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"Hercules" Films

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About These Films
Gallery

Samson Burke
The Three Stooges Meet Hercules (1962 Film)

Lou Ferrigno
Hercules (1983 Film)

The Adventures of Hercules (1985 Film)
aka "Hercules II"

Mark Forest

Goliath & the Dragon (1960 Film)

Hercules Against the Sons of the Sun (1964 Film)

Mickey Hargitay
The Loves of Hercules (1960 Film)
aka "Hercules & the Hydra"

Brad Harris
The Fury of Hercules (1962 Film)

Mike Lane
Ulysses Against the Son of Hercules (1961 Film)

Peter Lupus
Hercules & the Tyrants of Babylon (1964 Film)

Kirk Morris
Hercules, Samson & Ulysses (1963 Film)

Reg Park
Hercules Conquers Atlantis (1961 Film)
aka "Hercules & the Captive Women"

Hercules in the Haunted World (1961 Film)

Hercules the Avenger (1965 Film)

Steve Reeves

Hercules (1958 Film)

Hercules Unchained (1959 Film)


Arnold Schwarzenegger
Hercules In New York (1970 Film)

Gordon Scott

Hercules and the Princess of Troy (1965 TV Movie)

Kevin Sorbo
Hercules: The Legendary Journeys (1995-1999 TV Series)


Paul Telfer
Hercules (2005 TV Movie)


Dan Vadis
Son of Hercules in the Land of Darkness (1964 Film)
aka "Hercules the Invincible"

About These Films:  Hercules has always been a popular hero in mythology.  He might have been done in films before 1958, but it was Steve Reeves in the titular role who started the entire Hercules craze that has continued, on and off, ever since!  "Hercules" was a hit, and immediately spawned the equally famous sequel, "Hercules Unchained" (1959).  These were the only two films in which Reeves starred as Hercules, but he was instantly typecast in many Hercules-like roles.  There have since been countless other attempts of Hercules in film, television, animation, and other media.  Some films, not made as Hercules features, were retitled and repackaged as "Hercules" movies to gain more of an audience.  Other films made as "Hercules" films were retitled and repackaged under bogus names like "Goliath" and "Maciste" to avoid lawsuits and otherwise trick movie audiences into thinking they were seeing a new feature.  The live-action history of Hercules has been very muddled.  In this feature, I will ONLY list films and television shows originally intended as "Hercules" programs.



The Fury of Hercules (1962 Film):  Good Hercules flick!  Brad Harris makes a good Hercules.  He looks tough, has the beard, acts well, just one criticism: he looks too short!  In real life he's 5' 11", which is a decent height, but a lot of guys in this movie look bigger than him!  I suppose it's not a terrible thing, but the usual idea is that Hercules is a giant.

    Harris is a cool Hercules, though, and in this movie Hercules has himself a set of wheels!  The "man of might" rides around on a big white chariot pulled by four black horses.  That's a cool visual, really.

    It's the standard Hercules-type storyline.  Hercules comes to some anonymous kingdom for some reason, discovers there is tyrannical rule, and does his Hercules thing to free the people.  In this movie, Hercules drops in for a visit with beautiful Queen Cnidia, who is the daughter of Hercules' dead friend.  He soon discovers that her kingdom is not her own.  The man who is supposed to be her advisor, Menistus, is really the one in control.  Cnidia goes along with it, mostly because she fears Menistus.  She's not as bad as he is, but does share the blame among the oppressed populace.

    The Queen's beautiful handmaiden Daria informs Hercules of all that's going on and fastly becomes his love interest.  Hercules is then fighting bad guys left and right and doing what he does best.  The most notable bad guy under Menistus is Kaldos, the mute strongman.  Kaldos is played by Sergio Ciani, credited in this film as Alan Steel.  You may remember him from other sword-and-sandal movies, including the starring role in "Hercules Against the Moon Men" (1964).

    Hercules wins (natch!).  Menistus kills the Queen with a spear in her back after she saves Hercules.  Hercules, in turn, kills Menistus.  Everybody is free and happy.  Daria wants to ride off with Hercules, but he won't let her.  Is the man crazy?!

    Funny thing:  Top bad guy Menistus reminds me of Pee Wee Herman!  I can never take him seriously, he just looks too funny!

Cast:

Brad Harris as Hercules
Luisella Boni as Daria [credited as Brigitte Corey]
Mara Berni as Queen Cnidia
Serge Gainsbourg as Menistus, the true ruler of Cnidia's kingdom
Sergio Ciani as Kaldos, the mute strongman soldier of Menistus [credited as Alan Steel]


Alternate Titles For This Film:

Fun Facts:



Goliath and the Dragon (1960 Film)
:  First of all, forget that "Goliath" stuff.  This is a Hercules movie.  It is an Italian-made movie and in the real version the hero is Hercules (in Italian, they say "Ercole").  There was a legal issue regarding the American distributor (AIP) using the name "Hercules".  The rights to the name of "Hercules" was owned by Universal Studios at the time, so AIP decided to change the name of the character.  In the English-language version they give us this crap that his name is really Emilius, but since he had such incredible strength they nicknamed him Goliath.  The only name anyone called him in this movie was Goliath, so why couldn't he have just been named Goliath in the first place?  What's this Emilius business?  That's kind of confusing.  Especially since the hero is really Hercules, anyway.  Also, the name of the evil king Eurystheus was changed to Eurito in the American version.  Eurystheus is the actual name from the ancient Hercules' stories.  I'm guessing Eurito was easier to pronounce.  But I don't like that change, either.

