The son of the Greek Gods Zeus and Hera is stripped of his immortality as an infant and must become a true hero in order to reclaim it.


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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 9 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Hercules (voice)
Young Hercules (voice)
Young Hercules (singing voice)
Phil (voice)
Hades (voice)
Meg (voice)
Pain (voice)
Panic (voice)
Zeus (voice)
Amphitryon (voice)
Clotho (voice)
Lachesis (voice)


Hercules, son of the Greek God, Zeus, is turned into a half-god, half-mortal by evil Hades, God of the Underworld, who plans to overthrow Zeus. Hercules is raised on Earth and retains his god-like strength, but when he discovers his immortal heritage Zeus tells him that to return to Mount Olympus he must become a true hero. Hercules becomes a famous hero with the help of his friend Pegasus and his personal trainer, Phil the satyr. Hercules battles monsters, Hades and the Titans, but it is his self-sacrifice to rescue his love Meg which makes him a true hero. Written by Kristi Connolly <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

hercules | zeus | hero | hades | underworld | See All (98) »


Zero to Hero! See more »


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



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Release Date:

27 June 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Herkules  »

Box Office


$85,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$249,567 (USA) (13 June 1997)


$99,046,791 (USA) (19 December 1997)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1 / (high definition)
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Did You Know?


The role of Hades is one of James Woods' all-time favorite characters. So much so, any time Disney needs him to reprise the character for any cartoon show and video game, such as Hercules: The Series or Kingdom Hearts, he has agreed to do so. When this film was about to go over-budget, he offered to refund his salary and finish the film for free. Disney decided against this, and finished the film anyway. See more »


When Pain and Panic are flying down with Hercules, he is face up; next shot, he is face down. See more »


[first lines]
Narrator: Long ago, in the faraway land of ancient Greece, there was a golden age of powerful gods and extraordinary heroes. And the greatest and strongest of all these heroes was the mighty Hercules. But what is the measure of a true hero? Ah, that is what our story is...
Thalia: Will you listen to him? He's makin' the story sound like some Greek tragedy.
Terpsichore: Lighten up, dude.
Calliope: We'll take it from here, darling.
Narrator: You go, girl.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Hades (James Woods) says: "What d'ya say? It's happy ending time! Everybody's got a little taste of somethin' but me. I got nothin'. I'm-- I'm here with nothin'. Anybody listenin'? It's like I'm-- What am I, an echo or something? Hello? Hello? Am I talking to, what, hyperspace? Hello, it's me. Nobody listens. See more »


References The Jungle Book (1967) See more »


The Gospel Truth II
Written by Alan Menken & David Zippel
Performed by Roz Ryan
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

No James Woods = No Good!
14 October 2015 | by See all my reviews

If Disney were trying to keep their successful streak going then Hercules is a truly bizarre choice in trying to prolong that. On the surface a film based on Greek mythology could be very effective and if anybody could do an interesting take on it then it was probably Disney. However, the choices made in telling the story and shaping it are just so strange that I'm not sure what they were thinking. This very much feels like they were just throwing things at the wall and seeing what happened to stick. Almost everything clashes, from the animation to the music to comedy. This is one messy film and I don't think its good points are enough to redeem it.

In a similar vein to Superman, Hercules is born to the Greek God Zeus on Mount Olympus and he happens to fall to Earth when a plan by Hades to dispose of him goes wrong. Hercules later discovers who he really is and sets out to earn his place back by being a hero, all while Hades tries to find out his weakness to complete a prophecy. This story has two big issues, the fact that we've seen this all before and that it is incredibly predictable. From the very beginning you know how the plot will develop, the motions that Hercules will go through and how it will all be resolved in the end. They try to add some different touches here and there, yet none of them really work and you're left with a tried plot line.

The characters are pretty much cardboard cut-outs. Hercules (Tate Donovan) is the classic naive idiot who has a heart of gold and never gives up. Sadly he comes across as annoying instead of charming and he simply isn't interesting, he's a hero that you can't really get behind. His trainer Phil is the typical grumpy teacher, never satisfied and willing to give his student a hard time. Danny DeVito is a good fit, but he isn't given anything of note to do. Megara (Susan Egan) is enjoyably feisty and seems independent at first, but that is traded in so she becomes a damsel and the attempt to give her a solid backstory feels rushed. Hades' two servants Pain and Panic are much more irritating than they are funny too.

The only thing that really works here is Hades with most of that coming from James Woods and his excellent delivery style. He talks like a salesman or a lawyer would, with very fluid snappy and frequently funny dialogue. He's enjoyably different from most Disney villains, mostly because he is a lot more charismatic and fast- talking. Not to mention he has a great design. On a similar point the rest of the animation, designed by Gerald Scarfe, is not that good. It all looks a little too soft and simplistic, with a lot of bright and rather in your face colours. I will say that some of the monster designs are quite creative, but I think they could have been even more imaginative. The action scenes weren't as good as they should have been either. There are a few moments of tension that are effective, but the fights are usually dull and not very engaging.

I didn't enjoy the music at all. The main type of music used was Gospel and to me it didn't fit the film whatsoever. Seeing these images with a backdrop of Gospel was just so jarring, not to mention that the songs themselves were not very catchy. The Oscar-nominated 'Go the Distance' by Michael Bolton was weak too, the lyrics were rather clichéd and again it just didn't have a good tune. The comedy really didn't work. I found the 'muses' who interrupt from time to time to be annoying and all they did was slow the story down. I didn't care for the characters so the situational comedy wasn't that funny, there were very few humorous lines and the pop culture references felt like they were forced in. Once again Hades is the only one who is consistently amusing.

For me Hercules is something of a failure. It feels like they were trying to capture the tone of Aladdin, but missed the fact that that film had engaging characters and much better jokes. Almost everything about Hercules doesn't work as it should or badly clashes. Hercules himself is just such a dull lead, the support he gets is equally as dull and the story has been seen so many times that it's become too familiar. Disney are usually great with music and animation, but both are weak here. I'd have to say that James Woods' Hades is probably the only shining light and does provide the best moments. Hercules is just a confused and boring effort.

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