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After Zeus fights and sends the Titans to the Underworld, he becomes the ruler of Mount Olympus, home of all Greek gods. Hades is sent to rule the underworld, but he makes plans to throw Zeus out of Mount Olympus with the Titans' help. The three Fates warn him that his plans would be endangered if Hercules, Zeus and Hera's newborn child, is still around by the time he tries to take over Mount Olympus. Hades sends his minions Pain and Panic to turn Hercules into a mortal and kill him, but they fail in their attempt and leave him on earth with his divine strength to be raised as a human. Hercules grows up but later learns he is the son of Gods, and in order to return to Mt. Olympus he must turn into a "true hero". He is trained by Phil the Satyr and becomes the most famous hero in ancient Greece after battling monsters of all kinds. He even saves Mt. Olympus from being taken over by Hades, but he only becomes a god again after he offers to exchange his life in order to save Megara, his love, from Hades' underworld and shows that a true hero must have a strong heart and not only physical strength.
While the film is considerably Bowdlerized from the original myths, there really was no alternative if you want to make a family film out of Greek Mythology. The result was a widely praised film, which despite not reaching the critical success of The Lion King or Beauty and the Beast, is considered by many to be one of the Canon's funniest films along with Aladdin, The Emperors New Groove and Lilo and Stitch. Plus, it's one of the only times Everyone Hates Hades has improved a work rather than dragging it down, mainly due to how genuinely likeable and funny he is. For myth buffs, keep the MST3K Mantra in mind, and you'll find a solid, funny film with a lot of literal Mythology Gags that show that they did, in fact, do the research - they just couldn't make said research work in a G-rated family film without bumping the rating up a few notches. After all, in what other animated film is Oedipus mentioned as a passing gag?
Over a year after its release, the film spawned a cartoon that ran both in syndication and on Disney's One Saturday Morning on ABC, from 1998 to 1999. It was a Midquel series that presented Herc's life in High School and had him hanging out with fellow Greek characters Icarus and Cassandra. It also presented a plot hole in that Hades was still trying to get him killed, despite the fact that in the movie he didn't know Herc was still alive until he was an adult, but that didn't seem to matter much to the viewers.
The film features examples of:
- Abusive Precursors: The Titans, the portrayal of which was in some ways very close to ancient Greek Theology (ancient beings defeated by Zeus and imprisoned in the Underworld, their powers were very broad as well) and in some ways very different (the original Titans were deities Not So Different from the Olympians and the parents of several of them, rather than near mindless elemental monsters).
- Adaptation Species Change:
- Hercules was a demigod in the myth. Here he's born a full god and made human, though still retaining his godly strength, by Pain and Panic.
- As said under Adaptational Wimp, Pain and Panic are based off Phobos and Deimos. This turns them from gods to demons.
- Adaptational Heroism: Zeus and Hera. The two were pretty much the Trope Codifiers for Jerkass Gods in the myths, with the latter being the Big Bad in the original story, but are loving parents here.
- Adaptational Wimp:
- Pain and Panic are based on Deimos and Phobos respectively. In the myths, the two were the Gods of Terror and Fear, respectively. Here, they're just Bumbling Sidekicks for Hades.
- In the myths, Zeus was stated to be so powerful that all the other Gods put together couldn't rival him and he was The Dreaded to the Titan army. Here, he's overwhelmed with the other gods.
- Alcmene and Amphitryon were of royal descent in the myths, with the latter being a revered military general. They're just simple peasants here.
- Adapted Out: Hercules' children and wife after Meg are cut from this film.
- Added Alliterative Appeal: One of the lyrics for Zero to Hero is "and this perfect package packed a pair of pretty pecs!"
- Adorkable: Herc himself fits this, especially as a youngster. Even as an adult, he's still sorta awkward.
- Adult Fear: Surprising? Check Zeus and Hera's reaction when they discover baby Hercules is no longer in his crib and they have to watch another couple raise him from afar at the beginning.
- Affably Evil: Hades is a Deadpan Snarker and general comedian, who is voiced by James Woods. He’s not someone you would want to work for.
- The crew of the movie said that Hades was going to be dark, scary, and menacing (as reflected by how frightened Pain and Panic are of him), but Woods took a different route than the other auditions and the original plan, and they loved it so much they rewrote the character and, by extension, the script.
- All Animals Are Dogs: Pegasus. Especially when he's younger.
