- Hulk (Doctor David Banner) (First appearance) (Flashback and main story)
- Jack McGee (First appearance)
- Laura Banner (Only in flashback) (First appearance) (Death)
- Jerry (Only Appearance)
- Angie (Only Appearance)
- Ben (Only Appearance)
- Liz (Voice)
- Jessie Maier (Only Appearance)
- Bernard "B.J." Maier (Only Appearance)
- Mrs. Epstein (Only Appearance)
- Martin D. Bram (Only Appearance)
- Johnny (Mentioned)
- Scotty (Voice)
- Farrah Fawcett (Mentioned)
- Suzy (Only Appearance)
- Suzy's father (Only Appearance)
Dr. David Bruce Banner is dreaming about his deceased wife, Laura. The dream started with his pleasant memories of their live together, but it ended the same way as all of the dreams he had for the past 11 months, with the memory of her death. They were driving together when the tire blew and their vehicle rolled. David was thrown clear, but Laura remained in the now upside down car. The gas tank started to burn. He tried in vain to free her, but failed. He woke up... the space in the bed next to him still empty.
He arrives at Culver Institute, outside Sacramento, California. Before entering, he was waylaid by Jack McGee, a reporter from The National Register. David refuses to be interviews, seeing The National Register as an unreliable tabloid paper.
His colleague and friend, Dr. Elaina Marks, helps him with his research. They are trying to find our what causes some people to have extraordinary strength during moments of crisis. They used David and Laura's accident as the control incident, as he didn't have that strength.
They interview and examine several who experienced this strength.
The first interview was with Jessie Maier and her son Bernard (he preferred to be called B.J.). Their experience was an automobile accident very much like David's. Jessie was burned in the process, but she was able to lift the car enough to get B.J. out. The interview upsets David because Jessie was able to lift her vehicle and save her son, but he was unable to do the same for Laura.
They also interviewed a woman pinned during an earthquake. She lifted a steal beam off of herself before the ruptured gas line asphyxiated her.
Martin D. Bram, another interviewee, knocked down a heavy steal door during a fire.
And an Vietnam veteran saved a friend while surviving multiple bullet wounds.
One of their technicians, Ben, have been modifying their equipment for higher output. He got their electron microscopes to 1,000,000 times magnification. They examined the DNA of all of the interviewees and discovered that they have an abnormal link in their DNA. They also found the same anomaly in David's DNA.
When Ben mentioned that a data transition would be interrupted by solar activity, the missing element came to him. He looked at a chart showing gamma radiation bombardment from the sun over the past year. On the dates of three of the incidents, there was high gamma activity. But on the date of David's accident there was low gamma activity. He tried to call Elaina, but she didn't answer.
He went to the radiology lab and bombarded himself with gamma radiation for 15 seconds. He intended to give himself 300,000 units, but Ben had augmented that unit as well. He gave himself at least 2,000,000 units. And nothing happened. He tried to lift a gurney he'd tested his strength on before the gamma injection, he still couldn't lift it.
Frustrated, he went home angry. It was down pouring. He had trouble starting the car, but it finally turned over. On the way home, he ran over some debris in the road and puncture his tire. He got out, took the lug wrench out of his trunk, grabbed his spare tire and tried to change it, but the wrench slipped twice, the second time cutting his hand. Then, it happened. His anger reached its peak. His eyes turned a greenish white. His skin turned green and he ripped out of his clothing. He stood over the object of his current troubles - his car. He pulled the tire off, stripping the threats, and tossed it. He pounded on the vehicle and flipped it off the road. It exploded and he ran from it.
Still in his mutated form, she stumbled upon a girl at a lake trying to get a worm on a hook. The girl saw him and frantically got in her boat and rowed away. The boat capsized and she fell in. The Hulk tried to save the girl by knocking a tree down and slowly move it to her position, but the girl didn't understand the Hulk's intentions. Her father heard her scream and shot twice. The second shot hit him in the shoulder. He dropped the tree, ran at the man, broke his rifle and tossed him into the lake. The Hulk ran off.
Finally, he started to calm down. Looking into lake, he saw himself revert to his original form.
