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Hercules (1997)



Average Rating: 7/10
Reviews Counted: 49
Fresh: 41 | Rotten: 8

Fast-paced and packed with dozens of pop culture references, Hercules might not measure up with the true classics of the Disney pantheon, but it's still plenty of fun.


Average Rating: 6.9/10
Critic Reviews: 14
Fresh: 11 | Rotten: 3

Fast-paced and packed with dozens of pop culture references, Hercules might not measure up with the true classics of the Disney pantheon, but it's still plenty of fun.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 385,149

My Rating

Movie Info

Disney's animation team dipped into the rich well of ancient mythology for this musical comedy. The son of Greek gods Zeus (voice of Rip Torn) and Hera (Samantha Eggar), Hercules (voice of Josh Keaton) is stolen as a boy by the minions of Hades (voice of James Woods), lord of the underworld. Forced to live among humans, Hercules is turned into a half-god and half-mortal after drinking a forbidden potion brewed by Hades' right hand men, Pain (voice of Bob Goldthwait) and Panic (voice of Matt

Nov 9, 1999

Buena Vista Internationa

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All Critics (49) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (41) | Rotten (8) | DVD (16)

[An] insipid, lifeless, animated feature.

November 16, 2009 Full Review Source: Washington Post | Comments (9)
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Chock-full of celeb cameos, puns and contemporary camp, the movie is annoyingly hip.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This is a bright movie, in both senses of the word.

September 1, 2008 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's a winning tall tale, cleverly told and wonderfully voiced...

September 1, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Another benchmark achievement for the Aladdin team of Musker and Clements.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

What fun!

June 18, 2002 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle | Comment (1)
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The most flat-out childish film of the Disney Renaissance: this is both its great triumph and ultimately the reason that it's so hard to care about it all that much.

December 2, 2009 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

Amusing, yes. Fluffy, definitely. But with no more staying power than those Hercules action figures that were already resigned to Odd-Lot by last Christmas.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Flick Filosopher | Comments (3)
Flick Filosopher

Prepare to spend the summer stepping on plastic satyrs and winged horses.

September 1, 2008 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Scarfe's pointed faces are smoothed out to a drab degree, yet not so they become characters as warm as Disney is capable of.

September 1, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4

One of the best of the modern Disney animation efforts to date.

April 9, 2005 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

Remind one of My Little Pony...mental pictures of all the plastic "Hercules" toys that soon will be littering floors and crippling barefoot adults.

June 25, 2004 Full Review Source: Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY)

while all the customary ingredients are at hand -- the dreamy hero, the curvaceous heroine, the comic sidekick, the smarmy villain -- the magic is missing this time out. ...a minor addition to the Disney pantheon.

July 15, 2003 Full Review Source: Kalamazoo Gazette
Kalamazoo Gazette

Disney's 35th animated feature may be based on a timeless tale, but it's no classic.

May 20, 2003
Palo Alto Weekly

It entertained me much more than I thought it would.

November 7, 2002 Full Review Source: Netflix

The animation is kinetic and witty; computer effects are integrated to good effect without overwhelming the hand-drawn figures.

October 15, 2002 Full Review Source: Cincinnati Enquirer
Cincinnati Enquirer

Hercules fires off mythology in-jokes and pop culture references at a speed that would dizzy the Animaniacs.

July 3, 2002 Full Review
Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, IL)

Woods as the ever-exasperated Hades is the comic highlight, bringing an acrid wit to the proceedings, thereby balancing out some of the over-the-top feel-good elements indigenous to the genre.

June 25, 2002 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
Boxoffice Magazine

Man, am I glad to see John Musker and Ron Clements' work back on the screen!

April 17, 2002 Full Review Source: Film Scouts
Film Scouts

A spiffy, fast paced animated film with a few inventive takes on the nature of heroism.

February 27, 2002 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

Audience Reviews for Hercules

For some time the animated Disney films didn't really hit me with much inspiration, by that I mean none of their outings grabbed my attention, the ideas just didn't excite me. Then along came this adventure based around the magic of Greek mythology and I was hooked. An animated Disney version of Harryhausen's mythic visions? count me in. So off I went on the day of release back in 1997, Swiss Cottage Odeon, North London (for some reason I remember, probably because this Odeon was unusually HUGE!).

A simple tale of Hercules life from birth up to his teenage years. The loss of his immortality and God status at the hands of Hades, his young life as a mortal and how he manages to become a God again with the help of various friends in typical wide eyed Disney manner.

The two things that attracted me to this kiddie flick were 1. the Greek mythology as already said, and 2. the visuals on display. Disney seem to go through different styles over time and this films style is really nice in its stark angled way. It comes across like a Geddy Tartakovsky project, reminiscent of his 'Star Wars: Clone Wars' series but with less CGI and generally a bit softer in tone. The colour palette is really vibrant too, so rich and alive, its really beautiful to watch going from the warm pastel golds, yellows and beige of Mount Olympus and Thebes to dark shades of blues, purples and black of the underworld. Loved the underworld!, wanted more time down there.

