the time of Ramses or the Hebrew Slaves, at least by this film's time placement of them. Third, the nose of the structure would not come off until several thousands of years after the events of this film (a 14th century Muslim fanatic is thought to be responsible). And finally, the Sphinx is located on the Giza Plateau; the temple complex through which Moses and Ramses race is, by appearances, located in Memphis (the legislative capital of Egypt during the 19th dynasty), about 10 miles away.
- Artistic License Religion:
- The disclaimer at the opening of the film is open and straightforward about this. Some changes are made from the original Exodus story for the sake of drama.
- In the original story, Moses was discovered by Pharaoh's daughter, not his wife, and was nursed by his own mother. He would have been considered nobility as he was raised in Pharaoh's court, but was not a prince. This also means that the Pharaoh with whom he had to negotiate the release of the Hebrew slaves had never been his adoptive brother. He probably always knew that he was a Hebrew or at least non-Egyptian, but in this film he does not find out until he is a young adult.
- In Exodus, Moses secretly murders the Egyptian whipping the slave and even hides his body by burying it in the sand. It is only when a fellow Hebrew pulls a "I know what you did" on him that he realizes that his crime has been discovered. Pharaoh then tries to have him executed, but he escapes. Here, Moses kills the Egyptian in an accidental act of public manslaughter, and he immediately flees into self-imposed exile in shame.
- In Exodus, Moses and Aaron are 80 and 83 years old, respectively, at the time of the plagues. While Moses is shown to have spent at least several years as a shepherd, he is still very much a young man when he confronts Ramesses here, while in Exodus, he spent 40 years as a shepherd.note
- In Exodus Moses actually had Aaron speak to Pharaoh on his behalf and also perform most of the miracles, as Moses was a poor orator. In this film Moses speaks to Pharaoh himself, which is common in adaptations of Exodus.
- Ramesses II survives the parting of the Red Sea, while in the original story the Pharaoh either drowned or survived and became a wandering storyteller. This is another common change in adaptations of Exodus. note
- Art Shift: The wall-painting dream sequence, which is stylized as Egyptian hieroglyphs and wall paintings.
- Asshole Victim: Accident or not, the Egyptian that was whipping the old slave had it coming to him when Moses pushed him off the scaffolding.
- Attack! Attack... Retreat! Retreat!: The soldiers that Rameses sends to arrest Moses charge across the river to reach him—until the river turns into blood, causing them to rush back to the boat.
- Automaton Horses:
- In Moses' and Rameses' chariot race none of their horses panic or run out of control, despite their race leading atop construction scaffolding and collapsing buildings. Could be justified by a combination of the horses being very well-trained, as well as simply being used to this kind of thing - the race and the scene after it certainly seems to establish that this sort of behavior is nothing new for them.
- Averted during the cavalry charge of the Egyptian army at the end of the film. Horses are seen panicking, throwing off their riders and running wild after they are startled.
- Award-Bait Song: "When You Believe", which won the Best Song Oscar. Also qualifies as a Breakout Pop Hit, as there are many fans of the song who only know it as "that Whitney/Mariah song". Especially combined with the "multi-lingual version". Interestingly, the version within the film has aged much better, as it lacks the "here's the obligatory Disney-style pop ballad" qualities of the end-credits version.
- There's also I Will Get There by Boyz II Men, of which there are two versions: one is an acapella version featured in the ends credits and in the offical soundtrack and another is a R&B/pop version featured in the Inspirational soundtrack.
- The soundtrack also features a R&B version of "Through Heaven's Eyes" sung by K-Ci & Jojo.
- Badass Beard: Jethro wins the prize for the movie's biggest, most awesome beard.
- Badass Boast: Rameses has this as Pharaoh. "I am the morning and the evening star" and "If I say night is day it will be written" are notable examples.
God: WHO MADE MAN'S MOUTH? WHO MADE THE DEAF, THE MUTE, THE SEEING, OR THE BLIND? DID NOT I?! NOW GO.
- God Himself also gets one during the Burning Bush scene.
- Barefoot Poverty: Several characters.
- Bathe Her and Bring Her to Me: A variant. Rameses finds Tzipporah to be too feisty for his taste and dumps her on Moses. Ironically, he has her dried instead of bathed before being brought to his brother, as she had already fallen in a pool of water.
- Bear Hug:
- Jethro, the largest character in the film, gives Moses a big hug when welcoming him to Midian. Not long after, he pulls both Moses and Tzipporah into a giant hug after they decide to get married.
- When Moses returns to Egypt, he and Rameses eye each other in surprise. Rameses, however, quickly gets over the shock and grabs Moses in a giant hug, lifting him off the floor and apparently even squeezing the air out of Moses.
- Big Bad: Seti I is this in the first half, as the one who initially enslaved the Hebrews and ordered the purge of their infants that led to Moses' princehood in the first place, Rameses II is this for the second half, as he is the primary force stopping the Hebrews' from being freed.
- Big Brother Instinct:
- Little Brother Instinct rather. When Seti summons Rameses for punishment about the cart chase, Moses immediately says that it wasn't his brother's fault; Moses goaded him.
- Rameses's first reaction to his little brother killing a man in front of multiple witnesses is to declare him innocent. When Moses returns after years of being gone, he is ready to give his brother a high position and wipe away the grime.
- Aaron is frequently seen trying to protect Miriam from the consequences of her actions, as her forwardness places her in trouble with the Egyptian authorities.
- Miriam displays big sister instinct towards her brothers, especially Moses. She comforts and motivates him whenever he's distraught or close to giving up and stands up for him when faced with an angry crowd. Even as a child, her main priority was to ensure that her baby brother was safe.
- Big Fun: Jethro.
- Big Little Brother: Despite being the oldest of the three, Miriam is the shortest of her siblingsnote .
- Big "NO!": Rameses, when God makes the Red Sea sweep him backwards.
- Big Ol' Eyebrows: Almost everyone. Jethro is the most prominent though. Averted with Rameses and most of the Egyptian royalty and nobility, who have thin, drawn-on eyebrows; this is historically justified, since ancient Egyptian priests and upper classes shaved and plucked almost their entire bodies.
- Big Word Shout: Rameses, when we see him after the Red Sea returns to normal, alone and defeated:
- Bittersweet Ending: Moses successfully leads the Hebrews out of their lives as slaves, but his brotherly relationship with Rameses is destroyed forever and he'll never see him again. And if you have read the Bible, you will know that things for the Hebrews will be going downhill.
- Blessed with Suck: Moses comes to view being chosen by God as this, as he is forced to be the instrument of destruction, pain and death, and he has to go against the man he sees as a brother.
- Bloodless Carnage: The Egyptian soldiers' blades are remarkably clean after walking out of the house of a Hebrew woman whose son they just murdered.
- Body Horror: Of course, the boils during the Plagues sequence. We see shots of Egyptians freaking out and in pain, and while its difficult to see due to the lighting, you can faintly see red growths on their bodies.
- Bookends: The movie begins with Jocheved singing "Deliver Us", and ends with her singing the single line "Deliver Us" as Moses comes down from Mt Sinai.
- Boomerang Bigot: Moses does not give much thought to the Hebrews or even notice their suffering until he then finds out he is one. Over time he comes to accepts the fact and (with God's order) helps free them.
- Both Sides Have a Point: How Moses and Rameses react to the former killing a foreman by accident. Rameses saw what happened — it was an accident and Moses knocked him off scaffolding by overreaching in his attempt to rescue a slave from being beaten — and reassures Moses that he's not a killer. Moses is shaken and says that it doesn't matter if it was an accident because he took a man's life.
- Break the Haughty:
- Moses is thoroughly broken when he learns the truth of his heritage. It takes an inspirational "You Are Better Than You Think You Are" song from Jethro to rebuild him.
- What God does to Rameses for repeatedly refusing to let the Hebrews go. The final straw was the death of Rameses's son.