    The title of the American version is dumb, too.  First of all, he's not Goliath.  Second, "the dragon" only has a brief appearance near the end of the movie and is a minor villain as Hercules dispatches him easy.

    Besides those two things, this is one of the best Hercules movies made!  Certainly entertaining from beginning to end.  Mark Forest plays a good, believable Hercules.  The Italian title of this film is "La vendetta di Ercole"..."Hercules' Revenge".  If anything, AIP should have called this "Goliath's Revenge".  "Hercules' Revenge" is an appropriate title, because the entire film is Hercules exacting his revenge on the evil King Eurito.  This is the first time I've ever seen a Hercules movie where Hercules was truly, absolutely p***ed off!  It's awesome!  He's a one man wrecking crew.  Until I saw Mark Forest's portrayal, I didn't know Hercules could be so angry!  In movies, Hercules always does something physically amazing, but it's all so matter of fact and he acts so cool.  Forest's Hercules just goes nuts!  He MEANS what he's doing!

    Broderick Crawford as the evil King Eurito is a perfect pairing with Mark Forest's Hercules.  He's just so d*** evil!  Visually, he's an interesting character; fat, ugly, scar-faced.  His mannerisms are perfect for a villain:  always snarling and brooding.  As one critic said, Crawford spits out his lines like he was playing a big city gangster.  That's true, and it works for this role.  Eurito is mean and forceful.  That's how he gets things done.  And he HATES Goliath (Hercules) like gangsters hate cops.  Acting-wise, Crawford did the best of anyone.  And Forest was convincing because he knew how to look and act mad.  All the actors in this film were good.  There wasn't one that was a dud.  But Forest and Crawford stand out because this movie is basically about the two of them.

    This movie must have had a fairly decent budget.  The costumes and sets were quite elaborate.  The cinematography was amazing.  You get to see a lot of pretty scenery.  And there were so many people in the cast, as major players or extras.

    This movie follows the "Labors of Hercules" myth from mythology, where Hercules completes 12 labors to prove himself worthy to the gods.  After his last labor is completed, Hercules (called Goliath in this film) returns to his family to live a life of peace.  However, the evil and spiteful King Eurystheus (called Eurito in this film), whom Hercules had served in his labors, wants to kill him.  Eurito's a real bada**, attacking Goliath's wife and younger brother in his mad quest to destroy Goliath.  All this does is agitate Goliath, and he gets so mad that he tears into Eurito's palace like a bull in a china shop.  And when the gods refuse to help Goliath, he declares war on them, too.  So you'll never see Hercules (excuse me, "Goliath") more amped than you will in this film.

    It's a good follow-up to the "Labors of Hercules" myth, except for the fact that in the actual myth, Hercules' wife and children are dead.  Hercules' accidentally killed them in a blind fit of rage, which is why he was sent on the Labors in the first place.  But the movies have muddled mythology since celluloid began.  This is a cool story, so don't try to compare it to real mythology too much.  It's interesting that the filmmakers answered our question: "What did Hercules do AFTER the Labors?".  And it's novel how they made King Eurystheus an arch-nemesis for Hercules, like Lex Luthor is to Superman.

    I recommend this movie.  It's an interesting, exciting Hercules story with great filming and lots of action...more than enough to make up for the era's substandard creature effects.

Cast:

Mark Forest as Goliath (aka Hercules)
Broderick Crawford as King Eurito (aka King Eurystheus)
Leonora Ruffo as Dejanira, Goliath's wife
Federica Ranchi as Thea, girlfriend of Goliath's brother
Gaby Andre as Alcinoe, beautiful, redhead slave girl of Eurito
Director- Vittorio Cottafavi


Alternate Titles:




Hercules (1958):  The first of two Steve Reeves' Hercules movies.  This is an entertaining movie.  A large part of the charm of "Hercules" is due to Steve Reeves, who played the role.  Although not known for really complicated acting, Steve Reeves LOOKED the part of Hercules and gave a more than convincing performance in his fight scenes.  And on top of everything else, he plays Hercules as we've always expected him:  big, imposing, dark hair and beard, not too bright and not completely stupid, definitely brutish, and physically impressive.  When most people think of Hercules in film, they think of Steve Reeves more than anyone else.

    This movie could've been called "Hercules and Jason", though, because the character of Jason is almost as equally important as Hercules in this film.  We mostly see Hercules in the beginning and final scenes of the film, but during most of the middle of the movie, we see Fabrizio Mioni as Jason, who does a great job.  Jason is a very significant part of this adventure.  He is the one who is out for revenge for his father's killer.  He is the one who grows smitten of Antea the Amazon Queen.  He is the one who finds the Golden Fleece and also the one who fights the dinosaur to get it.  For a big part of this movie, Hercules is a bit-player.

    But Hercules delivers when it counts, and it shows in his fight scenes.  We see Hercules' persona change from the beginning of this movie to the end.  At the beginning, Hercules is more of a nice, easy-going guy just trying to do some good.  Throughout the movie, Hercules gets a lot meaner, and by the end he is just plain ferocious!  During the movie's climax, Hercules snaps the chains he is bound with and uses them as weapons, lashing them back and forth at the evil king's soldiers!

    Sylva Koscina plays Princess Iole, the love interest of Hercules.  She's very lovely, but Iole is a big pain in the butt for Hercules through most of the movie.  Iole really gives Hercules a hard time and you start to wonder why he'd put up with that much junk from any woman.  Yeah, she's hot, but there's a limit.  But she comes through at the end and the two live happily ever after...until the next movie.

