The Ten Commandments (movie, 1956)

The Ten Commandments ( The Ten Commandments ) is an epic one American directed by Cecil B. DeMille , released in 1956 , including Charlton Heston , Yul Brynner , Anne Baxter , Edward G. Robinson and Yvonne De Carlo in the lead roles.

Rehabilitation part of his silent film from 1923 , The Ten Commandments is the last film of the director, who died three years later 2 . Shot in Egypt , at Mount Sinai and in the Sinai Peninsula , at the time of its release in cinemas, the, it was the most expensive film ever produced 2 and presented one of the most important distributions ever 2 .

In 1957 , The Ten Commandments was nominated for seven Oscars , including the Oscar for Best Picture , but ultimately won only the Oscar for Best Visual Effects . In 1999 the film was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress of the United States as being “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant” . In June 2008, the film was ranked by the American Film Institute as the 10 th best film in the epic genre .


Tables of the Ten Commandments(short version) in mosaic letters, similar to those in the film.

The film tells of the liberation of the slave Hebrews in Egypt , as told in the Old Testament .

Moses , saved water is high in the court of Pharaoh Seti st with the future Ramses II , on which it will trigger the ten plagues of Egypt to force it to free his people. On the way, God gives him the tables of the law and Moses leads his people to the promised land .

Technical sheet

  • Original title: The Ten Commandments
  • French title: The Ten Commandments
  • Director: Cecil B. DeMille
  • Scenario: Aeneas MacKenzie , Jesse L. Lasky Jr. , Jack Gariss  (in) and Fredric M. Frank , from the novels Pillar of Fire by JH Ingraham  (in) , On Eagle’s Wing of AE Southon  (in)and the Prince of Egypt by Dorothy Clarke Wilson  (en)
  • Artistic direction: Hal Pereira , Walter Tyler and Albert Nozaki  (en)
  • Sets: Sam Comer and Ray Moyer ; Jerry Cook (monumental constructions)
  • Costumes: Edith Head , Ralph Jester  (in) , John Jensen  (in) , Dorothy Jeakins and Arnold Friberg
  • Makeup: Wally Westmore
  • shoes: Salvatore Ferragamo
  • Hairstyles: Nellie Manley
  • Photography: Loyal Griggs ; Wallace W. Kelley , J. Peverell Marley and John F. Warren (additional photograph)
  • Editing: Anne Bauchens
  • Music: Elmer Bernstein
  • Production: Cecil B. DeMille and Henry Wilcoxon
  • Production Companies: Paramount Pictures and Motion Picture Associates
  • Distribution Company: Paramount Pictures
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English
  • Budget: $ 13 million
  • Format: color ( Technicolor ) – 35 mm in horizontal scrolling 1.85: 1 ( Vista Vision ) – mono or stereo four magnetic tracks (Western Electric Recording)
  • Genre: Epic Biblical Movie , Peplum
  • Duration: 222 minutes
  • Release dates:
    •  United States :
    •  France :


