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The Prince of Egypt

4.7 out of 5 stars 845 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Dreamworks Pictures has taken the biblical story of Exodus, put it into cartoon form, and released it on the big screen as an epic animated feature. The Prince of Egypt tells the story of Moses releasing the Jews from Egyptian slavery under the hand of the evil pharaoh Rameses. Think of The Ten Commandments with songs and an all-star cast doing the voices. In the Charlton Heston role of Moses is Val Kilmer. Moses' brother Rameses, previously played by Yul Brynner, is now voiced by Ralph Fiennes. The story revolves around these two close brothers, Moses and Rameses. While Rameses is groomed to take over the land, his beloved brother Moses is a carefree prankster, until he learns the true secret of his past. His secret, of course, is that he is really a Jew and as a child was floated down the river to escape mass genocide. The pharaoh Seti (Patrick Stewart) raised Moses as his son. Upon learning the truth of his past from a burning bush, Moses returns to Egypt with God on his side and demands that the pharaoh (now his brother Rameses) must "Let my people go." With songs written by Oscar-winner Stephen Schwartz and sung by Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey, The Prince of Egypt covers all the classic story points of the story of Moses, including the ten plagues and the parting of the Red Sea.


Nearly every biblical film is ambitious, creating pictures to go with some of the most famous and sacred stories in the Western world. DreamWorks' first animated film was the vision of executive producer Jeffrey Katzenberg after his ugly split from Disney, where he had been acknowledged as a key architect in that studio's rebirth (The Little Mermaid, etc.). His first film for the company he helped create was a huge, challenging project without a single toy or merchandising tie-in, the backbone du jour of family entertainment in the 1990s.

Three directors and 16 writers succeed in carrying out much of Katzenberg's vision. The linear story of Moses is crisply told, and the look of the film is stunning; indeed, no animated film has looked so ready to be placed in the Louvre since Fantasia. Here is an Egypt alive with energetic bustle and pristine buildings. Born a slave and set adrift in the river, Moses (voiced by Val Kilmer) is raised as the son of Pharaoh Seti (Patrick Stewart) and is a fitting rival for his stepbrother Rameses (Ralph Fiennes). When he learns of his roots--in a knockout sequence in which hieroglyphics come alive--he flees to the desert, where he finds his roots and heeds God's calling to free the slaves from Egypt.

Katzenberg and his artists are careful to tread lightly on religious boundaries. The film stops at the parting of the Red Sea, only showing the Ten Commandments--without commentary--as the film's coda. Music is a big part (there were three CDs released) and Hans Zimmer's score and Stephen Schwartz's songs work well--in fact the pop-ready, Oscar-winning "When You Believe" is one of the weakest songs. Kids ages 5 and up should be able to handle the referenced violence; the film doesn't shy away from what Egyptians did to their slaves. Perhaps Katzenberg could have aimed lower and made a more successful animated film, but then again, what's a heaven for? --Doug Thomas

Special Features

  • Technical effects reel
  • Chariot race multi-image segment
  • Art design slide show
  • Making-of featurette
  • Multi-language clip of the song "When You Believe."

