This movie is based on the Biblical story of the Exodus, the same story as that in the Charlton Heston movie, The Ten Commandments. I tend to shy away from Religious subjects in movie form. I don't like to be preached at, particularly since I consider myself non-religious. But one quarter of my family was Jewish, and many of my relations still are. So watching this movie even as a non-religious person of Jewish descent, I feel the power of this movie.
Though the Ten Commandments was a powerful movie in its time, and still highly watchable, this one manages to feel more authentic and has more heart. Perhaps it's the music, or the fact that the Jewish themes are more intensely present in the story. Then there's the fact that this movie shows many things that were either ignored by the Ten Commandments or were only just touched on--because of the climate about movie themes at the time, or the climate of the country.
From the first song, "Deliver Us," the story grabs you in a way that the Ten Commandments cannot. And its concluding song, "When You Believe," is just as powerful and grabbing. Both tell you so much about the story and the world these characters live in. And both are so emotionally charged that you cannot help but feel the characters' emotions yourself.
Definitely a gem of a movie, and one anyone interested in history, biblical history, Hebrew history, or even the history of this area should watch it at least once. Religious or not.