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Here is your king's scepter, and here is your kingdom, with the scorpion, the cobra, and the lizard for subjects. Free them, if you will. Leave the Hebrews to me.
~ Rameses banishing Moses.
His god... is God.
~ Rameses admitting his defeat by the Hebrew God.

Rameses II is the main antagonist in the 1956 biblical epic film The Ten Commandments.

He is the cold-hearted Pharaoh of Egypt who has enslaved the Hebrews into serving his empire and is challenged by Moses.

He was portrayed by the late Yul Brynner.


The natural son of Pharaoh Ceti I and his wife, Rameses was raised with Moses, the son of Ceti's sister Bithiah. What neither Ceti nor Rameses knew was that Moses was actually the son of a Hebrew woman who hid Moses shortly after his birth and took him in as her son to protect him from being killed at the hands of her father Rameses I.

Raised in the royal court, Moses became a successful leader and military commander. Ordered to oversee the building of a city for Ceti, Moses eased the conditions of the Hebrew slaves, leading to increased productivity from the slaves. Ceti decided to make Moses his heir and intended Moses to take over at his death.


Rameses resented Moses not only for his successes but for garnering the affections of Nefretiri as well. Learning that Moses was, in fact, a Hebrew, he had Moses arrested. Moses by now had learned of his true heritage and told Ceti that he was not the deliverer but that he would free the slaves if he could. Ceti declared Moses name be stricken throughout the kingdom, and that Rameses would be his heir.

Realizing that simply killing him would make him a martyr, Rameses exiled Moses into the desert. With assistance from God, Moses made it across the desert into Midian. There he would take a wife and have a son.

In the meantime Ceti I died, and Rameses became Pharaoh Rameses II. He took Nefretiri as his wife. Over the next several years Rameses built Egypt into a successful kingdom, with his young son growing and getting ready to follow in his father's footsteps. One day as Rameses was receiving ambassadors, a couple of scraggly men came into, claiming to represent the kingdom of the highest. The leader was none other than Moses, and he presented God's demand to Rameses, to let the Hebrew people go free.  

Rameses refused to let the Hebrew people go and retaliated against them in the hopes that they would kill Moses themselves. However the Hebrew people refused to give in, and at Moses prompting God went to work on the stubborn Pharaoh, unleashing a whole series of plagues on Rameses and his people. Becoming angry Rameses told Moses to leave before he had him killed. Moses departed with the warning that the next plague would be by Rameses own hand.

Having had enough, Rameses decided to kill every firstborn Hebrew that he could. In response, God sent the Angel of Death to pay Egypt a little visit and killed every firstborn Egyptian, including the Pharaoh's young son. Horrified by the loss of his son and the firstborn of his people, Rameses finally had enough and told Moses to take his people, their property, and whatever spoils they wanted and to leave.

The next morning the Hebrews began their long journey towards the promised land. Rameses had a change of heart then, deciding to kill the Hebrews in revenge for the death of his son. Dressing in his armor he took his sword from Nefretiri, who asked him to bring it back covered in Moses's blood. Rameses said he would, in order to mingle it with his wife's blood.

Cornering the Hebrews at the Red Sea he saw God divide the sea in two so that the Hebrews could safely pass. Ordering his men to follow into the rather obvious trap, Rameses could only watch as God let go of the water, causing it to crash down and drown his men.

Going back to the palace Rameses found Nefretiri in the throne room. He raised his sword to strike her, but she asked him to show her the blood on the sword. Rameses then dropped the sword. Nefretiri chided him for failing to kill Moses, to which Rameses could only reply that the Hebrew god was in fact, God. It is assumed that he continued to rule his failing kingdom.


           Book of Exodus Villains

The Ten Commandments (1956): Rameses II | Nefretiri | Rameses I † | Sethi † | Dathan † | Baka
The Prince of Egypt (film): Rameses II | Hotep and Huy | Seti I † | Baka
The Ten Commandments (2007): Dathan † | Ramses II | Seti I
Exodus: Gods and Kings: Rameses II

The Prince of Egypt (musical): Hotep † | Rameses II | Nefertari | Seti I † | Baka