    I enjoyed the character of Ulysses, played by Gabriele Antonini.  He reminds me of Jimmy Olsen in the Superman shows.  Kind of a jumpy, overeager sidekick.  Extremely likeable personality.  Always competent, though, so his character is given a lot of important things to do.  Ulysses is kind of the comedy relief.

    Also worth special mentioning is Gianna Maria Canale as Antea the Amazon Queen.  Antea is the sultry, but vulnerable woman warrior who falls for Jason.  Everyone in this movie gave a good performance, but there were so many actors that I can't possibly begin to discuss each one in detail.  I've just been mentioning those who have some of the biggest and most substantial parts in the film.  I'd enjoy hearing from anyone who worked in this film.  Please CONTACT ME.

    The coolest scenes in this movie:

    1. The Amazons.  Especially when they are dancing around in their nighties.  That's interesting.

    2.  The big, but short-lived battle between Hercules' group and the Ape-Men.  There's just so darn many Ape-Men!  And they are UGLY!

    3.  The dinosaur coming out of the ground when Jason finds the Golden Fleece.  Back then, most dinosaurs in movies looked phony, but this dinosaur actually looks pretty good considering the time this movie was made.  I think they made it well and they filmed it well enough where you can still get drawn into the battle.

    4.  Hercules falling through the trap door.

    5.  Hercules snapping the chains from the wall and using them as whips against the soldiers.

EXTRA COMMENT:  This is an amusing quote from Steve Reeves himself regarding this portion of the film:

    "Filmmaking in Europe was a little different from working in the United States.  There's a scene in 'Hercules' where I'm in chains.  They looked like steel, but were actually made of wood, and I had to swing these chains at my supposed enemies who were advancing towards me.  Well, I didn't want to really strike someone so I kind of held back with my motions.  The director yelled "Swing those chains!  Swing them hard!".  I said "I don't want to hurt someone." and the director yelled back "If they don't get hurt, they don't get paid!".

    6.  Hercules breaking loose the pillars of the castle.

    7.  The opening of this movie.  Not really a scene, but it's cool how they do it with the constellations and the title.  You first see a temple, then it scrolls up into the sky with the stars.  The stars form into constellations, one of Hercules with a club which glows red.

Hercules

Cast:

Steve Reeves as Hercules
Go to "Steve Reeves" Main Page
Go to "Gallery: Steve Reeves as Hercules"
Sylva Koscina as Princess Iole, Daughter of Pelias
Go to "Sylva Koscina" Main Page
Go to "Gallery: Sylva Koscina as Iole"
Gabriele Antonini as Ulysses
Go to "Gabriele Antonini" Main Page
Fabrizio Mioni as Jason
Go to "Fabrizio Mioni" Main Page
Go to "Gallery: Fabrizio Mioni as Jason"
Go to "Gallery: The Amazons"

Alternate Titles:

  • Hercules (Spain)
  • Hercules (USA)
  • Labors of Hercules (International:  English title) (literal title)
  • Le Fatiche di Ercole (original Italy title, meaning "The Labors of Hercules")
  • Los Viajes de Heracles (Spain)
Fun Facts:



Hercules & the Tyrants of Babylon (1964):  Peter Lupus does a wonderful job as Hercules.  Yep, this is an Italian-made Hercules movie that was actually made as a Hercules movie.  How novel.  So many times, movies are called "Hercules" in American releases, but are actually Maciste, Samson, or whatever.

    I've never been too into the beardless Hercules look, but Lupus is a good enough actor, and tough enough, to make you ignore it.  He's really only 6' 4", but in this movie he looks like he's over seven feet tall!  How short must the other actors have been?!  I do like it that they incorporate Hercules' club in this movie.  In many Hercules stories, and in artwork, we see Hercules with a massive club, but in most Hercules movies we don't see him with a club at all!  Peter Lupus' Hercules uses the club quite a bit, and it does help make his character more interesting.

    In this story, the empire of Babylon is ruled by three siblings.  And all three are vying for total control.  Taneal is beautiful, but wicked.  Salman Osar is the angry bald brother, and the most warlike.  Azzur, the bearded one, is scholarly.  Babylon is known throughout the land as a pretty evil place.  Many slaves.  One of the newly acquired slaves is Asparia, beautiful Queen of the Helenes.  This angers Hercules, as he is her King.  Playing Asparia is Anna Maria Polani, who you might remember as the girlfriend of Maciste/Hercules in the movie, "Hercules Against The Moon Men" (1964).

    The rulers of Babylon figure out that one the new slaves is Queen of the Helenes, but they do not know who.  Both of the men wish to find out so they can marry her and take over rule of the Helenes.  Visiting Babylon is Phaleg, King of Assyria, who also wants to find Asparia, marry her, and take over the Helenes.  So four major bad guys are pretty much at each others' throats throughout the movie.

    Taneal wants to steal all of Babylon's gold, destroy the city, and set up a new empire in Ninevah.  She reveals to Hercules a secret, underground mechanism that will bring down the whole city.  A giant wheel, with many chains connected to it going in all directions, will pull on the chains and, in turn, topple everything.  At first she wants 100 slaves to turn the wheel.  Hercules actually jumps the gun and turns the wheel before Taneal can carry out her evil plot.  This is the coolest sequence in the movie.  Musclebound Hercules turns the wheel and, as he does, brings down the whole empire!  The fall of Babylon is quite a spectacle.

    So how do the bad guys get it?  Azzur is stabbed to death by his brother, Salman Osar.  Osar, while attempting to kill his sister with a bow and arrow, is killed by falling debris before he can fulfill his evil deed.  Phaleg is beaten to death by the fists of Hercules.  Taneal, carrying poison in her ring, kills herself so she doesn't have to face the judgment of Hercules and Asparia.

