The Ten Commandments 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray review

The Ten Commandments, Paramount, Ultra HD Blu-ray & All-Region BD, £30

Movie: Cecil B. DeMille’s mega-budget 1956 retelling of the story of Moses may be showing its age in places, but for sheer Golden Age Hollywood spectacle it’s hard to beat. It undoubtedly feels a little baggy (and runs close to four hours), but sequences such as God’s plagues on Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, and any time Charlton Heston’s Moses and Yul Brynner’s Ramses are at loggerheads, make it all worthwhile.
Movie rating: 4/5

Picture: Let there be light. Paramount's 4K release 
of The Ten Commandments is based on the same 6K scan and restoration used for the film's 2011 Blu-ray, but thanks primarily to the new HDR10/Dolby Vision grading the difference in appearance between this presentation and its 1080p SDR predecessor is like night and day. Side-by-side comparisons of the two discs are akin to somebody turning on a light switch, with the amplified – yet still entirely natural – colours and brightness bringing an additional vibrancy to the already impressive 1.78:1-framed 2160p imagery.

In addition to the expanded gamut and dynamic range, the 4K encode also benefits from a far sharper and more textured appearance – although neither this or additional studio tinkering can prevent the many special effects matte shots from standing out as obviously as ever.
Picture rating: 5/5

Audio: There’s no trace of The Ten Commandments' original soundmix, nor has Paramount taken the opportunity to give the audio a Dolby Atmos/DTS:X overhaul. Instead, we’re treated to a repeat performance of the DTS-HD MA 5.1 track that appeared on the 2011 Blu-ray. This serves 
the film very well with a spacious front-end, robust bass presence, and clear music 
and dialogue separation. Use of the surrounds 
is understandably limited, but still effective in sequences such as God’s final plague on Egypt, 
with cries and screams ringing out from offscreen.
Audio rating: 4/5

Extras: The lone extra on the 4K disc is a commentary by author Katherine Orrison (Written 
in Stone: Making Cecil B DeMille’s Epic The Ten Commandments) carried over from the earlier BD release. The same commentary accompanies the Blu-ray copy of the movie (split across two discs), which also gets vintage newsreel footage of the film’s New York premiere and three ‘trailers’, the first of which is a 10-minute Making of… promo teaser.

Absent are the 73-minute Making Miracles doc and DeMille’s original 1923 silent adaptation that featured on some earlier Blu-rays.
Extras rating: 2/5


We say: A divine 4K upgrade of a classic Biblical epic, but some valuable bonus bits are AWOL. The Ten Commandments, Paramount, Ultra HD Blu-ray & All-Region BD, £30