Wholly Moses!

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Wholly Moses
Wholly moses poster.jpg
Directed by Gary Weis
Produced by Freddie Fields
Written by Guy Thomas
Starring Dudley Moore
Laraine Newman
James Coco
Paul Sand
Jack Gilford
Dom DeLuise
John Houseman
Madeline Kahn
David Lander
Richard Pryor
John Ritter
Music by Patrick Williams
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date
June 13, 1980
Running time
103 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $12 million
Box office $14,155,617

Wholly Moses! is a 1980 American Biblical spoof similar to that of Monty Python's Life of Brian. Dudley Moore, between performances in 10 and Arthur, plays Old Testament-era idol maker Herschel, whose life and adventures seem to parallel that of the more famous Moses, all the while being misled to think he is the prophet of God.


A couple of tourists, Harvey and Zoey, discover a lost scroll from the Book of Herschel, evidently someone who received commandments from God, only to have Moses take all the credit. When Herschel confronts God about not being with him when he really needed the help, God evades the accusation, saying he was with him, leaving it unstated that he didn't in fact help him in his time of need.



The movie received poor reviews.[1][2][3]

Five orthodox Jewish groups protested the film for mocking their religion.[4]


  • Producer Freddie Fields hired Phil Silvers for one of several small cameo roles, but his only scene was cut from the final film.
  • Between scenes during filming on stage at the Burbank Studios, Dudley Moore entertained the cast and crew with improvised piano interludes.
  • On the final day of shooting, Richard Pryor, who was signed to do a one-day shoot as the Pharaoh, didn’t show up. With production at a complete standstill, frantic calls were made. There was even some talk of replacing him with Cleavon Little. Several hours later that afternoon Pryor finally appeared but then refused to play the scene as written with a trained lion by his throne.


  1. ^ "Wholly Moses : DVD Talk Review of the DVD Video". Dvdtalk.com. Retrieved 2012-08-16. 
  2. ^ "Wholly Moses! Reviews". Rogerebert.suntimes.com. 1980-06-16. Retrieved 2012-08-16. 
  3. ^ Ty Burr (2004-07-16). "Crazy People; Wholly Moses! Review | Movie Reviews and News". EW.com. Retrieved 2012-08-16. 
  4. ^ ORTHODOX JEWS PROTEST 'MOSES' Lee, Grant. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 09 July 1980: h2.

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