    Hercules leads Asparia and the rest of the formerly enslaved Helenes back to their kingdom.  Happy ending time!

    I enjoy this movie.  It's not the most brilliantly written Hercules movie, but it does have its clever moments.  For instance, the filmmakers toy with us on the motives of the rulers.  Is Taneal good or bad?  Is Phaleg good or bad?  Is Azzur good or bad?  We all know Salman Osar is nasty, but we think the others may have redeeming qualities.  It also seems uncertain at times that Asparia will live.  This movie is not entirely predictable.  It's a simple story, but the characters give it enough plot twists to make it interesting.  And Peter Lupus is a likable strongman actor.  The whole cast is pretty enjoyable.  Technically speaking, it's also pretty well-filmed and directed.  It's certainly watchable, decades after the fact.

Cast:

Peter Lupus as Hercules (credited as Rock Stevens)
Anna Maria Polani as Asparia, Queen of the Helenes
Helga Line as Taneal, one of the three rulers of Babylon
Livio Lorenzon as Salman Osar, the most warlike of Babylon's rulers
Tullio Altamura as Azzur, the most scholarly of Babylon's rulers
Mario Petri as King Phaleg of the Assyrians


Alternate Titles For This Film:
  • Ercole contro i tiranni di Babilonia [Italy; actual title]
Fun Facts:
  • Peter Lupus had to shave his chest for this movie to achieve the wanted Hercules look.
  • Peter Lupus was 31 or, at most, 32 while filming this movie.  He later became the strongman on TV's "Mission: Impossible".
  • Helga Line, who played the foxy Taneal in this film, worked very heavily in low-budget Italian movies.




Hercules Conquers Atlantis (1961):  This Franco-Italian production of Hercules was released as many titles, most popularly in the U.S. as "Hercules and the Captive Women".  Although an attractive title, this movie has NOTHING to do with captive women, and it was just a lie to entice males into buying tickets.  A much more accurate title, "Hercules Conquers Atlantis", was given in the U.K., so that is how I will refer to it in Polar Blair's Den.

    This is an excellent Hercules movie, with a surprisingly elaborate story for the time it was made, and very big budget.  It was very well-filmed and the ONLY Hercules movie to be shot in 70mm.  Very watchable even today, it's also a great comedy-adventure.  Some Hercules shows are too, too serious.  While the action is very serious, Hercules and the other characters have a sense of humor and great personality.

    The Hercules of this movie is in his forties.  He has a beautiful wife, Dejanira, and a teenage son, Hylus.  Hercules' best buddy is Androcles, the King of Thebes.  And Timoteo?  He's just the little midget guy that hangs out with the group.  Although a likable character, you can tell he was just put in there for the funny vote.

    Hercules, Androcles, and Timoteo are informed by a mysterious source that some evil is plotting against the great city of Thebes, and ultimately, the world.  Dejanira pleads Hercules not to go, and he agrees.  While at a farewell party for Androcles, Hercules' wine is drugged and he's taken aboard Androcles' ship.  Even worse, Hercules teenage son, Hylus, has joined the crew.  Before Hercules wakes up, Hylus, fearing his father's disapproval, hides deep down in the boat.  For most of the movie, Hercules and Hylus are not seen together.

    The ship is destroyed by a mysterious storm.  Hercules is separated from the rest of the crew.  Hylus and Timoteo are washed up on another shore, and Androcles has gone missing completely.  Hercules comes to an island and finds a beautiful young girl trapped partially in stone on the side of a mountain.  This girl is Ismene, daughter of Queen Antinea, and was sacrificed to the evil lizard-man Proteus.  A monster who can take the shape of many animals, Proteus hides the island city of Atlantis by magic mists that make the place invisible to anyone at sea.  Her sacrifice was to secure Proteus' services, as he feeds off the blood of his victims like a parasite when they are trapped in stone.

    After a cool battle sequence where Hercules fights the lizard-man in his true form, and as a lion, and an eagle, Hercules wins.  The girl is freed from her magic prison.  He finds out who she is and that this is Atlantis.  When Hercules returns Ismene to her mother, he is only scorned for killing their magical "protector".  Moments later, when Queen Antinea and Princess Ismene are alone, the princess is informed that there was another reason for her sacrifice.  It is written that if the Queen of Atlantis' daughter outlives her mother, Atlantis will be destroyed.  Then Ismene is sentinced to death again.

    Antinea tries to seduce Hercules, and it almost works.  Then he discovers that she is lying about things and decides to stick around and investigate.  He sees visions of Androcles around the palace, and later discovers that it IS Androcles, kept prisoner and brainwashed.  Hercules also finds out about Antinea's plot to have her superhuman warriors take over the city of Thebes, and then the world.

    Meanwhile, Hylus finds Ismene, saves her from a terrible death, and falls in love.  Hercules, Hylus, and Timoteo team up to rescue Androcles and end the evil queen's rule.  To do so, Atlantis must be destroyed.  Hercules, Hylus, Timoteo, Androcles, and Ismene flee only moments before Atlantis is plunged into the sea.  The movie ends with our heroes returning home.

