11 Lines & Moments From Disney's 'Hercules' Only Grown-Ups Understand

List Rules
Vote up the lines you didn't understand until you were older.

Hercules is one of the most underrated films from the Disney Renaissance years. The combination of (slightly inaccurate) Greek mythology with gospel music is straight-up wacky, but effective, garnering a legion of fans across all age groups. Like most Disney movies, they're made for younger audiences, but every once in a while writers and animators will slip in gags that only parents and grown-ups can catch after watching a film on loop for weeks, if not months on end (thank you Disney+).

This list takes a look at some of the brilliant lines and moments from Hercules that were clearly added just for adult audiences. Take a look down below and be sure to vote up the lines that would have gone over your head as a kid!


  • 1
    191 VOTES

    Meg Explaining Consent To Wonderboy

    "Well you know how men are– they think no means yes, and get lost means 'take me I'm yours." – Meg

    Meg's lines in Hercules are host to some of the best quips from the Disney Renaissance, but her overarching narrative is pretty tragic. She sells her soul to Hades to save the life of her boyfriend, who ends up breaking the relationship off, leaving her as Hades' underling. When she first meets Hercules and talks about how she got involved with Nessus the river guardian, she quickly glosses over how she ended up in a physical altercation with him, stating that he wouldn't have taken no for an answer when it came to getting what he wanted. 

    Adults would have absolutely raised their eyebrows at this line, knowing the greater implications, as well as understanding the violent nature of many Greek myths and the context presented to viewers. This is touched upon later when Meg states to Hades, "he made me an offer I had to refuse," doubling down on what she said to Herc a few scenes prior (as well as interpolating a quote from one of the greatest movies of all time).

    191 votes
  • 2
    160 VOTES

    Narcissus Knows His Brand

    "You know– I haven't seen this much love in a room since Narcissus discovered himself." – Hermes

    In Greek mythology, Narcissus was the son of Cephissus and Liriope and was known for his beauty. He discovered his reflection in a pool of water and rejected essentially every romantic prospect to cross his path, falling in love with himself, and eventually dying after spending his entire life fixated on his appearance. This is the origin of the term "narcissism" and chances are that's not in every under-10-year-old's vocabulary. This funny dig from Hermes was just for the older audience.

    160 votes
  • 3
    168 VOTES

    Thalia, The Muse Of Comedy Has The Hots For Herc

    "Oooh, I'd like to make some sweet music with him!" – Thalia

    Within the first few minutes of Hercules, the audience meets the muses– the goddesses of the arts and the proclaimers of heroes. Thalia, the muse of comedy, makes it well and clear she's attracted to Hercules, stating that she'd love to "make some sweet music with him." Most of Thalia's lines about Hercules are pretty tame on the surface, but they hit differently as audiences grow up– namely how his "perfect package packed a pair of pretty pecs."

    168 votes
  • 4
    156 VOTES

    Hercules Learning About Oedipus

    "And then that play– the Oedipus thing? Man, I thought I had problems!" – Hercules

    After Meg convinces Hercules to play hookey, the audience comes across the pair in a garden. As Hercules is excitedly recapping their day, he drops a very subtle line referring to arguably the most well-known Greek tragedies from the mind of Sophocles, Oedipus Rex. Normally taught in high school, Oedipus Rex is essentially about a man who was destined to kill his father and marry his mother. Through a series of unfortunate revelations and circumstances, the characters slowly begin to realize exactly what transpired over the years and end up punishing themselves in the most gruesome of ways.

    This nod to a genre-defining classic was a great way to test who paid attention in sophomore literature class and was definitely not intended for kids under ten.

    156 votes
  • 5
    131 VOTES

    Hades Loves His Sitcoms

    "Zeusy I'm home!" – Hades

    When Hades makes his presence known to Zeus during the Titan attack on Mount Olympus, he marks his grand entrance with a throwback to the Golden Age of Television by quoting arguably the most iconic line from the most iconic sitcom in American history, I Love Lucy. Now, in the 90s, there was a pretty good chance the average kid would come across a rerun of this classic show on a random channel because channel surfing was kind of the thing to do. Nowadays in the world of streaming and cord-cutting, for kids to understand this reference they'd need to either seek out Lucy on their own or wait until their parents filled them in since flipping through channels is a little passé.

    131 votes
  • 6
    113 VOTES

    The Big Apple's Influence On The "Ancient" World

    "Hey Mack- you wanna buy a sundial?" – Sundial Salesman

    New York City was clearly a huge influence on Hercules' interpretation of Thebes, but a number of references were intentionally designed for the parents watching alongside their kids. Sure, The Big Olive is a clear reference to The Big Apple that little kids are sure to get, but the sundial salesman is a different story entirely. Additionally, Phil quotes the song, New York, New York, when he states "if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere," and Meg uses the phrase, "Peloponnesian minute," a twist on the infamous New York minute.

    113 votes