‘The Prince of Egypt’: ‘Deliver Us’ Was ‘the Very First’ Song Stephen Schwartz Wrote for the Film

The Prince of Egypt was released in 1998 and is an animated film produced by DreamWorks. Like other animated films of its time, the movie’s music is quite important. Hans Zimmer wrote the score for The Prince of Egypt, and Stephen Schwartz composed songs for the film. In a behind-the-scenes featurette for The Prince of Egypt, Schwartz shared that the song “Deliver Us” was “the very first thing” he wrote for The Prince of Egypt.

Stephen Schwartz the gala night after party for 'The Prince of Egypt'
Composer Stephen Schwartz | David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for The Prince of Egypt

‘Deliver Us’ was ‘the very first’ song Stephen Schwartz wrote for ‘The Prince of Egypt’

“Deliver Us” is the first scene in The Prince of Egypt, and it opens the movie. The Prince of Egypt is an adaptation of the Book of Exodus, and “Deliver Us” sets up the story and sets the tone for the rest of the film.

As the first scene of the movie, “Deliver Us” shows Yocheved (Ofra Haza) setting her son Moses (Val Kilmer) adrift in a basket on the Nile River to rescue him from Pharaoh Seti’s (Patrick Stewart) genocide.

In a behind-the-scenes featurette about the movie, Schwartz shared details about making “Deliver Us” and the rest of the movie’s soundtrack.

“‘Deliver Us’ was the very first thing that I wrote for the film,” said Schwartz. “It was very important to me that as a lyricist, that people be engaged right away in the sufferings and struggles of the Hebrews.”

He continued, “That they be sympathetic to their plight immediately and also that they connect with the story on a more personal level.”

‘The Prince of Egypt’ features multiple songs

As an animated musical, The Prince of Egypt incorporates six songs into its story. In the behind-the-scenes featurette, Schwartz gave fans insight into how the movie’s famous soundtrack came to be.

“The song ‘Through Heaven’s Eyes’ ultimately came out of the idea of how do you measure the worth of a man?” Schwartz shared.

The song “When You Believe” is sung by Michelle Pfeiffer, who voiced Tzipporah, and Sally Dworsky, who provided the singing voice for Miriam (Sandra Bullock), in the film. Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston also recorded a version of the song for the movie’s soundtrack.

At the 71st Academy Awards, “When You Believe” won an Academy Award for Best Song.

“‘When You Believe’ is the central song to the film,” Schwartz said in the behind-the-scenes featurette.


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Hans Zimmer composed the score for the movie

Zimmer is one of the most heralded film composers of all time, and he has multiple Grammy Awards and Academy Awards. In the behind-the-scenes featurette, Zimmer said he “embraced” working on The Prince of Egypt.

“I instantly embraced this incredible challenge, because you’re dealing with such history. You’re dealing with so many people’s emotions and beliefs and truly the cornerstones of who they are,” Zimmer said.