Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson starred in the blockbuster adaptation of the graphic novel Hercules: The Thracian Wars from Rush Hour director Brett Ratner and Paramount Pictures. THR's Stephen Farber said in his review that the film "is often clunky, but at least it's fast and unpretentious. ... This new addition to the sword-and-sandal genre seems likely to please the fanboy audience and stir up some impressive box-office numbers."
'The Legend of Hercules' (2014)
The 2014 release Legend of Hercules was an epic flop, grossing $61.3 million worldwide — not even breaking even with the $70 million production budget. THRcalled the film — and Kellan Lutz's performance as the protagonist — "lousy," lamenting shoddy CGI fight scenes and adding that, "If the strapping but hardly muscle-bound ... Lutz were to engage in hand-to-hand combat with the star of this summer's Hercules, Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, the fight would likely be over in less than a minute."
Far from the traditional youthful muscled Hercules, Game of Thrones alum Mark Addy portrays the now-portly Greek demi-god well after the height of his heroic career on the BBC show Atlantis. On the show, Herc plays sidekick to Jack Donnelly's Jason (as in, "and the Argonauts"), and along with math whiz Pythagoras, as they team up to fight against evil in this twist on classic Greek mythology.
The 2005 made-for-TV establishment of Hercules starred Paul Telfer as the title character. It was originally supposed to run as a miniseries on NBC, but according to a New York Timesreview, NBC cut the numerous episodes down to a single, weaker 150-minute production that ultimately aired directly opposite that year's season finale of Everybody Loves Raymond.
The beloved Disney classic has our hero (voiced by Tate Donovan) crooning his way through ancient Greece in a quest to reclaim his immortality, win the heart of fair maiden Megara, and defeat the evil god of the underworld, Hades. The song "Go the Distance" was nominated for an Oscar for best original song in 1998, but was defeated by Titanic's Celine Dion ballad"My Heart Will Go On."
'Hercules: The Legendary Journeys' (1995-1999)
Kevin Sorbo's Herc hit the small screen for a five-year run. Sam Raimi, better known for directing the Spider-Man trilogy, produced the series. The Legendary Journeys was preceded by five made-for-TV films that provided back story for the show.
American bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno traveled across the Atlantic to play the shirtless hero in this low-budget take on the Greek hero. Italian director Luigi Cozzi's Hercules combined the rather incongruous genres of historical epic and science fiction, as our favorite demi-god battles stop-motion giant robots and an evil wizard channeling the mystical powers of "science." Unsurprisingly, the film was not a box-office hit, although it has become a perennial favorite on cult classic and "awesomely bad" movie lists.
'Hercules in New York' (1975)
Before he was The Governator or The Terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger played a Hercules curious about life in the Big Apple for his first starring role. To avoid using his long last name, Schwarzenegger was credited as " 'Arnold Strong' Mr. Universe." Schwarzenegger's lines were also dubbed for the film's theatrical release because of his thick Austrian accent. The film was universally panned by critics, and now boasts an unimpressive 20 percent "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
'The Loves of Hercules' (1960)
The trailer for 1960's The Loves of Hercules touted the movie as "a production that is unparalleled for its breathtaking costumes and scenic effects, based on historical documents, ... a truly exceptional film." The picture featured another Mr. Universe, Mickey Hargitay, as Hercules, with Jayne Mansfield as his love interest. Despite its star power and supposedly "exceptional" quality, The Loves of Hercules has a dismal 3.2 out of 10 on IMDb.
Ripped bodybuilder Steve Reeves played Hercules in the first silver-screen epic about the son of Zeus. Reeves seemed destined for the role — prior to the 1959 sword-and-sandal flick, he had already garnered recognition for winning the Mr. America, Mr. World and Mr. Universe contests.