I have often dreamed of a far-off place
Where a great, warm welcome would be waiting for me,
Where the crowds will cheer when they see my face,
And a voice keeps saying this is where I'm meant to be...
I will find my way, I can go the distance!
I'll be there someday, if I can be strong,
I know ev'ry mile will be worth my while,
I would go most anywhere to feel like I belong...
I am on my way, I can go the distance!
I don't care how far, somehow I'll be strong.
I know ev'ry mile will be worth my while,
I would go most anywhere to find where I belong...
I will beat the odds, I can go the distance!
I will face the world, fearless, proud and strong,
I will please the gods, I can go the distance,
'Til I find my hero's welcome right where I belong!
Go the Distance and Go the Distance (reprise)
Born to Zeus and Hera, Hercules seems the golden child, one that will live a life free from worries and stress. But when a disgruntled Hades, uncrowned Lord of the Underworld plots revenge on Zeus and Olympus, one in which Hercules's presence is an obstacle, he sends two of his minions, Pain and Panic, to kidnap the infant and turn him mortal so he could be exterminated. Bumbling as they are, they only ALMOST finish the job, and Hercules becomes nearly mortal, maintaining his god-like strength, since he didn't drink the last drop of the elixir that was to turn him mortal. He's discovered and raised by Alcmene and Amphitryon, a couple of local farmers, and grows up thinking they were his real parents. As he grew up, Herc was a social outcast, sneered at by peers and adults alike because of his unusual strength and usual teenage awkwardness and clumsiness. When he learns he came from Olympus, he visited the temple of Zeus to find out where he really belongs. He's visited by his real father, in the form of his statue, and Zeus informs his son that he'll be able to return to Olympus if he can prove himself a true hero. Hercules seeks out Philoctetes (call him Phil), legendary of Perseus, Theseus, Achilles, and a slew of other famous heroes. At first he refuses, stating he's retired, but a little persuasion from Zeus and his lightning bolts, and Phil relents. Training is slow-going at first, but eventually Hercules grows into true heroic skills and measurements, ready to go prove himself. En route to Thebes, the Big Olive, Hercules, Pegasus and Phil encounter a classic DID (Damsel In Distress) in Meg, a sassy, fiery, curvy girl with a dry sense of humor tangling with a massive centaur. Hercules resuces her from Nessus, but she's disinterested, which is just as well, considering Phil and Pegasus aren't exactly fans of her either.
When they arrive in Thebes, a series of unfortunate events proves a good thing for Hercules as he's able to disprove the citizens' disbelief in him and perform several heroic deeds. Unfortunately, all of this fame and glory isn't, as Zeus tells a disappointed Hercules, what identifies a true hero. Hercules has to look inside his heart to find his true heroism. Meg appears on the scene, persuading Hercules to skip his training and go on a date with her, and he falls for her even more. She tries to find out if he has any weaknesses, finding that he's fit as a fiddle. They get caught, and Phil sends him on a serious workout, where Phil explains that he caught Meg talking to Hades, planning to put an end to Hercules. Herc doesn't believe Phil, thinking he's jealous of Hercules's success and newfound love, and sends him away. Hades then appears, with Meg bound and gagged, proposing a deal. If Hercules will give up his super strength for one day, he'll set Meg free. Hercules agrees, on the condition that Meg won't get harmed. Hades consents, but reveals brusquely that Meg was working for him the entire time. Broken and shattered, Hercules gives up and is beaten nearly senseless when Hades unleashes a group of Titans and a gigantic cyclops on Greece. Meg and Phil return, trying to persuade Hercules not to give up, and when a column falls on Meg, crushing her, Hades's deal is broken, and Hercules's strength returns. He races to the underworld, offering himself to Hades in return for Meg's life, and Hades agrees, thinking Hercules will be dead by the time he reaches Meg's spirit, swirling in the river of souls. Hercules dives in, aging and decaying by the second, but as he reaches Meg's spirit, his godhood and strength are restored completely. His self sacrifice for Meg proved once and for all that he's a true hero. Hades is thrown into the river of souls himself, and Hercules is welcomed into Olympus, but he decides to give it up for Meg, so he could remain with her on earth. Zeus puts a constellation of Hercules in the sky for all to see to commemorate his son's monumental journey.