- All of the Other Reindeer: Hercules is a Cute Clumsy Guy with Super Strength. Guess how well it goes...
- Almost Kiss
- Always Save the Girl
- Amazing Technicolor Population: The Gods.
- Anachronism Stew
- Ancient Grome: Gladiators and Roman numerals are mentioned in a few places.
- Not to mention the name of the hero is "Hercules" (the Latinization), not "Herakles", yet the gods are given their Greek names.
- Award Bait Song: "Go the Distance".
- Incredibly Long Note: The last one.
- Bad Boss: Deconstructed. Pain and Panic decide not to tell Hades that they didn’t kill Hercules for this reason. As such, his mission to kill Hercules becomes far more difficult as a result. He’s a better boss to Meg by comparison but that’s because she sold her soul to him.
- Big Applesauce: Thebes. Try and list all the similarities between it and New York.
- It's even called The Big Olive.
- Big Book of War: Phil's oft-quoted rules of conduct and engagement for heroes-in-training.
- Berserk Button: Mentioning Achilles' heel to Phil is a bad idea.
- Big Bad: Hades.
- Big Beautiful Woman: The plumpest (and funniest) muse, Thalia.
- Big No: Done by Hercules when Meg is crushed and by Zeus after baby Herc is kidnapped from Olympus.
- Bilingual Bonus: "Someone call IX-I-I!"
- Black and White Morality: As opposed to the Black and Gray Morality of the myths, everyone in this film falls very neatly into either "good" or "evil."
- Blessed with Suck: Herc's super-strength, when combined with an adolescent's typical clumsiness.
- Bond Villain Stupidity: It's never really mentioned why Hades doesn't just open a can of divine whoopass on Hercules himself. He's clearly shown to be powerful enough and seemingly immune to any physical attack Hercules can throw at him while he's still mortal. Maybe he's worried Zeus will suspect him, but that doesn't hold up at the end of the movie when he's still trying to get Hercules out of his hair literally minutes before he mounts an attack against Zeus.
- Bound and Gagged: Meg during Hades' deal with Hercules.
- Bowdlerise: Big time. Besides a total change of Hades' personality, Hercules is the son of Zeus and Hera. Of course, for a kid's movie... there isn't much alternative.
- Breather Episode: After the heavier themes of The Lion King, Pocahontas, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame and preceding more darker films in Mulan and Tarzan, this film is a Lighter and Softer comedy with a tone similar to Aladdin.
- Broken Bird: Megara. She pledged service to Hades to save an old boyfriend's life - only to have said boyfriend run after another girl shortly afterwards. OUCH.
- She's also implied to have had some run-ins with boys who don't understand the word "no".
- Big Friendly Horse: Pegasus, who was a gift to Hercules from his father at birth. Described by Zeus as having the heart of a horse and "the brain of a bird", he acts pretty dog-like throughout the movie. Besides the flying, Hercules and Phil get their faces licked by him several times throughout the movie.
- Burning with Anger: Hades, literally. He goes from blue to bright red flames. When he loses it completely, his whole head and arms become fountains of fire.
- Cain and Abel: Zeus and Hades.
- Cassandra Truth: "Zeus is your father?" (cue laughter... and smiting). Which is odd given the God's track record in Ancient Greece...
- Maybe he just gets that kind of boasting from a lot of people.
- The Chessmaster: Hades. Oh my, yes. Has a good chance to be a Magnificent Bastard if it wasn't for his violent temper.
- Composite Character:
- Conspicuous CG: The Hydra.
- Credits Gag: Hades gets one more Funny Moments as the Disney castle comes up.
- Curse Escape Clause: If Hercules proves himself worthy, he can rejoin the gods.
- Curtain Camouflage: "What could be behind curtain number one?" His little sandled toes are even poking out under it.
- Cut Song: Hercules had a ballad called "Shooting Star", and there was an alternate, slower song for Meg called "I Can't Believe My Heart."
- Deadpan Snarker: Phil, Megara, Hades... you get the general picture.
- Deal with the Devil: Megara - she sold her soul to save her boyfriend... who promptly dumped her. Also, Hercules. He gave up his Super Strength to set Meg free. This worked out for him just about as well as could be expected...
- Death by Cameo: Sort of. Scar makes a cameo as the skin of the Nemean Lion Hercules wears for a  shoot. This is an in-joke to the fact that both Herc and Scar are animated by Andreas Deja.
