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The Ten Commandments (1956) Poster

Goofs

Anachronisms 

When Bithia brings Moses out of the Nile, an obvious zipper runs up the back of her dress.
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The safety pin on the infant Moses' diaper can be seen when the baby is floating down the Nile.
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When Nefretiri is playing "Hounds and Jackals" and talking with Rameses, the lace trim at the top of her brassiere is visible.
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Debra Paget's high-heeled shoes are visible early in the film, even though her dress was designed to hide them.
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When Nefetiri is watching Moses re-enter the city, she's holding a branch with yellow flowers which are unmistakably wattle flowers. This flower is native to Australia and won't be widely known about for another 3000 years.
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As the Jews are leaving Egypt, an old man says a small golden calf is an idol, and casts it aside. But idolatry (graven images) was not forbidden until later at Mount Sinai.
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When Ramses is threatening Dathan to tell him the identity of the "Deliverer," there is clearly a fuller (sometimes but erroneously called a blood groove) in Ramses' short sword. Egyptian swords did not have fullers. In fact, fullers would not be invented for hundreds of years.
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Audio/visual unsynchronised 

During the end scene, Sephora says to Moses "You are God's torch that lights the way to freedom", but a different voice says "that lights the way to freedom." Yvonne De Carlo turned just as she said that part of the line, so it may have been dubbed.
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When Moses stands on the rock with the Ten Commandments tablets in his hands, he points to the Hebrews and said "Blasphemers! Idolaters!", but his lips never open.
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When Sephora's six sisters dance in the tent in front of Moses and the Sheiks, the background music starts just before the musicians began playing.
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Character error 

When Moses confronts Rameses just before changing the sea into blood a black object moves around on the ground (probably a button or a part of a costume coming off).
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When Yochabel was caught between stone blocks, the tongue on the left-hand stone was obviously too tall and too wide to fit the hole in the right-hand stone.
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Jethro tells Moses his people, the Midianites, were descendants of Abraham through Ishmael, "his first born." According to Genesis, the Midianites were descended from Midian, one of six sons of Abraham's second wife, Keturah.
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Continuity 

When the chariots are riding out of the city, the shots alternate between a clear blue sky and a sky with clouds.
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When Nefretiri has Moses brought from the brick works to her barge, he is filthy, and he holds himself back from embracing her. At one point in the conversation, he grabs her shoulders, but leaves no marks on her or on her dress. Later in the conversation, he refrains from holding her again for fear of soiling her dress.
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When the Pharaoh's chariots leave the city gates to go after the slaves, some shots of the chariots have long shadows, as if shot in late afternoon. But in other shots of the chariots, their shadows are short, as if shot in mid-day.
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When Moses and Aaron appear before Rameses and Nefretiri in the throne room, and Moses says "let my people go" for the first time, Moses is standing in front of and between the ruling couple, with Nefretiri at stage left. As Nefretiri realizes it is indeed Moses, she looks up and to her left at him. The longer shot shows her correctly looking up and to her right at him, as he is between her and Rameses.
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When the Hebrews are going out of Egypt, a camel eats some fruit that a man is carrying on his back. In the next shot, a lot of fruit is gone (too much for the camel to have eaten it all).
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The Red Sea changes color many times while it's being parted. At times it appears blue, green, and even gray. In later TV and DVD releases, the Red Sea becomes deep blue in color without a hint of green.
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After the Red Sea has parted, it is shown refilled, then parted, then refilled again.
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After Moses tells Nefretiri a shepherd girl is his wife, Nefretiri's position relative to Moses changes when she asks him whether his wife has hair with an "odor like sheep."
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As the sheep shearing festival, the wool is sold to Lugar, then Jethro's six daughters dance for Moses and the sheikhs. Moses leaves them to seek out Sephora. While they talk, many unshorn sheep are visible in the background.
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As Nefretiri watches Rameses lead the chariots out of the palace to catch up and try to destroy the Hebrews, the shadows from the chariots and Nefretiri were cast from two different angles.
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When Moses is exposed to Sethi, Nefertiri drops her feathered wand to her left. Immediately after a cut her body is turned completely to her right and both hands are on Sethi's chair.
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When Moses talks to the Hebrew crowd as their deliverer for the first time, the staff in his hand changes hands.
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When Yochabel is trapped under the stone, her robe's rope belt varies in length.
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The position of Pharoah's arm changes when he calls "Forward!"
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When Nefretiri plays Hounds and Jackals against Sethi, her position changes when she is told that Moses and Rameses are coming.
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When Moses is on the shore of the Red Sea and Dathan approaches, the sea behind is calm. When Dathan reaches him, the sea behind is now turbulent.
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Dathan holds a golden vessel near the top edge. A moment later, he is holding it near the middle.
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Crew or equipment visible 

As Moses approaches the Burning Bush on Mount Sinai, tire tracks from the camera dolly are visible on the ground behind him.
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When Moses encounters Joshua in his sheep fields ("Moses, there is a man among the sheep!"), Moses casts three shadows as he approaches Joshua, clearly revealing the positioning of studio lights.
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During the end scene, we see multiple shadows for Moses and the rest, indicating multiple lights used for the scene.
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Errors in geography 