Cast:

Reg Park as Hercules [Ercole, in the Italian version]
Luciano Marin as Hylus, son of Hercules
Ettore Manni as King Androcles of Thebes
Salvatore Fumari as Timoteo, the midget
Fay Spain as Queen Antinea of Atlantis
Laura Efrikian as Ismene, Antinea's daughter [credited in this film as Laura Altan]
Luciana Angiolillo as Dejanira, wife of Hercules
Mimmo Palmara as Antinea's Grand Vizier
Mario Petri as Zantas, Priest of Uranus
Enrico Maria Salerno as King of Megara
Ivo Garrani as King of Megalia
Gian Maria Volonte as King of Sparta


Alternate Titles For This Film:
  • Ercole alla conquista di Atlantide [Italy; actual title]
  • Hercule a la conquete de l'Atlantide [France]
  • Hercules and the Captive Women [US]
  • Hercules and the Conquest of Atlantis [International, English title]
  • Hercules and the Haunted Women
  • Hercules Conquers Atlantis [UK]
Fun Facts:
  • This movie is very well-done in script, acting, and production values.  I enjoy it quite a bit.  This was Reg Park's film debut, and he played an excellent Hercules.  He is certainly one of the most musclebound Hercules, if not THE most musclebound.  The man is awesome!  He played Hercules in two more films, "Hercules in the Haunted World" (1961) and "Hercules the Avenger" (1965).  An odd bit of trivia, he played a similar character called Ursus in a film that was released in the U.S. as "Hercules, Prisoner of Evil" (1964), but the character was simply called Hercules in dubbing.  He also played the Hercules-inspired character of Maciste in the film "Maciste in King Solomon's Mines" (1964), also titled/redubbed in some versions as "Samson in King Solomon's Mines".  On the whole scale of things, Reg Park did not do much in acting, but he played great Hercules characters in a handful of respectable films.
  • I liked the character of Hercules' wife, Dejanira, but we only see her early on in the film.  And we NEVER see her with son Hylus.
  • Reg Park and Fay Spain were the top-billed actors in this movie.  Fay Spain was a popular femme fatale actress at the time.
  • This movie wasn't released in the U.S. until April 15, 1963.


Hercules in New York (1970):  People slam this movie all the time, and it's really not bad.  It's supposed to be a spoof of Hercules (i.e. camp), so if you take it as such you'll have a good time.  The only bad thing is that it's not Arnold Schwarzenegger's voice and he's very obviously been dubbed.  The voice he's given sounds so high and mighty and corny.

    This is Arnold Schwarzenegger's first movie, but at the time he was credited as Arnold Strong.  The later releases of it show his name as Arnold Schwarzenegger in the credits.  He made a physically impressive-looking Hercules, but I've always felt Hercules needs a beard.  To me, Hercules isn't Hercules without a beard, and that's all there is to it.  Despite that, it's a fun movie and I like the story idea.  He's bored with life on Mount Olympus among the other Greek gods and winds up going to New York City.  But Hercules' arrogance and inexperience with civilization gets him into trouble time and again.  He becomes a weightlifting superstar.  After making best friends with a pretzel vendor named Pretzie, and the beautiful daughter of a college professor named Helen Camden, Hercules slowly becomes a better person.  But that isn't the whole story.

    Of special mention is Arnold Stang as Pretzie.  I enjoy Arnold Stang as a cartoon character voice actor, and it's great to see him in a substantial role (second billing, not too shabby).  He is most famous for the voices of Herman the Mouse (of Herman and Katnip) and Top Cat.

    It's funny, it's stupid, but it's supposed to be.  At least Arnold passes for Hercules and can do Herculean things, unlike many of the more recent actors they've had play the character.  If you're looking for something amusing to watch, this is it.

    This movie has also been called "Hercules:  The Movie" and "Hercules Goes Bananas".  It wasn't a huge hit at the time, but this debut helped Arnold secure several other supporting roles before getting star billing again in "Conan the Barbarian" in 1982.  And he's had star billing in almost all of his projects since.


Cast:

Arnold Schwarzenegger as Hercules [credited as Arnold Strong]
Arnold Stang as Pretzie
Deborah Loomis as Helen Camden
Ernest Graves as Zeus
Tanny McDonald as Juno
Taina Elg as Nemesis
Michael Lipton as Pluto
Erica Fitz as Venus
Dan Hamilton as Mercury
Mark Tendler as Samson
Dennis Tinerino as Atlas

Alternate Titles:
  • Hercules Goes Bananas
  • Hercules: The Movie
Fun Facts:
  • This movie was filmed in 1969, and debuted on February 25, 1970 in the U.S.
  • It is Arnold Schwarzenegger's first role, although his voice is dubbed and he's credited as Arnold Strong.
  • Schwarzenegger's friend Reg Park, a three-time Hercules, urged him to take the part.
  • Many years later, on a DVD release, the film is presented with Schwarzenegger's real voice!
  • It was actually filmed in New York City.


Hercules the Avenger (1965)
:  It's good to see Reg Park as Hercules again.  This is a sequel, of sorts, to his previous Hercules appearances.  The bad thing is that this movie is mostly stock footage from the films "Hercules & the Captive Women" and "Hercules in the Haunted World", both from 1961.  New scenes were shot for this film, but as one reviewer has said "it looks like it was filmed in a day".  I'm not that critical.  I do think this is good enough to watch, but it's "cheaping out" like this that ended up killing the genre of sword-and-sandal peplum.  Pretty much by 1966, this type of movie was finished.  Audiences got upset when filmmakers kept cutting corners and didn't deliver what they promised.


    Hercules again has a wife, Dejanira, and a teenage son.  This time, his "only son" is named Zanthos.  Apparently, they were rewriting the saga of Reg Park's Hercules.  His trusted confidant is the aged Thessus, as it was in the last movie "Hercules in the Haunted World".  However, ALL of the supporting cast around Reg Park is changed from previous entries.

    In this movie, Hercules has recently returned from killing the Hydra snake monster.  He knows he has incurred the wrath of Hydra's creator, the petty Goddess of Earth, Gia.  He fears Gia will bring harm to his family.  Hercules' fears come true.

