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Superman (1978)

PG  |   |  Action, Drama, Sci-Fi  |  15 December 1978 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 117,969 users   Metascore: 86/100
Reviews: 483 user | 161 critic | 11 from Metacritic.com

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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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 14 wins & 17 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 <m-sheets2@onu.edu>

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?


When they meet at Lois Lane's penthouse, Lois asks Superman how fast he can fly. He responds that he never timed himself. At the end of the film when he orbits the earth to set back time, at peak speed he appears to orbit the earth 44 times in approximately 10.5 seconds at a diameter of approximately 1.75 times the earth's diameter. This means at peak speed he traveled approximately 183,000 miles per second. The speed of light is 186,000 per second. So essentially Superman was traveling at the speed of light, which is possibly the director's intention, and is extraordinarily "faster than a speeding bullet"! See more »


In some shots the Daily Planet building is the tallest one in its neighborhood. At other times - such as the scene with the helicopter - there are several taller buildings nearby. 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

Prior to the beginning of the film is a brief "dedicated to Geoffrey Unsworth" message (Unsworth was a cinematographer who died prior to the release.) See more »


Referenced in Watchman Video Broadcast: The Comic Con: Part 1 (2013) See more »


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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Classic that will remain past the ends of time...
4 March 2004 | by (Sundance, Utah) – See all my reviews

In 1976 a pair of father/son producers were trying to find the perfect way to score a box office success. Then they thought of a new way to produce a Superhero movie. Alas, Superman was the most famous Superhero at the time and the rights were acquired. Then a director and writer were required. This is when they went to first Guy Hamilton, and then Richard Donner. Alas, Donner won the acclaim and the Newman's were on board for writing a script. After months of screen testing and such, a Superman was found and cast-that of a young New York native Christopher Reeve, who fit the bill and filled the role well. Then a gorgeous woman was needed for the part of Lois Lane, no more gorgeous than the manic, energetic actress Margot Kidder, who was then known for small movie roles such as The Great Waldo Pepper and Sisters. Gene Hackman and Marlon Brando had already signed on before alot of the cast was cast. And to make a long story short, Superman: The Movie was filmed! A great film indeed, with then state of the art special effects to make your views and experiences soar high! Christopher Reeve does a terrific job as the man of steel who learns of a plot to destroy the west coast. Gene Hackman was perfect for the role of Lex Luthor, the villain who wants to own his own territory of the would be new coast of California( Costa Del Lex!) Margot Kidder was just right as the gorgeous Lois Lane who falls in love with Superman but gives Clark Kent lessons on life, while Jackie Cooper is great as Perry White. Ned Beatty and Valerie Perrine do good performances as well as supporting dim witted characters. The script had to be re worked for a couple of times because of being too hammy, and so Donner brought in the wonderful Tom Mank. who did a great job of modifying the script to a more down to earth level. Great musical score by John Williams. T.V. version ran 191 minutes in full length on the famous California tele channel KCOP. But all was not well in paradise. Richard Donner was in opposing thoughts with producers Alexander and Ilya Salkind, and so a mediator was brought in, that of Richard Lester, directer of the Three and Four Musketeers, and the Beatles films. This went on whilst Superman and Superman II were being filmed back to back. Then, in a sudden chance to get Superman released before the year 1979, the cast and crew stopped filming Superman II to finish the first film. And so it was done, but at was price...

55 of 88 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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