- Bring It: "Playing With The Big Boys Now" is the priests giving one of these to Moses, and God by extension. God brings it.
- Bumbling Henchmen Duo: Hotep and Huy, the Fat and Skinny priest duo, are comedic villains, opposed to the dead-serious Rameses. They even get their own Villain Song.
- But for Me, It Was Tuesday: The Pharaoh to Moses: "They were only slaves."
- Cain and Abel: Moses and Rameses are a deconstruction of this trope, as their history and affection lead to great turmoil and angst as they conflict with one another. Neither wants to kill the other (and it takes a spectacular Villainous Breakdown on Rameses' part before it gets to that point), but are thrust into their roles by a higher power.
- Call-Back: Moses mocks Rameses after Tzipporah tries to bite him, saying he isn't much of a snake charmer. Rameses calls Moses a snake charmer later when Moses returns, having married Tzipporah and having just turned his staff into a snake.
- Casting Gag: In the Biblical story, Moses was said to be "slow of tongue", indicating that he had a stutter or other form of speech impediment, and he relied on his brother Aaron to speak for him when confronting the Pharoah. Moses is perfectly capable of speaking in this film, while Aaron is voiced by Jeff Goldblum, an actor known for his distinct stutter.
- Changeling Fantasy: Inverted — Moses does not take the news of his real heritage too well.
- Character Exaggeration: Averted in most respects (especially the Pharaohs), which is one of the reasons the film is praised.
- Chekhov's Gag:
- The defaced monument of the Pharaoh is seen in the background of several scenes after it occurs, even when the conversations are otherwise serious. By the time Moses returns, however, the defacement has been corrected.
- When Tzipporah is offered to Rameses by the priests she tries to bite his hand and Moses teases him: "Not much of a snake charmer, are you?" When Moses shows up at the palace for the first time and tells Rameses to "let his people go" and then transforms his staff into a snake, Rameses smirks and says "Hotep, Huy, show this snake charmer our answer". Moses had brought Tzipporah to the palace as his wife.
- When Moses and Tzipporah first meet, he humiliates her by letting go of the rope she's pulling on, causing her to fall backward into a pool of water. When Moses is trapped in the well in Midian, Tzipporah lets go of the rope she was using to pull him out as soon as she realizes who he is. Unlike the other two examples, Tzipporah was very well aware of the callback. Moses finds it Actually Pretty Funny and well-deserved.
- Cherubic Choir: When the Israelites are finally leaving Egypt, a song of praise to God is being sung by children in the background. In Hebrew, no less. The song in question is taken straight from the original Biblical text of the song sung by the Hebrews while crossing the Red Sea.
- Children Are Innocent: Played straight in this film, as both the Hebrew and Egyptian children killed are viewed as victims of situations outside of their control. There is also a scene when the Angel of Death arrives and a curious Hebrew child looks out the window at it until his mother pulls him away.
- Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Moses and Ramses are associated with red and blue respectively.
- The Red/Blue split doesn't just apply to Moses and Rameses, but to the Hebrews and Egyptians more generally. Scenes in the royal palace have soft blue or purple lighting and cool-toned backgrounds; the Hebrews, in contrast, are surrounded by warmer lighting and more natural red/brown colors.
- One interesting thing to notice is that all divine beings are represented by white, and the Pharaoh dresses in white. The Pharaoh is meant to be a god to Egyptians.
- Contrived Coincidence: Moses just so happens to stumble upon, and help, Tzipporah's sisters after he gets lost in the desert.
- Cool Big Sis: Tzipporah may be this for her younger sisters.
- Climactic Music: "The Plagues".
- Cruel Mercy: It's hinted that God deliberately had Rameses thrown onto the shore when the sea collapsed rather than drown with his army so that he may live with the consequences of his actions.
- Damsel in Distress: Tzipporah is introduced this way, captured by Hotep and Huy and intended as a concubine of sorts for Rameses. She later escapes by herself. Later in the film this is also how Moses meets her three sisters, as they are being harassed by bandits trying to make off with their sheep.
- Damsel out of Distress: Though Tzipporah is introduced as a prisoner in Egypt being offered as a gift to Rameses and Moses, Moses discovers that she had made her escape on her own when he thought that she was tied up in his room. He covers for her, much to her surprise.
- Dark Reprise:
Moses: This was my home.
- During the "The Plagues" sequence, we get a more bitter, anger-filled version of "All I Ever Wanted" from both Moses and Rameses.
Rameses: Is this what you wanted?!
- Immediately following "The Plagues," the score mournfully reprises "All I Ever Wanted" as Moses walks through the now-damaged palace to once more attempt to reason with Rameses.
- Dated History: In 1994, Ramses was discovered to be a redhead and in 2016 he was discovered to be fair-skinned meaning the black-haired, brown-skinned depiction in this film has actually become dated. Given how genetics work, the appearance of Seti and Tuya also fall under this trope as do all the Egyptians as they were historically quite diverse due to Egypt having always been a melting pot and crossroads meaning there has always been Egyptians of every hair and skin color.
- Additionally, in 2010, it was discovered that slaves in Egypt did NOT build any pyramids or monuments of Egypt. They were built by paid laborers with their own unions. This means that EVERY scene where slaves are seen in hard labor is dated.
- Dead-Hand Shot: Used with an Egyptian boy fetching water during the final plague.
- Deadly Dust Storm: After Moses leaves Egypt he wanders around the desert until he's engulfed in a sandstorm that leaves him nearly buried.
- Deadpan Snarker: Hotep and Huy, the Egyptian high priests, have their moments often mumbled in the background:Seti : [to Moses and Rameses] I seek to build an Empire, and your only thought is to amuse yourselves by tearing it down! Have I taught you nothing?Hotep: You mustn't be so hard on yourself, your majesty. You're an excellent teacher.Huy: It's not your fault your sons learned nothing!Hotep: Well, they learned blasphemy.Huy: True.
- Death Glare: After Moses leaves Rameses to mourn over his dead son, Rameses glares after him with deep hatred. Rameses shortly thereafter sets upon Moses and the Hebrews with an army.
- Death of a Child: The Hebrew children are massacred as part of the Pharaoh's purge of the slaves right at the beginning. The Angel of Death pays Egypt back for it by taking their firstborns later on.
- Deconstructed Trope: The film deconstructed Red Oni, Blue Oni through Moses and Rameses, respectively, by showing the qualities associated with them evolving in positive and negative ways as they mature.
- Defeat Means Friendship: Some of the Egyptians guards are seen joining and aiding the Hebrews on their journey to the Promised Land.
- Deliberately Monochrome: Moses confronting Rameses after the latter's son has been killed in the final plague of Egypt.
- Deliberate Values Dissonance: Quoth Seti I, when genuinely trying to comfort Moses: "Oh, my son. They were only slaves."
- Demoted to Extra: Aaron, Moses's aide and spokesman in the Exodus, becomes less relevant to the story and does not personally support Moses until after the plagues have been unleashed; conversely, Tzipporah becomes an Ascended Extra. She instead of Aaron is with Moses in the staffs-to-snakes scene.
- Definitely applies to Nefretiri, Rameses' wife and mother of Amun, who only is briefly seen standing by Rameses' throne at the beginning of the scene where Moses first demands for the release of his people, but does not appear again.
- Didn't Think This Through: Moses thinks that if he talks to Rameses like old times, that he can try to release the Jewish people peacefully. Thing is that he basically barges in on his brother who is now a Pharaoh, and claims that he is following a new god that wants the slaves to be free because it's the right thing to do. Rameses in public plays it off as Moses being mischievous, but in private has to go by The Chains of Commanding and point out the obvious: there is no benefit to the Egyptians by freeing the slaves, and he knows that his brother basically returned home expecting followers. If Rameses just frees the slaves like that, it will cause huge economic disruption and potential political chaos. He also is betrayed that Moses chose the slaves over him, and that starts their vendetta which leads to the Ten Plagues. It's likely that if Moses had come to him in private and tried to suggest a plan where everyone is saved, it might have led to more negotiations.
