Gods of Egypt may have drawn early criticism for its mostly white cast, but moviemakers have always viewed the country with a fantastical bent. From biblical stories to historic archaeological delights to springboards into tall science fiction tales, this week’s 24 Frames takes a look at all that, along with modern and true-to-life depictions of Egypt as it is today.
The Ten Commandments
The most famous biblical epic ever, filmed on location at Mount Sinai.
Exodus: Gods and Kings
Moses (Christian Bale) leads the Hebrew people through plagues, parts the Red Sea, and writes the Commandments in Ridley Scott’s telling of the story.
Prince of Egypt
The story is told once more in digestible children’s format.
An opulent look at one of the most famous pharaohs ever, infamous for its budget overruns that nearly bankrupted 20 Century Fox.
Set in 391 A.D., Rachel Weisz stars as the Neoplatonic philospher Hypatia at the height of Roman rule in Egypt.
The Night of Counting the Years
Considered one of the most vital homegrown Egyptian movies ever, this drama about people who sell mummies on the black market is set in 1881, a year before the British Empire takeover.
A dramatization of the Egyptian-held city that fell to Sudanese forces in 1885, starring Charlton Heston and Laurence Olivier.
Australian boys sent to the North African front during World War I had a stopover in Egypt to visit brothels and climb the Pyramids.
Universal bolstered its legendary lineup of creature features with Boris Karloff playing the titular monster.
Once again set in the 1930s, Universal successfully rebooted its franchise starring Brendan Fraser and Agora‘s Weisz.
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Set in 1936, Indiana Jones’ greatest adventure took him through the city of Tanis in search of the chest that once held the Ten Commandments stones.
Death on the Nile
A Hercule Poirot mystery written by Agatha Christie set in the ’30s, starring Peter Ustinov as the title sleuth.
The English Patient
Sweeping romantic drama set during World War II that also won Best Picture.
The Spy Who Loved Me
Globetrotting MI6 Employee of the Month takes a tour of Egypt in the tenth movie of the Bond series.
Khartoum‘s Charlton Heston returns to the country as an archaeologist in search of an Egyptian queen’s tomb.
An interdimensional warp unearthed in Giza, as featured in Roland Emmerich’s sci-fi adventure film.
Hayden Christensen stars as a young man with the power to teleport anywhere in the world.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Autobots and Decepticons take the fight overseas.
Patricia Clarkson stars as a married woman who potentially falls for her husband’s friend while vacationing in Egypt.
A Pyramid gets taken in the opening to Illumination Entertainment’s animated franchise.
Ron Fricke’s follow-up to Baraka captures human beauty all over the globe, making three stops in Egypt (a musuem and the City of the Dead in Cairo, along with the Great Pyramids).
The populist Arab Spring uprising is captured in this Oscar-nominated documentary.
The protests make up the backdrop to this horror movie of archraeologists seeking to unlock the mysteries of a lost pyramid (but waking up a monster instead).
The Fifth Element
Fast forward to 2263, where the power of love fends off a planet-eating evil force.