Disney's "Hercules" (1997) is a beloved animated retelling of the classic Hellenic myth, but even die-hard fans may not have caught all these hidden gems. The film is full of references to Hellenic 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. Did you catch them all? Insider did!

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.

A goddess with long, heart-shaped hair and a heart clip on her toga appears to be Aphrodite, the goddess of love. A god with a massive helmet and sword is identified as Ares, the god of war. 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. 

Hercules' human parents are accurately named after their mythological counterparts.

In the film, Hercules' adopted mortal parents are his mother, Alcmene, and his father, Amphitryon. Alcmene and Amphitryon are accurate names from the Hercules myth, but their roles are depicted a little differently in the Disney film. In Greek mythology, Zeus cheats on his wife and has Hercules with the human Alcmene — which explains Hercules' demigod status. This differs from the movie, which shows Hercules being born to Zeus and Hera before becoming a demigod when Hades arranges for him to drink a poisonous potion. 

Philoctetes' interaction with the wood nymphs shows classic satyr behavior.

Hercules first finds Philoctetes in a forest where he is watching a group of wood nymphs. Phil runs after the nymphs, trying to catch them, but they turn into flowers and trees before he can reach them. Phil, who appears to be half-goat, half-man, tells Hercules that he is a satyr. In Greek mythology, satyrs are fertility spirits known to engage in sensual acts with nymphs, making Phil's chase scene accurate — but perhaps a bit inappropriate for a kid's movie.

Phil brags about training some major mythological figures.

Phil's home is full of objects related to some of the heroes he used to train. Hercules hits his head on what Phil says is the mast of the Argo — a ship that belonged to Jason, the mortal hero of the Argonauts, in Greek mythology. This head bump is also ironic because Jason died after a rotting beam of the Argo fell on him. Phil then mentions that he trained the Greek legends Odysseus, Perseus, Theseus, and he shows off a giant statue of Achilles, his most promising hero-in-training. 

There's a visual pun to go along with the term "greenhorn."

When Hercules first starts training with Phil, he struggles to complete the practice drills the satyr arranges for him. As part of his big song "One Last Hope," Phil complains about having to work with a "greenhorn," which roughly translates to mean an amateur. As Phil sings the line, "I get the greenhorn," there's a clever visual pun to go along with it. Green olives get stuck on his horns, making him look as though he actually has green horns.

There's also a visual reference to "The Karate Kid" in the training montage.

In the same training montage that takes place during "One Last Hope," Phil, Hercules, and Pegasus stand on wooden posts and strike fighting poses in front of a setting sun, which resembles one of Daniel LaRusso's famed training sequences in "The Karate Kid" (1984). 

The centaur Hercules fights plays into a traditional Greek myth.

Hercules first meets Meg when he saves her from a centaur, and when Meg and Hades are talking afterward, they mention that the centaur's name is Nessus. Nessus the centaur is a creature from Greek mythology who Hercules fights to save one of his wives. But in contrast to the movie, it wasn't Megara, it was his second wife, Deianeira. 

Thebes is compared to New York City multiple times.

Hercules and Phil journey to the city of Thebes, where Hercules can accomplish his heroic feats. As they travel there, Phil calls the city "the Big Olive," a pun that seems to be a take on New York City's nickname, "the Big Apple." In the same scene, Phil tells Hercules, "If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere," a phrase from the popular Frank Sinatra song "New York, New York." Later on in the film, Meg also uses the phrase "in a Peloponnesian minute," which, with all the other references to New York, seems like a play on the phrase "New York minute."

There's a not-so-subtle Roman numeral joke.

While pretending to be trapped under a boulder, Hades henchmen Pain and Panic appear as young boys crying for help, and one of them shouts, "Somebody call IX-I-I!" That's the Roman-numeral equivalent of 9-1-1, which seems like a clever way to include a modern American cry for help in an era-appropriate numerical style. However, the film takes place in ancient Greece, not ancient Rome, so Greek numerals would've been the norm in Thebes.

Modern references are made while describing Hercules' new popularity.

