Super-Heroes
on Film

Captain America


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: Captain America
(chronological by time period and film title)

Captain America - was created by writers-artists Joe Simon and Jack Kirby as a Timely (later Marvel) comic-book character in 1941, debuting in Captain America Comics # 1 (March 1941). Wrapped in a star-spangled, American-flag costume with a similar indestructible shield (round-shaped after the first issue, when it was originally triangle-shaped), Captain America (alter ego Steve Rogers) was the perfect World War II superhero. He appeared just a few months before Pearl Harbor. In his first cover, he delivered a right cross-blow to the face of Germany's Third Reich dictator Adolph Hitler.

Sickly and frail young man Steve Rogers attempted to join the Army to fight Allied foes in WWII, but was rejected. He was selected to participate in a secret project called "Operation Rebirth" - he was the first test subject in an experiment to create physically-superior Super Soldiers for the military. When he was given the chemical super-serum by "Dr. Josef Reinstein," he was transformed and reborn into a superhero (with a dual identity) - he became the only one after a German spy killed the doctor who had memorized the formula.

Young James "Bucky" Barnes was assigned to accompany private Steven Rogers, who had recently become the government operative Captain America, but Bucky did not know Rogers' secret super-hero identity. One night, Barnes emerged into Rogers' tent and learned about his other identity - created after he received a super-soldier serum. Sworn to secrecy, Barnes joined Captain America on his first crime-fighting mission against the fascist Axis Powers and to defeat the evil Red Skull, the head of Germany's terrorist operations.


Captain America Comics # 1
March 1941

Bucky Discovered
Captain America's identity

After a long absence from comics, and at the dawn of the Silver Age of comics, Captain America, Timely Comics' WWII hero, returned to action in Avengers # 4 (March 1964), and also had an enhanced origin story beginning in Tales of Suspense # 63 (March 1965). Comic book readers were informed that during the final days of WWII, Captain America and young sidekick Bucky were both on a mission when their plane exploded. Captain America became frozen in icy Arctic waters for twenty years (before being revived), while his young sidekick Bucky was killed in the crash.


Avengers # 4
March 1964

Tales of Suspense # 63

March 1965
Title Screen
Super-Hero Films
Poster


Captain America (1944) - Theatrical Serial

The 15-episode Captain America (1944) serial, by directors John English and Elmer Clifton, was the last Republic Pictures serial ever made about superheroes, and it was the most expensive serial that Republic ever made. It was also the first live-action Marvel (or Timely Comics) theatrical adaptation of a Marvel comics character.

Except for the opening chapter, "The Purple Death" (at a length of almost 26 minutes), the other 14 chapters were about 15 and a half minutes in length.

  1. The Purple Death
  2. Mechanical Executioner
  3. The Scarlet Shroud
  4. Preview of Murder
  5. Blade of Wrath
  6. Vault of Vengeance
  7. Wholesale Destruction
  8. Cremation in the Clouds
  9. Triple Tragedy
  10. The Avenging Corpse
  11. The Dead Man Returns
  12. Horror on the Highway
  13. Skyscraper Plunge
  14. The Scarab Strikes
  15. The Toll of Doom

It starred Dick Purcell as the comic-book hero Captain America (or "Cap")/aka DA Grant Gardner (not alter-ego US Army Private Steve Rogers, as in the comics and other versions of the super-hero). Gardner's main weapons were a shield and a revolver.

Captain America's main opponent was crazed scientist and museum curator Dr Cyrus Maldor/The Scarab (Lionel Atwill), who had created a lethal chemical known as the "purple death" that caused an epidemic of suicides. He was also intent on unleashing two super-weapons: the "Dynamic Vibrator," and the "Electronic Firebolt."



Captain America (1979) - TV movie
Captain America II: Death Too Soon (1979) - TV movie sequel

There were two 1979 TV movies loosely based on the Marvel Comics character Captain America. The two films were directed respectively, by Rod Holcomb and Ivan Nagy, and both films starred Reb Brown as the title character Steve Rogers. Both pilot films were unsuccessful attempts to jump-start a future series.

  • Captain America (1979) (aka Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty), 120 minutes in length, aired on CBS-TV on January 19, 1979.

Artist Steve Rogers (Reb Brown) was transformed into Captain America after being injected with a steroid (super-soldier serum) called FLAG after a motorcycle accident. FLAG stood for Full Latent Ability Gain. His main mode of transportation was a jet rocket-boosted motorcycle. He battled against the nation's enemies as the Sentinel of Liberty, Captain America. The main villain was Lou Brackett (Steve Forrest), who had murdered Steve's friend Jeff Haden (Dan Barton) - Jeff possessed microfilm with plans for building a neutron bomb.

  • Captain America II: Death Too Soon (1979) with a running time of 83 minutes in length (it was divided into two one-hour episodes), aired in two parts on CBS-TV on two consecutive nights: November 23-24, 1979.

In this second film, Steve Rogers (Reb Brown) battled villainous terrorist General Miguel (Christopher Lee), who had kidnapped Professor Ian Ilson (Christopher Cary) - Ilson had developed an aging accelerant (and its antidote).



Captain America (1990)

Director Albert Pyun's Captain America (1990) was a joint American-Yugoslavian superhero film with a length of 97 minutes, released direct-to-video.

The first big screen production of Captain America, a prominent Marvel Comics character, was never given a widespread US theatrical release, but went straight to DVD/cable TV in 1992 after some delays. However, it was given a limited theatrical release in late 1990 in the UK. It received mostly negative, critical reviews.

Set mostly in 1943 during WWII, it starred Matt Salinger as Steve Rogers/Captain America - a superhuman warrior wearing red/white/blue. His main villain was the Red Skull (aka Tadzio de Santis) (Scott Paulin), an experimental super-soldier created by the Fascists, with plans to kill President Tom Kimball (Ronny Cox) (a pro-environmentalist) in the White House with a nuclear bomb.

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Director Joe Johnston's and Paramount's Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) was also a superhero film derived from Marvel Comics by Marvel Studios.

It was the fifth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Set in 1942, it featured the WWII patriotic, Stars & Stripes shield-bearing bionically-enhanced US super-soldier Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans).

He battled against Hitler's disfigured weapons specialist Johann Schmidt/Red Skull (Hugo Weaving), who went rogue to pursue his own plans for world domination.

Marvel's The Avengers (2012)

A number of super-heroes appeared in Marvel's The Avengers (2012), including the appearance of Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans).

It was the sixth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) (aka Captain America 2)

The sequel Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) (aka Captain America 2), was directed by brothers Anthony and Joe Russo. It was similar to a 1970s-styled conspiracy thriller.

It was the ninth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The "Winter Soldier' referred to covert assassin James "Bucky" Barnes (Sebastian Stan) hiding out in Washington DC - Steve Rogers' ex-best friend and WWII pal, while another character was added to S.H.I.E.L.D - veteran Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford).

It again reprised many roles: Chris Evans as Captain America/Steve Rogers, Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/the Black Widow, and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury.

This sequel was much more successful than its 2011 predecessor. The film's domestic box-office was almost $260 million, compared to $177 million for the earlier film.

Captain America: Civil War (2016)

A third Captain America installment, again directed by Anthony and Joe Russo - a sequel to the previous film Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014).

Successful at the box-office, it was the highest-grossing film of 2016 (worldwide), at $1.153 billion (worldwide).

It was the 13th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.



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