As a beloved popular culture icon with a long history, Popeye has inspired countless references in different media. These are but a few:
- Popeye appears in Osamu Tezuka's 1948 manga Lost World, both as 'Doctor Jupiter' and as himself (among several other American characters).
- The 1949 cartoon Toys Will Be Toys, from Paramount Pictures' Screen Songs series, features a Popeye toy among a parade of animated toys.
- Spike Milligan was a fan of Popeye cartoons and took the name of The Goon Show from Alice and her tribe.
- Popeye also appears in Osamu Tezuka's 1952 manga Son-Goku the Monkey, acting as a 'heavenly hitman', one of several opponents to the legendary Monkey King.
- In the 1974 television series Happy Days, Ralph calls Potsie 'Popeye' after they return from their ROTC naval class in the 1977 episode "My Fair Fonzie", and in the 1979 episode "Ralph Versus Potsie", Fonzie compares his love for parsley to Popeye's love of spinach.
- The 1977 film Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown features a fat, vicious cat named Brutus and voiced by Jackson Beck. This recalls Beck's voice work as Bluto and Brutus.
- A hulking, vicious robot resembling Popeye appears in the 1977 Jetter Mars episode "The Best Robot Talent in History": he consists of a large cubical midsection decorated with an anchor, Popeye-style limbs and a Popeye head.
- In Detective Comics Vol 1 issue 475 (1978), as Batman talks to the sailors on the Gotham docks, Popeye can be seen in silhouette.
- Popeye is among a crowd of aliens in a panel from Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 issue 125 (1979).
- In Marvel Premiere Vol 1 issue 50 (1979), Popeye and Brutus are seen as mental patients together with Wimpy as their doctor.
- In the 1978 television series Mork & Mindy (specifically during their 80s seasons), main character Mork the alien would occasionally reference the Popeye movie, which was fitting considering that Mork was played by none other than Robin Williams, who also played Popeye in the film.
- Popeye is among several captured superheroes and villains in What If? Vol 1 issue 29 (1981).
- In the 1985 Muppet Babies episode "The Great Muppet Cartoon Show", Popeye and Olive are portrayed by Kermit the Frog and Skeeter during the song "We Love Cartoons".
- New Mutants Special Edition Vol 1 issue 1 (1985) introduces Harald Einarson, a tyrannical Asgardian lord modeled as (a more realistic-looking) Popeye, who also dies in the episode. Members of his court resemble other Thimble Theatre characters.
- Popeye was among the many personalities that appeared as puppets in the music video for "Land of Confusion", Genesis' hit song of 1986. He can be spotted immediately after Phil Collins' encounter with Madonna.
- A Popeye lookalike can be seen in What The--?! Vol 1 issue 1 (1988).
- In Superman Vol 2 issue 16 (1988), the Prankster laments the state of children's television while parodies of 1980s cartoons are shown on monitors; a goateed Popeye stands in for The All-New Popeye Hour.
- Crimen y Castigo/Meurtres et Chatiments (a surreal comic serialized in an Argentine magazine then published as a book in France) has a detective come into 'Thimbletown' in one chapter, to engage in violent and sexual situations with the Thimble Theatre-based locals.
- In the television series Full House, Joey Gladstone (Dave Coulier) would at times imitate Popeye, sometimes singing "I'm Popeye The Sailor Man" and once even dressing as him, in the 1989 episode "Little Shop of Sweaters".
- Babs Bunny does a Popeye impression in the 1991 Tiny Toon Adventures episode "Pledge Week".
- Popeye makes a cameo appearance in The Shadow Strikes Vol 1 issue 26 (1991).
- The 1992 arcade game Quiz & Dragons: Capcom Quiz Game contains two questions about Popeye.
- In the 1992 computer game Roberta Williams' Laura Bow in: The Dagger of Amon Ra, which is set in 1926, the protagonist may find herself discussing the comic strip Thimble Theatre with a group of children.