    A group of 20 male lions has plagued the area.  Hercules' teenage son Zanthos pleas to Hercules to let him go in his stead, so he can prove his manhood; sort of a "rite of passage".  Zanthos gets thrown from his chariot in an "accident", then attacked by a lion.  The boy is saved in time by Thessus, but is gravely wounded.  The lions, Zanthos' accident, and him being attacked...all of it is the work of the evil goddess Gia.

    Zanthos is still alive, but his sanity/spirit is gone.  The boy is quite insane.  Zanthos is tied down to bed, while Hercules goes on a sea  voyage to some strange land to free Zanthos' spirit.  Meanwhile, Gia allows her evil son Antaius to assume Hercules' identity and spread evil across the land.  Antaius is not as strong as Hercules, but still has enough super-strength to be a menace to everyone; he is the second-strongest man on Earth.  The recently widowed Queen Lita of Syracuse seeks Hercules' help in securing her kingdom from six evil kings.  When she can not find Hercules, she is met by evil Antaius and, reluctantly, accepts his "help".  Once Antaius rids Lita of the six evil kings, he doesn't settle for payment.  He takes the queen and the kingdom by force, and makes himself the king.  Telling everyone he's Hercules in order to gain their fear and respect, he rules Syracuse in a very cruel manner.  He taxes the people into poverty, kills all who oppose, and even frees convicted killers from prison to become his new soldiers.  Perhaps his cruelest act is driving his revolting subjects into the Valley of Agony and blocking them out from ever returning to the kingdom.  People all over the land think this is the real Hercules and hate his guts.

    Against all of Gia's attempts, Hercules accomplishes the mission of saving his son's spirit and returns home.  He finds out about the fake Hercules and goes to Syracuse to kill him.

    Hercules starts a volcanic eruption to wipe out the city.  This is about the stupidest thing written into the movie.  It's just an excuse to reuse the destruction of Atlantis footage from "Hercules & the Captive Women".  Hercules was supposed to be saving the people, why was he instructed to kill them all and destroy the kingdom?  Even sillier, how come there were still people in the kingdom?  Antaius had all of them sent to the Valley of Agony.  Queen Lita goes to the shrine of Zeus (Jove) to beg his forgiveness and be pardoned from this terrible fate.  Antaius begs his mother to be saved and escapes through a crack in the floor.  We never see Lita again.  Whether she is saved or not is uncertain.  She's good, so I think we're supposed to assume she survives.  Still, the kingdom she wanted to save from evil is leveled, and that sucks.  What was the point of all this?

    Hercules find Antaius in the underground tunnel.  There's a great fight scene, and Hercules whoops his a**!  Of the original footage shot for this movie, this is the best part.  Hercules kills the fake Hercules.  This probably doesn't do much in making Gia any less angry with him, but this is where it's left off.  Hercules returns home and everyone is reunited and happy.  The end.

    Giovanni Cianfriglia gives a great performance as the fake Hercules.  He's just so d*** evil!  He has absolutely no scruples, and kills women as easily as men.  How come movie villains seemed so much more wicked back in the 1960s?  Villains since that time seem more human.

    So much happens in this movie that is not explained.  This re-editing job is not the best I've ever seen, not even close.  Because of this, the movie becomes incoherent and hard to follow at parts.  Many people who enjoyed the earlier Reg Park Hercules movies hate this one and, at the time it was released, many fans felt betrayed.  The first two were great and all-original.  Audiences really wanted an all-new Hercules adventure with Reg Park, and didn't get it.

    I still like this movie, but it doesn't compare to the previous two films except for the new footage with Antaius.  It's worth seeing if you're a fan of Hercules movies.

Cast:

Reg Park as Hercules [Ercole, in the Italian version]
Gia Sandri as Queen Lita of Syracuse
Giovanni Cianfriglia as Antaius, the imposter Hercules

? as Dejanira, Hercules' wife
? as Zanthos, son of Hercules
? as Thessus, Hercules aged confidant
? as Gia, Goddess of the Earth
? as Anticle, priestess of Zeus (Jove)


Alternate Titles For This Film:
  • La sfida dei giganti [Italy; actual title]
Fun Facts:
  • This was the last of Reg Park's Hercules films.  He played Hercules in two previous films, "Hercules & the Captive Women" (aka "Hercules Conquers Atlantis") and "Hercules in the Haunted World", both from 1961.  An odd bit of trivia, he played a similar character called Ursus in a film that was released in the U.S. as "Hercules, Prisoner of Evil" (1964), but the character was simply called Hercules in dubbing.  He also played the Hercules-inspired character of Maciste in the film "Maciste in King Solomon's Mines" (1964), also titled/redubbed in some versions as "Samson in King Solomon's Mines".  On the whole scale of things, Reg Park did not do much in acting, but he played great Hercules characters in a handful of respectable films.
  • This film is mostly stock footage from the two films "Hercules & the Captive Women" and "Hercules in the Haunted World".
  • We never see Hercules and Queen Lita in the same scene together.  What's more strange is that Reg Park and Gia Sandri shared top billing.
  • Zeus and Jove are the same god, and the two names are used interchangably throughout the film.



Hercules Unchained (1959):  The second of two Steve Reeves' Hercules movies.  This movie can truly be called a sequel, because it's picking up the adventures of Hercules exactly where he left off from the last film.  Hercules with new bride Ioles and his young sidekick Ulysses go to Thebes, where they are to continue Ulysses' training.  But some bad things are going on in the once wonderful city of Thebes, and Hercules has to get down to the bottom of it.  To further Hercules' problems, he drinks "the waters of forgetfulness" and loses his memory.  Suffering from amnesia, Hercules (Ulysses, too) are taken to the palace of an evil enchantress.  Lydia the enchantress has Hercules convinced he is her king, and Ulysses tries to tell the legendary demi-god his true identity.

