This essay will examine the thesis that film has become the medium of changes in the
American civil religion by comparing how the traditional comparison of America to
biblical Israel has played itself out in two Hollywood films: Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten
Commandments, and Dreamworks’ The Prince of Egypt. These films have preserved
many of the historically important themes of American civil religion, including the close
relation of freedom to justice and of individualism to social commitment, but also have
“hollywoodized” these themes, contributing to a civil religion that is both more
individualistic and more fideistic than in the past.
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