- Disappeared Dad: Or at least we never see Amram, the father of Moses and his siblings.
- Disaster Dominoes: Moses being an irresponsible chariot driver is what leads to the defacement of a monument and the destruction of the surrounding structures.
- Disc-One Final Boss: It seems like Seti I will be the pharaoh Moses must step up against to free the Hebrews, but he dies offscreen halfway through the film and his son Rameses steps up.
- Disney Acid Sequence:
- Used at the end of "All I Ever Wanted", when there is an Art Shift to a hieroglyphics style in Moses's dream.
- Justified in "Playing With the Big Boys Now", because the effects are being created within the film by the two characters performing the song.
- Disney Villain Death: While trying to stop an Egyptian guard cruelly whipping a Hebrew slave, Moses accidentally pushes the guard off the scaffolding of the temple and the guard falls to his death. This causes Moses to exile himself out of guilt and shame. In the original, Moses deliberately killed the guard to save the slave.
- Distant Prologue: The "Deliver Us" number takes place decades before the actual film.
- Does Not Like Shoes: Tzipporah and her sisters are always barefoot. Probably by choice rather than status or poverty, since their father is the High Priest of Median.
- Don't Make Me Destroy You: In the scene immediately preceding the plague of the firstborn, Moses practically begs Rameses not to let things continue, all the while staring at Rameses' son. Rameses refuses, which makes Moses extremely upset, as he already knows what will happen.
- Don't Say Such Stupid Things: Moses refuses to lead the Israelites out of slavery because they would never trust or follow him, but God loses His temper and tells him to go anyway.Moses: You've chosen the wrong messenger! How can I even speak to these people?God: WHO MADE MAN'S MOUTH!? Who made the deaf, the mute, the seeing, or the blind? Did not I? Now, GO!
- Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Rameses telling Moses to leave him after his son's death as a result of the final plague. This moment even provides the trope image.
- Dramatic Irony: Seti tells Moses that he will never have to carry a burden like Rameses will when the latter becomes Pharaoh. If only Seti knew...
- Dream Melody: Moses is seen casually whistling the lullaby his biological mother sang to him at the beginning. When he hears Miriam singing the song after she reveals his true heritage he recognizes the tune and realizes the truth.
- Dreaming the Truth: Moses realizes where he came from in a dream depicted in various Egyptian art images.
- Drives Like Crazy: The chariot race at the top of the movie. If it's to be believed, crazy teenage drivers have been a problem for much longer than we currently think.
- Drowning My Sorrows: Implied. When Moses arrives to plead with Rameses one last time during the plague of darkness, the troubled pharaoh is drinking deeply from a goblet.
- Dying Candle: As the Angel of Death is passing through the Egyptian city, one of the houses it enters has a lamp burning in the window, which goes out after it leaves with the spirit of the household's firstborn.
- Eldritch Abomination: The Angel of Death, in keeping with how biblical angels are depicted. It's an entity of pure, cold, intense white light.
- Epic Movie: From the point of conception, Jeffrey Katzenberg intended this to be his Big Damn Epic Movie and marketed it as such. It was his first film since The Lion King and he wanted to show his former studio what he was capable of.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: For Seti and later Ramses. Seti has his queen, as well as Rameses and Moses until Moses learns of his true heritage. Rameses has his queen (though we barely see her) as well as his son in the latter half of the film until he's killed in the final plague.
- Evil Is Hammy: Is it ever!
- Exact Words: "And there shall be a great cry in all of Egypt, such as never has been or ever will be again", said by Rameses when he decides that his father had the right idea of how to keep the Hebrews in line by killing their children and wants to finish the job. There's a great cry in all of Egypt, all right, but it doesn't come from the Hebrews... Moses' reaction to Rameses' statement makes it clear he knows exactly how those words will play out.
- The Faceless: Tzipporah's youngest sister. We get a brief glimpse of her face when she excitedly asks Moses to sit with her at Jethro's banquet table, but otherwise her eyes are the only part of her face not concealed by her oversized headscarf.
- Facial Profiling: The Hebrews are depicted with curly mops of unruly dark hair and many of them have larger noses. They also have lighter skin compared to the darker Egyptians. The Egyptians themselves have round, smooth faces with high cheekbones, narrow eyes and smooth black hair. This was intentional, as explained in the promotional materials. The Egyptians in general are composed of angular, symmetric, geometric lines in contrast to the Hebrews' rounded, more natural and varied forms. Authentic Egyptian art depicts Semites as bearded and lighter skinned in contrast to the clean-shaven, slightly darker Egyptians.
- This is also historically justified; ancient Egyptian priests, nobility and upper classes in general shaved and plucked their entire bodies, which marks Moses out as an outsider from the very beginning: he has short hair under his wig, a small beard, and natural eyebrows.
- Fake Wizardry: Pharaoh's priests rely on magic tricks to simulate magic powers. Obviously, Moses (via God) becomes able to do what they pretend to do and more.
- Falling-in-Love Montage: "Through Heaven's Eyes" doubles somewhat as this for Moses and Tzipporah, culminating in their wedding.
- Family Values Villain: Despite ordering the mass infanticide among the Hebrew slaves, Pharaoh Seti I gives every sign of being a family man who genuinely loves his wife and sons. However, this is a rare example that serves to make him creepier rather than sympathetic due to the cognitive dissonance involved; he ignores the obvious implication that he nearly murdered the babe who later became his favorite son (Moses) because he doesn't seem to consider him a Hebrew at all instead of a Prince of Egypt.
- Fat and Skinny: Hotep and Huy, respectively.
- Fearless Infant: Moses as he is going down the river.
- Fire, Ice, Lightning: Symbolically in "The Plagues".I send the thunder from the sky, I send the fire raining downI send a hail of burning ice on every field, on every town
- Flipping the Table: Rameses does this to the priests' table right before he jumps into his half of the emotionally-charged "Plagues" duet.
- Follow the White Rabbit: Moses finds the burning bush when searching for a lost sheep.
- It's only moments later when you realize this was the same sheep that Moses helped deliver during the Falling-in-Love Montage.
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Rameses is the responsible older brother, while Moses is the freewheeling younger brother. Both grow out of their roles as the movie goes along, but they each remember and refer back to their roles from when they were younger.
- Foreshadowing: Several scenes at the beginning of the film obliquely refer to later events, particularly when the Pharaoh is scolding Rameses and Moses, and the conversation Moses and Rameses have afterwards. The scenes get numerous call backs later in the film. Also, during the scene when the Queen names Moses. From the angle of the "camera", Rameses (as a small toddler) is completely covered up by Moses in the Queen's arms.
- At the climax of "Playing With The Big Boys", the snake created from Moses' staff is swallowing the two brought out by Hotep and Huy whole, practically screaming how well Rameses' refusal to let the Hebrews go will fare.
- When Moses confronts Rameses about the final plague, his son interrupts their meeting before Rameses declares his intent to wipe out the Hebrew firstborn sons like his father. Rameses' son is standing in front of the mural part of the where the Hebrew boys are being drowned and killed, showing that he and Egyptian firstborns will die when the Angel of Death comes.
- Formerly Friendly Family: Moses and Rameses are very close at the start of the movie, with Moses even trying to defend him from their father. Even after Moses returns many years later, both want to continue their close relationship. However, due to Moses being the one who has the free the slaves, he is forced to do worse and worse things to the people Rameses rules over as Rameses continues to refuse, despite Moses begging him to. Finally, after the final plague which results in the death of every first born son in Egypt, Rameses lets the slaves go. However, at the crossing of the sea, Rameses returns to try and kill all the slaves, Moses included, making it clear things are over between the two former brothers.