    Unlike the previous film, Hercules IS the main star of this film.  Everything centers around him as it really should.  In "Hercules" from 1958, he pretty much shares the film with Jason of the Argonauts.  There is no Jason in this film.  From beginning to finish, Hercules is in charge of all the major heroics.

    I'd enjoy hearing from anyone who worked in this film.  Please CONTACT ME.


Cast:

Steve Reeves as Hercules
Sylva Koscina as Princess Iole, Daughter of Pelias and Bride of Hercules
Gabriele Antonini as Ulysses

Alternate Titles:

Fun Facts:



Son of Hercules in the Land of Darkness (1964 Film)
:  This IS an actual "Hercules" movie.  When it was aired on American TV in the 1960s it was lumped into the Sons of Hercules package of sword-and-sandal films.  To make it seem like the character was a son of Hercules, the character was renamed Argolese in the English language version.

    It's not my favorite Hercules movie, but it isn't the worst.  The film moves fast and has plenty of action.  Dan Vadis makes a good Hercules.  Spela Rozin as Telca is pretty darn fine.  It's hard to critique a foreign movie when you're only seeing the edited English language version.  Sometimes the Americanized version of a film can be lousy as compared to the original cut.  All I know is at least in the American version things are put together very choppy and sometimes to the point where it's incoherent.

    Argolese saves the lovely, redheaded Princess Telca from a vicious lion.  King Tedaeo, Telca's father, promises Argolese his daughter's hand in marriage if he first slays a ruthless dragon who has been laying waste to the land.  While Argolese is on this mission, Tedaeo's kingdom is overthrown by the forces of evil Queen Ella.  Some of the people in Tedaeo's kingdom are killed, while others are taken prisoner.  Tedaeo and Telca are two such prisoners.  For some reason, a fat goofy subject named Babar is the only one who wasn't killed or captured.  Meanwhile, Argolese meets the creepy Oracle and gets a magic spear to kill the dragon.  Our hero promptly kills the dragon before returning to Tedaeo's village.  Once there, Babar tells Argolese all about the invasion.  Argolese then recruits a most reluctant Babar as his sidekick.

    The two heroes track down Ella's forces to her secret volcano kingdom.  Argolese is captured.  Babar, on the other hand, avoids capture and does what he can to save the day.  Queen Ella orders Argolese to be torn apart by four elephants.  Argolese survives and his studliness endears him to the wicked queen.  Just when Ella is about to get Argolese into her room, she is murdered by Melissia, who has secretly aspired to be queen.  Melissia puts the blame on Telca and the lovely princess is set to be sacrificed.  Argolese, with Babar's help, comes to the rescue of Telca and fights the new queen's evil forces.  In the meantime, lava floods the secret kingdom and an impending volcanic eruption threatens to send everyone to their maker.

    King Tedaeo is killed while trying to rescue his daughter.  The good guys win and the bad guys get dead.  The whole evil kingdom is blown to smithereens.  Argolese and Telca walk hand-in-hand to an applauding crowd. 

    The bear was real lame.  If you can't do a special effect even close to right, don't do it at all.  The man in the bear suit was pretty bogus, and the film would switch from fake bear to real bear footage.  In addition, the dragon scene was pretty non-thrilling.  There was nothing to it!  Some cheesy stop-motion animation, then a spear through the head.  I guess a more interesting fight would be in order.  The fight between Argolese and the lion at the beginning was the best done of these three animal battles, but even that was hokey.  The "dead lion" was clearly not dead at all or even sleeping for that matter.  Not when he's licking his chops!

    There were a number of things about this movie that didn't fit or make much sense.   A lot of stupid stuff.  It would almost seem that Queen Ella has a lesbian attraction to Telca when she first makes the girl her slave.  However, Ella still fancies Argolese after he survives the elephants.  We see Telca's brother only briefly before he dies and never with his father or sister.  There was no reason to show him!  I couldn't pinpoint the exact significance of the dragon tooth/amulet.  It's powers are never defined.  We're told it's only supposed to work once.  I never saw it work.  I'm not sure what the Oracle was all about or why she had to be seen.  So many things about this movie just don't tie together.

    I do think this movie has some clever parts.  The bowl of knockout gas used on Argolese was a cool idea.  I also didn't see Melissia's murder of Queen Ella coming.  That was a neat plot twist.  I also like how Argolese whooped up on the bad guys.  The part where he had the guy by the legs and was swinging him around to beat up the others was really neat.  I liked how Argolese sent so many of the soldiers into the lava.  The destruction of the rock bridge was also an impressive visual.

    On the whole, I think this movie is worth seeing at least once, but all you're really getting is flash.  There isn't a lot of substance.

