Live-action Superhero and comic book adaptations 1920-1999 that I have seen

by Alberto-7 | created - 20 Jun 2018 | updated - 26 Jun 2018 | Public

A list of all the superhero and comic book live action films and TV series produced from 1920-1999, that I have seen

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1. Adventures of Captain Marvel (1941)

Passed | 216 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

To protect a magic talisman from being used for evil, a teenage boy named Billy Batson is given the power to become an adult superhero, Captain Marvel, with a single magic word: "Shazam!"

Directors: John English, William Witney | Stars: Tom Tyler, Frank Coghlan Jr., William 'Billy' Benedict, Louise Currie

Votes: 1,028

Probably the best movie serial ever with terrific special effects (the flying sequences are jaw-dropping). It gets repetitive by the time you get to Chapter 5 but it is well resolved at the end. And who is the mysterious Scorpion?

2. Batman (1943)

Approved | 260 min | Action, Adventure, Crime

Japanese spymaster Prince Daka operates a covert espionage organization located in Gotham City's now-deserted Little Tokyo which turns American scientists into pliable zombies.

Director: Lambert Hillyer | Stars: Lewis Wilson, Douglas Croft, J. Carrol Naish, Shirley Patterson

Votes: 1,737

Low budget serial introduced the Dynamic Duo to movie audiences for the first time. Repetitive and racist to boot. Do yourself a favor and watch only a couple of chapters at a time.

3. Batman and Robin (1949)

Approved | 263 min | Action, Adventure, Crime

The caped crusaders versus The Wizard, black-hooded mastermind.

Director: Spencer Gordon Bennet | Stars: Robert Lowery, Johnny Duncan, Jane Adams, Lyle Talbot

Votes: 1,526

An improvement on the 1943 serial. This one has a new cast playing the Dynamic Duo. Vicki Vale is also in this one. Some good chapters, some terrible chapters. The Wizard's identity is easy to figure out. Or is it?

4. Batman (1966–1968)

TV-G | 25 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

The Caped Crusader and his young ward battle evildoers in Gotham City.

Stars: Adam West, Burt Ward, Alan Napier, Neil Hamilton

Votes: 17,580

Pow. Zingo. Boff. Great fun TV series with tongue planted firmly in cheek. Terrific guest stars. The first season is the best. The third is average at best.

5. Batman (1966)

PG | 105 min | Adventure, Comedy, Crime

71 Metascore

The Dynamic Duo faces four supervillains who plan to hold the world for ransom with the help of a secret invention that instantly dehydrates people.

Director: Leslie H. Martinson | Stars: Adam West, Burt Ward, Lee Meriwether, Cesar Romero

Votes: 28,367

Fun continuation of the TV series tries to cram in too much into 1 hour and 45 minutes. Lee Merriwether is terrific as catwoman and Adam West his usual stoic self. Fun but too long.

6. Batman (1989)

PG-13 | 126 min | Action, Adventure

69 Metascore

The Dark Knight of Gotham City begins his war on crime with his first major enemy being the clownishly homicidal Joker.

Director: Tim Burton | Stars: Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Kim Basinger, Robert Wuhl

Votes: 323,119 | Gross: $251.19M

Dark, intense film with a muted performance by Michael Keaton and an over-the-top one by Jack Nicholson.

7. Batman Returns (1992)

PG-13 | 126 min | Action, Crime, Fantasy

68 Metascore

Batman returns to the big screen when a deformed man calling himself the Penguin wreaks havoc across Gotham with the help of a cruel businessman.

Director: Tim Burton | Stars: Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken

Votes: 261,373 | Gross: $162.83M

Dark sequel to the first Michael Keaton Batman film. OK but needs a bit more humor.

8. Batman Forever (1995)

PG-13 | 121 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

51 Metascore

Batman must battle former district attorney Harvey Dent, who is now Two-Face and Edward Nygma, The Riddler with help from an amorous psychologist and a young circus acrobat who becomes his sidekick, Robin.

Director: Joel Schumacher | Stars: Val Kilmer, Tommy Lee Jones, Jim Carrey, Nicole Kidman

Votes: 226,207 | Gross: $184.03M

I really enjoyed Val Kilmer's interpretation of Batman. The film is solid and quite enjoyable.

