Hercules (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is bored with life on Olympus. He is itching to go to Earth and hang out for awhile. Zeus (Ernest Graves) forbids his son going down to Earth. They argue to the point where Zeus gets angry enough to shoot Hercules to Earth just to teach him a lesson.
Hercules ends up in the ocean and is picked up by a ship headed for New York City. The captain thinks that Hercules is a regular seaman and treats him as inferior. Being a big headed demigod Hercules refuses to obey orders. When he gets off the ship the crewmembers are sent to bring him back. He beats them up.
Watching this happen is a ferret faced pretzel seller named Pretzie (Arnold Stang). Pretzie loads Hercules into a cab and gets him away from the docks. Pretzie realizes that Hercules is a foreigner and not use to the ways of the city so he takes the he-man under his wing. At a college athletics field Hercules throws a discus, a javelin and does a long jump better than any of the athletes. This gets the attention of Professor Camden (James Karen) and his daughter Helen Camden (Deborah Loomis). They become friends.
In the meantime Pretzie tells Hercules that they need to come up with a way to make some money. Selling pretzels is not enough to pay the bills. He makes arrangements for Hercules to become a professional wrestler. Hercules is, of course, successful. Unfortunately he garners the attention of some low-lifes.
While Hercules is trying to get use to being among mortals Zeus is losing patience with his offspring. He sends Mercury to try to bring Hercules back to Olympus. When that doesn’t work he sends Nemesis to take Hercules to Hades so he can cool his heels for a hundred years. Juno, who hates Hercules since he represents the offspring of Zeus’ dabbling with a mortal woman, has other plans that will result in Hercules losing his powers and possibly his life.
“Hercules in New York” was released in 1970 and was directed by Arthur Allen Seidelman. It is labeled as a fantasy comedy film but what the heck I’ll consider it part of the sword and sandals sub-genre as well. It is, of course, low budget and was shot entirely in New York City.
The lead is Arnold Schwarzenegger. Because of his long last name Arnold is credited as Arnold Strong “Mr. Universe”. Some believe it is also to play off of comedian Arnold Stang’s name as well. The movie is Arnold Schwarzenegger's film debut. To help Arnold get the role, his agent said he had years of "stage" experience. Of course Schwarzenegger’s stage experience was not in the theater but on the bodybuilding stage. Schwarzenegger's voice is dubbed throughout the film. A version was later released on DVD with Arnold's voice. Arnold was twenty-two when the film was made.
Like most movies they play fast and loose with the names of the gods. Hercules says he is from Greece. A lot of the gods in the movie are actually Roman and not Greek. Zeus, Nemesis, Atlas and Pluto are Greek.
The movie is pretty dopy and there are basically no special effects. The bear fight with the guy in a suit is probably the funniest part of the film. For those connoisseurs of all things cheezy it’s probably a must have for your collection. It may be one of those so horrible it’s good films. It certainly doesn’t take itself seriously.