- Death's Hourglass: This film has one with the Fate Sisters and the threads of life: if the person is close to death and the thread of life gets cut, said person dies, and their soul ends up in the River Styx.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Megara again.
- Disaster Dominoes: Young Herc's market scene.
- Disneyfication: A crapload. Most noticeably, Herc's original Big Bad was Hera trying to kill him because he was the product of Zeus' adultery with a mortal.
- Then again, if they didn't remove/change that part, how on Earth would the script as a whole pass?
- Disney Death: Megara. She is literally crushed by a pillar before Hercules lifts it up to free her, and as he returns after saving Mount Olympus, we see her thread of life get cut and her hand goes limp; and this is one of the rare times Disney has ever shown an actual dead body on screen, as Herc weeps over her pale, limp, lifeless, and yet totally undamaged corpse, cradling it in his arms.
- Justified Trope because Hercules reverses it by going to the Underworld and reclaiming her soul, thus proving himself a true hero, restoring his godhood.
- And before that, in the middle of the film, it happens twice in the same scene during the epic fight between Hercules and the Hydra; once the audience within the film thinks he's swallowed, the next time they think he's crushed.
- Disney Villain Death: As a god, Hades can't die, but he is defeated by being punched into the river Styx, where the souls of the dead dogpile on him. He can't fall to his death, so he falls into a bunch of other people's.
- With a darker echo of some self-serving dialogue from Pain and Panic:
[[spoiler:Panic: He's not gonna be happy when he gets out!
Hercules: Aren't you a damsel in distress?
- Diving Save: Meg pushes Hercules out of the way of a falling pillar, being crushed herself.
- Does Not Know His Own Strength: Before his training with Phil, Hercules' Super Strength caused him trouble. Even afterwards he has some trouble with it.
- Does This Remind You of Anything??: Hades and Megara's interaction really makes you think of an abusive boyfriend with a girlfriend who is having trouble getting away from him.
- The Dulcinea Effect: Invoked, since according to Phil it is a hero's job to save a Damsel in Distress.
- Eagleland Osmosis: Played for Laughs, and actually adds a Genius Bonus.
"SOMEBODY CALL I X I I !"
- Eaten Alive: Hercules. The hydra eats him. It's clear he's still alive because A) he cuts off its head from inside and B) the film's only about halfway through.
- Eldritch Abomination: The Titans, pretty much.
- Elemental Powers: The Titans:
- Then there's Zeus' thunderbolts. "Now watch your old man work!"
- Everybody Hates Hades: Although, in fact, the fans love him.
- In actuality; Disney actually got something right but heavily exaggerated. Hades certainly wasn't the Big Bad like in this film; but he wasn't regarded with the same amount of respect as his siblings. (See the article)
- The Exit Is That Way: Or rather, Mt. Olympus.
- Evil Plan: Hades is of the Take Over the World variety, because he doesn't like ruling in Hades.
- Expy: The Muses are very close to Expies of the 3 black chorus girls from Menken and Ashman's non-Disney musical, Little Shop of Horrors.
- Failed a Spot Check: The literal God of the Underworld failed to notice that Hercules was not actually dead.
- Fan Girl: Crowds of them. Everywhere.
- Fauns and Satyrs: Obviously, Phil the Satyr. His appearance is of the later renaissance version, but his nymph-chasing, wise cracking bad looks are in fact taken straight from classical depictions of satyrs.
- Faux Affably Evil: Hades again. The guy has not a single redeeming feature of his personality, but he's just so good at being a hammy Classic Villain (and a Deadpan Snarker comedian) that we love him anyway.
- Finger-Snap Lighter: Hades.
- Finishing Each Other's Sentences
- Five-Man Band: The Muses.
- The First Cut Is the Deepest: Megara, as a result of her slime of an ex-boyfriend.
- Fog Feet: Hades' robes dissolve into wisps of smoke.
- Foreshadowing: When the two "boys" are "trapped", you can hear a slight hissing at the end of their last under-rock sentence.
- Forgot About His Powers: The Fates? Sure, it's understandable that they tell Hades a "it can go either way" prophecy, but if they actually knew all, including the future, then why were they surprised when Hercules became a God?
- Framing Device: The parts with the Muses, which involves their likenesses coming to life in a modern-day museum and interrupting Charlton Heston.