Rameses stands in front of the Saqarra pyramids, with the Nile in the background, and deports Moses into the desert. That would send Moses west into the Sahara, instead of east across the Sinai.
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After Rameses tells Moses that the slaves are free to go, the Hebrews line up along a road lined with many identical sphinxes, which the narrator identifies as the "Avenue of the Sphinxes." That road still exists, in the ancient Egyptian capital of Thebes, now known as Luxor. Yet pyramids are visible in the background. Those pyramids are in Giza, which is near Cairo, about 315 miles (500 km) north of Luxor.
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Factual errors 

On the night of the 10th plague, the shadow of The Destoyer appears over a 3/4-moon. It should be a Full Moon. Passover (as this night is now celebrated) starts on the first Full Moon after the Vernal Equinox.
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In their last scene together, it is uncertain whether Ramses II will kill Queen Nefertari. In historical fact, Ramses built an elaborate temple to her - the favorite among his many wives - at Abu Simbel.
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Moses says that "no man will kneel except in prayer." Only Christians and Muslims kneel in prayer; Jews do not (and never did). At the time of the Exodus, no one knelt in prayer.
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Miscellaneous 

Moses appears to be wearing the same cloak for more than forty years but it never shows any aging at any point in the story.
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When Moses is confronting Rameses just before changing the sea into Blood, on the ground can be seen a black object moving about (probably a button or a part of a costume coming off).
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When the obelisk is about to be raised, a worker waves a blue banner against the blue sky. Bits of it vanish as it moves. This would have been because the invisible parts were catching enough light that they would match the background. When the special effects team was painting out the background to insert the sky as an underlay they were not able to determine what was sky and what was banner so they accidentally painted out the lighter elements of the banner.
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When Pharaoh decrees the slaughter of the Hebrew sons, he adds "So says Ramses the First." Ramses would just have been called Ramses at that time as Ramses the second would not be around for another forty years.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

Miriam tells the women at the well to fill their jars, because there will be 7 days without water. Pharaoh's jar of water turns red. The Hebrew women's water did not turn to blood was because God exempted the Hebrews from the plagues.
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Differences from the source material, and most other historical inaccuracies, are exempt from being listed as goofs, especially when they're caused by dramatic decisions, reliance on ceremonial traditions, or Renaissance-Baroque artistic depictions.
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The Red Sea just parted, the sea floor should be mud or wet sand, yet it is completely dry. This is not a goof; it is a miracle. The book of Exodus, on which the movie is based, says multiple times that the land was dry.
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Revealing mistakes 

When the Israelites are making the golden calf, one of the male dancers carelessly, but harmlessly, backs into the pot of molten metal.
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When the Hebrews are leaving Egypt, a man throws a golden calf statue to a small boy, who catches it with no problem. If this were made of solid gold, this could be a mistake, but if it were made of wood covered in gold leaf (which was a common method) it would not have been very heavy.
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As Moses was completing the building of an Egyptian city, and called for a blue pennant, the guard waves a blue flag in front of the backdrop, and the flag is filtered out and becomes transparent, alluding to the fact that there is in fact a blue-screened backdrop and not an actual city behind them.
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The floating basket bounces in the water when the lid is closed. When the lid is open and the baby Moses is visible, the basket is stationary, very obviously supported under the water.
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During the chase in the Red Sea, the lead chariots ride on ground neatly grooved with wheel tracks, with no evidence of the footsteps made by thousands of slaves and animals. A shot of the slaves exiting the Red Sea reveals how trampled the ground should have looked.
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As Moses leads the Israelites through the parted Red Sea, he stands on a tall outcropping of rock on the far end, to encourage his followers who are still making the journey through. As his people reach the other side, Pharaoh's forces approach quickly. Moses gives the signal, and the parted Red Sea collapses onto the Egyptian troops, while Pharaoh stands on a nearby rock. The remains of the gigantic wall of water sweep onto the ground, surrounding his position. Two large, obviously fake boulders float on top of the water, landing on the beach on the left of the screen. It could be argued that the force of the onrushing wave merely swept the rocks along. While a large amount of swiftly moving water can change entire landscapes, solid objects such as stone would move along the floor, not on the surface.
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When Sephora tells Moses that she sees a man among the sheep, Moses says to her, "Your eyes are as sharp as they are lovely," and Yvonne De Carlo looks straight into the camera.
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All of the hail on Pharao's balcony except that which lands on his flammable cloth canopy.
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Spoilers

The goof items below may give away important plot points.

Continuity 

When Nefretiri carries her dead son's body to Rameses, the boy's skirt is hanging very low. In the next shot, the excess skirt is suddenly wrapped back up, under her arm.
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Revealing mistakes 

Just after Sethi dies, as the camera focuses on Rameses saying "The Royal Falcon has flown into the sun," Sethi's closed eyelids move continuously.
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See also

Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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