The voice of Hercules was portrayed splendidly by Tate Donovan, with Josh Keaton as young Hercules, and Roger Bart as the singing voice of Hercules.
Hercules can be seen in Hercules, as well as Hercules: Zero to Hero, and the Hercules TV series.
This was one of my absolute favorites when I was younger (including when I started this site in 1998). Hercules is, in many ways, the quintessential hero. He's charming, gentle, kind, strong, has a good heart, a great sense of humor, the whole package. He's not perfect, he has his flaws, but these are what adds to the endearing quality of his nature. He may be super strong, but he's sort of an everyman, representing everyone's search for who they are and where they belong. His journey is everyone's, and this film illustrates that perfectly. People related to Hercules on many levels, an outsider as a teenager, one who comes into his own and turns out to be a total hero (it's, in many ways, quite a nice high school revenge fantasy). This film also has a lot of religious overtones and symbolism, about identity and finding out who we are, and acting accordingly. The gospel-styled music is a very interesting take on the religious aspect of the story (gods, etc.), and adds a fun element. On many levels, this is just an excellent film, and the characters are quite excellent as well.
Still.... I do have to wonder... Couldn't Meg have been turned into a goddess? That way they could both live on Olympus, rather than on earth. Maybe it just doesn't work that way...
Hercules: What you folks need is a hero.
Man: Yeah, and who are you?
Herc: I'm Hercules and I just happen to be... a hero!
Hercules: A life without Meg, even an immortal life, would be... empty. I wish to stay on Earth with her, I finally know where I belong.
Hercules: Sometimes I feel like I really don't belong here, like I'm suppose to be somewhere else. Hercules: Haven't you ever had a dream? Something you wanted so bad you'd do anything?
Hercules: I am ready! I want to get off this island, see some battles and monsters, rescue some damsels, you know, heroic stuff.
Hercules: A hero is only as good as his weapon!
Hercules: People always do crazy things when they're in love.
Hercules: Wow. What a day. First that restaurant by the bay,and then that, that play, that, that, that Oedipus thing? Man! I thought I had problems.
Hercules: But, Father, I've defeated every single monster I've come up against. I-I'm... I'm the most famous person in all of Greece. I'm... I-I'm an action figure!
Hercules: Meg, when I'm with you, I-I don't feel so alone.
Meg: Sometimes it's better to be alone.
Hercules: What do you mean?
Meg: Nobody can hurt you.
Hercules: Meg, I promise, I will never hurt you.
Meg: And I don't want to hurt you, so let's stop this... before... we...
Hercules: You like making deals. Take me in Meg's place.
Hades: Oh, hmph. The son of my hated rival trapped forever in a river of death.
Hercules: Going once!
Hades: Hmm? Is there a downside to this?
Hercules: Going twice!
Hades: Okay, okay, okay, okay, okay! You get her out. She goes, you stay. (Hercules dives in to save Megera) Oh, you know what slipped my mind? You'll be dead before you can get to her. That's not a problem, is it?
Hercules: I didn't know that playing hookey could be so much fun.
Meg: Yeah, neither did I.
Hercules: Aren't you, a damsel in distress?
Meg: I'm a damsel. I'm in distress. I can handle this. Have a nice day.
Hercules: You know, wh-when I was a kid, I-I would have given anything to be exactly like everybody else.
Meg: You wanted to be petty and dishonest?
Hercules: Everybody's not like that.
Meg: Yes, they are.
Hercules: You're not like that.
Meg: How do you know what I'm like?
Hercules: Uh, uh, uh, I'm, um, uh, uh, uh...
Meg: Are you always this articulate?
Hercules: Hercules. My... My name is Hercules.
Meg: Herc... huh. I think I prefer Wonderboy.
Meg: Hercules! Thank goodness.
Hercules: Wha-Wha-What's wrong?
Meg: Oh! Outside of town. Two little boys. Th-They were playing in the gorge. Th-There was this rock slide, a terrible rock slide. They're trapped!
Hercules: Kids? Trapped? Phil, this is great!
Meg: You're really choked up about this, aren't ya?
Meg's Animated Heroines page