Hercules in New York

Hercules in New York is a 1969 American fantasy comedy film directed by Arthur Allan Seidelman and written by Aubrey Wisberg, who also served as producer. It was the first feature film to star a then-unknown Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was about 22 years old when the film was produced.

Hercules in New York
Theatrical release poster
Directed byArthur Allan Seidelman
Produced byAubrey Wisberg
Written byAubrey Wisberg
Music byJohn Balamos
CinematographyLeo Lebowitz
Edited byDonald P. Finamore
  • Filmpartners (uncredited)
  • RAF Industries
Distributed byRAF Industries
Release date
  • December 16, 1969 (1969-12-16) (New York City, New York)
  • February 25, 1970 (1970-02-25) (United States)
Running time
92 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States


Hercules, at Olympus, berates his father Zeus for not allowing him to leave the gods' abode to adventure on earth. Eventually Zeus sends Hercules, on a beam, to the land of men.

After some strange encounters in the air and at sea, Hercules arrives in New York City, where hilarity ensues in the form of interactions with various New Yorkers, who regard him as physically superior but socially awkward. He befriends a skinny little man called Pretzie. Hercules becomes a successful professional wrestler.

Zeus, watching Hercules from the heights, becomes irritated with Hercules' antics, which he feels are making a mockery of the gods, and calls on Mercury to stop Hercules. After Mercury tries but fails to bring Hercules home, Zeus orders Nemesis to see to it that Hercules is consigned to the infernal regions ruled over by Pluto.

However, Hera instead convinces Nemesis to poison Hercules with a poison that would strip him of his divinity and then talk to Pluto. Nemesis informs Pluto of what is happening and he bets a large sum of money against Hercules in an upcoming strongman competition with Hercules' gangster manager. When Hercules loses the strongman competition his friends try to lead off Hercules' angry manager's henchmen, but Hercules follows them to save them.

Meanwhile, Zeus uncovers the truth from Nemesis as to what is happening but only intervenes at the last minute to restore Hercules' divinity, not wanting any son of his to die at the hands of a mortal.

Hercules defeats the gangsters and realizes that he has been disobedient and returns to the heavens shortly after, only saying good-bye to Pretzie over a radio after he leaves.

In the heavens, Zeus tells Juno and Hercules that he will not punish Hercules for his behavior as they ask him about it and then asks to be left alone. They leave him alone, and upon their departure, Zeus sneaks out of the heavens and descends to earth, scaring a passenger jet on his way down.



Playing the film's title character, Schwarzenegger, because of his long last name and to play off the name of fellow cast member comedian Arnold Stang, is credited as "Arnold Strong 'Mr. Universe'".

According to Schwarzenegger's autobiography, he had all his lines dubbed due to his thick Austrian accent,[3] although the Trimark DVD has an "Original English Dialogue" audio track with Arnold's voice. However, in that version's final scene, Schwarzenegger's voice is not restored when Hercules speaks to Pretzie through his small transistor radio.

On October 19, 2006, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Premiere Pictures was auctioning off the rights to the film on eBay for a minimum bid of $550,000.[4]

See also


  1. "HERCULES IN NEW YORK (PG)". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved March 31, 2018.
  2. Ryan, Mike (January 10, 2014). "Remembering Arnold Schwarzenegger's Film Debut As Hercules". Huffington Post. Retrieved March 31, 2018.
  3. Swarzenegger, Arnold; Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story, page 115. ISBN 978-1-84983-972-3.
  4. Leah Garchik (October 19, 2006). "Leah Garchik". SFGate. Retrieved December 8, 2012.
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