->"I've been '''abandoned''' by the '''GODS!'''"
->''Hercules, voicing an oft-repeated phrase''

A 1958 Italian SwordAndSandal film based upon the mythical Greek hero. It featured Steve Reeves in the title role and made him an international star. The movie draws material from the Twelve Labors of Hercules, throwing in some of Jason and the Argonauts as well. The film spawned one sequel with Reeves, ''Hercules Unchained'', and several more with [[TheOtherDarrin other lead actors]].

''Hercules'' (aka ''The Labors Of Hercules'')\\
Demigod Hercules travels to Iolcus, where he is to become a personal trainer to Prince Iphitus, heir apparent to the throne of the city. Along the way he [[DamselInDistress rescues the lovely Iole]], who it turns out is Iphitus' sister and Princess of Iolcus. Iole tells Hercules of the night her father, Pelius, ascended the throne when his brother the king was killed; it is suspected that Pelius himself was involved in the previous king's death.

Hercules arrives in time to overhear a prophecy concerning the true heir to Iolcus' throne, then takes to training Iphitus. Iphitus, for his part, is [[JerkJock quite arrogant and self-indulgent]]; but he gets his when he overestimates himself and takes on an escaped lion -- and quickly gets chomped. Hercules dispatches the lion, but not in time to save Iphitus, and is left humiliated because he failed to protect the prince.

Enough of that, the Greek Oracle tells him, sending him off to his next "labor" for the gods. Hercules objects, [[IJustWantToBeNormal wanting to be normal]] even to the point of [[WhoWantsToLiveForever renouncing his immortality]]. In the meantime, a young man named Jason arrives in the city, claiming to be the son of the late king; he proposes to [[FetchQuest fetch the Golden Fleece]] -- a royal heirloom with which he can prove his identity -- and Pelius gives him leave to do so, but [[TheMole secretly sends his henchman along to sabotage the voyage]].

The crew of Jason's ship the ''Argo'' engage in a few mini-adventures on their way to retrieve the Golden Fleece. They make a pit stop at an island inhabited by Amazons, where they all fall in love -- and where they are almost killed. Eventually they make it to the hiding place of the Fleece, where Jason must fight [[{{Kaiju}} a dinosaur]] guarding the Fleece. The Fleece, it turns out, has [[DeadManWriting a message written on it]], pointing the finger at Pelius for the death of his brother the king.

And so the ''Argo'' returns to Iolcus. But the henchman has done his job well; upon arrival the Fleece is missing, and Pelius charges Jason and his crew with treason. Hercules, Jason and the Argonauts fight Pelius' royal guard and get the upper hand (especially when Herc topples part of the palace on top of them) and kill the henchman. Seeing his undoing, Pelius confesses to Iole and poisons himself.

Jason takes his rightful place as King of Iolcus, and Iole marries Hercules.

''Hercules Unchained'' (aka ''Hercules And The Queen Of Lydia'')\\
Based very loosely upon the myth of Hercules and Omphale, the second movie's {{t|heTeaser}}easer introduces us to FemmeFatale Omphale, who skates through the male population like a hot knife through warm butter -- and then has them killed when she's done. The film proper starts with newlyweds Hercules and Iole, along with Herc's young sidekick Ulysses (and yes, he is ''{{UsefulNotes/th|eTrojanWar}}at'' [[Literature/TheOdyssey Ulysses]]), arriving in Thebes to begin new adventures. They are immediately set upon by Anteaus, son of the Earth Goddess, but Herc quickly defeats him by dumping him into the sea.

The heroes are diverted from their destination of Thebes, and arrive at a cave where dwells Hercules' old friend King Oedipus, who has been deposed; turns out he turned over the throne of Thebes to his sons Eteocles and Polynices on the grounds that they share rulership; Eteocles is currently ruling and refuses to step aside, and Hercules is sent in to negotiate. Eteocles acquiesces rather abruptly, and Hercules brings the news to Polynices.