- The Genie does a Popeye impression in The Return of Disney's Aladdin issue 2 (1993).
- In the 1993 Animaniacs episode "Cat on a Hot Steel Beam", a Popeye-like character can be seen chasing after a Swee'Pea-like character.
- Popeye makes an appearance in the 1993 film Loaded Weapon 1, walking the docks at night until he is assaulted by criminals.
- An aging Popeye makes an appearance in Marvels issue 1 (1994), being interviewed on the subject of Captain America.
- In the 1997 Extreme Ghostbusters episode "Moby Ghost", Eduardo Rivera calls ghostly whaler Maiikrob 'Popeye'.
- In a scene from the 1997 film Alien: Resurrection, Dom Vriess (Dominique Pinon) whistles "I'm Popeye The Sailor Man", likely a nod to Pinon's physical resemblance to Popeye.
- In the long-running manga and anime One Piece, several allusions to Popeye are made, such as one of the main characters, Franky having large tattooed forearms and using cola to power himself up much like spinach. Another reference is seen in the character Macro who has Popeye forearms and even the same anchor tattoos. Protagonist Luffy (a man made of rubber) also regularly uses attacks that increase the size of his forearms as well as using a variation of Popeye's "Twisker Sock" in which he too twists his arms and hits his opponents with a spinning punch.
- Popeye is referenced in the Simpsons episodes "Brother's Little Helper" (1999, where Popeye's theme song is parodied); "Jaws Wired Shut" (2002, where Homer Simpson is strengthened by Duff Beer as Popeye is by spinach, then effects a Popeye-like rescue); "The Strong Arms of the Ma" (2003, Marge Simpson's spinach-like use of steroids); "Father Knows Worst" (2009, Homer's spinach-like use of mayonnaise). Popeye is also seen in Bart Simpson's dream in "A Test Before Trying" (2013).
- In the 2001 Malcolm in the Middle episode "Old Mrs. Old", Commandant Spangler is likened to Popeye for having only one eye.
- Popeye is referenced in the Doctor Who books Time and Relative (2001) and Wooden Heart (2007).
- In the 2002 The Fairly OddParents episode "Abra-Catastrophe!", countless Popeye-like sailors surround antagonist Denzel Crocker's van while it is camouflaged as a spinach wagon; in the 2004 episode "Just Desserts", Wanda the fairy godmother gains a surge of energy after eating from a spinach can; in the 2005 episode "The Good Old Days!", 'Poke Eye the Longshoreman' can be seen in a faux Fleischer Studios-style cartoon that protagonist Timmy Turner watches together with his grandfather. The latter episode also contains several allusions to old Popeye cartoons and substitutes beets for spinach.
- Popeye appears as a bartender in a story segment from Simpsons Comics issue 81 (2003).
- The Bluto/Brutus name debate had become a topic of interest on the radio program The Rick Emerson Show.
- In SpongeBob SquarePants , a minor recurring character simply known as the 'Popeye Fish' shares Popeye's Navy hat, chin, and even a similar voice.
- In the animated series Codename: Kids Next Door, children are known to collect trading cards and other items of "the Yipper", a cartoon animal which bears a strong likeness to Eugene the Jeep.
- Popeye can be seen in portrait at the Nut Bar in The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (2004).
- The ailing grandfather from the 2004 short film Life After is known only as 'Popeye' for the strength he possessed in his youth.
- The 2006 Drawn Together episode "The Lemon-AIDS Walk" portrays Popeye as a steroids abuser and drug dealer, with syringe tattoos instead of anchors, and Olive's pimp. He suddenly dies of AIDS during the episode.
- In the 2006 Family Guy episode "You May Now Kiss the...Uh...Guy Who Receives", Popeye pays a visit to Dr. Hartman. The doctor informs him that the lumps in his arms are actually tumors. When Popeye tries to reply to this, it is all stuttered gibber. Dr. Hartman explains that Popeye's weird speaking pattern is caused by a stroke he had a few years ago, with Popeye still being alive deemed a miracle. In the 2008 episode "McStroke", Wimpy appears as a stroke victim.