Cast:

Dan Vadis as Argolese [actually Hercules or "Ercole" as he is known in Italy]
Spela Rozin as Princess Telca
John Simons as Babar, Argolese's fat, goofy sidekick
Ugo Sasso as King Tedaeo, Telca's father [credited as Hugo Arden]
Carla Calo as Ella, Queen of the Demulus [credited as Carol Brown]
Olga Solbelli as The Oracle [credited as Sand Beauty]
Maria Fiore as Melissia [credited as Joan Simons]
Ken Clark as Kabol, Captain of the Guards and Melissia's father [credited as Ken Klark]
Howard Ross as Telca's Brother [credited as Red Ross]

Alternate Titles For This Film:
  • Ercole l'invincible [Italy; original title]
  • Hercule l'invincible [France]
  • Hercules Against the Elephants' Empire [U.S.; poster title]
  • Hercules the Invincible [U.S.; English translation of actual title]
  • Land of Darkness Part 1 [U.S.; original subtitled version]

Fun Facts:
  • This movie is the only film credit of any kind for John Simons.
  • The original dragon footage in this movie was taken out and replaced with dragon footage from the classic "Hercules" (1958) film starring Steve Reeves.  Joseph E. Levine's Embassy Pictures company distributed both of these Italian-made films in America.
  • Dan Vadis died of a drug overdose on June 11, 1987 at the age of 49.
  • Spela Rozin is a beauty from Slovenia.
  • The original movie was 85 minutes.  The American version is 81 minutes.



Ulysses Against the Son of Hercules (1961):  This is an Italian-made movie that was dubbed in English for American and UK audiences.  What's funny is that, in its native Italy, this is SUPPOSED to be a Hercules movie.  The actual title is "Ulisse contro Ercole", which means "Ulysses Versus Hercules".  In the UK, this movie goes by "Ulysses Versus Hercules".  But in America, it was titled "Ulysses Against the Son of Hercules".  Why was this done?  If anyone knows, please CONTACT ME.

    This is a fun movie, but it takes a while for it to start getting good.  As a matter of fact, this movie doesn't even start being really good until Heracles and Ulysses are captured by Regina, the beautiful blonde Queen of the Bird Men.  Dominique Boschero, who plays Regina, looks really outstanding and elegant in her feathery lingerie outfits.  But she's only in the movie for a short while!  This movie really could have used a bigger part for Boschero, as she brought much beauty and intrigue to the film and its story.

    The movie opens with Heracles, one of the sons of Hercules, being approached by Mercury, god of speed and messenger of the gods.  Heracles is ordered by king of the gods, Jupiter, to catch heroic Ulysses and bring him to Mount Olympus.  Ulysses' crime?  He has offended the gods by killing water god Neptune's son.  Ulysses killed the evil monster because it killed so many of his men, but Heracles questioned not the will of the gods.  When Ulysses arrived at Mount Olympus, he was to be made a slave of the evil Cyclops monster.

    Heracles, with all the strength of his legendary father, caught Ulysses fairly easy...twice.  But upon Ulysses second capture, both men are trapped by a ruthless tribe of Bird Men.  It is there they are met by the beautiful, buxom Regina, Queen of the Bird Men.  Both men escape the misguided bird worshippers, but Ulysses escapes Heracles (again) shortly thereafter.  For most of the movie, Heracles and Ulysses are apart, and Heracles plots to catch Ulysses again.  Eventually, Heracles catches Ulysses and, regrettably, begins taking him to Mount Olympus.  However, on the way, Ulysses saves the life of Heracles' love Helen from a spiteful, would-be husband.  It is then Heracles pleads to king god Jupiter for Ulysses release.  Heracles' wish is granted, and Ulysses leaves for home on pleasant terms with the mighty man.

    There is so much that happens throughout the movie that you really have to see it to get the full idea.  Surprisingly, Ulysses is a much more interesting character than Heracles.  Why?  Ulysses does not have super-strength, but he does more heroic things, and has a much greater sense of right and wrong than Heracles.  Heracles is almost like an antagonist in this film.  He's super strong, but his singular goal is to catch Ulysses.  He cares little about anything else except wedding Helen (but that's another conflict in the story).

    Ulysses is a bit older than Heracles.  He is the son of King Laertes, and called "Conquerer of Troy".  He is an expert archer and an incredible intellect.  His heroic exploits are legend.  He has a mate named Penelope who we do not see in this movie, but hear about on a few occasions.  What he lacks in super-strength he makes up for in mental capacity and bravery.  Georges Marchal played a really interesting character with Ulysses.  It would have been nice to see his Ulysses in a series of adventure films.  For instance, what happens when he gets back home to Penelope?  Where does he go from there?

    Heracles (who is SUPPOSED to be Hercules) is a physically-imposing, mighty man-giant.  Unlike most Hercules actors of the day, Mike Lane is clean-shaven.  But like ALL good Hercules portrayals, Lane's Hercules is big, muscular, tough, and not overly bright, but not incredibly stupid.  He's a good Hercules.  Excuse me..."Heracles".  Actually, Heracles is the name for this character in Greek mythology.  Roman mythology gave us the name Hercules, by which he is better known.  And, in Italian language, he is called Ercole (which is this character's name in the Italian version of this film).  Mike Lane did Hercules well, and his Hercules should have been in more films.

    The dialogue to this film is bad.  Real bad.  Who wrote it?  Was something more eloquent lost in the English translation?  In any case, speaking was not their strong suits, but their physical acting, and the whole premise of the story, is quite entertaining.  I recommend it for fun, casual viewing.  Kids would also like it.  And let's not forget the women (Rowr..rowr!).

Cast:

Mike Lane as Heracles, son of Hercules [called Ercole in the Italian version]
Georges Marchal as Ulysses [called Ulisse in the Italian version]
Alessandra Panaro as Helen, Heracles' girlfriend [called Elena in the Italian version]
Dominique Boschero as Regina, Queen of the Bird Men
Go to "Dominique Boschero" Main Page

Alternate Titles:
  • Ulisse contro Ercole [Italy; actual title]
  • Ulysses Against Hercules [UK]
Fun Facts:
  • Heracles is actually the Greek name for Hercules in mythology; they're one and the same!
YouTube Video:



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