- Friend to All Living Things: Depending on your view, it's either a subversion or a clear case of Disney parodying themselves.
- Friendly Address Privileges: Megara plays with this trope:
Megara. My friends call me Meg. At least they would if I had any friends.
- Genre Savvy: Hades at the end is offered Hercules's life for Meg's. It occurs to the car-dealer-type villain that it's maybe just a little too good to be true - but he's not given much time to think about it.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: These scenes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNdodmliU_A
- Most of Hades' dialogue, references to Oedipus Rex, just to name a few...
- Within the first two minutes:
"I'd like to make some sweet music with-"
- Though the fat muse's nickname for Herc takes the cake:
English version: Hunkules.
- Don't forget Phil's reaction to the 'sundial seller'.
- The way Pain and Panic react to Hades when he finds out they didn't do the job right.
Pain and Panic: OH MY GODS!!!
- Notable because Disney would never get away with "Oh my God", but that one little 's' that makes it a plural makes it a-okay.
- Pain's whole "my intentions were pure, I really was attracted to you!" thing.
- Look at how Hercules finds out Nessus is a sir.
- Most of Nessus' scene, in fact.
- In the scene with the nymphs, Finnish!Phil claims to be, and I quote, a "nymphomaniac". What.
- The Muses call Hercules "their favorite flavor" in the song Zero to Hero. It's okay, though, because then it shows Hercules drinking the Hercules sports drink of Ancient Greece.
- Meg: "You know how men are; they think 'no' means 'yes', and 'get lost' means 'take me, I'm yours'."
- God of Evil: Hades is portrayed as one, contrary to Greek Mythology.
- Goofy Print Underwear: When Hercules announces to a small crowd of distressed people that he's a hero, one of the men realizes the "goat man," Phil that's with him trained Achilles. Phil tries to beat him up and ends up biting his toga, revealing white underwear with red spots. This may qualify Phil under the All Animals Are Dogs trope since that's a very dog thing of him to do.
- Go Seduce My Arch-Nemesis: After Hercules kicks the collective asses of every monster Hades sends at him, he decides to send Meg in to seduce him in order to find out what his weakness is. Predictably, she falls in love with him instead. However, this actually provides Hades with the answer to what Hercules' weakness is.
Hades: Meg, listen. Do you hear that sound? It's the sound of your freedom, fluttering away, forever!
- Gorn: By Disney's standards, the part where Hercules slices the Hydra's head off and you actually get to see the bleeding stump (it bleeds a transluscent green liquid though, so it's not quite as gory as it sounds).
- Gospel Revival Number: Basically, anything that the Muses touch. Charlton Heston didn't stand a chance.
- Grade System Snark: When Hercules defeats the River Guardian and sends him flying (with just a headbutt!) to rescue Meg, Phil loudly says several congratulatory remarks, soon muttering underneath his breath "Not what would I have done, but okay..."
- Greek Chorus: An oddly African-American Greek Chorus, but still...
- Groupie Brigade
- Hair On Fire: Hades is probably the Trope Codifier.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Hades, who over the course of the movie has constant difficulty keeping his smooth demeanor with his generally-annoyed-at-everything attitude leading to a tendency to snap into a rage at the slightest provocation. Minor explosions are common, major meltdowns are a sight to behold. Bonus points for having his hair literally go off when he gets angry.
- Happily Married: Unlike the mythology, Zeus and Hera are quite happy together. Hercules' human parents qualify as well.
- Harpo Does Something Funny: After James Woods was cast, the script was essentially re-written to allow for his ad-libbing. Most of the dialogue between Hades and Megara was simply made up.
- Hey, It's That Voice!: Numerous examples. For starters, Danny De Vito is Philoctetes and James Woods is Hades.
- Heroic Build: Hercules, following his training with Phil. Just look at the picture!
- Hijacked by Jesus
- Hold Your Hippogriffs:
- Honest John's Dealership: Literal (the man who tries to sell sundials to Herc) and figurative (James Woods modeled Hades after a used-car salesmen).
- Honey Trap:
Megara: Wonderboy is hitting every curve you throw at him.
- Horsing Around: Pegasus is usually gentle with Herc. Megara, on the other hand...
- I Know You Know I Know: Between Hades and the Fates.
- Impossible Hourglass Figure: Four of muses and Aphrodite, especially Aphrodite given that she's the goddess of love and has a waist so tiny she could practically wrap one hand around. Artemis and Megara have Hartman Hips.