9. Batman & Robin (1997)

PG-13 | 125 min | Action, Sci-Fi

28 Metascore

Batman and Robin try to keep their relationship together even as they must stop Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy from freezing Gotham City.

Director: Joel Schumacher | Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, George Clooney, Chris O'Donnell, Uma Thurman

Votes: 224,362 | Gross: $107.33M

Trying hard to be like the 1960s TV series, this film is just bad.

10. Danger: Diabolik (1968)

Not Rated | 105 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

International man of mystery Diabolik and his sensuous lover Eva Kant pull off heist after heist, all while European cops led by Inspector Ginko and envious mobsters led by Ralph Valmont are closing in on them.

Director: Mario Bava | Stars: John Phillip Law, Marisa Mell, Michel Piccoli, Adolfo Celi

Votes: 5,413

Looks like the filmmakers did acid before making this. Seriously, what were they thinking.

11. Superman (1948)

Approved | 244 min | Sci-Fi

Superman comes to Earth as a child and grows up to be his home's first superhero with his first major challenge being to oppose The Spider Lady.

Directors: Spencer Gordon Bennet, Thomas Carr | Stars: Kirk Alyn, Noel Neill, Tommy Bond, Carol Forman

Votes: 885

A lot of fun but the flying sequences are a big cheat. Every time superman takes off, he turns into a cartoon version of himself. What a ripoff. Kirk Alyn as Superman is having fun.

12. Adventures of Superman (1952–1958)

TV-G | 30 min | Action, Adventure, Crime

The Man of Steel fights crime with help from his friends at the Daily Planet.

Stars: George Reeves, Noel Neill, John Hamilton, Bill Kennedy

Votes: 3,070

Low, low, low budget TV series shot mostly in studio. We only get to see Superman fly once or twice in each episode. Cheaply made and it shows. Still, George Reeves seems to be enjoying himself.

13. Superman (1978)

PG | 143 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

80 Metascore

An alien orphan is sent from his dying planet to Earth, where he grows up to become his adoptive home's first and greatest superhero.

Director: Richard Donner | Stars: Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, Gene Hackman, Marlon Brando

Votes: 152,070 | Gross: $134.22M

Terrific entry in the Superman series with a standout performance by Christopher Reeve.

14. Superman II (1980)

PG | 127 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

87 Metascore

Superman agrees to sacrifice his powers to start a relationship with Lois Lane, unaware that three Kryptonian criminals he inadvertently released are conquering Earth.

Directors: Richard Lester, Richard Donner | Stars: Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, Ned Beatty

Votes: 93,640 | Gross: $108.19M

A sequel that is better than the original. Great love story between Superman and Lois Lane. Once again, Christopher Reeve delivers.

15. Superman III (1983)

PG | 125 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

44 Metascore

Synthetic kryptonite laced with tar splits Superman in two: good Clark Kent and bad Man of Steel.

Director: Richard Lester | Stars: Christopher Reeve, Richard Pryor, Margot Kidder, Jackie Cooper

Votes: 61,477 | Gross: $59.95M

The quality dropped off a lot by this point in the series. What in the world is Richard Pryor doing in this film?

16. Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)

PG | 90 min | Action, Adventure, Family

24 Metascore

The Man of Steel crusades for nuclear disarmament and meets Lex Luthor's latest creation, Nuclear Man.

Director: Sidney J. Furie | Stars: Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder, Jackie Cooper

Votes: 40,753 | Gross: $15.68M

Cheap, dull, poorly-made film. I am sure Christopher Reeve did this one just for the money.

17. Captain America (1944)

Approved | 244 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Superhero Captain America battles the evil forces of the archvillain called The Scarab, who poisons his enemies and steals a secret device capable of destroying buildings by sound vibrations.

Directors: Elmer Clifton, John English | Stars: Dick Purcell, Lorna Gray, Lionel Atwill, Charles Trowbridge

Votes: 738

Everything about Captain America's identity has been changed for this serial. Every single chapter has him fight several goons at a time in the exact same way. The actor who plays Cap was in terrible shape and it shows. Poor guy died immediately after finishing this movie. Cap rides a very cool motorcycle for about 30 seconds in one chapter. The rest is repetitive and dull as hell.

