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The Ten Commandments (Three-Disc 50th Anniversary Collection)

4.5 out of 5 stars 324 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

For sheer pageantry and spectacle, few motion pictures can claim to equal the splendor of Cecil B. DeMille's 1956 remake of his epic The Ten Commandments. Filmed in Egypt and the Sinai with one of the biggest sets ever constructed for a motion picture, this version tells the story of the life of Moses (Charlton Heston), once favored in the Pharaoh's (Yul Brynner) household, who turned his back on a privileged life to lead his people to freedom. With a rare on-screen introduction by Cecil B. DeMille himself, this unforgettable movie experience is enhanced by a Dolby surround stereo soundtrack.

Special Features

  • Includes 1956 Oscar-winning version and Cecil B. DeMille's original 1923 silent version
  • Hand-tinted footage of the Exodus and Parting of the Red Sea Sequence from the 1923 version
  • Commentary by Katherine Orrison, author of "Written in Stone: Making Cecil B. DeMille's Epic, The Ten Commandments," on both the 1956 and 1923 versions
  • 6-part, 37-minute "making of" documentary, featuring interviews with Charlton Heston and composer Elmer Bernstein, among others
  • Newsreel footage of the New York premiere
  • 3 theatrical trailers: 1956 "Making of" trailer, 1966 re-release trailer, 1989 re-release trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: Theodore Roberts, Charles de Rochefort, Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner, Estelle Taylor
  • Directors: Cecil B. DeMille
  • Writers: A.E. Southon, Dorothy Clarke Wilson, Fredric M. Frank, J.H. Ingraham, Jack Gariss
  • Format: Box set, Black & White, Color, Full Screen, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated:
    General Audience
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: March 21, 2006
  • Run Time: 356 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (324 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,476 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Ten Commandments (Three-Disc 50th Anniversary Collection)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By B. G. Carroll on May 9, 2006
Format: DVD
Like many admirers of DeMille, I was delighted when this 50th Anniversary Edition appeared but then, profoundly disappointed with what it contains. This movie has had two previous DVD releases and to my eyes, the presentation here is not an improvement on earlier outings.

Unlike Warners magnificent restoration of THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD, GONE WITH THE WIND and WIZARD OF OZ (amng others) which were digitally restored, frame by frame, Paramount has merely assembled the best archive print it can and remixed the soundtrack.

As for the "extras", surely a film which was in production & pre-production for almost 5 years & cost $13 million to make , had a ton of archive materials - photos, stills, memos, storyboards etc- that could have been included? The documentary seemed underproduced and cheaply done. Where was Debra Paget? Where was Nina Foch? Where was Yvonne De Carlo? All major players in the film and still very much alive! What great memories they would have had to share! Instead, we get an old interview with Heston and two minor bitpart players (one, Eugene Mazzola who played Ramses son, offers little as he was only 12 at the time!). And what about Clint Walker? Every time he makes an appearance as a guard (which is often), we are told this by the irritating commentator, as though it was some momentous event - well, if so, why didn't they interview him? He's a nice guy & loves talking about his career.

So, Paramount, I am giving the DVD set just 3 stars but only because it is good to finally have the silent version available at last. But given the fact that De Mille's own private archive is extensive and comprehensive I am surprised the De Mille Estate was not more fully involved in this.

Three DVDs in a matter of 8 years seems to me to be milking the cow without any effort. Will there be a Super Collectors' Edition next year? If so, I hope it's an improvement on this!

An opportunity missed!
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Format: DVD
There is little I can say that will add to the discussion of Cecil B. DeMille's 1956 VistaVision classic "The Ten Commandments." Love it or hate it, it is impossible to rank the film as anything less than a monumental chapter in the history of cinema.
As for the DVD, the question posed is this: Is the new 50th Anniversary Edition worth the upgrade? The answer depends on your circumstances. If you have never purchased the film on DVD or own only the bare-bones 1999 DVD edition, then I would highly recommend picking up Paramount's newest release of the film. In addition to the 1956 classic (presented in anamorphic widescreen; note to Amazon.com editors: the aspect ratios of VistaVision films are 1.85:1, not 2.20:1 as claimed above), the DVD offers six featurettes detailing various aspects of the film's production, audio commentary by DeMille historian Katherine Orrison, and three trailers, including the 1956 "Making Of" trailer featuring DeMille himself. This three disc set also includes the first DVD release of DeMille's 1923 silent film version of "The Ten Commandments" in black and white and in its original Academy Standard (1.33:1) aspect ratio; the film also features commentary by Orrison.
However, if you own the 2004 Special Collector's Edition release, there is nothing in this set you do not already have, except for the silent film. There are no new special features in this set, and the transfer is identical to the 2004 release. If you own the 2004 DVD, I would recommend saving your money unless you are eager to own the original silent film. For those who do not own any DVD edition of "The Ten Commandments," I highly recommend picking up a copy of this set; it offers the best opportunity to view a true Hollywood masterpiece.
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Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
I already had high expectations of this film to begin with, and was not disappointed when it turned out to be quite different from what I had expected. For a start, the famous "Ten Commandments" story (10 plagues of Egypt, Israelites leave via parting of the Red Sea, Moses receives 10 Commandments on Mt Sinai while Israelites misbehave and make a golden calf) later made famous by Charlton Heston as Moses, is actually only the PROLOGUE in this silent 1923 version, and the larger part of the story is a contemporary drama showing the modern-day relevance of the ten commandments with similar dire consequences to those who defy them. This might be a disappointment to those who expect a full Biblical epic and a famous Cecil B DeMille spectacle, but for those who value a brilliant story with poignant highlights to impress its ideas, this one rates the full 5 stars. The prologue (about 45 minutes) with its beautiful Egyptian sets and convincing special effects has a special feature, namely a 20-minute colour sequence of the highlight, the parting of the Red Sea, and although the colours look soft, weak and washed-out, it's interesting to see one of these first experiments with colour.

The contemporary story shows a mother with two sons; one is a god-fearing and humble carpenter, the other an unbelieving go-getter determined to prove his mother's teaching of the Ten Commandments of no use in the modern world. Although you can guess that this defiant son's attitude will be proven wrong, being the parallel to the defiant Pharaoh of Egypt in the prologue, DeMille's direction of the story is still unpredictable and suspenseful enough to keep you enthralled and wondering exactly how it will turn out.
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