- A Form You Are Comfortable With: God does this twice:
- During the dream where Moses learns of the murder of the Hebrew infants one can see the Disc of Aten, Aten being, in a (forcibly eradicated) variant of Egyptian religion, the One True God and Creator of All Life.
- As the burning bush He uses Moses's own voice throughout the conversation.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: Watching carefully during the final plague (the Angel of Death) reveals that it takes Rameses' son last, symbolized by a gasp and a small wisp that rises out of the palace and blends into the maelstrom a moment later.
- Freudian Excuse: This version of Rameses' reasoning of his obstinacy against freeing the Hebrews.
- Funny Background Event: After they are both scolded by Seti, Moses goes to comfort Rameses. During the scene he can be seen idly sewing a piece of cloth without comment or focus. At the end of the scene, having sewn it into a sack, he fills it with liquid from a present dish and drops it on the passing priests as a water balloon.
- Get Out!: After Rameses flips the priests' table he orders them to get out, though it is hard to hear over the music in the scene. The priests do not appear again afterwards.
- Rameses later shouts this at Moses.
- Gilligan Cut: After the Chariot Race:Rameses: You don't think we'll get in trouble for this, do you?
Moses: No, not a chance.
[Cue Moses and Rameses being scolded for the chaos the race caused.]
Seti: Why do the gods torment me with such reckless, destructive, blasphemous sons!?
- God: The one who commands Moses to free the Hebrews, and who uses his power to punish the Egyptians until they consent.
- A God Am I: Rameses repeatedly refers to himself as "the morning and the evening star," pointing to the fact that as Pharaoh, he is supposed to be a god incarnate.
- God-Emperor, the Pharaoh, as per actual ancient Egyptian belief.
- God Is Good: The all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the universe is here represented by a soft, beautiful white fire. The fire speaks to Moses in the most familiar, soothing voice it can must: Moses's. Not only that, but the fire surrounds Moses without hurting him and leaves him in a blissful state of awe.
- Gold Is Yellow: Averted. Gold objects are given both realistic tones and realistic shading.
- Good Is Not Nice: God is working to free His enslaved people as promised, but the film does not gloss over how thorough His vengeance on Egypt was, especially in the eye-for-eye smiting of the firstborn even down to the young children.
- Gory Discretion Shot: Several times.
- In the opening massacre of the Hebrew sons, we follow an Egyptian soldier as he shoves his way into a woman's house and raises his blade above her child's crib, before a rather disturbing Smash Cut to him calmly walking out of the house, past the sobbing mother.
- Zigzagged Trope with Moses' staff devouring Huy and Hotep's snakes. The shot initially cuts away from the three snakes striking at one another to their shadows, showing Moses' snatching one of the others, before cutting to Hotep and Huy singing, then cutting back to the shadow of Moses' snake now devouring both of the others, then panning back to Moses' snake as the tails of the other snakes disappear down its throat.
- Happily Adopted: Moses was this until he learned the truth.
- Happily Ever Before: The film stops immediately after the Red Sea Crossing, with a brief subsequent image of Moses bringing down the Ten Commandments, leaving out all mention of the Golden Calf, the destruction of the original tablets, or subsequent hardships for the fleeing Hebrews.
- Heaven Above: The song "Through Heaven's Eye" has a wise old man motion upwards to the clear, night sky when advising Moses to look at life as God would see it.
- HeelFace Turn: Two Egyptian guards lay down their spears and join the Exodus at the end, and manages to cross the Red Sea with the Hebrews as part of them.
- Held Gaze: Moses and Tziporrah during the last part of the "Through Heaven's Eyes" musical sequence.
- Hell Is That Noise: Actually Heaven, not hell, but you get the picture. The Angel of Death taking all the firstborn sons of Egypt is accompanied by a soft, whispering wind and the almost peaceful sighs of its victims. Interestingly, unlike most examples of this trope, which use a loud and shocking sound to startle the audience or set them on edge, the sound of the the Angel killing the Egyptian children is all the more terrifying for how utterly quiet and understated it is.
- Heritage Face Turn: Moses finds out about his Hebrew heritage from his sister, Miriam, and decides to leave the comforts of his Egyptian upbringing as penance for the acts of genocide and slavery committed by the Egyptians against the Hebrews and to free them on the order of the Abrahamic God of the Hebrew People.
- Heroic BSoD: Moses has several: the first occurs when he discovers he is an adopted Hebrew, and the second comes after the 10th Plague, as does Rameses' Villainous Breakdown.
- Humble Pie: Moses starts to lose his haughty prince attitude when he discovers his true heritage.
- "I Am" Song: Deconstructed in "All I Ever Wanted". Despite following the pattern of a traditional version of this trope and Moses explicitly declaring "I am a sovereign prince of Egypt/A son of the proud history that's shown," the song implies that he is beginning to doubt his identity and the life that he thought he knew.
- I Am the Noun:Rameses: I am Egypt, the morning and evening star.
- I Did What I Had to Do: Subverted. Seti expresses regret in regards to ordering his soldiers to slaughter the Hebrew newborns. However, his following remark makes his real feelings about the matter even clearer.Seti: Sometimes for the greater good, sacrifices must be made...Oh my son. They were only slaves.
- Ironic Echo:
- The song "The Ten Plagues" is punctuated by the words "Thus saith The Lord", demanding Rameses yield to God. The words are repeated when he refuses, implying that "The Lord" is himself.
- When Moses is fleeing Egypt after killing the Egyptian who was torturing a slave, Rameses sympathetically and lovingly tries to stop him. Moses says only "Goodbye, Brother" before running away. Rameses then yells out "Moses! Moses!!" in pleading despair. At the end of the movie, when Rameses crashes onto the shore from the Red Sea closing in, he once again screams out "Moses! Moses!!", but this time it is out of fury at having lost not only his son, but his slaves and effectively his kingdom, all by Moses's hand. Once again, Moses only states "Goodbye, Brother."
- It Sucks to Be the Chosen One: Moses touches upon this in The Plagues."And even now, I wish that God had chose another,Serving as your foe on His behalfIs the last thing that I wanted."
- "I Want" Song: Inverted with "All I Ever Wanted". Rather than singing about wanting more out of life, the song is about Moses trying to convince himself that he already has everything he could ever want and has no reason to be dissatisfied.
- Job Title: The Prince of Egypt.
- Karma Houdini Warranty: Moses gets away with accidentally killing a man because Rameses proclaims him innocent and clears him of all charges, despite Moses's guilt over the crime and Hotep and Huy reminding Rameses of this after Moses returns. Being the adoptive brother of an absolute monarch God-Emperor hath its benefits. Then Moses reveals he is not here to stay, but to free the slaves, explaining he can no longer become a prince. Rameses not only refuses but also increases their labor, pointing out pragmatically that the slaves will blame Moses for rocking the boat.
- Kick the Dog: Seti does this and Pet the Dog at the same time when he sees Moses staring at the hieroglyphics showing the massacre of Hebrew babies. The "petting" part comes when he notices that his son is clearly distressed, hugs him tightly, and tries to comfort him, the "kicking" part comes when he casually brushes off the deaths of hundreds if not thousands of infants because, after all, "they were only slaves."
- Kill Them All: Rameses and his forces try to kill all the Hebrews as they cross the Red Sea. God, however, pulls this on the Egyptians.
- Kubrick Stare: Rameses gets one when Moses returns the ring and effectively ends their brotherly relationship.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Under Seti's order, Egypt slaughters all Hebrew newborn children to prevent any sort of future uprising. Karma strikes decades later when God sends the Plagues upon Egypt, but especially the worst one of all: the Final Plague, which kill the firstborn children of Egypt, including Rameses son. However, beforehand, he lets Moses try one last time to talk Rameses out of it before the final Plague is unleashed, and Rameses decides to try and imitate his father's actions, resulting in this trope being done to him as well.