Throughout the film, there are a few allusions to modern culture. While singing about Hercules' popularity, the Muses remark that he can make an arena "SRO," which is usually used as a concert term that stands for "standing room only." Phil also advertises Hercules-themed merchandise, including a "Buns of Bronze" workout scroll, which is likely a reference to the "Buns of Steel" workout videos that were popular in the 1990s when the film was made. Another merch item featured in the film, "Air Hercs," seem to be a take on Nike's famous Air Jordan sneakers. But the reference is even more meaningful when you remember that Nike is the Greek goddess of victory. 

Hercules passes a constellation that imitates a famous Marilyn Monroe scene.

During "Zero to Hero," Hercules rides Pegasus through the sky and we see a constellation in the shape of a woman with short hair wearing a halter-neck dress. When Hercules rides past this group of stars, the woman's dress flies up and she uses her hands to push it back down. This, along with her appearance, makes it clear that the constellation is a recreation of Marilyn Monroe's most famous movie moment from "The Seven Year Itch" (1955).

There's also a reference to Grauman's Chinese Theatre in "Zero to Hero."

After the Marilyn Monroe reference, Hercules and Pegasus are shown leaving their handprints (or hoof prints) in wet cement, much like celebrities do in front of LA's famed TCL Chinese Theatre (also known as Grauman's Chinese Theatre). If you look closely, Hercules' signature is addressed "To Sid," which is likely a reference to the original owner of the Chinese Theatre, Sid Grauman. 

Scar from "The Lion King" makes an unfortunate appearance.

Three years before Hercules hit US theaters, "The Lion King" (1994)introduced the Disney fandom to one of the studio's most despicable villains, Scar. However, the brother-murdering lion seems to have gotten what was coming for him seeing as he makes a brief appearance in the 1997 film as a dead lion's mane that the Hercules wears while he's getting his portrait painted. We get a clear view when Phil uses the thwarted villain as a wipe to remove paint from his face, and it's a little creepy that his pricing green and yellow eyes are still intact. 

Hercules and Meg see a play about Oedipus.

When Hercules and Meg return from spending the day together, they talk about having gone to a restaurant and seeing a play about "that Oedipus thing." This is most likely a reference to the Ancient Greek play "Oedipus Rex." In the play, and classic Greek mythology, Oedipus was the ruler of Thebes, so it makes sense that they would be performing it there. However, the real joke comes with Hercules' next line, "Man, I thought I had problems," which is probably a reference to Oedipus' romantic relationship with his mother. 

The film tries to answer the age-old question of how a famous statue lost its arms.

At the end of his date with Meg, Hercules skips a stone in a fountain and accidentally breaks the arms off of a statue of a woman. The result resembles the famous Venus de Milo statue by Greek sculptor Alexandros of Antioch that is well known for its mysterious lack of arms. As the statue's name refers to the Greek goddess, its appearance in the movie adds another reference to mythology while also providing a fun explanation for why the real statue is armless.

The Muses recreate a scene from Disney's popular Haunted Mansion ride.

During "I Won't Say I'm in Love," the Muses transform themselves into stone busts that are arranged in an eerily similar way to the singing busts on Disney's famed Haunted Mansion attraction. Six years after "Hercules," the busts also made an appearance in Disney's live-action movie, "The Haunted Mansion" (2003). 

Hades uses legal terminology when describing his contract with Hercules that ends up thwarting him in the end.

Hades makes a deal with Hercules in which the demigod agrees to give up his strength for a day as long as Meg is safe. While explaining the contract to Hercules, Hades describes the deal as "boilerplate," which is a legal term that refers to a standard contract format. Interestingly, boilerplate provisions call for rules for how the contract will be interpreted, which in this case should have included a definition of what Meg's safety entailed. Since Meg's injury is what breaks the contract and returns Hercules' strength, Hades probably should have been a bit more careful with the wording of the deal he drew up.

The different monsters Hercules fights at the end of the film include some of his most famous mythological enemies.

Some of Hercules' most famous accomplishments in mythology were part of his 12 Labours. The 12 Labours of Hercules was a series of tasks he completed as part of a punishment. Fighting a Hydra and the three-headed dog Cerberus were two such tasks, both of which are included at the end of the movie. The "Zero to Hero" montage also shows Hercules fighting a boar, a lion, a bird, and a bull — all creatures that were part of his 12 Labours. 

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