Product Details

  • Actors: Val Kilmer, Ralph Fiennes, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sandra Bullock, Jeff Goldblum
  • Directors: Brenda Chapman, Simon Wells, Steve Hickner
  • Writers: Nicholas Meyer, Philip LaZebnik
  • Producers: Jeffrey Katzenberg, Linda Olszewski, P.J. Hanke
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Animated, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: Dreamworks Animated
  • DVD Release Date: January 1, 2006
  • Run Time: 74 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (845 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00000JGOQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,273 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Prince of Egypt" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Mark Devey on March 1, 2000
Format: DVD
This is a beautiful movie and a great DVD. The animation is some of the best ever done. Notice, in particular, the life-like Nile River and Red Sea at the beginning and end of the picture. The chariot race that opens the movie is thrilling and the parting of the Red Sea is breath taking. Frankly, I hesitated to see this because I believed that it would just be "The Ten Commandments" re-visited. However, the creators decided to focus on how the God's edict to "Let my people go" would effect the relationship of the two brothers--Rameses and Moses. This point of view permits the audience to have a strong attachment to both characters and the things that happen to them. Another surprise is that the creators did not tone down or "Hollywoodize" the religious aspects of the story. They realized that the great power of this story is its spiritual element. The DVD "extras" make it well worth the price. In particular, I found the comparison drawings showing the creation of the chariot race to be particularly compelling. The music and songs perfectly compliment the action and are never distracting. Clearly, Disney is not the only studio that can create a great animated film.
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Format: DVD
How exactly do you translate the story of Exodus...the story of freedom...into an Animated film...? How did they do it? Rarely have I felt tears at the BEGINNING of a movie...when Y'sheved(Moses' Mother) started to sing her lullaby IN HEBREW, I almost started crying. Since I always prefer animated films to the "real thing", I felt "finally, a perfect film..." Being Jewish and seeing this movie during the month of Pesach(Passover) was literally a religious experience. I was touched. Seeing the people sing Mi'Chamocha as the left Egypt pulled tears from my heart. I was so happy to see the way the film was executed. Don't get me wrong, this is a film for all peoples. But it seems to almost be aimed at the Jewish Community. And I think this movie is better than ANY live action film to date. I could literally hear the Words from the Torah in my mind as I watched. The music was too incredible to describe, the voices a special treat, especially Jeff Goldblum as Aaron. This movie may not be historically acccurate, but it is a well rounded account that has achieved an incredible thing. The Hebrew singing was too much for me, again, I wanted to cry because it was so amazing to see it on the screen, and feel like you are there. L'Chiam, Katzenberg, Dreamworks SKG. Thank you for adding something to the list with The Ten Commandments and Schindler's List and La Vita E Bella (Life is Beautiful). If you have to buy any movie for you or your children, please buy this one. It may be a little violent, but the sheer fact that Dreamworks is not afraid to show what it might have been like is something to applaud. The movie is a masterpiece. Watch it, it is a NEW experience...
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Format: DVD
I am pleased to offer this review for what I consider to be one of the finest animated films of all time. The review is partially in response to a rather malicious one offered by a reviewer known as trezku13. I felt it necessary to rebut some of this person's inaccurate comments.
The movie puts a disclaimer at the beginning to inform the viewer that there are artistic and dramatic licenses taken with the story (a.k.a. whales in the Sea of Reeds). You should be prepared for this when you watch it. If you're watching this with the book of Exodus in your lap, you will see some differences in the two accounts. These changes don't adulterate the message of the story and should not detract from the viewing experience. Some differences to note are:
1) Seti's wife finding Moses rather than his daughter (Exodus 2:5),
2) The idea that Moses didn't know he was Hebrew and had no contact with his family (Exodus 2:7-11),
3) Moses' "accidentally killing the Egyptian rather than deliberately killing him (Exodus 2:12),
4) Rameses pleading with Moses to stay in Egypt as opposed to Pharaoh seeking to kill him (Exodus 2:15),
5) Any idea of personal rivalry between Pharaoh and Moses,
6) Moses speaking by himself before Pharaoh instead of Aaron speaking for him (Exodus 4:14-16),
7) An exaggerated role for Zipporah when she is actually hardly mentioned.
These changes may seem unnecessary, however they do add intrigue to the narrative and, as before mentioned, do not in any way seriously alter the story.
The quality of the music does fall firmly into the realm of opinion. However, as a person who holds a degree in music, and has performed and taught professionally for many years, my professional and personal opinion is that the music is quite wonderful.
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Format: DVD
The story of Moses is a compelling one. "The Prince of Egypt" manages to meld that story into a very easily digested tale for the whole family. Though some liberties are taken, "Prince" keeps the basic elements of this wonderful tale intact. The only truly noteworthy changes are that Moses confronts Pharoah instead of his biological brother, Aaron, doing most of the talking and Moses and Ramses are raised as brothers by the Pharoah. In the Bible, Moses is raised by Pharoah's daughter, and Aaron plays a larger role in the overall story, doing most of the speaking to Pharoh as a representative of Moses.

With those minor details out of the way, "Prince of Egypt" is one of the best films around for the entire family to watch. It begins with the finding of Moses on the Nile River by Pharoah's wife, then shows him grow up as royalty in Egypt. He and his brother, Ramses, pretty much have full run of the roost. They get into plenty of trouble with each other, and their chariot race sequence is one of the best "chase" scenes in cinematic history. When Moses finds out that he is Hebrew, and that most of his people are slaves to Pharoah, he begins to notice the horrible things happening to his people. He accidentally kills one of Pharoah's guards when he attempts to protect one of the slaves, and, upset, he leaves his home in search of himself. God reveals to him that he is to lead his people out of Egypt, and he must go and tell Pharoah (who, by now, is Ramses) to, "let my people go."

The tale then takes us through the plagues that wreak havoc on Egypt as long as Pharoah refuses to free the Hebrews. The final plague, and definitely the most chilling, is the Passover.
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