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The Ten Commandments

4.7 out of 5 stars 2,034 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Legendary silent film director Cecil B. DeMille didn't much alter the way he made movies after sound came in, and this 1956 biblical drama is proof of that. While graced with such 1950s niceties as VistaVision and Technicolor, The Ten Commandments

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Legendary silent film director Cecil B. DeMille didn't much alter the way he made movies after sound came in, and this 1956 biblical drama is proof of that. While graced with such 1950s niceties as VistaVision and Technicolor, The Ten Commandments (DeMille had already filmed an earlier version in 1923) has an anachronistic, impassioned style that finds lead actors Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner expressively posing while hundreds of extras writhe either in the presence of God's power or from orgiastic heat. DeMille, as always, plays both sides of the fence as far as sin goes, surrounding Heston's Moses with worshipful music and heavenly special effects while also making the sexy action around the cult of the Golden Calf look like fun. You have to see The Ten Commandments to understand its peculiar resonance as an old-new movie, complete with several still-impressive effects such as the parting of the Red Sea. --Tom Keogh

Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner, Anne Baxter, Edward G. Robinson, Yvonne De Carlo
  • Directors: Cecil B. DeMille
  • Writers: A.E. Southon, Dorothy Clarke Wilson, Fredric M. Frank, J.H. Ingraham, Jack Gariss
  • Format: AC-3, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    G
    General Audience
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: March 30, 1999
  • Run Time: 220 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,034 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0792154649
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #94,675 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Ten Commandments" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Okay. I admit it. Watching this Biblical epic, when it was a mainstay on ABC each Easter evening for some 30 years, I practically had the whole script memorized. . .even knew when Anne Baxter, as over-eager Nefretiri, would slide into a wickedly wonderful pattern of over-acting. ("Moses. . ." she would coo, "take me in your arms. . .") I must have seen THE TEN COMMANDMENTS dozens of times, and yet, each year, I plopped my carcass on the couch on Easter evening, popcorn and suds in tow, and watched Cecil B. DeMille's 4-plus hour epic, completely mesmerized and entertained.

All of us know the story: a once-great Egyptian prince leads his true people, the Hebrews, into freedom from four centuries of slavery and bondage. It is a great story, as four books of the Old Testament aptly, well, attest. Yet what makes this flick truly wonderful, impressive, and fun to watch, is the scope and grand scale of DeMille's 1956 epic--from the awesome vistas of Egypt, portrayed on a blue screen in some Hollywood studio, to the blatantly corny, often laughable, dialogue and actions of its characters (a distant reflection of the silent film icon who dominates this picture). Accordingly, THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, in particular, this DVD Special Collector's Edition, is an absolute blast for film buffs thirsty for more trivia and knowledge regarding one of Hollywood's alltime classics.

Here, in the wonderful commentaries that accompany the film, "The Ten Commandments" student and author Katherine Orrison furnishes an incredible, interesting, and overwhelming avalanche of information. For instance: Did you know that DeMille's first choice for Queen Nefretiri was not Anne Baxter, but Audrey Hepburn?
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
**The Film**

I'm not going to spend too much time here critiquing the movie. It's a perennial classic that most have seen at least parts of. Released in 1956 and directed by Cecil B. DeMille, it is also not a 'cinema verite' gorefest like many modern "swords and sandals" epics. It is peopled by characters who speak exclusively in dramatic flourishes, regardless of how illiterate or poor their characters are supposed to be. It takes liberties with some elements of the bible story (Moses' stutter and his Ethiopian wife are strangely absent, for instance). But for my money none of these are knocks on it - it is a classic through and through, and despite starting off a bit slowly, it picks up dramatic steam quickly and becomes quite a mesmerizing experience. The actors make their characters easy to care about, the visuals are sumptuous and engaging, the music is stirring, the story is solid. As a film, it's an easy recommendation for anyone who enjoys historical or biblical epics, or just connoisseurs of classic movies.

**The Blu-Ray**

I purchased this (the 2-disc edition) based on its glowing pre-release reviews on major online review sites. So my expectations were high, to say the least. I was expecting nothing less than a Grand Slam HD experience.

So what did I get? I'm happy to say: A Grand Slam HD experience.

You'll know you're in for a treat when the Overture begins. The backdrop looks just like leather - the sheen and texture are so finely presented that it's easily visible, even from a relatively far viewing distance. Things just keep getting better from there. Colors are out-of-this-world gorgeous. Fine detail is excellent, especially on the intricate Egyptian costumes and cloth textures.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
While Cecil B. DeMille's directorial skills were sometimes too rooted in the more grandiose style of the silent era, he CERTAINLY was ALWAYS a master showman, and his 1956 remake of "The Ten Commandments" is a whale of a show! Both pious and profane, posturing and sincere, it isn't great history, but it abounds in spectacle. While he was in poor health during the filming (suffering a seizure that was either a stroke or mild heart attack, while working under the 130-degree Egyptian sun), his distinctive 'style' was never more in evidence, with broad, overwrought performances, dazzling costumes and sets, monumental climaxes, and morals that are repeatedly hammered home. In 'classic' DeMille, there ARE no 'grays', everything is 'good' or 'evil', and 'evil' WILL be punished! Watching the film, you'll either enjoy the 'ride', or you'll groan, again and again. Personally, I love it, even with it's unintentional(?) campiness!

Among my favorite 'so bad it's FUN' moments are 'Rameses' Yul Brynner and 'Nefretiri' Anne Baxter's frequent use of "Moses, Moses..." whenever he predicts something dire (Brynner looks like he can barely keep a straight face, uttering the phrase); 'Sephora' Yvonne De Carlo's stoic, yet impassioned pitch to Moses to marry her, always looking away ('into the future', I presume), when comparing her assets to Nefretiri's; 'Dathan' Edward G. Robinson's entire performance (nearly epic hamminess from one of America's finest film actors); Woody Strode's Ethiopian 'Princess' companion, who praises Moses' kindness with so much heat and honey that Nefretiri suspects he was fooling around, down south; and Sir Cedric Hardwicke's 'Sethi', turning an Egyptian Pharoah into a world-weary lovable executive-type (one can't help but wonder how Rameses could be HIS son!
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