Apart from the animation the characters are a big part of any film like this and would it be any surprise if I told you the bad guy was the best?. Yep its true, once again the villain shines through and in this case James Woods makes Hades a very likeable guy. Not only does he look really cool with a brilliant design and a virtually monochromatic colour scheme, he also has a really awesome flaming blue hairdo which is such a sweet touch. It is of course the deadpan sarcastic fiery verbal from Woods that he's famous for and he doesn't disappoint here...minus the profanity of course.

The only other character that stood out for me was Philoctetes perfectly voiced by De Vito, casting genius. In general the Gods all looked quite good visually but I was unsure about that heavenly glow they all had, I see what they were going for but it kinda looked tacky. The Titans were a tad cliche looking (dunno what I expected) and didn't blow me away, also a shame they used full CGI for the Hydra which looked awful. Not sure why Hercules was drawn the way he was because he looked a bit pug ugly to me, anyone notice how big his ears were?!. Also I didn't really like the little imp minions of Hades, typical stereotypical Disney sidekicks purely in there for silly laughs, oh wait its a kids flick isn't it...dang!.

Talking about the Hydra, not sure how that worked, Hercules was cutting off its heads one after another yet it kept on coming back for more. In the end some falling rocks killed it? even though it had its heads cut off multiple times?. On the same note, Hercules is suppose to have retained his super strength BUT he's mortal (watch the film), yet in the film he's still comes across as immortal even after that was drained from him.

All in all I did enjoy this Greek outing as I expected I would. Yeah sure its not perfect by any means, the animation is a wee bit dated now naturally but I can't complain about that really. The CGI moments were obvious and terrible...down to age again. I didn't like the soppy songs throughout, yeah I know its Disney but they really felt unnecessary and jammed they sucked!. I really think these lovey-dovey songs are no longer required for these type of films, its a very old fashioned concept which to be honest I'm glad is fading me uncultured I guess. But I did quite like the little montage showing Hercules victories and his merchandise taking off, Air-Herc hehe nice touch.
February 1, 2014

Super Reviewer

Now I know a lot of people are indifferent to this movie and either really love this movie or really hate it. Me personally I love it. For a couple reasons, first the villain, Hades is my favorite Disney villain ever and one of my alll time favorite villains, and that is mainly due to how James Woods plays him. He doesn't sound evil, I always thought he sounded like a lawyer or agent which I find kind of interesting. Next the animation, this film has probably the most colorful and interesting animation I've seen in a Disney film, which is understandable seeing how the animation was lead and handled by Gerald Scarfe who did the animation for Pink Floyd's the Wall and he does a fantastic job at doing this animation, my favorite being his design of the Hydra in the film. Also I really do enjoy the music and comedy in the film for as weird as the musical choice of Gospel is for a movie about ancient greece.
January 3, 2014
michael e.
Michael Edwards

Super Reviewer

I've never liked Disney much but towards the late 90's it was definitely at it's worst. When it wasn't releasing horrible straight to video sequels to their most celebrated films, they continued to pillage classic literature and make half-hearted versions of, with the same old characters they used time and time again. Kids watched these films thinking they now know the stories but they don't, they know the sickly-sweat versions of but not the Authentic ones. Disney has been ruining children's imaginations since the 20s.
October 24, 2013

Super Reviewer

The film has aged surprisingly well. It is charming, fun, and can be watched over and over again. Highlights include the writing, and the songs "Go the Distance" and "I Won't Say I'm in Love."
July 28, 2013
Matthew Samuel Mirliani

Super Reviewer

    1. Hades: Well, Well! It's small underworld after all!
    – Submitted by Manuel R (2 months ago)
    1. Meg: Ugh, What's the matter with me? You'd think a girl would learn.
    – Submitted by John B (3 months ago)
    1. Hades: I have 24 hours to get rid of this bozo while the entire plan I've been planning goes up in smoke and you are wearing his MERCHANDISE!
    – Submitted by Pavlina B (16 months ago)
    1. Meg: Well, you know how men are. They think no means yes and get lost means take me im yours.
    2. Hercules: [looks cluelessly at pegasus]
    3. Meg: Don't worry, Shortie here can explain it to you [looks at Phil]
    – Submitted by Pavlina B (16 months ago)
    1. Meg: For a true hero isn't measured by the size of his strength, but by the strength of his heart.
    – Submitted by Nusfish K (2 years ago)
    1. Hades: Game. Set. Match.
    – Submitted by Hailey D (2 years ago)
View all quotes (10)

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Latest News on Hercules

April 5, 2013:
Kellan Lutz Is Hercules 3D
Director Renny Harlin has found his star.
February 4, 2013:
Renny Harlin to Direct Hercules 3D
He's aiming to get it in theaters before Brett Ratner's Dwayne Johnson-led "Hercules" project.
February 23, 2012:
Dwayne Johnson Could Be Brett Ratner's Hercules
Pretty much the role he was born to play, no?

Foreign Titles

  • Hercules (1997) (CA)
  • Hércules (ES)
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