Disoriented and dehydrated, he made it to Elaina's house. She removed the bullet and dressed his wound. She was about to call the police, but David suggested that she not until they can figure out what happened. He explained to Elaina what he did the previous night.
They went to the institute's southwest lab, since it was isolated and has a module designed to be placed deep underwater and can withstand excessive pressure. She told David about the upgrade to the radiology unit and how much radiation he really exposed himself to. David had Elaina lock him in the vault and monitor his vital signs. They tried to recreate the conditions that existed when it happened. They opened a water coolant line to simulate rain, used the electrical lines to create an arc to simulate the lightning. Everything David could think of, but nothing worked.
He took a nap, and again had his recurring nightmare - the accident that killed Laura. But when it got to the point of the accident, when the adrenaline rush would usually wake him, this time it did more. He again became the Hulk and tried to pound his way out of the vault. It was difficult for him, but he succeeded. Elaina was able to calm him enough to get a blood sample from his hand (he wounded himself when he broke through 6 inches of glass) and got him to sit down. She watched as he changed back. She recorded a log of everything she observed from the point he started REM sleep to his escape from the vault. They looked back at the EKG and realized that the anger produced from his dream triggered his transformation, and David also realized how angry he was during his first change. They knew now that it was his anger, in addition to his DNA anomaly and the gamma injection, that causes the metamorphosis. David worries about the violent nature of the creature, and the fact that he has no useful memory of what he did as the creature.
Jack McGee, along with the local sheriff, arrive at the lab. David's car was found burned up, along with large footprints. Jack also mentioned interviewing the man and his daughter about the creature they'd seen. David explained that he though a friend borrowed his car. Elaina asked if the father and girl were hurt, and Jack said they weren't. The sheriff left. Jack wanted to come in and ask about the creature, but Elaina tried to ward him off saying they had a potentially dangerous bacteria culture inside. He seems to leave, but hides and observes the lab until they leave.
At the main lab, they look at David's blood again and see what happened to him. While trying to use the radiology unit to try unsuccessfully to restore him, Jack enters the southwest lab and see the damage inside. He sees footprints matching those of the Hulk.
When David and Elaina return, he hides in a closet. He hears them talk about going to a facility with multiple layered walls, so if their "friend" does come back he won't escape. David goes into the closet and find Jack. Startled, he knocks over a jug of acid. While David tried to get Jack to leave, the acid reaches some explosives in the same closet. An explosion is triggered and the lab bursts into flames with Elaina inside. David runs to the side of the building and sees her unconscious on the floor. Frustrated, he becomes the Hulk. He clears the debris off of her and carries her out of the building in front of Jack.
They stop in the woods. Elaina wakes up to see herself in the Hulks arms. She admits that she loves David, and dies in his arms. He screamed in rage and leaves her body in the woods.
A memorial service is held for Elaina Harding Marks and David Bruce Banner. Ben is upset that Jack, who is also at the service with a broken leg, wrote the story titled "INCREDIBLE "HULK" KILLS 2." Jack says that there's a warrant for murder on the creature. He hopes to be one the verge of one of the "great stories of the 20th Century".
As the mourners leave the cemetery, David arrives and looks at his grave and that of Elaina and admits to her that he loves her, and that he thought she loved him too although she never said it. Ironically, she said it to him as the Hulk.
- Bill Bixby as Dr. David Banner
- Susan Sullivan as Dr. Elaina Harding Marks
- Jack Colvin as Jack McGee
- Susan Batson as Jessie Maier
- Mario Gallo as Martin Bram
- Eric Server as Policeman
- Charles Siebert as Ben
- Terrence Locke as Young Man
- June Whitley Taylor as Woman
- George Brenlin as Man at Lake
- Jake Mitchell as Jerry
- William Larsen as Minister
- Olivia Barash as Girl at Lake
- Eric Deon as Bernard "B.J." Maier
- Kenneth Johnson as Scotty
- Lara Parker as Laura Banner
- This television movie serves as the two-part premiere to the television series The Incredible Hulk.
- No trivia.
- Characters from The Incredible Hulk (1977 film)
- Other things related to The Incredible Hulk (1977 film)
- Film Gallery: The Incredible Hulk (1977 film)
- Images from the film