5 Times Passover Got A Shout-Out On The Big (and small) Screen

From talking infants to undead mummies, there’s something for everyone!

The Holiday of Freedom (dates) is almost upon us and while you’ll probably be celebrating it with the traditional seder, you can also ring in the breadless festivities with a few movies and TV specials that tie directly into the holiday. Certainly, these five films/TV specials are a great way to get yourself ready for Passover and formulate a few questions for the seder table, beyond the four posed by the Mah Nishtanah, we mean...

 

The “Rugrats” Passover Special

 

 

Perhaps the most definitive piece of all Passover-related television, this special from 1996 found the entire “Rugrats” crew locked in the Pickles’ attic while Grandpa Boris recounted the story of the Jews being freed from Egypt with the help of Moses. Since this was a kid’s show, babies became the Jews, Tommy became Moses, and Angelica became Pharaoh.

“To Nickelodeon’s credit it was bold and the right thing to do,” Arlene Klasky, co-creator of the show, told Blueprint back in December. “It made sense because Didi Pickles and her parents were Jewish and her husband Stu was not. The Passover special was a huge success [and] smartly written.”


 

“The Ten Commandments”

 

 

You can’t go wrong with Cecil B. DeMille’s 1956 take on the Exodus story, which clocks in at just over three hours with an intermission. Interestingly, this movie was actually a remake of a silent movie on the same subject that DeMille made in 1923. While this was the director’s last feature film, it was a true testament to his knack for churning out groundbreaking historical epics. If you’re lucky, you can probably catch this one on television as some networks like to run it around the time of Passover and Easter.


 

“Prince of Egypt”

 

 

Call it “The Ten Commandments” for kids. With great songs and an impeccable voice cast that includes the likes of Ralph Fiennes, Jeff Goldblum, Michelle Pfeiffer Sandra Bullock, Danny Glover, Patrick Stewart, Helen Mirren, Martin Short, and Steve Martin, “The Prince of Egypt” is a true classic for a lot of kids who came of age in the late ‘90s. It was the second animated film from DreamWorks at the time and blended traditional, hand-drawn animation with the newer computer-generated animation. The idea for the project came from DreamWorks co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg (a Jew from New York), who had served as the head of animation for Disney before parting with the company. While at Disney, he had suggested an animated version of “The Ten Commandments,” but didn’t see it realized until he started his own studio with Steven Spielberg and David Geffen.


 

“Exodus: Gods and Kings”

 

 

Yet another movie that can be considered a remake or reinterpretation of “The Ten Commandments.” This biblical epic was directed by Ridley Scott in 2012 and opened to somewhat negative reviews. As a self-proclaimed atheist, Scott (“Alien,” “Gladiator”) took a lot of liberties with the source material (i.e. The Old and New Testaments), which didn’t go over so well with the religious audience members and some even accused Scott of whitewashing these characters. Nevertheless, this one is still worth checking out for the performances by Christian Bale (Moses) and Joel Edgerton (Ramses II) as well as the modern day special effects for the plagues and parting of the Red Sea.


 

“The Mummy”

 

 

You’re probably asking yourself what a film about an evil, undead Mummy possibly has to do with Passover and, for the most part, you’d be right. “The Mummy” makes our list for one scene where Beni (Kevin J. O'Connor), a member of the French Foreign Legion, first meets the resurrected Imhotep. In this scene, Beni hilariously pulls a tangled bunch of religious trinkets and starts chanting in a number of different languages in an effort to stave off the mummy. When the first three don’t work, he reveals a Star of David and begins to speak Hebrew. Finally, this stops Imhotep in his tracks as he remarks, “The language of the slaves. I may have use for you.” This moment turns Beni into the servant of the movie’s main antagonist, but, more importantly, it’s a clever little nod to the Jews in the audience.


BONUS: This “Star Wars”-themed seder from CollegeHumor.

 

passover

Pesach

Rugrats

The Mummy

Exodus: Gods and Kings

Prince of Egypt

The Ten Commandments

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