10 Ways Disney’s “Hercules” is Inaccurate to the Greek Myths

“Hercules” is one of Disney’s most beloved movies, with funny characters and an amazing soundtrack. The movie centers around Hercules, his friends Pegasus and Phil, and Hercules’ love interest, Megara. The story is very loosely based on the Greek myth of Heracles. The story is inaccurate in many aspects of his life, from his parents, to his name, and more.


The Disney Wiki and Wizard of Oz

While the movie is great, many of the details in the actual myth are less than accurate.

Abbi Prieto, Columnist

His Name

In the movie the main character’s name is Hercules, which is his Roman name. The movie is set in ancient Greece, and all of the gods’ Greek names are used. With that said, it’s presumable that they should have used his Greek name, Heracles. His Greek name, which means “Glory from Hera,” he received when he killed the two snakes that Hera had sent to kill him when he was a toddler, also giving him fame all over Greece.

Hera Was Not Hercules’ Mother

In the Greek myths, Heracles’ mom is in fact Alcmene, not Hera. In the movie, Hera is Hercules’ loving mother. But in the Greek myths, Hera hated Heracles and tried to kill him when he was a toddler, and she continued to make Heracles’ life miserable. Hera hated Heracles because he was the illegitimate son of Zeus, her husband. Hera was the goddess of marriage, so it made her really angry when Zeus was not faithful to her.  Hera also helped Heracles’ cousin Eurystheus come up with the idea to assign Heracles his twelve labors.

Hercules’ Parents

In the Disney movie, Hercules biological parents are Zeus and Hera, and his adoptive parents are Amphitryon and Alcmene. This is half true, as Zeus was Heracles’ dad, and Amphitryon was his adoptive father. But Hera was not Heracles’ biological mother; Alcmene was.

Heracles’ Brother

In the Greek myths, Heracles has a brother named Iphicles, but in the movie he is nowhere to be seen. Iphicles is the son of Alcmene and Amphitryon, and was never as brave or as strong as his brother Heracles. He fought at his brother’s side during battle, and eventually died in combat.

A Not-So Happily Ever After For Hercules and Meg

To start, Megara was a princess, and she did not work for Hades, the lord of the underworld. Secondly, Megara and Heracles did not have a happily ever after. In the movie however, they do; Hercules gives up immortality to stay with Meg on Earth. In the myths, Heracles is driven insane by Hera, and kills Megara and their children. Situations like these presumably don’t qualify as happily ever afters.

Heracles’ Twelve Labors

After Heracles killed his family, he went to the Oracle of Delphi for advice. The Oracle told him to go to his cousin Eurystheus, who would give him ten difficult labors to make up for killing his family. He completed many tasks, with one of them being killing the Nemean Lion. He was later assigned two more labors because two of them did not count. A few of Heracles’ labors can be spotted in the movie, but if you don’t know about the labors, you would not notice them.

Heracles was Born a Demigod

Since Alceme was Heracles mom, and Zeus was his dad, Heracles was born a demigod. When he was dying from poisoning, Zeus took pity on him and turned him into a god. Once he was a god, he became the gatekeeper of Olympus. However in the movie, Hercules is born a god, then turned into a demigod, then turned back into a god, and then into a mortal, contradicting the original myth.

There was No Phil

In the Greek myth of Heracles, there was no Phil. Heracles was never trained by anyone. As a son of Zeus, he was born a fighter. He was born brave, reckless, and strong.

Hades was Not Evil

In the movie, Hades is the villain. He longs to kill Hercules and take over Olympus. In Greek mythology, Hades is not in fact evil. It is true that he does not have a great relationship with his brother Zeus, but he respects him. Zeus even gave permission for Hades to marry his daughter.

Most of these details were left out of the movie “Hercules” to make it appropriate for young audiences. Though it is inaccurate, it is still a great movie. Disney’s “Hercules” is full of funny as well as heartbreaking moments. It shows that there is a hero within everyone, you just have to go the distance.