Or, rather, he attempts to. Along the way Hercules drinks from an enchanted well and [[EasyAmnesia loses his memory]]; he and Ulysses are captured by the royal guard of Queen Omphale. We learn here that the enchanted well is how the Queen acquires all her men; she tells the amnesiac Hercules that he is her husband, and that Ulysses (who is pretending to be deaf/mute) is just a servant. As Hercules basks in royal luxury in Omphale's palace, Ulysses snoops about and eventually discovers just what Omphale does with her discarded "husbands" -- she hires Egyptian taxidermists to create a WaxMuseumMorgue of her conquests -- and sends a messenger pigeon back to his family in Iolcus; in the meantime, he attempts to help Hercules regain his memory, to no avail.

Meanwhile, Iole is arrested, for no apparent reason, by Eteocles, who has [[ILied rescinded his decision]] to turn over Thebes to his brother. With no word from Hercules, Polynices brings his army and lays seige to Thebes, and his general takes custody of Iole. The two brothers agree to settle their differences with a duel to the death -- which ends with ''both'' their deaths.

Meanwhile, Hercules finally regains his memory just as his companions arrive from Iolcus. But Omphale don't give up that easy, and the heroes must battle their way to freedom. Realizing that the time he lost with Omphale means that Thebes has gone to civil war, Hercules must come up with a plan to sneak into the city, stop the warring factions, and rescue Iole.


As stated above, there were several subsequent films detailing the various exploits of Hercules, but presumably not in the same [[TheVerse continuity]] as Reeves' films given the wholesale replacement of the entire cast of characters, save Herc, in each new film. In fact, as it turns out, many of the subsequent "Hercules" films were originally centered on other mythical strongman heroes such as Sampson, who were renamed to "Hercules" when re-dubbed for American distribution (for example, ''Film/HerculesAgainstTheMoonMen''). For this reason, not to mention for purposes of relative brevity, this page deals mainly with the two films of the Reevesverse.

[[folder:''Mystery Science Theater 3000'' versions of Hercules Movies]]
* ''[[Recap/MysteryScienceTheater3000S05E02Hercules Hercules]]'' [Episode 502]
* ''[[Recap/MysteryScienceTheater3000S04E08HerculesUnchained Hercules Unchained]]'' [Episode 408]
* ''[[Recap/MysteryScienceTheater3000S04E12HerculesAndTheCaptiveWomen Hercules and the Captive Women]]'' [Episode 412]
* ''[[Recap/MysteryScienceTheater3000S04E10HerculesAgainstTheMoonMen Hercules Against the Moon Men]]'' [Episode 410] (Actually a Maciste film redubbed for US release)

