Open main menu

Wholly Moses! is a 1980 American Biblical spoof film written by Guy Thomas. Dudley Moore 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. The film also stars Laraine Newman, James Coco, Paul Sand, Jack Gilford, Dom DeLuise, John Houseman, Madeline Kahn, David Lander, Richard Pryor, and John Ritter.

Wholly Moses!
Wholly moses poster.jpg
Film poster by Jack Rickard
Directed byGary Weis
Produced byFreddie Fields
Written byGuy Thomas
StarringDudley Moore
Laraine Newman
James Coco
Paul Sand
Jack Gilford
Dom DeLuise
John Houseman
Madeline Kahn
David Lander
Richard Pryor
John Ritter
Music byPatrick Williams
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
June 13, 1980
Running time
103 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$12 million
Box office$14,155,617


Harvey and Zoey, two tourists travelling through Israel, discover an ancient scroll describing the life of Herschel, the man who was almost Moses. Herschel receives the command from God to free his people from Egyptian slavery, but Moses keeps blundering by and taking all the credit. Several other biblical stories, such as Lot and his wife, David and Goliath, and the miracles of Jesus, are also parodied in this story of the life of a man trying to follow the path to God, but somehow always seeming to lose his way.



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

External linksEdit