- In the three-part South Park episode "Imaginationland" from 2007, Popeye is a member of the Council of Nine, the rulers of the land of imaginary characters.
- The 2007 Camp Lazlo episode "The Book of Slinkman" shows the picture of a character called Rugged Randolph, who has Popeye's forearms and tattoos.
- In the Zombies map "Five", from the 2010 video game Call of Duty: Black Ops, Richard Nixon might say "I would gladly pay you Tuesday for some extra rounds today" (a variation on Wimpy's well-known catchphrase) when running low on ammo.
- In the 2010 Smallville episode "Isis", Cat Grant says to Clark Kent "You're the Popeye to my Olive".
- In the 2010 The Office episode "Costume Contest", Jim Halpert dresses up as Popeye along with his wife Pam as Olive Oyl and their baby Cece as Swee'Pea.
- In the 2011 Futurama episode "Reincarnation", during a black-and-white Fleischer Studios-style segment, Philip J. Fry eats a can of mushroom jelly in order to gain strength.
- In the 2011 film Red State, main antagonist Abin Cooper likes to tell his young grandson to flex his "muscles" like Popeye.
- In the 2011 film adaptation of The Green Hornet, one of the enemy gangsters is nicknamed 'Popeye'. Aptly, he loses an eye.
- 'Officer Popeye' appears briefly in Funny or Die's 2011 video "Boop with Rose McGowan", which revolves around Betty Boop.
- In the 2012 video game Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why'd You Steal Our Garbage?!!, Lumpy Space Princess devours a can of beans and transforms into a larger, stronger version of herself.
- In the 2012 Walking Dead episode "Nebraska", Lori Grimes is called 'Olive Oyl' by Daryl Dixon for having become as thin as Olive.
- The 2013 film Scooby-Doo! Mask of the Blue Falcon features many cameos from Hanna-Barbera-created characters, including the appearance of a Bertha Blast lookalike as the Caterer.
- In the 2013 film The Wolf of Wall Street, Popeye Meets Hercules is shown on television, inspiring the protagonist to gain strength from cocaine as Popeye does from spinach.
- A flashback from Batman Vol 2 issue 23.1 (2013) introduces the Joker's abusive Aunt Eunice, who looks like Olive Oyl.
- In the 2014 Teen Titans Go! episode "Vegetables", Cyborg eats a can of spinach while fighting crime in order to gain strength, which gives him a Popeye look and an anchor icon on his arm.
- In the 2014 Clarence episode "Nothing Ventured", Clarence's friend Sumo comes off looking like Popeye in a police sketch.
- In the 2015 Steven Universe episode "Cry for Help", Sugilite (the fusion of two characters) destroys a tower using a winding punch that leaves her two right arms wrapped together, matching the Twisker Sock's look and effect.
- In the 2015 Defiance episode "The Awakening", protagonist Joshua Nolan jokingly speculates than an Omec alien's greater resistance to bullets is due to her eating her spinach.
- In the 2015 film Ted 2, a Popeye standee and a Bluto cosplayer can be seen at the New York Comic Con.
- In the 2017 revival of Samurai Jack, a robotic version of Popeye appears as an old foe of Jack's, with the Robo-Popeye holding the samurai responsible for "busting" his eye 50 years prior. It should be noted that Samurai Jack creator Genndy Tartakovsky is a Popeye fan and was originally set to direct Sony's animated Popeye film.
- In the 2017 video game Cuphead, there are many references to Fleischer Studios cartoons from the 1930s, such as Betty Boop, Popeye and many others. The character Captain Brineybeard, who serves as a boss in the game, is a clear reference to Bluto in terms of design and nautical theme. Some stages in the game also incorporate a style and 3D backgrounds reminiscent of those seen in the Popeye short films Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor and Popeye the Sailor Meets Ali Baba's Forty Thieves.