Cecil B. DeMille’s 1956 Epic ‘The Ten Commandments’ Will Be Back on ABC for Easter 2024

image from the 1956 movie
Courtesy Everett Collection
Rameses II (Yul Brynner) does not yet seem convinced that he should let Moses' (Charlton Heston) people go

Nearly every year since 1973, around Easter and Passover, ABC has rebroadcast Cecil B. DeMille’s Oscar-winning 1956 epic The Ten Commandments, which draws its story from the Old Testament book of Exodus about Moses’ (Charlton Heston) deliverance of the Israelites from slavery at the hands of Egyptian pharaoh Rameses II (Yul Brynner).

The network will be continuing this tradition just ahead of Easter 2024:

ABC Will Broadcast The Ten Commandments on Saturday, March 30, 2024 (the night before Easter Sunday), beginning at 7pm ET/PT.

vertical image of Charlton Heston in character as Moses in the 1956 movie "The Ten Commandments." Moses, with greyish-white hair and beard and wearing a red garment and robe, is standing on a cliffside against a red sky background, his right leg up on one higher portion of the cliff and with his left leg lower and supporting him. He is looking up in awe as he holds, one in each arm, two stone tablets contained etched inscriptions of the Ten Commandments, written in ancient Hebrew.

Courtesy Everett Collection

The past couple of years, ABC has shown The Ten Commandments the week before Easter; in 2024, it is being broadcast on the night before Easter Sunday (which is March 31, 2024), and about three weeks before the beginning of Passover, which is a bit later this year (Passover begins before sundown on Monday, April 22, 2024, and ends after nightfall on Tuesday, April 30, 2024).

Already a very lengthy film in its theatrical format, the ABC broadcast is again scheduled in a four-hour-and-44-minute time slot, as it has been the past several years.

But with a moviegoing experience this grand, the time flies by, and The Ten Commandments remains a thoroughly enjoyable film, no matter what religion you do or do not practice.

Along with Heston in his iconic role as Moses (and as the voice of God via the Burning Bush), and Brynner, the film is also star-studded with the likes of Anne Baxter as Nefretiri, Edward G. Robinson as Dathan, Yvonne De Carlo as Sephora, Debra Paget as Lilia, John Derek as Joshua, Vincent Price as Baka, John Carradine as Aaron and more.

We featured more details about the history of The Ten Commandments and its ABC airings, including a look back at how the network would hype it up in the intros for The ABC Sunday Night Movie, in our post last year about the 2023 airing of the film; click on the link in that previous text or the image below for more on that history, as well as a bit on DeMille’s 1923 film The Ten Commandments.

ABC’s annual airing of The Ten Commandments around Easter and Passover, similar to its long-running broadcast of The Sound of Music at Christmastime, is one of those big “gather-everyone-around-the-TV” movie events that used to be somewhat common, but not so much nowadays.

In cases like these, it seems to be not only the film itself, but the tradition and memories of watching it on television, most likely with family, over the course of many years that combine to make it a special event for many viewers. With The Ten Commandments in particular, that is perhaps made stronger by the broadcast being set against the backdrop of various spring holidays that are important to so many.

The Ten Commandments airs on ABC Saturday, March 30, 2024, beginning at 7pm ET/PT (the night before Easter Sunday)