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Cecil B. DeMille: American Epic (2004)

Documentary about the legendary American film director from his introduction to the film industry in its early years to his death in 1959. After a falling out with Adolph Zukor, he left ... See full summary »


Kevin Brownlow




Cast overview, first billed only:
Kenneth Branagh ... Narrator (voice)
Steven Spielberg ... Himself - Interviewee
Martin Scorsese ... Himself - Interviewee
Frank Coghlan Jr. ... Himself (as Junior Coughlan)
Baby Peggy ... Herself - Interviewee (as Diana Serra Cary)
Angela Lansbury ... Herself - Interviewee
Henry Hathaway ... Himself - Interviewee (archive footage)
A. Arnold Gillespie A. Arnold Gillespie ... Himself - Interviewee (archive footage)
Agnes de Mille ... Herself - Interviewee (archive footage)
Cecilia DeMille Presley ... Herself - Interviewee
Samuel Goldwyn ... Himself - Interviewee (archive footage)
Betty Lasky Betty Lasky ... Herself - Interviewee
Cecil B. DeMille ... Himself (archive footage)
Robert S. Birchard Robert S. Birchard ... Himself - Interviewee
Charles Chaplin ... Himself (archive footage)


Documentary about the legendary American film director from his introduction to the film industry in its early years to his death in 1959. After a falling out with Adolph Zukor, he left Paramount Pictures to found his own company but it too failed and moved on to MGM where his films were less successful than he had hoped. By 1931 DeMille, despite his huge successes in the silent era, was practically unemployable. Given a second chance at Paramount DeMille found his now classic formula of religious or epic tales with more than just a tinge of sex. Firmly re-established, he would stay with the studio for the rest of his career. He became a fervent anti-communist leading to a confrontation with his colleagues in the Directors Guild. He continued making films regardless and died as one of the most commercially successful in Hollywood history. Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

5 April 2004 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Photoplay Productions See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?

Crazy Credits

Only the narrator's name is in the cast/crew list. All other credited performers are identified by the narrator or with an onscreen graphic. See more »


Features The Ten Commandments (1956) See more »

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User Reviews

Great documentary on Cecil B. DeMille!
19 February 2019 | by zooeyhallSee all my reviews

I usually don't care for modern documentaries. Most of those made today are full of cheesy "re-enactments", using bad actors and ridiculous dialogue. But fortunately this one is free of such gaff. And it contains fascinating interviews and real-person accounts from people who knew De Mille, relatives, researchers, and filmmakers of today who were inspired by him.

One of the outstanding features is the glorious music composed especially for this documentary by Leonard Bernstein. Who also scored The Ten Commandments and worked closely with De Mille. The music for this doc (performed by the Prague Orchestra) was Bernstein's last work before he passed on.

While you can get the DVD of the music soundtrack (which I highly recommend), sadly a DVD of this 2-part documentary is unavailable. I have searched everywhere for it, and it seems a DVD was never issued. The only option is watching it on YouTube, where it is available (as of this writing).

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