Other Versions of this Movie

Hercules Unchained


While negotiating peace between two brothers contesting the throne of Thebes, an amnesiac Hercules is seduced by the evil Queen Omphale.

Hercules Unchained (, "Hercules and the Queen of Lydia") is a 1959 Italian-French epic fantasy feature film starring Steve Reeves and Sylva Koscina in a story about two warring brothers and Hercules' tribulations in the court of Queen Omphale. The film is the sequel to the Reeves vehicle Hercules (1958 film) (1958) and marks Reeves' second - and last - appearance as Hercules. The film's screenplay, loosely based upon various Greek myths and dramas, was written by Ennio De Concini and Pietro Francisci with Francisci directing and Bruno Vailati and Ferruccio De Martino producing the film.


While travelling, Hercules is asked to intervene in a quarrel between two brothers, Eteocles and Polynices, over who should rule Thebes, Greece. Before he can complete this task, Hercules drinks from a magic spring and is hypnotized by a harem girl who dances the "Dance of Shiva", loses his memory and becomes the captive of Queen Omphale of Lydia. The Queen keeps men until she tires of them, then has them made into statues. While young Odysseus tries to help him regain his memory, Hercules' wife, Iole, finds herself in danger from Eteocles, current ruler of Ancient Thebes (Boeotia), who plans on throwing her to the wild beasts in his entertainment arena. Hercules slays three tigers in succession and rescues his wife, then assists the Theban army in repelling mercenary attackers hired by Polynices. The two brothers ultimately fight one another for the throne and end up killing each other; the good high priest Creon is elected by acclaim.


  • Steve Reeves as Hercules
  • Sylvia Lopez as Queen Omphale of Lydia
  • Sylva Koscina as Iole
  • Sergio Fantoni as Eteocles
  • Mimmo Palmara as Polynices
  • Gabriele Antonini as Odysseus
  • Fulvio Carrara and Willi Colombini as Castor and Pollux
  • Gian Paolo Rosmino as Aesculapius
  • Gino Mattera as Orpheus
  • Primo Carnera as Antaeus
  • Cesare Fantoni as King Oedipus
  • Daniele Vargas as Amphiaraus
  • Carlo D'Angelo as High Priest Creon
  • Fulvia Franco as Anticlea
  • Colleen Bennett as the prima ballerina
  • Nando Cicero as Lastene


The tale of Hercules and Queen Omphale is taken from the ancient Greek myth, of which there are several variations throughout history. Character names are drawn from a mixture of various Greek legends and plays, notably The Seven Against Thebes by Aeschylus and Oedipus at Colonus by Sophocles. Hercules' line "I wove the threads [of my memory] together" is a erence to his task of spinning thread and weaving with Omphale's attendants. The film is only very loosely based on the source material, randomly mixing events and featuring characterizations varying from those depicted in the sources.


Film critic Howard Hughes argues that due to a better script, "punchier action" and more convincing acting the film was "superior to its predecessor" Hercules (1958 film). Concerning the cast he praises in particular the French actress Sylvia Lopez ("movingly effective") whose career ended prematurely when in 1958 she died at the age of 28 of leukaemia.
The film was the third most popular movie at the British box office in 1960.


Hercules Unchained has been broadcast on American television, and is available in both VHS and DVD formats. The film's Italian language title means "Hercules and the Queen of Lydia". The film was also featured in an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

See also

  • Sword and Sandal
  • Samson
  • Hercules
  • Sons of Hercules
  • Steve Reeves
  • List of films based on military books (pre-1775)


  • Category:1959 films
    Category:1950s fantasy films
    Category:1950s historical films
    Category:1950s adventure films
    Category:Italian films
    Category:Italian adventure films
    Category:Italian historical films
    Category:Italian fantasy films
    Category:French films
    Category:French adventure films
    Category:French historical films
    Category:French fantasy films
    Category:Italian-language films
    Category:Films directed by Pietro Francisci
    Category:Films about Heracles
    Category:Films based on Greco-Roman mythology
    Category:Films featured in Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes
    Category:Peplum films
    Category:Warner Bros. films
    Pietro Francisci

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