18. Captain America (1979 TV Movie)

TV-PG | 97 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

A recipient of an experimental body enhancement chemical retaliates against his would be killers as a star spangled superhero.

Director: Rod Holcomb | Stars: Reb Brown, Len Birman, Heather Menzies-Urich, Robin Mattson

Votes: 1,397

Poor Made-for-TV film. It takes one hour and fourteen minutes before we see Steve Rodgers in costume as Captain America and the costume looks nothing like it should. The script is dull, the action minimal and the special effects are terrible. Skip this one.

19. Captain America II: Death Too Soon (1979 TV Movie)

TV-PG | 83 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

The star spangled hero must battle a villain's plan to poison America with a chemical that horrifically accelerates the aging process.

Director: Ivan Nagy | Stars: Reb Brown, Connie Sellecca, Len Birman, Christopher Lee

Votes: 987

A definite improvement over the first TV movie. This one has music that is just as cheesy and stiff acting but the story is ok and Reb Brown as the good Captain tries hard. The motorcycle stunts are well done and the action sequences squeak by. Not bad overall.

20. Captain America (1990)

PG-13 | 97 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Frozen in the ice for decades, Captain America is freed to battle against archcriminal The Red Skull.

Director: Albert Pyun | Stars: Matt Salinger, Ronny Cox, Ned Beatty, Darren McGavin

Votes: 10,624

Low, low budget version of the good Captain is terrible except for...actually, it is all terrible.

21. Superargo contro Diabolikus (1966)

G | 88 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi

A superhero battles madman who is plotting to steal uranium in order to take over the world.

Director: Nick Nostro | Stars: Giovanni Cianfriglia, Gérard Tichy, Loredana Nusciak, Mónica Randall

Votes: 188

Great Italian superhero film. Over the top and silly but Superargo is one of the coolest superheroes you will ever see.

22. Ultraman: A Special Effects Fantasy Series (1966–1967)

TV-14 | 30 min | Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller

A human member of a defense force is given the life and ability to change into a giant super-hero to battle the monsters that wrecks havoc on Earth.

Stars: Susumu Kurobe, Sandayû Dokumamushi, Masaya Nihei, Bin Furuya

Votes: 443

I loved this series in my childhood. Upon seeing the episodes recently, I realize that we only get to see Ultraman in action for the last 5 minutes of each episode. Still, some amazing monsters appear throughout.

23. Urutoraman Zeasu (1996)

51 min | Action, Sci-Fi

Inept hero Ultraman Zearth must overcome his fear of germs and grime, if he wishes to save Earth from the evil Alien Benzene and his Kaiju pet Cotton-Poppe

Director: Shinya Nakajima | Stars: Masaharu Sekiguchi, Takaaki Ishibashi, Noritake Kinashi, Yuka Takaoka

Votes: 31

Silly Ultraman spoof.

24. Ultraman: Tiga (1996–1997)

TV-Y7 | 30 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

A high-tech squadron protects Earth from evil monsters and aliens with the help of a giant super-being named Ultraman Tiga.

Stars: Christopher Collet, Hiroshi Nagano, Takami Yoshimoto, Akitoshi Ohtaki

Votes: 213

A good series. This isn't as good as the original Ultraman series but is still a lot of fun.

25. Ultraman Tiga & Ultraman Dyna & Ultraman Gaia: Battle in Hyperspace (1998)

Unrated | 74 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi

In a change from previous Ultraman movies, this one takes place in our own universe, in which Ultraman is just a popular kids' TV show. A young boy (and Ultraman addict) named Tsutomu finds... See full summary »

Director: Kazuya Konaka | Stars: Takeshi Yoshioka, Gaku Hamada, Mai Saito, Sei Hiraizumi

Votes: 96

Ok overall.

26. The Mark of Zorro (1920)

Passed | 107 min | Adventure, Romance, Western

A seemingly idiotic fop is really the courageous vigilante Zorro, who seeks to protect the oppressed.