Sources and legend : French version (VF) on Allodoublage 3

  • Charlton Heston (VF: John Davy ) : Moses
  • Yul Brynner (VF: Georges Aminel ) : Ramses II
  • Anne Baxter (VF: Claire Guibert ) : Nefertari
  • Edward G. Robinson (VF: Raymond Rognoni ) : Dathan
  • Yvonne De Carlo (VF: Claude Winter ) : Séphora
  • Debra Paget (VF: Thérèse Rigaut ) : Lilia
  • John Derek (VF: Serge Lhorca ) : Joshua
  • Cedric Hardwicke (VF: Richard Francoeur ) : Seti st
  • Nina Foch (VF: Sylvie Deniau ) : Bithiah
  • Martha Scott (VF: Lita Recio ) : Yochabel
  • Judith Anderson (VF: Marie Francey ) : Memnet
  • Vincent Price (VF: Marc Valbel ) : Baka
  • John Carradine (VF: Louis Arbessier ) : Aaron
  • Olive Deering (VF: Anne Carrère ) : Myriam
  • Douglass Dumbrille ( Claude Peran ) : Janes
  • Frank DeKova (VF: René Bériard ) : Abiram
  • Eduard Franz (VF: Abel Jacquin ) : Jethro
  • Henry Wilcoxon (VF: Georges Hubert ) : Pentaour
  • Donald Curtis : Mered
  • Lawrence Dobkin : Hur Ben Caleb
  • HB Warner : Aminadab
  • Julia Faye : Elisheba
  • Ian Keith (VF: Jean Brunel ) : Ramses st
  • John Miljan : the first blind
  • Lisa Mitchell  ( VF: Jeanine Freson ) : a daughter of Jethro
  • Noëlle Williams : a daughter of Jethro
  • Joanna Merlin : a daughter of Jethro
  • Pat Richard : a daughter of Jethro
  • Joyce Vanderveen : a daughter of Jethro
  • Diane Hall : a daughter of Jethro
  • Abbas el Boughdadly : the driver of the chariot of Ramses II
  • Fraser Clarke Heston : Moses Child
  • Francis McDonald (VF: Jean d’Yd ) : Simon
  • Paul De Rolf : Eleazar
  • Woodrow Strode : The King of Ethiopia
  • Tommy Duran : Gershom
  • Eugene Mazzola : the son of Ramses II
  • Ramsay Hill : Koré
  • Joan Woodbury : the wife of Korah
  • Esther Brown (VF: Darling Legitimus ) : Tarbis
  • Dorothy Adams : a slave / a woman at the palace of Ramses / a woman at the camp of the Golden Calf

and, among the uncredited actors:

  • Luis Alberni : an old Hebrew in the house of Moses
  • Michael Ansara (VF: Marcel Lestan ) : a supervisor
  • Arthur Batanides : a Hebrew at Ramses Gate and the Golden Calf Camp
  • Edward Earle : a slave
  • Gavin Gordon : the ambassador of Troy
  • Peter Hansen : a young assistant
  • Paul Harvey : the royal physicist
  • Harry Woods : an officer
  • Kay Hammond : Grease Woman
  • Cecil B. DeMille (VF: Maurice Dorléac ) : the narrator ( voice-over )



The scenario of the Ten Commandments , written by Aeneas MacKenzie , Jesse L. Lasky Jr. , Jack Gariss  (in) and Fredric M. Frank , was inspired by the novels Pillar of Fire by JH Ingraham  (in) , On Eagle’s Wing of AE Southon  ( en) and The Prince of Egypt by Dorothy Clarke Wilson  (en) 4 .

The director, Cecil B de Mille , benefited from the Paramount carte blanche (both financial and artistic) for the realization of his biblical fresco 1 . The studio gave him full confidence and awarded him the necessary time (three years of writing and seven months of filming) with almost unlimited means 1 . For this film, DeMille asked the leading specialists of ancient Egypt and the Eastern world from the time of the advisor 4 .


The shoot required the presence of over 10,000 extras and a hundred thousand accessories, for an estimated budget of 13 million dollars 4 . Victim of a heart attack , Cecil B. DeMille back to work on the set against the advice of his doctors, after only two days off 4 .

The film was shot at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles , as well as outdoors in Egypt ( Luxor , Abu Rudeis, Abu Ruwash, Beni Youssef and Mount Sinai ), Monument Valley , Arizona, and State Park. from Red Rock Canyon ( California ).

According to the film critic Olivier Père , DeMille for this film “remains faithful to a frontal staging, opts for a two-dimensional space and pushes its interpreters towards theatricality” and demonstrates “an exceptional sense of context and the composition, preferring the VistaVision format to that of CinemaScope . His use of Technicolorin fact, one of the great colourists of American cinema. DeMille can also organize gigantic movements of crowds (…), use spectacular optical effects, build huge sets and triumph in intimate and melodramatic scenes, bringing to their climax the emotions, but also the sensuality of his characters . From this immeasurable and triumphant spectacle finally emerges a feeling of poetry, of humanity, a taste for detail that brings cinema closer to DeMille last period of miniaturist painting ” 1 .

The narrator of the original film is Cecil B. DeMille himself 4 .

Difference with the original film

  • The version 1923 of the Ten Commandments , unlike the 1956 film, was divided into two parts, the second being at the contemporary age 1 .

