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Superman (1978)

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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 103,013 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)

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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 13 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


You'll believe a man can fly. See more »


Action | Fantasy | 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)

Sound Mix:

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



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Composer John Williams used the same orchestra that he also used for his themes for all six Star Wars movies (he used the London Symphony Orchestra), hence how some of his film scores sound like Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977). See more »


When Young Clark throws the green crystal into the distance to form the Fortress of Solitude, the crystal rotates bottom-to-top when it is coming toward the camera, but rotates top-to-bottom on subsequent footage when it's moving away from the camera. See more »


[first lines]
Jor-El: This is no fantasy - no careless product of wild imagination. No, my friends. These indictments that I have brought to you today, specific charges herein against the individuals. Their acts of treason, their ultimate aim of sedition. These... are matters of undeniable fact. I ask you now to pronounce judgement on those accused.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Cheerios by General Mills See more »


Featured in The Mythology of Superman (2006) See more »


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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

The ultimate superhero film-and don't you forget it!
26 April 2005 | by (The World Of Movies) – See all my reviews

Yes, Superman, the superhero everyone knows about. What is there to say, that hasn't already been said. This film is superb! Perfect, outstanding, touching, tear-jerking, and everything else good one could possibly say! That is because this film was made by people who knew what they were doing, and they knew how to give us a real story. Richard Donner has given us this total depiction of a real Superman, and in no other way, could we receive anything other than this. Donner has filled this movie with so much heart, and inspiration, so much talent, and every bit of hard work and dedication one could imagine. Tom Mankiewicz revised the story with clever dialogue, so the characters would not just appeal to children, but to adults as well. Like them, or hate them, the Salkinds really gave us the works with their effort to produce the film with extreme effects and a terrific crew to pull the film off. What they did to Donner while production for #2 was halted, was wrong! We can hate them for that, but we cannot deny that they knew how to make a good movie, and make it right! Warner Bros. Pictures are also to give credit, for they gave themselves the chance to give audiences the movie of the decade! Marlon Brando is just powerful, although he was seen as powerful many times before in earlier films. He is subtle, but tense, and his opening brilliance is that of god sending his only son to earth. Just amazing! Gene Hackman, you can never get any better! With witty dialog, and smart, quick character developments, Hackman is the only one who could've pulled this film off as Lex Luther, then again, only they who were in this could've done right at all. Christopher Reeve, hansom, smart, charming, strong, brave, and as super as they get! He was the only man on earth to have the look, the style, and the strength to show what no one else could possibly show. He was Superman. Luthers crazy side-kicks, Otis and Teschmacher, are as convenient as ever. Both Ned Beatty and Valerie Perrine are just adorable as the co-conspirators of Lex Luther, and the three villains have great chemistry, as does the rest of the cast! Then comes the lovely Margot Kidder, the definitive Lois Lane. Again, like Reeve, the only woman, who was sexy, sultry, witty, charming, and yet vulnerable as the leading lady, and the love of Supermans' life. Kidder is head-over-heals in this one, getting herself into trouble, but the man of steel is always watching. With state-of-the-art special effects, the crew behind the scenes of this masterpiece were the only ones who could make a man fly, and they did. You will believe a man can fly, and afterward, he will fly in your heart for always. They story is just remarkable. The writing consists of such dramatic introductions for every vital character. So, we have a fully engaged film, with characters we love and cherish. Superman doesn't fight off monsters and aliens, but instead needs to look after the world, in order to save them from natural monsters, of the cruel people on earth. John Williams has never written anything better, next to "Jaws", Superman is one of his all-time best! From the mysterious opening of outer space, to the tear-jerking moments in Smallville, to the action-packed conclusion all over the world! This was the first, and the strongest superhero film ever. It has set standards. It gave us three sequels, and an exciting spin-off in 1984's "Supergirl". But this one will always be the first, the granddaddy of all action films that follow in it's footsteps! Super man is the ultimate superhero film, filled with love, heart, and strength, and no sequel, or remake will EVER take that away!

143 of 185 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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