Director: Fred Niblo | Stars: Douglas Fairbanks, Marguerite De La Motte, Robert McKim, Noah Beery

Votes: 2,044

Tons of great action in this silent film. Douglas Fairbanks is spry and energetic in this.

27. The Bold Caballero (1936)

Passed | 67 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

The Commandant is making life rough for the colonials in Spanish California. While trying to help, Zorro is charged with the murder of the new Governor, but in the end he triumphs over the evil Commandant.

Director: Wells Root | Stars: Robert Livingston, Heather Angel, Sig Ruman, Ian Wolfe

Votes: 133

Low budget Zorro film is ok.

28. The Mark of Zorro (1940)

Approved | 94 min | Action, Adventure, Romance

A young Spanish aristocrat must masquerade as a fop in order to maintain his secret identity of Zorro as he restores justice to early California.

Director: Rouben Mamoulian | Stars: Tyrone Power, Linda Darnell, Basil Rathbone, Gale Sondergaard

Votes: 8,892 | Gross: $4.36M

Tyrone Power is great as Zorro.

29. Zorro (1957–1959)

30 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

Don Diego de la Vega opposes the corrupt tyrants of Spanish California as the masked swordsman, Zorro.

Stars: Guy Williams, Gene Sheldon, Henry Calvin, Don Diamond

Votes: 2,867

Well made TV series with an inspired performance from Guy Williams as Zorro.

30. Zorro (I) (1975)

G | 120 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

In the New World, a new Spanish governor finds the province of Nueva Aragón under the iron fist of the corrupt Colonel Huerta and vows to bring justice under the guise of a masked avenger.

Director: Duccio Tessari | Stars: Alain Delon, Stanley Baker, Ottavia Piccolo, Enzo Cerusico

Votes: 2,873

Alain Delon is great in this and there are more stunts than you can count. Made in Europe with a great deal of care.

31. Rat Pfink a Boo Boo (1966)

Not Rated | 72 min | Comedy, Action, Thriller

After stopping three crooks from robbing an innocent woman, two dimwits become crime fighters.

Director: Ray Dennis Steckler | Stars: Carolyn Brandt, Ron Haydock, Titus Moede, George Caldwell

Votes: 687

I don't know what the producers were trying to do with this film. Forget the ridiculous title. This film does not know if it wants to be a superhero film, a musical or a thriller. Looks like this was shot in 3 hours in someone's house. One of the most annoying films you will ever see and those costumes look like they were bought at K-Mart.

32. Barbarella (1968)

Approved | 98 min | Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy

51 Metascore

Barbarella, an astronaut from the 41st century, sets out to find and stop the evil scientist Durand Durand, whose Positronic Ray threatens to bring evil back into the galaxy.

Director: Roger Vadim | Stars: Jane Fonda, John Phillip Law, Anita Pallenberg, Milo O'Shea

Votes: 30,160

Silly to the extreme. At least Jane Fonda looks like she is having fun.

33. Tintin et le mystère de la Toison d'Or (1961)

104 min | Adventure, Drama

Tintin and Captain Haddock try to discover what is so desirable about their old and apparently worthless ship.

Director: Jean-Jacques Vierne | Stars: Jean-Pierre Talbot, Georges Wilson, Georges Loriot, Milo

Votes: 1,183

Great live action version of Tintin with a fun story and terrific Greek and Turkish locations.

34. Tintin et les oranges bleues (1964)

105 min | Adventure, Comedy, Crime

Film based on the characters from the comic created by "Hergé".

Director: Philippe Condroyer | Stars: Jean Bouise, Jean-Pierre Talbot, Félix Fernández, Jenny Orléans

Votes: 849

Ok second live action Tintin film shot in Spain. Drags a little here and there.

35. Flash Gordon (1980)

PG | 111 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

58 Metascore

A football player and his friends travel to the planet Mongo and find themselves fighting the tyranny of Ming the Merciless to save Earth.

Director: Mike Hodges | Stars: Sam J. Jones, Melody Anderson, Max von Sydow, Topol

Votes: 47,482

This is a lot of fun with some great Queen music.