- Last-Second Chance:
- Before the final plague is unleashed, Moses pleads with his brother to stop before God releases it. Rameses then states his intent to repeat his father's atrocity by committing another mass murder of Hebrew children, sealing his fate.
- Once the Hebrews are nearly to the other side of the Red Sea, God takes away the fire tornado that blocked Rameses' army without closing the path through the waters. Technically, Rameses could have turned back rather than pursue the people under the protection of a God that can part a huge body of water and create fire tornadoes. But he didn't.
- Leave No Survivors: In the climax, Rameses and his army pursue the Hebrew refugees, during which he orders his men to kill all the unarmed Hebrews. Utterly ironic as well; all his life Rameses tried to be a greater Pharaoh than his imposing father Seti I ever was. Without realizing it, he tried to outshine his father's legacy even in something as extreme as mass murder.
- Light Is Not Good: The 10th plague plays this trope when the angel of death, in the form of a white cloud, comes down for the firstborn Egyptian sons. The played with element comes in in that the angel's nature — good, evil, or simply an impassive agent of God — is up for debate.
- Love at First Sight: Implied by the look on Moses's face when he first sees Tzipporah.
- Manly Tears: Moses at the deaths of all the firstborn Egyptian sons. After Rameses finally grants the Hebrews permission to leave (while mourning over his own son's body), as Moses walks back to the Hebrew dwellings amid the echoing sound of bereaved mothers' cries, he is overcome with grief and collapses against a wall, sobbing.
- Mass "Oh, Crap!": The Egyptian soldiers, just before the Red Sea sweeps over them.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Hotep and Huy's snake conjuration was done with such theatrics that it is hard to tell if they actually did magic or just managed some sleight of hand, although at some points in their song, the positions they're in could only be managed by Offscreen Teleportation, walking off in one direction and coming in from another, or disappearing in a puff of smoke (unless they had some very well-trained slaves acting as body doubles). They also do some unambiguous magic in the same song, summoning glowing sigils in the air and controlling flames; it makes the actual stick-to-snake trick seem kind of petty. Their attempt at turning water to blood and other "magic", however, is demonstrably accomplished through showmanship and artificial tools.note
- Meaningful Echo:
- "Look at your family/people. They are free."
- Miriam's line to Moses, when she's trying to tell him about his true heritage, is later repeated by Moses when confronts Rameses before running away from home.
Miriam: Our mother set you adrift in a basket to save your life!
Moses: Save my life? From who?
Miriam: Go ask the man you call "father"!
Moses: No! All I've ever known to be true is a lie! I'm not who you think I am!
Rameses: What are you talking about?
Moses: Go ask the man I once called "father"!
- In "Deliver Us", the enslaved Hebrews wonder desolately if God can hear His people cry. Much later, when Moses finds the Burning Bush, God says that "I have seen the oppression of my people in Egypt, and heard their cry."
- Memento Macguffin: Ramses gives Moses a scarab ring to mark his promotion to chief architect. Later, as Moses starts his self-imposed exile, he discards all of the princely trappings from his wardrobe, but can't manage to throw away the ring. He keeps it until he returns to Egypt, then gives it back to Ramses as a symbol that he has returned as an enemy, not a brother.
- Midword Rhyme: In "Deliver Us":Help us now,in this dark hou--r
- Minor Character, Major Song: Jethro with "Through Heaven's Eyes".
- A Minor Kidroduction: In the beginning, we see Miriam, Aaron, Rameses, and Moses as children, the last one being a baby.
- Missing Mom: Just who is the mother of Rameses's son?
- The Mockbuster: There were not one, but two direct-to-video cash-ins that were not only released the same year as Prince Of Egypt, but made little to no attempt in changing their titles.
- Mondegreen: A line from the otherwise dramatic song The Plagues (in particular, the second "I. SEND. MY. SCOURGE.") has not uncommonly been mistaken for "I. SEND. MY. SMURFS."
- The whispering chant of "Thus saith the Lord" can also be mistaken for the also-fitting "No longer safe".
- Monumental Damage: The stone nose is knocked off the Great Sphinx.
- Morton's Fork: Rameses, in his desire to avoid being the "weak link" his father dismissed him as. On one hand, if he frees the Hebrews, he'll go down in time as the king who willingly gave away the main source of labor on which Egypt's power and overall magnificence greatly depends. On the other hand, if he fights to keep the Hebrews as slaves, Egypt is destroyed by God and the plagues. Either way, he, his legacy, and his dynasty's legacy, are completely screwed. Although, given that history remembers him as "the great" and his reign marks the absolute pinnacle of Egypt's power, authority and glory, maybe he doesn't do too badly, though he doesn't know this at the time (though this is probably more to do with the fact that the real Rameses likely wasn't actually the Pharaoh ruling Egypt at the time the plagues took place).
- Moses in the Bulrushes: Being a movie about the Trope Namer, the movie starts with Moses' mother setting him adrift the river.
- Mood Whiplash: "When You Believe" is an inspiring song about how the strength of faith can bring about miracles. Played right after the plagues, it's either a glimmer of hope against the destruction or an iffy implication that the horrors counted as miracles.
- Mr. Fanservice: More than a few female viewers have admitted to having very, ah...un-Christian thoughts about Moses when they were kids (or adults, for that matter), considering how he's very tanned, very clean, very fit and spends about the entire first half of the movie without a shirt on.
- Multilingual Song: The film version of "When You Believe" is in English except for the bridge, which is a condensed version of the Hebrew "Song of the Sea" from The Book Of Exodus.
- Named by the Adaptation:
- Pharaoh's magicians are not named in the Book of Exodus so the film calls them Hotep and Huy. Ancient tradition calls them Jannes and Jambres, which is reflected in the Christian scriptures.
- For that matter, the Bible does not name the Pharaoh either. The Pharaoh of the Exodus is traditionally (and controversially) identified as Rameses II, and that's what this film goes with.
- Nepharious Pharaoh: Like most works based off the Book of Exodus from The Bible, it has the Pharaoh Rameses as the Big Bad. Unlike most examples, though, he's something of a victim of circumstance who has to stick with his culture.
- Never Trust a Trailer: The original trailer made this look like a more action-packed, definitely more kid-friendly film.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: By presenting Tzipporah to Rameses, Hotep and Huy inadvertently end up beginning a chain of events that results in the conflict of the third act of the film.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
Rameses: "...or is it thanks to you?"
- After Moses tells Rameses that God has sent him to free the Hebrews, Rameses was angry with this and informs him that, thanks to 'his' god, he will increase the workload for the slaves.
- In the next scene, when the slaves hear of this, they were displeased with Moses and one of them threw mud at him to show their frustration.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Herod!: The film shows this scenario through an Egyptian-hieroglyphic animation dream sequence, followed by a final confrontation between the Prince Moses and Seti I, his adoptive father: "Sometimes," Seti says, with a look approaching actual regret, "sacrifices must be made...." Then he tries to comfort his son with the worst words possible: "They were only slaves..."
- Nothing Is Scarier: The Animated Musical format is taken advantage of for almost all significant plot developments, including the first nine plagues of Egypt, even when the sky is raining fire and the people are stricken with boils, so the audience gets very well acclimated to hearing some kind of music, even in the very darkest scenes. Consequently, watching the Angel of Death sweeping through the streets of Egypt is so much scarier for occurring in complete silence that feels totally unnatural on a deep and primal level, with no sound effects whatsoever except for a soft rushing wind and the quiet sighs of its victims.
- Oh, Crap!:
- Rameses had one when Moses tells him that they are late for the banquet.
- Aaron, in the background, when Miriam tells Moses Youre our brother."
- Ominous Latin Chanting: Used to a degree in "Playing With the Big Boys", in which the names of several Egyptian gods are chanted at the beginning and later in the background.
- The Plagues includes a backing chorus of Ominous English Chanting.
