Goliath and the Dragon

Goliath and the Dragon (Italian: La vendetta di Ercole, lit. 'Revenge of Hercules') international co-production sword-and-sandal film starring Mark Forest and Broderick Crawford. The identity of the title character was changed from Hercules to Emilius known as Goliath for release in North America by American International Pictures to tie in with their previous use of "Goliath" in Goliath and the Barbarians (1959).

Goliath and the Dragon
Directed byVittorio Cottafavi
Produced by
  • Gianni Fuchs
  • Achille Piazzi[1]
Screenplay by
Story by
Music byAlexandre Derevitsky[1]
CinematographyMario Montuori[1]
  • Achille Piazzi Produzioni Cinematografica
  • Produzione Gianni Guchs
  • Comptoir Francais du Film Production (CFFP)[2]
Release date
  • 12 August 1960 (1960-08-12) (Italy)
  • Italy
  • France[2]

The American version of the film was produced by James H. Nicholson and Samuel Z. Arkoff, with Lee Kresel serving as dubbing director.[3]


The film begins with Hercules/Goliath/Emilius entering the underworld and defeating several monsters including cerberus to retrieve the blood diamond of the goddess of vengeance. It is later revealed that king Eurystheus has sent Hercules/Goliath on this task to ensure his death to gain allies who after Hercules' death will join the king in an attack on Thebes. The episode is loosely based on the twelfth of the Labours of Hercules.

Hercules returns to his wife Deianira to find that his teenaged son (his brother in the American version) Hyllus is in love with Thea the daughter of a king that Hercules believes murdered his family. The enraged Hercules refuses to let Hyllus have anything to do with Thea. The scheming Eurystheus has convinced Hyllus that Thea is really in love with Hercules rather than him and concocts a plan where a jealous Hyllus will murder his own brother. A slave girl Alcinoe gives Hyllus a poison to give to Hercules that she says is merely a potion to have Hercules fall out of love with Thea. Eurystheus himself wishes to marry Thea and install her as his queen.

The plan is aborted through a sympathetic goddess of the Wind who relays Thea's warning. Hyllus attempts to rescue Thea but is captured. When Hercules rides to rescue Hyllus he saves the life of Alcinoe who is menaced by a bear. Ilus is to be executed with others in a public display by being crushed by an elephant in a crowded arena. Hercules rescues him.

On their return home the two are given a prophecy that Hyllus will become a king but at the cost of the life of the woman who loves Hercules. Hercules destroys his home and leaves with his family to try and avert the prophecy. Dejanira offers her life to the gods in order to fulfil the prophecy for Hyllus. She is carried off by a centaur corresponding with Nessus who Hercules mortally wounds.

The centaur is able to bring his captive Deianira to his friend Eurystheus who intends firstly to let her be killed by his dragon, then to act as a hostage against the vengeance of Hercules.



Goliath and the Dragon was released in Italy on 12 August 1960 where it was released as La vendetta di Ercole.[1][4] It was released in the United States in November 1960.[4]

American International Pictures announced plans to make a follow up to Goliath and the Barbarians called Goliath and the Dragon from a script by Lou Rusoff with Debra Paget but this fell through so they bought an Italian film called Revenge of Hercules and retitled it Goliath and the Dragon.[5] American International Pictures changed the hero's name to "Emilius" and added a stop-motion animation sequence involving a dragon.[2] The American version of the film was edited by Salvatore Billitteri and Maurizio Lucidi and had new music by Les Baxter.[1] The dragon scene is only in the English-dubbed print, not in the Italian version.[6]


The film is listed in Golden Raspberry Award founder John Wilson's book The Official Razzie Movie Guide as one of the 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made.[7]



  • Casa, Steve Della; Giusti, Marco (2013). Il Grande Libro di Ercole. Edizione Sabinae. ISBN 978-88-98623-051.
  • Kinnard, Roy; Crnkovich, Tony (2017). Italian Sword and Sandal Films, 1908-1990. McFarland. ISBN 1476662916.
  • McGee, Mark (1996). Faster and Furiouser: The Revised and Fattened Fable of American International Pictures. McFarland.
  • Smith, Gary A. (2013). American International Pictures: The Golden Era. Bear Manor Media.
  • Wilson, John (2005). The Official Razzie Movie Guide: Enjoying the Best of Hollywood's Worst. Grand Central Publishing. ISBN 0-446-69334-0.
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