- Ink Suit Actor: In addition to short, portly Danny De Vito as the short, portly Philoctetes, you've also got Hermes, who shares the same features and trademark shades of his voice actor Paul Shaffer, best known as David Letterman's bandleader.
- "I Want" Song: Go The Distance, which also became an Award Bait Song.
- Kaleidoscope Hair: Hades's hair turns from blue to bright orange whenever he is angry. Since his hair is made of fire, this is justified.
- Kubrick Stare: Herc's Moment of Awesome ensues.
- Large Ham: Hades. Being a Disney villain, not unexpected at all.
- Also Zeus: "I NEED MORE THUNDERBOLTS!!!"
- It's probably a Greek God thing.
- Also Zeus: "I NEED MORE THUNDERBOLTS!!!"
- Let's Get Dangerous: Zeus. On his free time, he's a loving father and husband, spends time joking with everyone and attempts to be a good big bro for Hades; in fact, he's much more lovable than the original Zeus, but once the Titans attack and Hades proved to be a backstabber, we quickly see where Hercules' strength come from and why you don't mess with the King of the Gods.
- Lighter and Softer: This followed on the heels of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Essentially, we went from the dark, gritty streets of Paris with a brooding and depraved judge to James Woods as one of the most funny Disney villains of all time and the green fields and colourful cities of Greece. Perhaps they got tired of the grit.
- Love Makes You Crazy: Portrayed positively here.
- "People always do crazy things when they're in love"
- Midword Rhyme: In the Spanish dub.
- A Million Is a Statistic: It's very easy to miss, but thousands of people start dying horribly once Hades releases the Titans.
- Minion Maracas: Happens repeatedly to Pain and Panic.
- Mortality Ensues: Hercules gives up his demigod status to save Megara. Although not technically immortality, it comes close.
- Ms. Fanservice: Megara.
- Aphrodite, in the brief moments that she appears, also qualifies.
- Muggle Foster Parents: Hercules' human parents.
- Mythology Gag: Aptly enough; despite many changes to the actual myths, there are more than a few references to them outside the main plot.
- In fact, if you count name drops and people in crowd scenes, it's almost a constant stream of references to Greek mythology.
- Nervous Wreck: Panic.
- Non Standard Character Design: Hades is made partially of smoke and lacks the Phosphor Essence of his fellow gods. It's implied that being in the Underworld for so long has started to warp his physical form.
- Offhand Backhand: Done by Herc to Hades near the end.
- Oh My Gods: Trope Namer
- Only Sane God: Hades.
- Orphean Rescue/To Hades and Back: Hercules travels to the Underworld in order to rescue Meg's spirit and reunite it with her body, thus getting his godhood back.
- Papa Wolf: Zeus tries to be this, but it is to no avail the first try.
- Panty Shot: Rare male example, as Hercules has a really, really short toga.
- Parental Abandonment: One of the only films in the entire Disney canon to avert this trope and avert it hard. Herc not only has his immortal parents watching from on high, he has a pair of mortal adoptive parents who love him very much.
- Parental Bonus: It's a Disney film; what did you expect?
- Phosphor Essence: The gods glow. At the end, Hercules starts glowing when he regains godhood.
- Physical God: It's Greek Mythology, what do you expect?
- Pieta Plagiarism: This is played twice: once when Hercules cradles Meg's corpse in his arms, and once when he, restored to godhood, holds her listless spirit.
- Pig Latin:
Herc: (meeting the Hydra) Uh, Phil? What do you call that thing?
- Playing Against Type: Non-acting example: The art director was Gerald Scarfe, the same person behind the nightmarish animation of The Wall.
- Pragmatic Adaptation / Bowdlerise: Not much choice when you adapt Classical Mythology into an animated family film. However, Tropes Are Not Bad.
- When Phil beats up that one civilian for making fun of his training of Achilles, he says "I'm gonna wipe that freaking grin off your face!" For television broadcasts, "freaking" is changed to "stupid".
- Pragmatic Villainy: Hades main reason for wanting Hercules dead is a prophecy says he's The Chosen One who'd defeat his scheme. Otherwise he'd have left him alone.
- This is further shown in the crossover with Aladdin. Here Hades doesn't take it personally when Aladdin first defeats Pain and Panic. Needless to say Jafar was shocked:
Fates: In 18 years, precisely, the planets will align, ever so nicely...