!!These movies provide examples of:
* BoisterousBruiser: Antaeus.
* {{Bowdlerise}}: A lot of family friendly changes. For example, Hercules doesn't kill Anteus in a brutal way.
* BreakingTheBonds: Hercules. Ironically, this happens in the ''first'' film, not in the second. Furthermore, he remains ChainedByFashion.
* CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass: At the beginning of ''Unchained'', Ulysses is a PluckyComicRelief guy who can't fight to save his life. In the middle of the movie, he's pretending to be a deaf NonActionGuy, which puts him beneath the guards' notice and allows him to eavesdrop freely. When it comes time to escape Omphale, [[LetsGetDangerous the gloves come off]] and Ulysses personally dispatches the captain of Omphale's guard.
* DamselInDistress: Iole.
* DeadManWriting: The dying king of the first film had just enough time to write an incriminating message about his brother -- [[{{Squick}} in his own blood]].
* DubInducedPlotHole: In the dub, after Iphitus is killed by the lion and everyone shuns Hercules for "allowing" him to get killed, he goes to the Oracle and tells him that his strength is a curse and wants it gone so he can understand the feelings of mortals. Doesn't make much sense, does it, especially when he keeps using his strength throughout the movie. Because in the original he says his ''immortality'' is a curse that he wants gone so he can understand mortals better.
* DullSurprise: The ''Captive Women'''s Hercules' reaction to the vision of Androcles. Summed up, it's basically: "o_O"
* DumbMuscle: (Purportedly) Averted with Hercules:
-->'''Ulysses:''' My father says you put strength ahead of everything; but I know you want us to use our forces only to serve our intelligence!
* EasyAmnesia: The Waters Of Forgetfulness. Further, it's [[LaserGuidedAmnesia laser-guided]]; Herc forgets his identity, his friends, his history, even forgets how to use his own strength -- but he still remembers Iole's face (if not her name).
* EvilLaugh: Eteocles is particularly fond of this.
* FemmeFatale: Omphale.
** To a lesser extent, the Amazons in the first film; they didn't ''want'' to kill Jason and his men, but were ordered to do so by their priestesses.
* FetchQuest: Jason's quest with the Argonauts drives the plot for the first film's second half.
* FiveManBand: The Argonauts, mostly in the first film. Even then, Hercules is at the center of most of the action.
** TheLeader: Technically Jason, though he's not the main character
** TheLancer: Hercules, or possibly LaŽrtes
** TheBigGuy: Hercules again
** TheSmartGuy: Asclepius, and Argo a little bit
** TheChick: Ulysses.
* FollowTheLeader: Unlike most Italian genre films, ''Hercules'' wasn't a Follower in its particular genre (SwordAndSandal), but rather the Leader (or at least near the front of the pack).
* GuileHero: Ulysses. Not a surprise at all considering, again, he is ''that'' Ulysses.
* HeyItsThatVoice: The dinosaur guarding the Golden Fleece uses [[Film/{{Gojira}} Godzilla 1954]]'s roar.
* IAmXSonOfY: Ulysses introduces himself to Hercules as "Ulysses, son of Laertes."
* IJustWantToBeNormal, says Hercules to the Greek Oracle:
-->'''Hercules:''' I want to live like every other mortal man; it's my prayer to have a family! I want children of my own!
* JerkJock:
** Iphitus in the first film; Polynices' General in the second.
** Also Herc himself in the second film, to an extent; he won't defend his wife from Anteaus but reacts when Anteaus attacks him directly - but more likely he was just waiting for the right moment to catch Anteaus off guard and kick his ass. Other than that Herc's a genuinely nice guy (especially when compared to some of the myths).
* KickTheDog: During a confrontation with his brother, Eteocles orders the execution of a pair of innocent, helpless maidservants, purely as a show of power.
* LovableCoward: Aesculapius. Being TheMedic and an old man, [[JustifiedTrope no one expects him to get in a fight.]]
* LovePotion: The Waters Of Forgetfulness, sort of; they don't make one fall in love with Omphale directly, but they sure do make it easier for her to manipulate him.
* MaleGaze: When the Amazons first capture Jason and Co., the camera inserts a shot of the gals in formation with their bare legs perfectly posed.
* MateOrDie: The reason the Amazons didn't want to kill Jason and his men. The priestesses [[HonorBeforeReason thought differently]].
* TheMole: Eurysteus, Pelius' henchman, in the first film.
* MrFanservice: The late great Steve Reeves, a popular body builder who'd been dabbling in acting for a few years (and almost shot to fame as Samson in 1949's ''Samson and Delilah'' before pulling out due to a dispute over his physique), shows off his mighty frame in various toga styles.
* MsFanservice: Too many to list.
* MythologyGag: In the original myth, Hercules was a slave to Omphale and wove tapestries for her. In ''Hercules Unchained'', his line "I pulled together the threads [of my memory]!" seems to be a reference to this.
* NoArcInArchery: Averted in detail during the first movie when Hercules rattles off a string of variables that an archer has to consider before firing.
* NotableOriginalMusic: "Evening Star", sung by Iole complete with [[InvisibleBackupBand Invisible Orchestra]].
* PlotCoupon / PublicDomainArtifact: the Golden Fleece.
* SecondPersonAttack: Hercules [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvYhw_0xjhcshown punches a bear]] multiple times through the POV of the animal, complete with ridiculous strobe HitFlash effects.
* {{Sidekick}}: Ulysses.
* ThatsNoMoon: That's no hill, it's a [[{{Kaiju}} dinosaur]]!
* WaxMuseumMorgue: Omphale's preferred method of divorce.
* WordSaladTitle: "Hercules Unchained"; as stated above, the chaining (and subsequent unchaining) of Herc happens in the first film.