Story

The Ten Commandments is an animated retelling of the Biblical story of Exodus. In this story, the Hebrew prophet Moses (brought up as an Egyptian) is chosen by God to lead his people out of slavery in Egypt to the Promised Land. Here they can live in freedom. It features the voices of Ben Kingsley (narrator), Christian Slater (Moses), Alfred Molina (Ramses) and Elliot Gould (God).

Themes

Slavery; natural disasters (plagues); death and threatened killing

Violence

There is some violence in this movie. For example:

  • The Hebrew slaves are often whipped by the Egyptians to force them to work harder.
  • Moses and a relative, Ramses, engage in aggressive rough-housing that destroys several nearby garden statues.
  • A guard draws a knife on Moses. They engage in battle, which results in Moses stabbing the guard. The knife is shown in close-up with blood on it.
  • Moses is pursued through the streets by guards and eventually knocked from his donkey by a blow to his face by a guard’s staff.
  • Men physically harass women in the desert around a communal well.  Moses threatens them with violence if they don’t leave the women alone.
  • Moses’ snake consumes the snakes of the Egyptian magicians.
  • Pharaoh repeatedly verbally threatens violence and death on Moses and the Hebrew slaves.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5

In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five. For example:

  • Large vicious crocodiles snap at the basket containing the infant Moses as he floats on the river.
  • Moses’ staff transforms into a cobra (which eventually eats those of the magicians).
  • The cobras are threatening and scary.
  • Some of the curses (for example, hailstorm, fire, destruction of city) are very loud and large.
  • God sends his spirit, in the form of an angel, to descend on the Egyptian city. It splits off into several phantasms, all seeking the souls of the Egyptian first born.
  • God leads the Hebrews out of Egypt with a pillar of cloud during the day and pillar of fire at night. The cloud looks similar to a tornado (and both are unnatural).
  • God waylays the Egyptian army by raining fire on them.
  • The Red Sea crashes down on top of the Egyptian army in a frightening way.
  • When lightning hits a rock, the rock breaks into two pieces and flies up into the air. The pieces orbit around each other while they are imprinted with glowing Aramaic symbols (the Commandments).
  • The golden calf (and its creator) are swallowed by volcanic cracks that open in the ground. 

From 5-8

In addition to the violent scenes and scary visual images mentioned above, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children in this age group. For example:

  • By the order of Pharaoh, all the Hebrew baby boys are forcibly removed from their parents. The idea is for crocodiles in the river to kill them.
  • Moses is abandoned by his parents (for his own safety) and set afloat in a woven basket on the river.
  • Moses strikes the water with his staff. The river, and all surrounding water sources, turn to blood. Fish are seen to die and float to the surface.
  • Some of the plagues God inflicts have disastrous results – for example, swarming flies, boils, locusts, a dust storm. People are chased by the locusts, and a cow dies in the streets.
  • The lintel posts (doorways) of the Hebrew houses are marked with the blood of lambs (to protect them from God’s angel of death). One of the dead lambs is seen cooking on a spit roast.
  • Pharaoh’s son is one of the children who die after God’s angel descends.  He is seen lying dead in his father’s arms.  Pharaoh is clearly distressed.
  • Following the destruction of the Egyptian army in the sea, the bodies of the men and their horses are seen floating and drowned in the water.
  • There are various disasters brought upon the land including hailstorm, fire, a dust storm, lightning, and a volcanic earthquake.  There is often ‘off-screen’ screaming associated with each of these disasters.

From 8-13

Most children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film.

Over 13

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film.

Sexual references

None of concern

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

None of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

There is very mild sexual activity in this movie. In one scene, two women dance together wearing less than their culturally-approved attire. One of the women attempts to cover her chest with her hands when Moses returns from the mountain and sees what they are doing.

Product placement

None of concern

Coarse language 

None of concern

Ideas to discuss with your children

The Ten Commandments is a computer-generated animation depicting the historical and Biblical account of Moses’ exodus from Egypt to the Promised Land. It provides a chance for you to talk with your children about values such as perseverance, loyalty, justice, freedom (from slavery and oppression), courage, patience, faith, Judaic/Christian morality, and family/community unity.

This movie could also give you the chance to discuss with your children the importance of:

  • reviewing historical texts first-hand
  • the nature and intent of slavery, racism and infanticide
  • idolatry, magic and supernatural events
  • violence, rebellion, murder, deception, ungratefulness, anger and impatience.