“Do you have a reservation for Hercules? It might be under Heracles…”

The Movie


Reeves plays the strongman from mythology in this mélange of characters and events from a variety of distinct ancient Greek myths. Hercules arrives in the kingdom of Iolcus and falls in love with the king’s daughter Iole. Herc must solve the mystery of who killed Iole’s uncle, while trying to teach Iole’s brother Iphitus how to act like a man. The demigod endures a couple of ordeals, defeats the Cretan Bull, fights the famed Nemean lion, etc. Iphitus gets killed by the lion. Later, Herc helps Iole’s cousin Jason (of “and the Argonauts” fame) in his quest for the Golden Fleece. It turns out Iole’s father was involved in the conspiracy to kill her uncle and the proof is written in blood on the Golden Fleece. Jason claims his place as rightful king of Iolcus.



  • Hercules was distributed in America by Joseph E. Levine. With Hercules, Levine created saturation booking - the practice of distributing the film in as many theaters in the country as possible, with huge TV, radio, and newspaper ad campaigns. Levine's strategy was very successful at the box office and caused an influx of muscleman films and costume dramas from foreign countries. [1]
  • Highlights from the 'real' "When Hercules met Iole" myth: Herc wins Iole’s hand in an archery contest, but her dad refuses to let her go away with the demigod, so Hercules kills Iole's father. Later (in a fit of Hera-induced madness), Herc throws Iole’s brother Iphitus from the city walls, killing him. Still later, the oracle at Delphi tells Hercules that he has to be sold into slavery so he can rid himself of his periodic madness. So Herc is sold to Queen Omphale (seen in Hercules Unchained) and serves her for 1-3 years. Then he returns to Iole and takes her as his wife.
  • Hercules Unchained is the sequel to this movie, though it appeared on MST3K in the previous season (as Experiment #408).

The Episode

Host Segments

The Cellular Desk

Prologue: It's Casual Day on the SOL, so the crew wings the opening. It's a rather subdued affair.

Segment One (Invention Exchange): The Mads interrupt the awkward silence of Casual Day. Dr. F has created the cellular desk to live his job. He gives Frank a performance review that doesn't look too good. Joel and the Bots come up with Instant Karma; pour contents into a bowl, add water, and enjoy your reward or punishment.

Segment Two: Crow wonders about the ancient Greeks and their constellations. Servo creates new constellations updated to modern tastes such as the Ham Sandwich, the New Christy Minstrels, and Guernica. Crow creates another one in response: a pencil.

Amazon Moms Carol and Elaine

Segment Three: As Joel enjoyes Cap'n Ron cereal, the Bots attempt to clear up how many members the pop group Hamilton, Joe Frank, and Reynolds had (the answer is three; Joe Frank was one person).

Segment Four: Crow does his own one-robot show tribute to Gene Rayburn and the Match Game, "Give 'Em Hell, Blank!"

Segment Five: Crow and Servo discuss the advantages of having Amazon women on the ship. Joel tries to clear up the Bots misconceptions until some Amazons visit and communicate with the SOL via the Hexfield Viewscreen. Frank takes control of the cellular desk and mocks Dr. F.

Stinger: "He’s like something out of a bad dream!"

MST3K cast

Regular cast

Guest cast



  • Just before Joel opens and pours the third envelope of Instant Karma, the powder can be seen leaking out.

Obscure References

  • During the flashback early in the movie Joel and the Bots start singing the beats to the theme song of Rocky and Bullwinkle. This seems to be a reference to the opening of the Peabody's Improbable History segment which opened with a parade of involving chariots similar to the film sequence (but with different background music).
  • "Give 'Em Hell, Blank!"

In addition to The Match Game, the title is a reference to the one-man play Give 'em Hell, Harry!.

  • "He's the Finder of Lost Loves!"

For the second episode in a row, a riff during the opening minutes references the series Finder of Lost Loves. In this case, Hercules director Pietro Francisci is confused with both James Franciscus and Tony Franciosa, recalling the running gag from Space Travelers.

  • "I love my dead Greek son!"

A spoof of the line "I love my dead gay son!" from the movie Heathers.

  • "Rip Torn, ladies and gentlemen!"

Rip Torn is an actor and comedian. Unrelated to this episode, but Torn did later act in some Greek mythology-related projects: he voiced Hercules' father Zeus in the Disney animated feature based on the Hercules myth, and later voiced the god Hephaestus in the God of War series of video games.

  • "Now, don’t you kids get drunk and go swimming under the dock . . . Help! I’m drunk and I’m swimming under the dock!"

A riff on a common trope from the TV show Baywatch, in which the David Hasselhoff character's son Hobie was always getting himself into trouble despite his father's warnings.

  • "She's an Ellen Jamesian!"

In The World According to Garp, a girl named Ellen James is attacked and has her tongue cut out to prevent her from speaking her attacker's name.  A group of women (calling themselves the Ellen Jamesians) cut out their own tongues in a show of solidarity with her.

  • "It's the Andrea Dworkin Memorial Cemetery."

Andrea Dworkin was a radical feminist, most famous for arguing that in a patriarchal society, it is virtually impossible for a women to willingly consent to sex.

Video releases


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