The Prince of Egypt


Brenda Chapman
Steve Hickner
Simon Wells


Penney Finkelman Cox
Sandra Rabins


Philip LaZebnik
Nicholas Meyer (additional screenplay material)

Based on

Book of Exodus


Val Kilmer
Ralph Fiennes
Michelle Pfeiffer
Sandra Bullock
Jeff Goldblum
Danny Glover
Patrick Stewart
Helen Mirren
Steve Martin
Martin Short


Hans Zimmer
Stephen Schwartz


Nick Fletcher

Production company

DreamWorks Animation


DreamWorks Pictures

The Prince of Egypt is a 1998 American animated epic musical drama film and the first traditional animated film produced and released by DreamWorks. The film is an adaptationof the Book of Exodus and follows the life of Moses from being a prince of Egypt to his ultimate destiny to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt. Directed by Brenda ChapmanSteve Hickner, and Simon Wells, the film features songs written by Stephen Schwartz and a score composed by Hans Zimmer. The voice cast consists of Val Kilmer in a dual role, Ralph FiennesMichelle PfeifferSandra BullockJeff GoldblumDanny GloverPatrick StewartHelen MirrenSteve Martin, and Martin Short.

Plot Edit

In Ancient Egypt, Yocheved, a Hebrew mother, and her two children, Miriam and Aaron, watch as the newborn Hebrew boys are taken and ruthlessly killed as ordered by Pharaoh Seti, who fears that an alarming increase in Hebrew slaves could lead to rebellion. Fearing for her own newborn son's safety, Yocheved places him in a basket afloat on the Nile River, not before bidding him farewell with a final but powerful lullaby. Miriam follows the basket to the Pharaoh's palace and witnesses her baby brother safely adopted by Queen Tuya, who names him Moses.

Years later, Moses and his brother Rameses are scolded by their father for accidentally destroying a temple during one of their youthful misadventures. At Moses' suggestion, Seti, seeking to give Rameses the opportunity to prove that he is responsible, names him Prince Regent and gives him authority over Egypt's temples. As a tribute, the high priests Hotep and Huy offer him a beautiful young Midianite woman, Tzipporah, whom Rameses gives to Moses, appointing him Royal Chief Architect.

That night, Moses follows Tzipporah as she escapes from the palace, and runs into the now-adult Miriam and Aaron, but he does not recognize them. Miriam then sings her mother's lullaby, which Moses remembers; he returns to the palace, eager to return to familiar surroundings. The truth about his past is later confirmed by a nightmare, and finally by Seti himself, who disturbs Moses by claiming the Hebrews are "only slaves". The next day, Moses accidentally kills an Egyptian guard while trying to stop him from whipping a Hebrew slave. Horrified and ashamed, Moses flees into the desert in exile, despite Rameses' pleas to stay.

While in the desert Moses defends three young girls from brigands, only to find out their older sister is Tzipporah. Moses is welcomed by Tzipporah's father and the high priest of Midian, Jethro. After assimilating this new culture, Moses becomes a shepherd and marries Tzipporah. One day, while chasing a stray lamb, Moses discovers a burning bush through which God tells him to go back to Egypt and guide the Hebrew slaves to freedom. God bestows Moses' shepherding staff with his power and promises that he will tell Moses what to say. Moses and Tzipporah return to Egypt, where Moses is happily greeted by Rameses, who is now Pharaoh.

When Moses requests the Hebrews' release and changes his staff into an Egyptian cobra to demonstrate his alliance with God, Hotep and Huy boastfully recreate this transformation, only to have their snakes eaten by Moses' snake. Rather than be persuaded, Rameses hardens and doubles the Hebrews' workload. Moses inflicts nine of the Plagues of Egypt, but Rameses refuses to relent and, against Moses' warning (foreshadowing the final plague), vows to never release the Hebrew slaves. Disheartened, Moses prepares the Hebrews for the tenth and final plague, instructing them to sacrifice a lamb and mark the doorposts with the lamb's blood. That night, the final plague kills all the firstborn children of Egypt, including Rameses' son, while sparing those of the Hebrews. A grief-stricken Rameses finally gives Moses permission to free the Hebrews. Moses leaves and weeps in the streets, heartbroken at the pain he has caused his brother and Egypt.

The following morning, the Hebrews leave Egypt, led by Moses, Miriam, Aaron, and Tzipporah. At the Red Sea, they discover that Rameses is closely pursuing them with his army. Upon arrival, Moses uses his staff to part the sea, while a writhing pillar of fire blocks the army's way. The Hebrews cross the open sea bottom; and when the fire vanishes and the army gives chase, the water closes over the Egyptian soldiers, sparing Rameses alone. Moses sadly bids farewell to his brother and leads the Hebrews to Mount Sinai, where he receives the Ten Commandments.

Cast Edit

  • Val Kilmer as Moses, a Hebrew who was adopted by Pharaoh Seti.
    • Val Kilmer also provides the uncredited voice of God
    • Amick Byram provides Moses' singing voice.
  • Ralph Fiennes as Rameses, Moses' adoptive brother and eventual successor to his father Seti.
  • Michelle Pfeiffer as Tzipporah, Jethro's oldest daughter and Moses' wife.
  • Sandra Bullock as Miriam, Moses and Aaron's biological sister.
    • Sally Dworsky provides Miriam's singing voice.
    • Eden Riegel provides the voice of a younger Miriam.
  • Jeff Goldblum as Aaron, Moses and Miriam's biological brother.
  • Danny Glover as Jethro, Tzipporah's father and Midian's high priest.
    • Brian Stokes Mitchell provides Jethro's singing voice.
  • Patrick Stewart as Seti, Rameses' father, Moses' adoptive father and the first Pharaoh in the film.
  • Helen Mirren as Queen Tuya, Seti's consort, Rameses' mother, and Moses' adoptive mother.
    • Linda Dee Shayne provides Queen Tuya's singing voice.
  • Steve Martin as Hotep, one of the high priests who serves as advisor to Seti, and later Rameses.
  • Martin Short as Huy, Hotep's fellow high priest.
  • Ofra Haza as Yocheved, the biological mother of Miriam, Aaron, and Moses. She also sang her character's number, "Deliver Us", in seventeen other languages for the film's dubbing)
  • Bobby Motown as Ramses' son

Director Brenda Chapman briefly voiced Miriam when she sings the lullaby to Moses. The vocals had been recorded for a scratch audio track, which was intended to be replaced later by Sally Dworsky. The track turned out so well that it remained in the film.

Release Edit

The Prince of Egypt had its premiere at the UCLA's Royce Hall on December 16, 1998, with its wide release occurring two days later. Despite being the inaugural production by DreamWorks Animation, it wound up the second to get a theatrical release, as Antz was rushed to reach theatres in September. The international release occurred simultaneously to the United States, as according to DreamWorks' distribution chief Jim Tharp, opening one week prior to the "global holiday" of Christmas, audiences all over the world would be available at the same time.

The accompanying marketing campaign aimed to bring more adults, usually averse to animated films. Merchandising was limited to a line of collectible figures and books. Wal-Mart served as a promotional partner and offered in stores a package featuring two tickets to The Prince of Egypt, a storybook and the film's soundtrack.

Home media Edit

Main article: The Prince of Egypt (Home Video)

The Prince of Egypt was released on DVD and VHS on September 14, 1999. The ownership of the film was assumed by DreamWorks Animation when that company split from DreamWorks Pictures in 2004; as with the rest of the DreamWorks Animation catalog, it is available for streaming on Netflix in HD. However, both the DVD release and the streaming versions used a 35mm print of the film, rather than using the original files to encode the movie directly to digital.

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