- Omniscient Morality License: God. A point made at several times in the Old Testament (especially referenced in the Book of Job,) and referenced when Moses is speaking to the Burning Bush, is that God's knowledge is so much vaster than any mere humans that no one can fully comprehend His actions. When Moses questions why he is being selected to free the Israelites, God explicitly states that He has done so much more than Moses will ever even be able to conceive."WHO MADE MAN'S MOUTH? WHO MADE THE DEAF, THE MUTE, THE SEEING OR THE BLIND? DID NOT I? NOW GO."
- One-Woman Wail: A truly beautiful example provided by the late Israeli singer Ofra Haza.
- Opening Chorus: "Deliver Us", with solos from Yocheved and Miriam.
- Orphaned Etymology: Seti warns Ramses, "One weak link can break the chain of a mighty dynasty." Moses' time, however, is generally placed between 1400 - 1200 BCE. Metal chains constructed in the sense that Seti's talking about weren't around until at least 255 BCE. So this is either taking liberties with history or linguistics. The figurative phrase "weakest link" wasn't even established until the 18th Century. Could also be a rough translation of a then-current phrase that means essentially the same thing - especially since modern English itself wouldn't actually exist for almost 2,500 years.
- In the Taiwanese Mandarin dub, instead of calling Rameses a "weak link", Pharaoh Seti calls him a "fu bu qi de Adou" which translates to a "weak and inept person", a "hopeless case", or a "person who cannot be helped". Adou was the nickname for Liu Shan, a Chinese emperor who ruled from 223 AD to 263 CE. He was also the second and last emperor of the Shu Han dynasty. He was called Adou due to being an incapable and mentally handicapped ruler. Nowadays, Adou is used to call people who are useless and will not achieve anything.
- Our Angels Are Different: The angel of death looks like it came through a portal from outside of existence and is a giant glowing white cloud that pulls the breath of life from the first born children. No wings, no halo, no sword dripping with the blood of Egyptians.
- Panty Shot: A rare Gender Flipped example during the chariot race. Why Moses says that looking up to Rameses is "not much of a view."
- The Pardon: After Moses returns to Egypt, Ramses pardons him of his manslaughter of the Egyptian foreman.
- Parting the Sea: While God keeps Ramses and his army at bay, Moses uses his staff to part the Red Sea to give him and the Hebrews an exit. While passing through it, some of the undersea creatures are seen through the wall. For a bit of drama, Moses has to race to the other side when the water starts to recede. He makes it, but Ramses army isn't so lucky.
- Pep-Talk Song: "Through Heaven's Eyes", which Jethro sings to break Moses out of his Heroic BSoD and help him see himself in a new light.
- Pet the Dog: Subverted. Seti clearly cares about his sons. When he finds Moses reeling at the fate of the Hebrew children, Seti hugs him, speaks in the soothing tones of Patrick Stewart...and tells Moses it was justified because they were just slave children. The worst part of this is that Seti thought this would make Moses feel better.
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Rameses Names Moses Royal Chief Architect early in the film, but at no point between then and when he flees for the wilderness do we see him actually planning any architecture. Granted, exactly one night passes between the two events, but a construction project is being planned out at the very moment when Moses flees, and it's Rameses of all people who is planning it, not Moses.
- Please Don't Leave Me: Rameses all but begs Moses not to do this as he attempts to flee Egypt after killing a man.Moses: [clearly heartbroken at the choice, but with no other option] Goodbye, brother.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: The chorus of "The Plagues""I! SENT! THE! SCOURGE! I! SENT! THE! SWORD!"
- Prodigal Hero: Being an adaptation of the story of Moses the film tells this story, mixing both the accidental murder as well as disgust of the Egyptians' treatment towards the Hebrews.
- Protagonist Title: The Prince in question is Moses, who eventually rejects the title when he discovers his true heritage.
- Pyrrhic Victory: As an adaptation of the Exodus, it of course ends with the implication that the hebrews end up in Canaan, the land promised to Abraham. There's a bit of problem with that. Canaan was actually part of the Egyptian empire during the time of Rameses II, having been actually conquered by Seti I, his father. To make matters even worse, Rameses II would eventually lead several military expeditions into the Levant and the tribe of Israel would eventually be wiped out by Rameses' thirteeneth son and successor Merneptah.
- Quarreling Song: The song "The Plagues".
- The Queen's Latin: Most of the Egyptian characters (save for Hotep and Huy) speak with British accents, while the Hebrews speak with American accents.
- Reality Has No Subtitles: Many of the songs contain individual lines or choruses in Hebrew, sung along with the predominantly English lyrics. No translations are offered note , but the tone and context of the songs at least hint at their meanings.
- Reality Is Unrealistic: Four years prior to this movie's release, it was discovered that Ramses II was a fair-skinned ginger. The reason he's depicted as tan, bald, and swarthy is likely because audiences would have wondered why they made the Egyptian Pharaoh look like an Irish man, amusing given Goidel Glas, the mythological father of the Gaels, was a grandson of the Pharaoh of the Exodus. Given how genetics work, Seti and Tuya's appearance likewise fall under this trope.
- Recurring Riff: Yocheved's lullaby, which she sings to Moses as she lays him in the basket of reeds. It plays a prominent part in the soundtrack - it's even the first and last thing the audience hears during the film. But it also serves a purpose in the plot: Moses is later shown to remember the song even as an adult, and it's not until he hears Miriam singing it that he realises the truth of his origins as a Hebrew.
- Recycled IN SPACE!: The Ten Commandments... AS AN ANIMATED MUSICAL! This is NOT a bad thing.
- Red Is Heroic: Red is symbolically used to represent the heroes.
- Moses is the prime example as hes the hero trying to liberate his people from Rameses and he mostly wears red throughout the movie, even when he was a baby.
- Other heroic characters who wear some red are his mother who saved him from being killed by Seti I and his sister Miriam who supported him through the entire endeavor. His wife Tzipporah also wears a red ponytail holder and has a red cloth during Through Heavens Eyes and is just as devoted in supporting Moses and protecting him from harm.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Moses and Rameses, respectively. As young men, Moses is rambunctious and flippant while Rameses is more introspective and prone to angsting. When they grow up, they retain their oni roles, but in a different way. Moses is passionate and warm while Rameses is cold and ruthless. Even their clothing reflects this. Rameses wears blue and white while Moses wears red and earth tones. They're also represented by their respective colors in one shot during "The Plagues."
- The Red Oni, Blue Oni juxtaposition is somewhat literal, too. During the scenes where Rameses and Moses are together in Egypt, Moses wears red jewelry and decor with his clothing, while Rameses wears blue.
- Also Miriam and Aaron: Miriam wears red and is warm and kind, passionately faithful in her beliefs and very direct and straightfoward, while Aaron wears blue and is more sensible and cautious, often trying to shield his sister from the consequences of her behaviour or keeping her out of trouble when she tries to intervene.
- Refusal of the Call: Questioning of the call, at any rate. Upon being told that he's been chosen to return to Egypt and free the slaves, Moses argues that he was the son of the man who slaughtered Hebrew children and that God must have picked the wrong messenger. God gets snippy, then significantly less snippy, and that settles the matter.
- Rivers of Blood: The scene from Exodus is played out when Moses uses his staff to turn the river Nile into blood, sending Rameses' soldiers into a panic.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The climax, where Rameses, despite freeing the Hebrews earlier, snaps and decides to lead his men in a chase to slaughter the Hebrews before they escape. Thanks to God's intervention, they fail miserably.
- Rule of Symbolism: In the opening sequence the Hebrew slaves look upon with awe at the statue of Ra that they just put up, which symbolized the power of the Egyptians over them. Toward the end of the plagues sequence, the statue crumbles. Some scholars believe that the plagues were meant to rebuke the various Egyptian religions and their gods (Ra, god of the Sun falls on the onset of the plague of darkness).
