In Ancient Egypt, Yocheved (Ofra Haza), a Hebrew slave, sees her fellow mothers’ baby sons being taken away from them as ordered by Pharaoh Seti I(Patrick Stewart). Yocheved thus places her own son in a basket and sets it afloat on the Nile to be preserved by fate. Her daughter, Miriam, follows the basket and witnesses her baby brother being taken in by Queen Tuya (Helen Mirren) and names him Moses.

Decades later, Moses (Val Kilmer) and his foster-brother, Rameses (Ralph Fiennes), are lectured by their father after they destroy a temple. Rameses is blamed for their misdeeds, but Moses later remarks that Rameses wants the approval of his father, but lacks the opportunity. Later, Rameses is namedPrince Regent and is given authority over all of Egypt’s Temples. In thanks, Rameses appoints Moses as Royal Chief Architect. As a tribute to Rameses, the high priests Hotep (Steve Martin) and Huy (Martin Short) offer Tzipporah (Michelle Pfeiffer), a Midian girl they kidnapped as a concubine for him and acamel. Rameses rejects the offer and gives Moses the girl, who insults both of them and is pushed into a fountain by Moses in response. She eventually escapes, with Moses’ help, and while following her Moses is reunited with Miriam (Sandra Bullock) and Aaron (Jeff Goldblum). Miriam tells Moses the truth about his past and that both she and Aaron are his siblings. Moses at first is in denial, but a nightmare and conversations with his adoptive parents help him realize the truth. The next day, Moses accidentally kills an Egyptian guard who was abusing an old slave. Ashamed, Moses runs away in exile.
After Moses saves Tzipporah’s sisters from bandits, he is welcomed warmly by their father Jethro (Danny Glover), the High Priest of Midian. Moses becomes a shepherd and gradually earns Tzipporah’s respect and love, culminating in their marriage. One day, Moses comes into contact with Godthrough a burning bush while chasing his lamb. God (also voiced by Val Kilmer) instructs Moses to free the slaves from Egypt and empowers Moses’ shepherding staff with the ability to do great wonders, the greatest being to shepherd his people to freedom.

Moses returns with Tzipporah and is happily greeted by Rameses, now Pharaoh and has a wife and a young son. Moses tells Rameses to let his people go, demonstrating the power behind him by changing his shepherding staff into a snake. Hotep and Huy boastfully repeat this transformation, conjuringmany of Egypt’s Gods in the process. However, Moses’ snake eats both of their snakes. Rather than being persuaded, Rameses is hardened and orders the slaves’ work to be doubled.
Later, Moses again confronts Rameses passing on his boat in the Nile. Rameses orders his guards to bring Moses to him, but they turn back when Moses turns the river into blood. As the days pass, nine of the Plagues of Egypt occur. Moses feels tortured inside feeling as if he is betraying Rameses and leaving Egypt in ruins. In anger, Rameses states that a great cry will fall over Egypt, unknowing that he is calling upon the final plague himself. Moses then instructs the Hebrews to paint lamb’s blood above their doors for the coming night of Passover. That night, a plague spills over the city, killing all the firstborn children of Egypt, including Rameses’ son. Moses once more visits the grief-stricken Rameses, who now reluctantly lets the Hebrews go. Moses leaves and breaks down in tears outside, his spirit broken after causing his brother so much pain.
The following morning, the Hebrews happily leave their enslavement and eventually find their way to the Red Sea, but discover that Rameses has changed his mind and is pursuing them with his army to kill them all. Moses parts the sea, while behind him a pillar of fire writhes before the Egyptian army, blocking their way. The Hebrews cross on the sea bottom; when the army gives chase, the water closes over the Egyptian soldiers to their watery deaths, and the Hebrews are freed. However, Rameses is spared as he is hurled back to the shore by the collapsing waves, screaming in agony over his defeat to kill the Hebrews. As the Hebrew people reach Mount Sinai, Moses is given the Ten Commandments to deliver to them.

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