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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Specht


In honor of its 65th anniversary, The Ten Commandments will appear on the big screen at a theater near you for two days only on March 28 and 31 as part of the TCM Big Screen Classics series.

Throughout film history, Hollywood has produced a number of sweeping epics and generation-defining movies. However, one particular Biblical saga has withstood the test of time, and remained a recognizable title for generations. Cecil B. DeMille’s 1956 version of The Ten Commandments is universally acknowledged among critics as a cinematic masterpiece with a legendary cast including Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner, and Ann Baxter. In case you don't already know it, that's an extraordinary cast of the day who remain popular amongst cinepfiles to this day. Even the minor roles are filled with a cornucopia of beloved character actors, such Vincent Price, Judith Anderson, Cedrick Hardwicke, and Johhn Carradine. Even usual leading man Edward G. Robinson appears in an uncharacteristically small role. You almost have to ask yourself who wasn't in this film.

It's important to note that the film's enduring popularity has kept the sixty-five year-old epic on the top ten list of highest grossing films of all time (when adjusted for inflation) even though it has never previously been re-released. Although DVD and VHS sales, and annual television viewings during the Easter holidays have contributed, the impressive landmark is largely based on original ticket sales. That places the popularity of the picture on par with that of a Marvel or Star Wars movie. There's just no over stating the enormity of its universal appeal, even in countries with predominantly non-Christian populations. Amazing.

The widescreen extravaganza was nominated for 7 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Cinematography, Art Direction, Costumes, Sound, and Editing. It ultimately won just one statuette for Best Special Effects for what was then considered revolutionary, if only for the parting of the red sea. The use of more than 14,000 extras and 15,000 animals is also notably impressive for an age when there was no computer manipulation or CGI.

For all of its collective talents, The Ten Commandments can only be properly appreciated when presented on the big screen. I urge you to take advantage of this rare opportunity and see this epic film the way it was meant to be seen – on the big screen! As per usual for a presentation by Big Screen Classics, this 65th anniversary event includes exclusive insights from Turner Classic Movies. Yeah!


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