Egypt in Hollywood
A blog about the pros and cons of antiquity films

Let My People Go

The Prince of Egypt (1998)

The Prince of Egypt (1998)

The Prince of Egypt is one of Hollywood’s animated films that depict Egypt. The story is based on the Biblical story of Moses and the Hebrew’s against Ramesses II and Egypt. The film accurately depicts the Bible’s story, and uses some comedy and graphic effects to keep the audience interested. While the Biblical references may be correct, the actual references to Egypt made the Egyptian culture seem cruel and evil. While the workers that built the pyramids and temples did tough manual labor to do, they were not treated as badly as the movie depicts. Egypt was known to care for their workers, always providing the best foods so they could keep up with the manual labor. In addition, it was usually voluntary to join the workers, or a way to pay taxes. The workers found the building of the Pharaoh’s temples more of a privilege than a punishment. In fact, many workers traveled hundreds of miles to work on the pyramids and temples. For The Prince of Egypt, if you believe in the literal interpretation of the Bible, it would be accurate; however if you follow historical facts, the movie fabricates slave labor and the use of Ramses as the evil pharaoh. Unfortunately, neither theory has historical and scientific proof to back them.


2 Responses to “Let My People Go”

  1. I am curious: how does the idea that the workers were volunteers square off with the Biblical story about slaves and slavery? Were all workers volunteers, or just the natives? Were the slaves foreigners?

    • Well, in the Bible the Hebrews are fighting for their freedom from the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramesses II who was supposedly forcing them to build his temples. However, according to historical records, it is unlikely that a large number of Hebrews lived in Egypt during Ramesses II reign.

      While there were many volunteers, the Pharaoh most likely used prisoners of war and foreigners as slave labor. However, anyone who worked on the temples would have received good food and plenty of water.

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