- Punctuated for Emphasis: "I've got 24 hours to get rid of this bozo, or the entire scheme I've been setting up for 18 years goes up in smoke, and you. Are wearing. His. MERCHANDISE!?!"
- Redheaded Hero: Hercules.
- Refusing Paradise: At the end, Hercules chooses to remain on earth with Meg instead of returning to Olympus.
- Related in the Adaptation: As opposed to being his Wicked Stepmother, Hera is now Herc's loving biological mother.
- Unrelated in the Adaptation: Though as a consequence, he shares no blood with Alcmene.
- The Renaissance Age of Animation
- Rescue Introduction: Hercules meets Megara when rescuing her from a monstrous centaur.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The Titans go on one of these against Zeus after being released from the vault he locked them in.
- Rule of Funny
- Running Gag: "Two words - (insert three [or more or less] words - in a place where two words could have been used).
- Sadly Mythtaken: The Fates in the movie seem to have more in common with the three Grey Sisters, most notably including the single eye among them.
- There are only five Muses in the movie, not nine.
- Hera is Hercules' mother. Of course, it wouldn't be very parent-friendly to say "He's the son of Zeus and some mortal chick that Zeus knocked up".
- Philoctetes was never a satyr or heavily involved in the Hercules myths (his only claim to fame with the half-god was lighting his funeral pyre and gaining his bow and arrows as a reward).
- Hades was never a God of Evil in the religions of Ancient Greece and only dealt with Hercules a couple of times (such as his Trial to retrieve Cerberus). Hades was more the custodian of the afterlife and a True Neutral whose only concern was balancing the books and was pretty much Above Good and Evil most of the time.
- Megara was never assaulted by Nessus (that would be Herc's second wife, Deianeira; Megara was killed by Herc himself after Hera made him loopy).
- Hephaestus is capable of using his legs.
- Sassy Black Woman: Five of them: The Muses.
- Thalia, the short plump one, seems more sassy than most.
- Say My Name Trailer: Of course, the last one is Hades saying "Jerkules."
- Scenery Porn: Mount Olympus and Hades (The Underworld, not the villain) simply look amazing.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: The Titans.
- Shout-Out: One of the Muses' sculpture incarnations during "I Won't Say (I'm In Love)" should look very familiar to fans of the Haunted Mansion ride at the Disney Theme Parks.
- Hades, just before the fight between Hercules and the Hydra: "Let's get ready to RUMBLE!"
- And Hades again:
- Followed by Hades again:
- The Muses themselves are very similar to Alan Menken's other famous Greek Chorus.
- Don't forget the lion skin Hercules wears in one scene- it's Scar!
- Quite possibly to the specific line Zazu says to Mufasa. "He'd make a very handsome throw rug."
- And the Mr.Miyagi-esque bit of the training montage.
- The maiden in the constellation getting her skirt blown upwards.
- There is a sign that says "Over 5,000,000,000 and 1 served", a nod to the Mc Donald's Corporation.
- Herc's origin story bears a striking similarity to the backstory of Superman.
- Shown Their Work: The sheer number of references to actual Ancient Greek Religion makes it clear that the writers did, in fact, do the research.
- Shut UP, Hannibal: Swiftly delivered to Hades from Herc after climbing out of the pool.
- Silk Hiding Steel: Though crossed with Femme Fatale and Broken Bird, Meg fullfills the trope in her ability to manipulate like a damsel and her Heroic Sacrifice inner steel.
- Slave Mooks: Meg (by contract) and Pain and Panic (implied) to Hades.
- The Snark Knight: "Megara. My friends call me Meg. At least, they would if I had any friends."
- Soul Cutting Blade: The Fates' scissors.
- Stealth Pun: Gospel is a genre related to praise and worship of a higher power. What better way to augment the story of Hercules than with a set of Gospel Revival Numbers?
- The Stinger: Stick around after the credits and hear the lamentations of Hades.
- Stock Scream: One when the Fates cut some poor soul's thread of life, and again when Hercules hears Meg being harassed by Nessus on his way to Thebes. It's the same scream for both scenes. Why they couldn't just record Susan Egan screaming is beyond us.
- Surrounded by Idiots: Hades; And to a lower extent, Phil.
- Tailor-Made Prison: The Titans are imprisoned in an undersea vault.