Out and Home

Box office

  • 1956: 85.4 million $ ( st global box office)
    •  United States
      • 1956: $ 65.5 million ( st box office)
      • adjusted [when?]$ 861,980,000 ( th US box office adjusted)
    •  France : 14,229,563 entries

The Ten Commandments is one of the finest financial achievements ever made, garnering approximately $ 122.7 million in box office when it was first released; making it the most lucrative film of the year 1956 and the second biggest film success of the decade.

According to Guinness World Records , for its theatrical career, this film is the seventh biggest hit of all time 5 , 6 when the amount of revenue is adjusted to inflation .


In 1957 , during the 29 th Academy Awards , The Ten Commandments is appointed for seven Oscars , including Best Picture . However, film won only one statuette, that of the best special effects ( John P. Fulton , ASC ) 7 . That year is Around the World in 80 Days of Michael Anderson who won the Oscar for best film 4 .

Charlton Heston was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Drama for his role as Moses . Yul Brynner won the National Board of Review for Best Actor for Ramses II 7 , note 1 .

In 1999 the film was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress of the United States as being “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant” 8 .

In June 2008, The Ten Commandments was ranked as the 10 th best film in the epic 9 , 10 by the American Film Institute , after a poll of more than 1 500 people in the film community.

Video editions


The , the film is released on DVD for the first time (as well as in VHS ). This edition includes the restored version of 1989, the presentation of Cecil B. DeMille , the opening with intermission and closure, as well as three trailers VO as a bonus. The film is spread over two discs. Movie trailers are only available on the second disc.

The , the film comes out in collector’s box 3 DVD, including new bonuses, as well as the 1923 version. However, the image and the sound are identical to the previous edition. It will be necessary to wait until 2011 for a new restoration HD is carried out.

DVD / Blu-ray

In 2011, in the United States, the film is released on Blu-ray (as well as on DVD), for the first time. This is a fully restored version in high definition, made from a 6K scan of the original film. The result is very impressive for a movie of this time, the film has found all its youth (or more) with the sharpness and colors worthy of a recent movie. The only other film to have also benefited from a 6K scan is Ben-Hur . The version released in the United States is a collector’s version , in the form of tablets incorporating 6 discs (Blu-ray and DVD), a book, photos and other numerous bonuses.

In 2012, the film is released in France in Blu-ray, in metal case and plastic case. Unfortunately, no bonus is present, only the film is, unlike the American edition.

In popular culture

  • The film was inspired by the musicians of American metal band Metallica for the song Creeping Death , single from the album Ride the Lightning released in 1984 11 . The title would have been found by Cliff Burton , during the viewing of the movie 12 .

Notes and references


  1. ↑ As for his other roles that year in Anastasia and The King and I .


  1. ↑ a , b , c , d and e “The Ten Commandments of Cecil B. DeMille”  [ archive ] , Olivier Père , Arte .tv, March 3, 2017.
  2. ↑ a , b and c (in) A Close Call for Mr. De Mille ”  [ archive ] , Life,p.  115.
  3. ↑ Card of the French dubbing of the film  [ archive ] .
  4. ↑ a , b , c , d , e and f Anecdotes shooting  [ archive ] on Allociné .fr .
  5. ↑ “The 10 most lucrative films in history”  [ archive ] , Cédric Rousseau, Ouest-France .fr (accessed February 10, 2017).
  6. ↑ “Box office Here are the (real) 10 biggest successes in the history of cinema” [ archive ] , Le Matin .ch , June 3, 2015.
  7. ↑ a and b Awards for The Ten Commandments (1956) ”  [ archive ] , on IMDb
  8. ↑ (in) Complete National Film Registry Listing ”  [ archive ] , Library of (accessed 20 April 2016).
  9. ↑ (in) AFI Crowns Top 10 Films in 10 Classic Genres ”  [ archive ] , on ,.
  10. ↑ (in) Top 10 Epic ”  [ archive ] , on the website of the American Film Institute (accessed June 18, 2008 ) .
  11. ↑ (in) METALLICA – Encyclopedia Metallica – Song Info – Creeping Death [ archive ] , on (accessed 3 April 2015 )
  12. ↑ (de) Dominik Winter, ” Neudefinition eines Genres “, Metal Hammer , December 2009, S. 24ff. ( ISSN  1614-2292 )

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