When you think of Biblical movies, you probably see Charlton Heston in your mind. After all, he played the role of Moses in the 1956 version of The Ten Commandments so successfully that it made him an overnight star. His performance as Moses is still regarded as one of the finest of any actor playing the part. This has led to many moviegoers associating all Bible-based films with Charlton Heston and his performance as Moses. However, this is unfair to other actors who have played the Biblical figure over the years. Here are some famous actors who played roles in famous film versions of The Ten Commandments.
Yul Brynner is best known for his role as the "king of Siam" in the Broadway version of The King and I. When he played the role of Ramses II in the 1956 film version of The Ten Commandments, he was already an established movie star. He went on to reprise his role as Ramses in the musical version of The Ten Commandments in the 1960s and again in the film version of The Prince of Egypt in the late 1990s. Brynner also played roles in other Biblical films, including The Bible and the Ten Commandments, Jesus of Nazareth, and The Great Escape. In The Ten Commandments, Brynner played the role of the pharaoh very differently than Marlon Brando. Brynner played the role much more subtly than Brando had and with a more calculating and cautious attitude, as though he were afraid of making the same mistake twice. Brynner's performance as Ramses II was much more restrained, but it was also more sinister.
Anne Bancroft is primarily known for her roles in films such as The Graduate, The Turning Point, and The Big Suit, but she also appeared in several Biblical films, including The Ten Commandments. In that film, she played the role of Moses' wife, Tzipporah. Bancroft's performance as Tzipporah was one of the most interesting and memorable in the film. Bancroft used a variety of accents in her career, including a Russian accent, Swedish, and French, but she also spoke Egyptian Arabic in The Ten Commandments. In the movie, Bancroft's portrayal of Tzipporah was powerful and confident, but she also showed a softer, more compassionate side. Her performance as Tzipporah was criticized by some as being too contemporary, but it also helped to humanize the character.
Yul Edouan is one of the most prolific actors on this list, appearing in over 200 films during his career. He is also one of the few actors on this list who played the role of Moses in more than one film version of The Ten Commandments. Edouan is a native of Russia who also appears in several Russian films. In The Ten Commandments, he plays the role of the young Moses, and in The Great Escape, he plays the role of the older Moses. In The Ten Commandments, Edouan played the role of the young Moses with a sense of wonder and discovery, but he also showed the patience and resolve of an older Moses. In The Great Escape, Edouan plays the role of Moses with a more mature and experienced approach.
Robert Duvall has played a wide variety of roles in his long and successful career, including everything from a sheriff in the classic film, The Magnificent Seven, to a colonel in the equally classic film, Apocalypse Now. In The Ten Commandments, Duvall played the role of the young Moses. Duvall's performance in The Ten Commandments shows a quiet and thoughtful side to the character, but it also shows a more impulsive and impetuous side to the character. Duvall's interpretation of the character was perhaps a little too subtle for some, but it also showed a human side to the character that made it more believable.
Charlton Heston is perhaps the actor most associated with Biblical films, having played several roles in Biblical films throughout his long and distinguished career. In The Ten Commandments, Heston played the role of the older Moses. He also played the role of the young Moses in The Great Escape, the role of Ben Hur in Ben Hur, and the role of John the Baptist in The Greatest Story Ever Told. Heston's performance in The Ten Commandments showed a quiet and thoughtful side to the character, but it also showed a more impulsive and impetuous side to the character. Heston's interpretation of the character has become the standard by which all others are measured since then and shows a quiet dignity and strength that few others have been able to match.
The Ten Commandments have been interpreted and performed in many different ways over the years. It has been played as a comedy, a musical, a melodrama, a drama, and even a sci-fi adventure. However, it has always been a story of faith and hope, even when it is a story of darkness and despair. The different actors who have played the part of Moses have all brought something different to the character, but each one has shown both a quiet dignity and a quiet strength. It is perhaps that quiet strength that makes the story of The Ten Commandments so enduring and so relevant even after thousands of years.