Hulk Hogan is one of the most popular professional wrestlers of all time. He’s also one of the first grapplers to make the transition into Hollywood. (And no, we’re not talking about “Hollywood” Hogan from WCW.)
Hogan has starred in several films and television shows over the years. Many are remembered for the entertainment and nostalgia factor only, but a few of them are actually good films.
Here are Hulk Hogan’s five best movies:
Rocky III is Hulk Hogan’s earliest acting credit, and arguably his best. Hogan played the mononymous pro wrestler named Thunderlips.
This was essentially a cameo role, as Thunderlips faced off with Rocky Balboa in a charity wrestler vs. boxer match in the film, but it provided a huge spotlight for Hogan, who wasn’t yet the global star he became.
No Holds Barred
No Holds Barred was distributed by New Line Cinema but it’s technically one of WWE‘s first ventures into film. Vince McMahon released this film under the “Shane Distribution Company” banner with Hogan starring as Rip Thomas.
No Holds Barred earned double its budget at the box office, but it was popular enough amongst wrestling fans that the characters crossed over into the WWF. Tiny Lister, who played Zeus in the film, came in to wrestle as his film character at an event called “No Holds Barred: The Match/The Movie.” The December 27, 1989 pay-per-view event featured the film in its entirety, followed by Hogan and Brutus Beefcake versus Zeus and Macho Man Randy Savage.
Hulk Hogan portrays Shep Ramsey, an interstellar warrior on a mission to capture an intergalactic tyrant. Shep’s mission fails and he ends up stranded on Earth until his spaceship can get fixed. The film features Christopher Lloyd and Shelley Duvall as Shep’s new landlords, and it also has a cameo from The Undertaker (Mark Callaway).
Suburban Commando wasn’t always a Hulk Hogan film. (It was originally written for Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwarzenegger.) Hogan does a respectable job here playing an intergalactic action hero, and the film has some solid comedic moments.
Mr. Nanny sees Hulk Hogan plays Sean Armstrong, a former pro wrestler living in Palm Beach, Florida. (A big stretch, amiright?) Sean takes a bodyguard job for a wealthy tech magnate, but he ends up watching after the kids.
The film features David Johansen (of New York Dolls / Buster Pointdexter fame) providing a delightfully campy turn as the main villain named Tommy Thanatos. Pro wrestling’s Afa Anoaʻi,
Brutus Beefcake, George “The Animal” Steele, Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart and Kamala also make cameos in the film.
Thunder In Paradise
Thunder In Paradise was a made-for-TV movie AND a syndicated television series.
Hulk Hogan played R.J. “Hurricane” Spencer, a former Navy Seal that worked as a mercenary in the Florida Gulf Coast. Along for the ride was his friend, Martin “Bru” Brubaker (played by Chris Lemmon), and their talking, high-tech speedboat called Thunder.
This movie (and series) involved some of the same people involved with Baywatch, so there were definitely some cheesy soap opera-ish moments involved. The film’s plot featured Hogan’s Spencer agreeing to marry for money (and a hotel) as he fended off bad guys (including Giant Gonzalez) from stealing ancient treasure.
Thunder was less about the nonsensical plot and mostly about the boat, a “K.I.T.T.” for the 90s.