- When Moses first returns to Rameses, he shows God's power by turning his staff into a snake; in an effort to rebuke him, the priests apparently turn their staves into snakes, too, but in this version of the story Egyptian polytheism is shown to be a sham with all of the "miracles" performed by the priests being stage magic. Not only does this emphasize that, from the perspective of millions or billions of people, the Ancient Egyptian religion is all lies and deceit whereas the Abrahamic religionnote is the one true faith but also that the singular Hebrew God is more powerful than the false Egyptian ones. Hammering this home, by the end of the scene Moses' staff-snake has devoured the two fake ones, symbolizing the power that God is shown to have over the false gods of Egypt throughout the rest of the story.
- Several times in the film, Rameses is shown to be behind a mural of bound Hebrew slaves (in the scene where he begs Moses not to run away, shortly after Moses wins the showdown between the high priests, and in a brief moment during the plagues sequence) and culminates in Rameses declaring his intentions of finishing what his father began right behind the mural of Seti ordering the deaths of the Hebrew babies. These were at pivotal moments of his deteriorating relationship with Moses. The slavery of the Hebrews by the Egyptian Empire (and Rameses' unwillingness to relent to end their suffering) kept coming between any of their attempts to reconcile.
- When Moses explains his Mission from God to Tzipporah, a flock of sheep and their shepherd passes them by, highlighting his role as the chosen shepherd of God's people.
- Once the Angel of Death disappears into a vortex in the night sky the stars become visible, including one of the constellations: Orion, The Hunter. Very appropriate given how the Angel just finished hunting down all the firstborn of Egypt.
- During the scene where the Hebrews begin leaving Egypt, an old lady briefly leans close to the same mural of slaves that featured when Moses first left Egypt. Slavery—depicted in the portrait—was likely all she and her family ever knew, and the uncertainty that freedom brought felt overwhelming. With the help of a small girl, she moves forward, joining her people in leaving that image behind.
- Sarcasm Mode: "Let me guess. You want me to...let your people go."
- Sarcastic Title: Moses is the Prince of Egypt; his brother Rameses ascends the throne to become Pharaoh. However, Moses is a former Hebrew slave who specifically rejects his adoptive family's legacy to liberate the Hebrews from bondage.
- Scenery Porn: The opening sequence showing the Hebrews raising Egyptian monuments, the Plagues, and the crossing of the Red Sea.
- Scenery Gorn: After the plagues are done with Egypt.
- An odd mix of this and Scenery Porn: "When You Believe" has some massive shots of the ruined Egypt, set with the triumphant score and shots of the Jews finally leaving their slavery in Egypt. Particularly noticeable during the lines "We were moving mountains/Long before we knew we could".
- The Scourge of God: The PlaguesI send the locusts on a wind
Such as the world has never seen
On ev'ry leaf, on ev'ry stalk
Until there's nothing left of green
I send my scourge, I send my sword
Thus saith the Lord!
- Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Rameses promises to absolve Moses from the crime of murder because he is "the morning and the evening star" and can change the laws however he deems fit. He goes far enough as to say he can make it as though it never happened.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!:
- When the Angel of Death starts its rounds, two guards see it coming and promptly turn tail and run.
- When the Hebrews leave Egypt after being freed, two Egyptian guards join them.
- When the Egyptians follow the Hebrews across the Red Sea, the horses decide that they'll have none of it, leaving their riders to pursue on foot.
- Self-Imposed Exile: Moses' departure from Egypt was an act of self-exile, unlike in the source material (where he fled to escape punishment) and The Ten Commandments (where it is his punishment).
- Setting Update: A minor example. Rabbinical Judaism tells us that Moses' lifespan corresponds to 1391 - 1271 BCE, telling us the Exodus happened in 1311 BCE and thus that the Pharaoh of the Exodus would have been Horemheb, the predecessor of Rameses I, the father of Seti. Jerome, on the other hand, gives Moses' year of birth as 1592 BCE, meaning the Exodus would have been in 1512 BCE with Thutmose I as the Pharaoh and Ussher gives Moses' year of birth as 1571 BCE, meaning the Exodus would have been in 1491 BCE, with the Pharaoh being Thutmose II.
- Sexy Silhouette: Subverted. After Moses has Tziporrah sent to his chambers by Rameses, he sees a shadowy figure sitting on his bed behind a curtain, looking as if it is her sitting there with her arms crossed defiantly. He laughs awkwardly before pulling the curtain back to reveal that it is the servant who had escorted her there all tied up. He then realizes that his dogs are tied up as well and there is a Bedsheet Ladder going out his window.
- Shadow Discretion Shot: When Moses' snake eats the pair that Hotep and Huy conjured.
- Shaped Like Itself: God's famous line, "I AM that I AM."
- Shoot the Dog: God sending the Ten Plagues to wreck Egypt. A horrible punishment, particularly for the suffering innocent, but necessary to free the Hebrews.
- Shoo Out the Clowns: During "The Plagues", Rameses enters a room with Hotep and Huy as they are applying ointment to their boils. Enraged at their inability to stop the plagues, Rameses orders them to "Get Out!!" They are not seen again in the film. Things get very dark afterwards.
- Shown Their Work: The silhouette of a whale shark is seen behind the watery walls of the Red Sea passage, which does connect to the habitat range of the species. Furthermore, Rameses specifically mentions "white limestone." One guess as to what color the buildings would be in those days (hint: it isn't yellow).
- Sidekick: Tzipporah functions as a rare wife version, as she accompanies the hero throughout most of his epic journey.
- Silence, You Fool!: "Be still! Pharaoh speaks!" It's downright awesome because it's said by Patrick Stewart. This was later said again by Rameses, who is now pharaoh, to the priests who are trying to convince him to sentence Moses for his previous crime prior to his exile.
- Single Tear:
- Yocheved when she sends baby Moses away on the river.
- Miriam sheds two tears when she repeats Yocheved's lullaby to Moses. Symbolically, one tear is hers and the other is from their mother.
- Moses after seeing God's wonders.
- Moses within the hieroglyph nightmare sheds one as he watches Yocheved set his basket in the river.
- Smash to Black: Both the opening and the ending end with this.
- Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter!:
- A dramatic variant, depending on your interpretation; after breaking Egyptian law by accidentally killing one of the guards overseeing the slave labor, Moses exiles himself to the desert, even though Rameses is fully willing to pardon him. Eventually, a sandstorm hits; rather than try to find shelter, Moses drops to his knees as if to surrender to the wrath of the gods.
- As in the Bible itself and Played for Drama, Rameses keeps doing this despite the very obvious signs that God is very real and sending his wrath upon his people. Most obviously during "The Plagues" song where he asks for his heart to be hardened so that he won't release the Hebrews.
- Song of Prayer:
- Squick: In-Universe; the soldiers in the Nile have an epic Freak Out when they realize that they're wading through a river of blood.
- The Stinger: The credits end with quotes from the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament and the Qur'an stating how important Moses was as a prophet.
- The Swarm: Several of the plagues, including frogs, locusts and pestilence.
- Take Back Your Gift: Non-romantic example: Moses giving Rameses back his ring after returning to Egypt is presented as symbolic of Moses (reluctantly) cutting his brotherly ties with the Pharaoh in order to carry out the mission God gave him.
- Tearful Smile:
- Moses has one right after meeting with the Lord for the first time.
- Miriam gives a horrified Moses one when she sings their mother's lullaby and he recognizes it, fully realizing he is a Hebrew and he runs away in shock and confusion.
- Technician vs. Performer: The Moses vs. Hotep and Huy "snake duel" has shades of this. When summoning their snakes, the priests use a big theatrical musical number complete with a lot of smoke and mirrors; Moses, by contrast, just trusts in God, puts down his staff, and voila! Instant snake. Moses ends up winning.
- Tempting Fate:
Rameses: You don't think we'll get in trouble for this, do you?
- At the beginning, Moses and Rameses have caused chaos during their chariot race.