36. The Return of Swamp Thing (1989)

PG-13 | 88 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

39 Metascore

In this tongue-in-cheek sequel, the benevolent bog creature falls for the vegetarian, plant-loving daughter of the evil scientist who created him.

Director: Jim Wynorski | Stars: Dick Durock, Heather Locklear, Louis Jourdan, Sarah Douglas

Votes: 3,921 | Gross: $0.19M


37. Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park (1978 TV Movie)

PG | 96 min | Fantasy, Horror, Music

KISS, a rock band made up of superheroes, battles an evil inventor who has plans for destruction at a California amusement park.

Director: Gordon Hessler | Stars: Peter Criss, Ace Frehley, Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley

Votes: 2,678

The band members are superheroes in this crazy film. One of those WTF were they thinking films.

38. Supersonic Man (1979)

Not Rated | 88 min | Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy

The superhero Kronos, from a distant galaxy, tangles with the mad scientist Dr. Gulik over the fate of mankind.

Director: Juan Piquer Simón | Stars: Antonio Cantafora, Cameron Mitchell, José Luis Ayestarán, Diana Polakov

Votes: 722

Spanish superhero ripoff of Superman. As bad as The Pumaman.

39. The Pumaman (1980)

90 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Low-budget film about a young man given a mystical medallion by an Aztec shaman, in order to become a puma-empowered champion like his father before him. In trying to initially locate the ... See full summary »

Director: Alberto De Martino | Stars: Walter George Alton, Donald Pleasence, Miguel Ángel Fuentes, Sydne Rome

Votes: 3,968

Low budget Italian schlock. Flying sequences are terrible.

40. Infra-Man (1975)

PG | 90 min | Action, Sci-Fi

Princess Dragon Mom and her mutant army have arisen, and only Inframan can stop them!

Director: Shan Hua | Stars: Danny Lee, Terry Liu, Hsieh Wang, Man-Tzu Yuan

Votes: 1,708

His costume is great but the story is terrible. Some good action but does not compare to the terrific Ultraman TV series.

41. J-Men Forever (1979)

PG | 73 min | Comedy

The Lightning Bug has a multi-prong scheme to enslave the earth. First, rock and roll, which the JMen counter with Muzac, then marijuana. Finally, the JMen build a bomb to blow up the moon ... See full summary »

Director: Richard Patterson | Stars: Peter Bergman, Phil Proctor, M.G. Kelly, Jack Angel

Votes: 298

Fun mishmash of sequences from several Republic superhero serials with a new soundtrack. Silly but funny.

42. Wonder Woman (1975–1979)

TV-PG | 60 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

The adventures of the greatest of the female superheroes.

Stars: Lynda Carter, Lyle Waggoner, Tom Kratochvil, Richard Eastham

Votes: 6,247

This was fun and Linda Carter is gorgeous.

43. Mystery Men (1999)

PG-13 | 121 min | Action, Comedy, Fantasy

65 Metascore

A group of inept amateur superheroes must try to save the day when a supervillain threatens to destroy a major superhero and the city.

Director: Kinka Usher | Stars: Ben Stiller, Janeane Garofalo, William H. Macy, Hank Azaria

Votes: 59,920 | Gross: $29.66M

I love this film. It does not take itself seriously and its sense of fun is always present. Terrific cast including a great turn by Geoffrey Rush as Casanova Frankenstein.

44. The Phantom (1996)

PG | 100 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

The Phantom, descendent of a line of African superheroes, travels to New York City to thwart a wealthy criminal genius from obtaining three magic skulls which would give him the secret to ultimate power.

Director: Simon Wincer | Stars: Billy Zane, Kristy Swanson, Treat Williams, Catherine Zeta-Jones

Votes: 31,155 | Gross: $17.30M

A lot of fun and a great throwback to the movie serials of the 1940s.

45. Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze (1975)

G | 100 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

Doc and the Amazing Five battle Captain Seas and "the green death" for control of a fabulous resource.

Director: Michael Anderson | Stars: Ron Ely, Paul Gleason, William Lucking, Michael Miller

Votes: 1,655

I thoroughly enjoyed this campy film which has Ron Ely as Doc Savage. The story is a little silly at times but is fun if you just go with it.