25th Anniversary of Disney’s Hercules A Look Back at the Animated Classic

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Disney’s Hercules, and to celebrate we’re taking a look back at this animated classic along with some of the 25th Anniversary collectables and merchandise currently available.

The movie was released in July 1997 and was an instant hit with audiences around the world. Featuring music by Alan Menken and lyrics by David Zippel, the film tells the story of Hercules, son of Zeus, who is forced to become a hero in order to regain his god-like status.

Hercules 25th Anniversary Pin Limited Release
Hercules 25th Anniversary Pin Limited Release for 2022. Features Hercules, Megara, Pegasus, and Philocetes.

Hercules is joined by his trusty satyr sidekick, Phil, and the beautiful Megara as he takes on Hades, lord of the underworld. Hercules was inspired by both classical mythology and ancient Greek art. The film was a critical and commercial success, grossing over $200 million at the box office worldwide. In addition to its financial success, Hercules was also nominated for several awards, including two Academy Awards.

The Plot

Disney’s Hercules tells the story of the classic Greek hero who was born as the son of Zeus, king of the gods, and mortal woman Alcmene. As an infant, Hera – queen of heaven and wife of Zeus – became enraged when she learned that her husband had cheated on her and placed a curse on baby Hercules that made him mortal. However, after being nursed back to health by nymphs in a sacred forest, young Hercules was visited by Hermes who informed him of his true identity and gave him power over all creatures below the earth.

25th Anniversary Hercules and Pegasus Friends Take Flight Figure by Jim Shore
25th Anniversary . and Pegasus Friends Take Flight Figure by Jim Shore

Upon reaching adulthood, Hercules was forced into servitude by Hades – lord of the underworld – after losing a wrestling match to him. In order to regain his freedom and become a true hero like his father before him, Hercules must complete twelve labors – each more dangerous than the last. Along his journey, he makes friends with a satyr named Philoctetes and falls in love with a mortal woman named Megara. After completing all of his tasks and defeating Hades, Hercules returns to Mount Olympus where he is welcomed by Zeus as a true hero.

Disney Store Megara 25th Anniversary Limited Edition Doll from Hercules
Disney Store Megara 25th Anniversary Limited Edition Doll from Hercules.
Limited to 7200 worldwide.

The Music

The music for Herucles was written by Alan Menken and David Zippel, who also wrote the lyrics. Menken had previously won two Academy Awards for his work on Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid.

The songs in Hercules are as follows: “Go the Distance” (performed by Michael Bolton), “I Won’t Say I’m in Love” (performed by Celine Dion), “Zero to Hero” (performed by Toni Braxton), “Hercules” (sung by Ricky Martin), “The Gospel Truth” (performed by gospel singer Yvette Butler), and “One Last Hope” (performed by Steve Perry).

“Go the Distance” was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original song at the 1998 Oscars. It lost out to My Heart Will Go On from Titanic (music by James Horner; Lyric by Will Jennings).

The film was directed by Ron Clements and Jon Musker, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Donald McEnery and Bob Shaw. The voice cast included Tate Donovan as Hercules, Danny DeVito as Philoctetes (Phil), James Woods as Hades, Susan Egan as Megara, Rip Torn as Zeus, Matt Frewer as Hermes, Barbara Barrie as Hera, Paul Shaffer as Apollo, and Charlton Heston as Narrator.

Hercules was a box office success, grossing over $252 million worldwide. The film received mixed reviews from critics but was praised for its music and animation.

On its 25th anniversary, Hercules remains a beloved classic among Disney fans. The film’s songs are still popular today. If you haven’t seen it in a while, or if you’ve never seen it at all, now is the perfect time to watch Hercules and see what all the fuss is about!