The Everett Collection

The most human Moses may have been played by Ben Kingsley in the TNT cable television film Moses, aired in 1996. Kingsley’s character delights in the parting of the Red Sea and cries when the Levites punish the Israelites for worshiping the Golden Calf. The Law, this film suggests, is something to be embraced, not feared. But although the two-part film extols the virtues of love, it neglects some of the stickier points found in the original Bible stories. For example, the film ends before the Israelites cross into Canaan, when a narrator declares they “ended their wandering,” and no mention is made of the bloody conquest of the land. But after all, this is only a movie: Hollywood’s versions of the Moses story have always been influenced less by religious and theological concerns than by simple entertainment value.