on Film

The Hulk

Greatest Super-Hero Films
(chronological by time period and film title)
Introduction | Flash Gordon | Buck Rogers | Superman | Batman | Spider-Man | X-Men
Marvel Cinematic Universe | The DC Extended Universe
Iron Man | Hulk | Thor | Captain America | The Avengers | Guardians of the Galaxy
Others: A - F | Others: G - N | Others: O - Z

Greatest Super-Hero Films: The Hulk
(chronological by time period and film title)

The Hulk - aka the green Hulk or The Incredible Hulk, was another Marvel Comics figure created by artist Jack Kirby and writer Stan Lee. It was based on a character who was a military scientist named Dr. Bruce Banner who was accidentally irradiated by gamma radiation from a test bombing. He was a victim of his own device and transformed into the Incredible Hulk while trying to protect a young man named Rick Jones who was trespassing at the test site. He was a werewolf type character with a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde transformation at nighttime. The Hulk character was a metaphor for the Cold War fear of nuclear weapons that could create a catastrophe. When his repressed rage was activated, the Hulk turned green and resembled a brutish baby experiencing a temper tantrum.

The Hulk character (gray in color at first!) first appeared in The Incredible Hulk # 1 (May 1962). The cover art asked a question about "The Strangest Man of All Time" - "Is He Man or Monster - or... Is He Both." The Hulk survived only six issues with his own title - until The Incredible Hulk # 6 (March 1963), then joined the Avengers' team, then reappeared beginning in the comic series Tales to Astonish # 59 (September 1964). By April 1968, the Hulk was back with his own comic-book title, The Incredible Hulk # 102 (April 1968).

The Incredible Hulk # 1
May 1962

The Birth of the Hulk
Accidental Irradiation by Gamma Rays

The Incredible Hulk # 6
March 1963

Tales to Astonish # 59

September 1964

The Incredible Hulk # 102

April 1968
Title Screen
Super-Hero Films

The Incredible Hulk (1978-1982) - TV series

The Incredible Hulk (1977) was a popular CBS-TV series (for five seasons from 1978-1982) that introduced the Hulk character. Hulk was first personified by Bill Bixby (as David Banner, not Bruce) and Lou Ferrigno (as the mute, raging id). Banner's transformation into the Hulk was due to his own intentional bombardment by gamma rays after the death of his wife (from a car accident), not from a test bomb. And now, Banner became the Hulk only when he couldn't control his angry temper. He was pursued by a snoopy reporter named McGee (Jack Colvin), as he experimented in his lab to find an antidote/cure for his ailment.

The first season of The Hulk began with two made-for-TV movies (on November 4 and 27, 1977), and then ten episodes, beginning on March 10, 1978. The first two, two-part episodes of the first season were originally presented as made-for-TV movies:

  • "The Incredible Hulk" (two-part episode, TV pilot), November 4, 1977
  • "Death in the Family" (two-part episode, TV pilot), November 27, 1977

Season 1 (12 episodes): November 4th and 27th, 1977, then March 10, 1978 to May 31, 1978
Season 2 (22 episodes): September 22, 1978 to May 25, 1979
Season 3 (23 episodes): September 21, 1979 to April 11, 1980
Season 4 (18 episodes): November 7, 1980 to May 22, 1981
Season 5 (7 episodes): October 2, 1981 to May 12, 1982

The TV series aired on the CBS-TV network, with 82 episodes during five seasons.

The Incredible Hulk Returns (1988) - TV movie

Hulk teamed up with Thor (Eric Kramer), another Marvel hero, in this made-for-TV film, a continuation of the Incredible Hulk TV series (see above). Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno both returned for three new Incredible Hulk TV movies from 1988-1990.

This was the first of three made-for-TV movies (1988-1990), all airing on NBC-TV, that featured the Hulk.

This TV-movie also served as a pilot for a proposed "Thor" TV series that never went into production. Thor went on to become the hero of his own film (Thor (2011)), and was then re-teamed with The Incredible Hulk as a member of The Avengers (2012).

The Trial Of The Incredible Hulk (1989) - TV movie

The Hulk teamed up with Daredevil, another Marvel hero, in this sequel. David Banner was in court, defended by blind Matt Murdock (Rex Smith) - the alter-ego of the red-suited superhero Daredevil.

It was intended that Daredevil would star in a new series or show that featured the character, but that didn't come to pass. The feature film Daredevil (2003) was unrelated to this series.

It was the first comic book movie to feature a cameo appearance by Stan Lee.

The Death of the Incredible Hulk (1990) - TV movie

This was the third and ultimately final movie based on the classic Hulk TV series, from the late 1970s and early 1980s. However, rumors of a fourth TV movie circulated around a new one, titled The Rebirth of the Incredible Hulk, but Bill Bixby's death from cancer in 1990 ended the series.

Similar to the other two made-for-TV films in 1988-1989, this one was planned to include another Marvel Hero - at first She-Hulk and then Iron Man, but both were scrapped. In the film's climax, the Hulk was sacrificed.

Hulk (2003)

This was the first of two stand-alone feature-length films about the Hulk, a superhero. This was an origins story (Hulk was again created in a lab experiment gone wrong, not as the result of exposure to a test bomb). Both films were about equally-successful, at the box-office.

Director Ang Lee's (and Universal's) visually-striking and creative live-action remake Hulk (2003) featured a beastly, completely computer-generated CGI-creature (Dr. Bruce Banner (Eric Bana)). Jennifer Connelly was Banner's love interest while Nick Nolte played his psychotic father - with a secret.

The film, with the tagline: "Don't Make Him Angry," grossed $132.2 million (domestic), and $245.4 million (worldwide).


The Incredible Hulk (2008)

Director Louis Letterier's The Incredible Hulk (2008) was a reboot (again! with a new backstory) by Marvel Studios. Marvel Studios had reacquired the rights to the character after the 2003 feature film. It was the second film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

It starred Edward Norton as mild-mannered scientist Bruce Banner, pursued by The Abomination (Tim Roth) - radiation-exposed ex-KGB agent Emil Blonsky. Banner's love interest was Betty Ross (Liv Tyler). He was attempting to reverse the experiment that caused him to become the Hulk.

The film grossed $134.8 million (domestic), and $263.4 million (worldwide).

Planet Hulk (2010)

Director Sam Liu's (and Lionsgate's) animated Planet Hulk (2010) was set on the distant planet of Sakaar. It was a direct-to-video animated feature film.

The Hulk was exiled to the Planet Sakaar, where he was forced to be a gladiator and fight in a coliseum.

Marvel's The Avengers (2012)

A number of super-heroes appeared in Marvel's The Avengers (2012), including the appearance of the Hulk character (Mark Ruffalo).

It was the sixth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Previous Page Next Page