Moses: No, not a chance.
[Cue Moses and Rameses being scolded for the chaos the race caused.]
Seti: Why do the gods torment me with such reckless, destructive, blasphemous sons!?
Rameses: I'm done for! Father will kill me!
- Later at when they're late for the banquet
Moses: Don't worry. Nobody will even notice us coming in!
(They walk in; the entire crowd sees them and cheers loudly)
Rameses: "Nobody will even notice..."
- "Playing With The Big Boys Now" can be seen as a challenge to God. As the next song ("The Plagues") shows, this was not wise.
- Rameses says that "there will be a great cry in the land of Egypt", threatening to kill off the Hebrew population. The "great cry" that comes about is not the one he expected. Lampshaded as Moses' reaction to this makes it clear he knows exactly what his brother is doing by saying that line.
- Then Let Me Be Evil: Rameses invokes this during "The Plagues".You who I called brother, how could you have come to hate me so?Is this what you wanted?Then let my heart be hardened, and never mind how high the cost may growThis will still be so: I will never let your people go!"
- Think Nothing of It: Of the Heroic Self-Deprecation variety—when Jethro honors Moses for helping Tzipporah escape Egypt and defending the other girls from brigands, Moses (in Heroic BSoD mode) says that he's done nothing worth honoring.
- This Means War!: "This will still be so: I will never let your people go..."
- Three-Month-Old Newborn: Shown with a ewe's lambing.
- Time Skip: There are two timeskips. After "Deliver Us" the film jumps forward approximately twenty years to when Moses is a young man, and during "Through Heaven's Eyes" the film quickly progresses through several more years.
- Title Drop: At several times in the movie, Moses is referred to as "a/the Prince of Egypt". The term is solely used to refer to him and not to Rameses, who is instead viewed as the future Pharaoh.
- Tomato in the Mirror: When Moses slowly realizes that he is a Hebrew, during the sequence preceding "All I Ever Wanted".
- Toppled Statue: The same statue shown being raised in the opening is destroyed during the Plagues.
- Tragic Villain: Rameses, unlike his counterparts from The Ten Commandments and The Bible.
- Underestimating Badassery: The Egyptian priests and, especially, Rameses have absolutely no idea what they're dealing with in the God of the Hebrews, and at first treat this new deity with sneering contempt. Then the Plagues hit...
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: People were so distracted by the priests' theatrics that they don't seem to notice Moses' snake eating the two that they produced.
- Vile Villain, Laughable Lackey: The Egyptian priests Hotep and Huy, being voiced by Steve Martin and Martin Short respectively, have their funny moments. Neither of the two Pharaohs that they work for do.
- Villainous Breakdown: In a very tragic example, Rameses snaps after the death of his son, riding after Moses and the Hebrews and, when they try to escape him through the Red Sea, he shouts to his men "Kill them! KILL THEM ALL!" The last of him seen in the film is him screaming in rage and agony, cursing Moses (or perhaps still crying out for him.)
- Villainous Face Hold: Rameses grabs Tzipporah's face so he can "inspect this desert flower" — and she nearly bites him.Rameses: More like a desert cobra.
- Villain Song: Rameses' Dark Reprise of "All I Ever Wanted" might count, and while they are more inept evil sidekicks than true villains, Hotep and Huy's "Playing With The Big Boys Now" counts.
- "The Plagues" can be interpreted as God's Villain Song, if you're opting to go that route. The lines sung by the choir are quite boastful, all taking place over the suffering of Egyptian peasants and families.
- Villains Out Shopping: When Moses confronts Rameses at the Nile. Not only is Rameses just lounging in his boat, Huy and Hotep seem to be entertaining his son with magic tricks.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: Moses (until he goes back to the Hebrews) and Rameses.
- Walk Like an Egyptian: Seen in a few dream sequences. Also, Hotep shortly during his song with Huy.
- Was Too Hard on Him: Moses asks Seti if he was too harsh on Rameses by calling him a weak link who will bring shame to Egypt just after Moses took the blame for goading Rameses on their wild chariot race.
- We Can Rule Together: Hotep and Huy make an offer something like to Moses during their Villain Song."You put up a front." "You put up a fight."
"And just to show we feel no spite"
"You can be our acolyte!"
"But first, boy, it's time to bow."
- This is also what Seti did by naming Rameses prince regent. He was essentially declared co-pharaoh with his father.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Even after the death of his father, Rameses is still struggling with the man's immense shadow and wants to be the kind of Pharaoh his father was. This leads to tragedy for the Egyptians. Truth in Television for this one, at least for the first half of that statement. Rameses II is by all accounts one of Egypt's greatest Pharaohs, and many speculate that his achievements were motivated by a desire to live up to his distant father's legacy.Moses: All he cares about is...is your approval. I know he will live up to your expectations. He only needs the opportunity.
- We Need a Distraction: Moses helps Tzipporah escape from Egypt by quickly summoning two guards that otherwise would have caught her in the act to him, and send them to his room to investigate the man Tzipporah left tied up there.
- We Used to Be Friends: The major driving force of the movie, which sets it apart from The Ten Commandments Love Triangle.
- Wham Line: While the audience already knows this, Moses learning of his true heritage is this for him.Miriam: I know who you are, and you are not a prince of Egypt!
Moses: What did you say?!
- And then he gets another from his kindly father:Seti: Oh my son... they were only slaves.
- And then he gets another from his kindly father:
- What the Hell, Hero?: Aaron calls out Moses for not caring about Hebrews until he found out he was one himself. Moses agrees with him (it's implied to be one of the reasons for his self-exile, and one of the reasons he felt unworthy to lead them).
- What You Are in the Dark:
- Moses is given the chance to arrest Tzipporah when he sees her about to escape. Instead, he lets himself be a diversion so she can leave.
- When he meets Tzipporah's younger sisters, he is tired and hungry, and saw the girls being harassed by water thieves. He could've just not butted in, but uses his strength to get the harassers away.
- Why Did You Make Me Hit You?: Rameses is so hurt and enraged by Moses returning only to free the slaves, that he increases their workload and blames it on Moses pleading for their freedom.Rameses: You may tell the Hebrews: Their workload has been doubled, thanks to this "god," or is it thanks to you?
Rameses' son: Isn't that the man who did all this?
- Interestingly, Rameses and his son view Moses as the one doing this, since in his mind his brother is asking the impossible by demanding he free slaves, then inflicts so much suffering on Egypt and then blames Rameses for what he is doing.
Rameses: ... Yes. But one must wonder why?
Moses: Because no kingdom should be built on the backs of slaves. Rameses, your stubborness is what brings this misery upon Egypt. It would cease if you only let the Hebrews go.
Rameses: I will not be dictated to, I will not be threatened.
- Widescreen Shot: The three scenes set in the Pharaoh's throne room are occasionally shot side-on, showing the characters in profile and looking out over the city. These shots are in a widescreen format much wider than the rest of the movie to illustrate the backdrop the characters are up against. The background is different in each scene due to the progressing time, showing the status of Egypt at that moment; Egypt during the reign of Seti I, Egypt prosperous under Rameses II before the return of Moses, and Egypt in ruins after the Plagues.
- Winds Are Ghosts: The final plague of taking the first born is represented as a wind that takes the souls of children.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Rameses.
- The X of Y: The Prince of Egypt.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Jethro singing "Through Heaven's Eyes" could be this.
- "You!" Exclamation: Tzipporah, when she sees Moses being pulled out of the well and recognizes him from Egypt. His response is a nonverbal Oh, Crap!.
- You Shall Not Pass!: When Rameses catches up to the Hebrews at the Red Sea, a pillar of fire emerges from the sea and cuts him and his army off long enough to allow Moses to part the sea and get his people through it. Theres also the sea coming back down when Rameses and his army attempt to give chase through the parted sea, killing the soldiers and expelling Rameses out onto a lone rock.