Hercules is a 1997 American animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation for Walt Disney Pictures. The 35th Disney animated feature film and the eighth animated film produced during the Disney Renaissance, the film was directed by Ron Clements and John Musker.
The film is loosely based on the legendary hero Heracles (known in the film by his Roman name, Hercules), the son of Zeus, in Greek mythology.
- Starring : Tate Donovan / Danny DeVito
- Genre : Animation / Adventure / Comedy / Family / Fantasy / Musical / Romance
- Country : United States
- Language : English / Spanish / Greek
- Director : Ron Clements / John Musker
- Production : Walt Disney Pictures / Walt Disney Animation Studios
- Distributor : Buena Vista Pictures / Buena Vista International / Gaumont Buena Vista International (GBVI) / Filmes Lusomundo / Roadshow Film Distributors / Falcon / Kommunenes Filmcentral (KF) / Abril Vídeo / American Broadcasting Company (ABC) / BBC Three / Buena Vista Home Entertainment / Buena Vista Home Video / Disney Channel / Eén / Gativideo / Rai 3 / Seven Network / Walt Disney Home Entertainment / Walt Disney Home Video / Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Hercules release date
- June 13, 1997 : USA (limited)
- June 15, 1997 : USA (New York City, New York) (premiere)
- June 27, 1997 : Canada
- June 27, 1997 : USA
- July 26, 1997 : Japan
- August 20, 1997 : Singapore (premiere)
- September 4, 1997 : Singapore
- September 12, 1997 : Philippines
- September 18, 1997 : Australia
- October 10, 1997 : UK
- October 17, 1997 : Ireland
- November 14, 1997 : Sweden
- November 17, 1997 : Spain
- November 20, 1997 : Germany
- November 21, 1997 : Switzerland (German speaking region)
- November 26, 1997 : France
- August 1, 2000 : USA (DVD premiere)
- Tate Donovan as Hercules(voice)
- Josh Keaton as Young Hercules(voice)
- Roger Bart as Young Hercules(singingVoice)
- Danny DeVito as Phil(voice)
- James Woods as Hades(voice)
- Susan Egan as Meg(voice)
- Bobcat Goldthwait as Pain(voice)
- Matt Frewer as Panic(voice)
- Rip Torn as Zeus(voice)
- Samantha Eggar as Hera(voice)
- Barbara Barrie as Alcmene(voice)
- Hal Holbrook as Amphitryon(voice)
- Paul Shaffer as Hermes(voice)
- Amanda Plummer as Clotho(voice)
- Carole Shelley as Lachesis(voice)
Development of Hercules began in 1992 following a pitch adaptation of the Heracles mythological stories by animator Joe Haidar. Meanwhile, Ron Clements and John Musker re-developed their idea for Treasure Planet following the critical and commercial success of Aladdin. Their project was removed from development in 1993, and Musker and Clements joined Hercules later that same year. Following an unused treatment by Haidar, Clements and Musker studied multiple interpretations of Greek mythology before abandoning Zeus’s adulterous affair with Alcmene. The project underwent multiple story treatments and a first script draft was inspired by the screwball comedy films of the classic Hollywood era and popular culture of the 1990s. Donald McEnery, Bob Shaw, and Irene Mecchi were brought on board to shorten the script. British cartoonist Gerald Scarfe was recruited as production designer and produced over seven hundred visualization designs of the characters. Research trips to Greece and Turkey provided inspiration for the background designs. Animation for the film was done in California and Paris. Computer animation was utilized in several scenes, predominantly in the Hydra battle sequence.
Hercules was released on June 27, 1997, to positive reviews from film reviewers who praised the animation (particularly the visual style), humor, themes, soundtrack and James Woods’s portrayal of Hades. Despite the positive critical reception, the film under-performed in its theatrical release notably in comparison to its predecessors before ultimately earning $252.7 million in box office revenue worldwide. Hercules was later followed by the direct-to-video prequel Hercules: Zero to Hero, which served as the pilot to Hercules: The Animated Series, a syndicated Disney television series focusing on Hercules during his time at the Prometheus Academy.
In Ancient Greece, after imprisoning the Titans beneath the ocean, the rulers of the Greek gods, Zeus and his wife Hera, have a son named Hercules on Mount Olympus. While the other gods are joyful, Zeus’ jealous younger brother Hades plots to overthrow Zeus and rule Olympus. Turning to the Fates for help, Hades learns that in eighteen years, a planetary alignment will allow him to locate and free the Titans to conquer Olympus, but only if Hercules does not interfere. Hades sends his minions Pain and Panic to dispose of Hercules. The two succeed at kidnapping the infant and feeding him a formula that turns him mortal, but fail to remove his superhuman strength before Hercules is found and adopted by the farmers Amphitryon and Alcmene.
Years later, the teenage Hercules becomes an outcast due to his strength, and wonders where he came from. After his foster parents reveal the necklace they found him with, Hercules decides to visit the temple of Zeus for answers. The temple’s statue of Zeus comes to life and reveals all to Hercules, telling him that he can regain his godhood by becoming a true hero. Zeus sends Hercules and his forgotten infant friend Pegasus to find the satyr Philoctetes—”Phil” for short—who is known for training heroes. They meet Phil, who has retired due to numerous disappointments, but Hercules inspires him to follow his dream to train a true hero that will be recognized by the gods. Phil trains Hercules into a potential hero, and then they headed towards Thebes. On the way, they meet Megara—”Meg” for short—a sarcastic damsel whom Hercules saves from the centaur Nessus. After Hercules and the others leave, Meg is revealed to be Hades’ minion, who sold her soul to him to save an unfaithful lover.
Arriving in Thebes, Hercules is turned down by the downtrodden citizens until Meg appears, saying that two boys have become trapped in a gorge. Hercules saves them, unaware that they are Pain and Panic in disguise, and unwittingly releases the Hydra. Hercules defeats it and becomes a celebrated hero, but despite Hercules’ growing fame and defeating every subsequent monster Hades unleashes, Zeus tells him he is not yet a “true” hero. Saddened and frustrated, Hercules spends a day out with Meg, who falls in love with him. Hades learns of this and on the eve of his takeover, he holds Meg hostage and offers her in exchange for Hercules surrendering his powers for a day. On the condition that Meg will be unharmed, he accepts, and is heartbroken when Hades reveals that Meg was working for him.
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