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Superman (1978)

PG  |   |  Action, Drama, Sci-Fi  |  15 December 1978 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 116,612 users   Metascore: 86/100
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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.



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Title: Superman (1978)

Superman (1978) on IMDb 7.3/10

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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 14 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
1st Elder


Unable to convince the ruling council of Krypton that their world will destroy itself soon, scientist Jor-El takes drastic measures to preserve the Kryptonian race: He sends his infant son Kal-El to Earth. There, gaining great powers under Earth's yellow sun, he will become a champion of truth and justice. Raised by the Kents, an elderly farm couple, Clark Kent learns that his abilities must be used for good. The adult Clark travels to Metropolis, where he becomes a mild-mannered reporter for the Daily Planet...and a caped wonder whose amazing feats stun the city: Superman! Meanwhile, Lex Luthor, the world's greatest criminal mind, is plotting the greatest real estate swindle of all time. Can't even the Man of Steel stop this nefarious scheme? Written by Gregory A. Sheets <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The movie that makes a legend come to life. See more »


Action | Drama | Sci-Fi

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for peril, some mild sensuality and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

15 December 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Superman: The Movie  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$55,000,000 (estimated)


$134,218,018 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (1980 video release) | (2000 restoration) | (Extended Version)

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)|



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Jeff East tore several thigh muscles when performing the stunt of racing alongside the train. See more »


When young Clark is "running" next to the train, his feet are not touching the ground. See more »


[first lines]
Boy: In the decade of the 1930s, even the great city of Metropolis was not spared the ravages of the worldwide depression. In times of fear and confusion, the job of informing the public was the responsibility of the Daily Planet, a great metropolitan newspaper whose reputation for clarity and truth had become the symbol for hope in the city of Metropolis...
See more »

Crazy Credits

In memory of Terry Hill, John Bodimeade. See more »


Referenced in Revenge of the Radioactive Reporter (1990) See more »


Only You
Written by Buck Ram
Performed by The Platters
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Miles better than the 2006 disaster!
15 March 2007 | by (The Penumbra) – See all my reviews

I had only ever seen the TV version of the original Superman movie until I bought the HD-DVD. So, as you can imagine, on TV it was in hideous pan and scan and with several scenes missing. In reality, I have never seen the 'full' movie until now. And I have to admit, it's far, far superior to Bryan Singer's self-indulgent mess of Superman Returns.

It actually takes quite a while to get going, but there's so much going on that the running time certainly doesn't seem two and a half hours. Richard Donner shot it back to back with Superman II, so there's an extended opening act that establishes the plot of the sequel at the same time.

Anyone who doesn't know the story of Superman must be from another galaxy, but for those people I will give you a quick soundbite. Kal El is the orphan of the planet Krypton, which has recently blown up. He comes to Earth as a baby and lands in Smallville where he is quickly adopted by a farmer and his wife and renamed Clark Kent. His dense molecular structure and his ability to defy Earth's gravity give him advantages over humans and ultimately he becomes...SUPERMAN! But who doesn't already know that?

Clark Kent assumes an exaggerated, clumsy, meek newspaper reporter persona to distance himself from the Superman guise. Somehow everybody, including secret love Lois Lane, falls for it even though the glasses and the hair are all that is different. Hypervillain Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman) doesn't take well to the man of steel as he might interfere with his plans for Real Estate Domination (the modern term for World Domination). But does he really think he can win? Hypervillains never know when to be humble.

Just about everything that was terrible about Superman Returns is completely right about this one. The cinematography, the music, the editing, the pacing. I won't call the SFX fake, since it doesn't ever take you out of the film, so I'll just call them 'quaint'. For 1978 they're good and even though they are all done optically it's still better than the CGI crapfest of Singer's interpretation.

Christopher Reeve's ultimate fate does kind of upset me, so it's good to see him in his prime and being made immortal in a way. The cast of this film does have a lot of big names. Along with the huge scope and spectacle, such a large cast adds to the epic feel of it. Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Ned Beatty, Margot Kidder, Terence Stamp and Glenn Ford just seem like a far more dynamic bunch of actors than Kate Bosworth and Kal Penn. Don't you think?

It's been 29 years since this film was released and people still make a big fuss over it today. In 29 years, will be still be talking about Superman Returns? Outside of ridicule, I think not.

18 of 24 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Kryptonite: how did Lex know? dollvalley
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Anyone else see this when it came out? mikechoate2000
Anyone who saw this when it first came out back in 1978... petekrug17
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