- Terms of Endangerment: Hades: " Meg, my sweet, my flower, my little nut Meg."
- Those Two Bad Guys: Pain and Panic (even though they aren't that good at evil).
- Totally Radical: They gave Meg, one of the more complicated and interesting Disney love interests, dialogue like "Been there, done that" and "Don't even go there." It... hasn't aged well. Phil also mentions having "been around the block before with blockheads just like you" to Hercules. He means he's trained people like Herc already, but...well, he's a satyr, and it's Ancient Greece.
- Tsundere: Megara has to qualify as an example. Look at "(I Won't Say) I'm In Love" for a perfect example of a tsuntsun-to-deredere switch.
- Two Words: Obvious Trope: Phil loves them. Sadly, his math is a bit off.
- Right before Training Montage, during the song, it looks like the trope is about to be played straight with the lines "Askin' me to jump into the fray/My answer is two words:" setting it to rhyme with something like "No way." Then he's zapped by lightning and the trope remains subverted.
Phil: [charred and smoking] O-kay.
- The Latin Spanish dub is funnier because it was the only time he actually got the count right.
- Ungrateful Bastard: Meg's former lover. She gave Hades her soul for him, and he repays her by running off with someone else.
- Unknown Rival: Hercules didn't even know he'd earned someone's ire until the third act.
- Villainous Breakdown: Hilariously subverted after Hercules survives the River Styx and frees Meg's soul from Hades.
- Well, Excuse Me, Princess!: Megara.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Phil calls out Hercules for being too distracted by love to see that Meg is using him. Hercules takes a flying leap to avoid the hint, takes his rage out on Phil and disowns him as his trainer, leaving Phil to mumble one last admonishment and leave him to his darkest hour.
- Win Your Freedom: Megara.
- World of Snark: The only other Disney Canon entry that rivals this film in the amount of Deadpan Snarkers is The Emperors New Groove.
- X Meets Y: The movie is basically the Theme Park Version of Greek mythology meets the origin story of Superman.
- Yiddish as a Second Language: Phil and Hades. We're aware that that doesn't really make any sense. Most of us don't care.
- You Got Spunk:
Nessus the centaur: (to Meg) "I like 'em fiery."
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Blue, fiery hair.
- Younger Than They Look: The film begins with Hercules's birth, and the Fates inform Hades that he can release the Titans in 18 years.
- Actor Allusion: In one episode, Dan Castellaneta voices a certain reporter named Homer.
- Adaptational Heroism: Medusa isn't actually evil like her mythological counterpart is...though she does still have the power to turn people to stone.
- All Love Is Unrequited: Icarus idolizes Cassandra, but she only seems to see him as a friend. She does kiss him to reawaken him from an enchanted sleep though.
- The Bad Guy Wins: In “Hercules and the Tapestry of Fate”, Hades makes it so that he’s ruler of Olympus and that Zeus is the lord of the Underworld. Ironically, Zeus seems to take being ruler of the Underworld better than Hades does.
- Berserk Button: As revealed in Aladdin crossover, Hercules HATES being called "Jerkules".
- Boot Camp Episode: The series has Herc and Icarus infiltrate Spartan Military Academy to save Adonis, who has to go through basic training in accordance to family tradition. Ironically, Cloudcuckoolander Icarus warms up to the military lifestyle.
- Brainless Beauty: Helen of Troy.
- The Cameo: In "Hercules and the Bacchanal", Ursula can be seen at the convention Phil goes to.
- Sebastian and one of Ursula's eels appears in the Atlantis episode.
- Cassandra Truth: With the Trope Namer being a main character, this is a given.
- Clip Show: "Hercules and the Yearbook".
- Closer Than They Appear: In "Hercules and the Gorgon", Hercules's shield says, "Objects are closer then they appear".
- Crossover: With the earlier Disney series Aladdin. It contained an example of Let's You and Him Fight.
- Crossover Cosmology: Hercules encounters Egyptian and Norse gods. The Olympian gods also become Roman gods, they even like their new Roman names (except Hades, see Shout-Out). The Fates also moonlight as the Norns.
- It's also possible for a dead Arab genie to go to the Greek underworld. (Then again, it being possible for genies to die at all is a deviation from mythology.)
- Dark Is Not Evil: Electra.
- Good Is Not Nice, either.
- Deadpan Snarker: Cassandra hardly said anything that wasn't droll and sarcastic.
