The film begins with Hercules at Olympus, berating his father Zeus for not allowing him to leave the Gods' abode to adventure on earth. Eventually Zeus tires of Hercules and blasts him with a lightning bolt, casting him out of Olympus - giving Hercules what he wanted.
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 meets a skinny little guy called Pretzie (Arnold Stang). 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 Nemesis to stop Hercules. After Mercury makes an unsuccessful attempt to bring Hercules home, Zeus orders Nemesis to see to it that Hercules is consigned to the infernal regions ruled over by Pluto.
However, Juno, the hero's ever-jealous stepmother, has her own plans for Zeus's wayward offspring. In the final apocalyptic battle Hercules is saved by the miraculous arrival of Atlas, a Titan, and (a short haired) Samson, a Biblical hero.