- Disney's "Hercules" (1997) is a beloved animated retelling of the classic Greek myth, but even die-hard fans may not have caught all these hidden gems.
- The film is full of references to Greek mythology, including the tale of the Titans and the divine guests at Zeus and Hera's party.
- There are also jokes related to more recent cultural phenomena, like "Buns of Bronze" and the Marilyn Monroe constellation.
- Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.
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"Hercules" (1997)put a Disney spin on classic Greek mythology. Despite the animated film's G rating, there are plenty of jokes and references in the movie that are more likely to be appreciated by adults.
Disney recently announced a live-action remake of the classic film, so some fans have reignited a love for the original animated version, but even they might not know about all these hidden gems.
Read on for some of the best details, jokes, and references that you probably never caught in "Hercules."
One of the Muses is attracted to Hercules.
The Muses are the musical goddesses who narrate the movie.
All of them are fans of Hercules, and throughout the movie they praise him for his heroic feats. However, one of the Muses in particular — Thalia, the muse of comedy — focuses on Hercules' attractiveness and calls him "Hunk-ules."
She also says that she'd "like to make some sweet music with him" while lying next to his image before another Muse interrupts her.
Though this movie only shows Megara as Hercules' love interest, in Greek mythology, the demigod had several wives throughout the course of his life. So, this blatant showing of other women's attraction to him could be a subtle acknowledgment of that.
The Muses explain some pretty accurate Titan mythology.
The story of the Titans that the Muses sing about at the beginning of the film is mostly accurate to Greek mythology.
They explain that the Titans wreaked havoc until Zeus overthrew them, which follows the Greek myth where Zeus imprisons the Titans and ends their rule over Earth. However, "Hercules" only shows four Titans, and there are actually 12 in the classic myth.
There's an alcohol reference that kids likely don't understand.
The Muses describe life on Mountain Olympus as "neat and smooth as sweet vermouth."
Vermouth is a wine that is used in a variety of mixed drinks. Although the alcohol can be "neat and smooth," so it makes sense in the Muses' metaphor, this reference would presumably go over the heads of the young audience that the movie is aimed at.
Several recognizable gods and goddesses are shown at Zeus and Hera's party.
There are many gods and goddesses in attendance at the party that Zeus and Hera throw on Mount Olympus when Hercules is born.
Hermes delivers a gift to Zeus, a fitting act for the messenger of Mount Olympus, and he's shown wearing his famous winged cap and sandals. In another brief scene, Narcissus, famous for his self-love, is seen looking at himself in a mirror.
There are also several non-speaking gods and goddesses scattered in the background with distinct physical characteristics that make it clear who they're supposed to represent.
One god with a fin on his head and a trident in his hand is recognizably Poseidon, the god of the sea. And another goddess in the background of the scene is shown holding an owl, the symbol of Athena, the goddess of wisdom and war.
Zeus uses the major cloud types when making Pegasus.
Zeus makes Hercules' winged-horse companion, Pegasus, out of clouds, and as he does this, he mentions each cloud type he's using by name.
The god of the sky makes Pegasus out of three of the main cloud types: cirrus (high-level ice clouds), nimbostratus (mid-level rain clouds), and cumulus (low-level fair-weather clouds).
Zeus and Hercules have matching medallions.
During Hercules' party scene, viewers can see that Zeus and Hercules are both wearing medallions with the same symbol. Zeus has his pinned to the shoulder of his toga, and Hercules wears his as a necklace.
Both medallions show a cloud with a lightning bolt, and this symbol is later described by Hercules' adoptive mother as "the symbol of the gods."
Hades travels across a river of dead souls.
Viewers first see the Underworld when Hades returns after visiting Mount Olympus for the party. He travels across a river, but instead of water, there are floating ghost-like people under his boat — which may have been a little jarring for any child who noticed.
This is reflected in Greek mythology, which depicts the Underworld as having five different rivers that Hades and other gods can travel on by boat.
Later, when Hercules rescues Meg from the Underworld, it's clear that the transparent people in the river represent the souls of people who have died.
The movie makes some odd word choices, such as "lugubriousness" and "furshlugginer."
This movie includes not only references but also words that children aren't likely to know. Two examples of this that particularly stand out are "lugubriousness" and "furshlugginer."
Pain, one of Hades' henchmen, calls Hades "your most lugubriousness" the first time he is on screen. Lugubrious means exaggeratedly mournful or brooding, which is certainly fitting for Hades, but it's odd that the word is included offhandedly as though children will understand it.
Later in the film, Phil refers to Achilles' famed weakness as "that furshlugginer heel of his." Furshlugginer, which is a slang word with Yiddish origins that means foolish, is also somewhat out of place in a film geared toward kids.
The Fates kill a woman during their first scene.
The Fates, magical women who can see into the past, present, and future, only have one eye between the three of them. They're typically remembered for the humorous scenes in which they take turns using this eye, but if you pay attention, they have a pretty dark introduction.
When viewers are first introduced to the Fates, they are holding and cutting a thread — a symbol traditionally included in the Fates mythology — that they say is connected to a mortal's life.
Immediately after they cut this thread, a woman screams and appears in the Underworld, showing that they did indeed kill her.
There are only six planets shown during the prophecy scenes.
The Fates tell Hades that in 18 years, if he releases the Titans while the planets are aligned (and Hercules does not interfere), he will have the chance to usurp Zeus.
However, the image that's shown alongside this prophecy only depicts six planets. Later, when the prophecy comes true, six planets are again shown instead of eight.
The decision to leave out a few of the planets from our modern knowledge of the solar system may have been done to accurately reflect Ancient Greece's understanding of the planets. At that time, Mercury, Earth, Mars, Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn had been identified, but Uranus and Neptune had not.