- Hades as well, once again. Also Adonis, Aphrodite, and Medusa.
- Didn't See That Coming: The Fates (and likely everyone else) in "Hercules and the Big Sink".
- Dumbass Has a Point: Icarus in "Hercules and the Gorgon".
- Fertile Feet: Aphrodite
- Getting Crap Past the Radar/Noodle Incident: "She lost her left buttock."
- Godly Sidestep: At the end of one episode, Zeus is about to give the meaning of life on a chat show. However, they run out of airtime just before he states it.
- Gorgeous Gorgon: Medusa is rather attractive.
- The Gump: Most of the episodes dumped Hercules into various Greek myths, such as replacing Phaeton (Apollo's son, who failed miserably at driving the sun chariot) and facing the Minotaur alongside Theseus (which he actually did in some versions of the myths). Thus, Hercules became responsible for practically everything in Greek mythology before he even became famous. It Makes Sense in Context.
- Hate Sink: Adonis. He’s basically a teenage Narcissus. Small wonder several episodes involve him getting in trouble.
- He Is Not My Boyfriend: What Cassandra says about Icarus.
- Icarus Allusion: Icarus himself appears. Naturally, he has a permanent tan and lightning bolt-shaped hair.
- In the Style Of: "Hercules and the Golden Touch" is a James Bond spoof.
- It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": Trivia. "Actually, it's 'try-VEE-ah'."
- Jerkass: Adonis. He can't qualify as a Jerk Jock if he's too lazy to play sports.
- Kid Appeal Character: Icarus.
- How sad... because in Greek Mythology, Icarus, son of Daedalus, flew too close to the sun using artificial wings of wax and feathers, and fell to his death. It's mentioned that he did fly too close to the sun, thus the hairstyle and (purportedly) the general loopiness.
- Never Heard That One Before: During the Aladdin crossover, Al calls him "Jerkules" during their fight. "You know, everyone thinks they're being clever when they call me that..."
- Old Superhero: Achilles' death was retconned so that when his heel was hit he was instead crippled, and we see him as a weakened old man.
- Parental Bonus: It's DISNEY.
(Glass case next to Zeus's throne holding Thunderbolts): "In Case of Insurgency Break Glass" (also a Continuity Nod)
- Plucky Comic Relief: Icarus.
- Riddling Sphinx: The Sphinx is a quizmaster, voiced by game show host Wink Martindale. His riddle was "What does a man do standing up, a woman sitting down, and a dog on three legs?" The answer is shake hands.
- Series Continuity Error: Although the series takes place during the time period when Hercules is training with Phil, Hades seems to be already aware of him and actively trying to kill him. In the movie, Hades doesn't learn that Hercules is still alive until shortly after Hercules finishes his training.
- However, there's implied justification with the Lethe Water in the Underworld that erases the memories of anybody that touches it. Hades even utilizes it when he has a pool party in the Underworld to make the gods forget who they are. Who's to say Hades didn't forget that Hercules was alive before Meg mentioned him...
- Ship Tease: Bacchus kisses the muse Thalia on the cheek in "Hercules and the Bacchanal".
- Shout-Out: So, so many.
Hades: They named me "PLUTO"?! What kind of a Mickey Mouse name is "Pluto"?! I wouldn't even name my dog "Pluto"!
- If he was upset back then, you've got to wonder how he'd feel after Pluto was demoted to a dwarf planet nine years later...
- Spared by the Adaptation: Icarus survives flying close to the sun instead of being killed like in the adaption...however, the unfortunate accident had a negative impact on his brain, so it's a bit of a downplayed trope.
- Snark Knight: Cassandra.
- Three Amigos
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Cassandra and Helen.
- Valley Girl: Aphrodite.
- The Vamp: Circe.
- Villain Song: Hades' "My Town".
- Weapon, Jr.: One episode has Hercules training with a "junior javelin" despite wanting to use a real one. At the end, Athena offers him any weapon in existance to beat the villain with. Having learned his lesson he asks for the training weapon, wins and turns down the offer of an actual javelin from the (literal) Hot Amazon he impressed.
- Weird Sun: The sun is on a chariot driven by Apollo.
- an oil painting?
- New York
- This is a reference to the induction ceremony for the Turtle Club, a real-life Brotherhood of Funny Hats, where the inductee is given a series of supposedly lewd riddles and has to give the correct, family-friendly answer to each one.