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Superman (1978) Poster

(1978)

Goofs

Audio/visual unsynchronised 

The little girl who is audibly slapped by her mother after getting her cat returned by Superman, clearly isn't, judging by her shadow on the wall of her house.
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Character error 

When the commentator on the TV is reporting on the missile launch, he says that he is at the launch site, at ground zero. However "ground zero" would refer to where the missile is due to land, not where it's launched from.
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The pilot of Air Force One describes their position as "Ten miles - that's Ten-er miles" from the airport. The scriptwriters have incorrectly extended the aviation custom of pronouncing the number "nine" as "niner" to avoid possible confusion with the German word "nein", which means "no". The -r ending isn't added to any numbers not ending in 9. In addition, for distances of more than one digit, the digits are pronounced individually: "One-Zero Miles", not "Ten Miles". Also, the position report would be quite unnecessary. Air Traffic Control would be tracking the President's plane on radar every moment of the trip and the pilot should know that.
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Continuity 

When Clark and Lois are leaving the Daily Planet on Clark's first day, he tries to follow Lois into the revolving door, getting his briefcase stuck. So, he then goes into the partition behind Lois. But when they come out into the street on the other side, they exit from the same partition. They enter the door separately but exit together.
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When Superman first grabs the wing of Air Force One, his "S" is backwards, revealing a flipped shot.
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At the train station, the New Haven engine that masks Otis's entrance to Luthor's lair and the one that hits the detective Harry are the same unit, number board 5048.
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During Lois and Superman's 8:00PM flight, it's the dead of night. Yet it appears to be early evening (with some sunlight still visible) in some scenes near the Statue of Liberty.
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When he is spinning the world backward, the two shots are reversed relative to Superman's direction of flying.
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When Lois and Clark are mugged in the alley, Clark grabs the bullet before it hits Lois. He then pretends to faint and falls against the wall. As he does this his glasses fall down on his face and his hat falls off onto the ground. They then show a shot of Lois up against the wall and Clark passed out, sitting on the ground behind her. If you look just to the right of Lois' skirt, you can see Clark's arm with his hat which he appears to be removing from his head.
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After the earthquake, the gap in the railroad tracks is wider than the length of Superman's body. When he is in place, the gap is much smaller.
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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.
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The Cheerios box that Mrs. Kent pulls from the cupboard on the morning Clark leaves Smallville changes position on the table when she looks out the window.
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Superman pulls Lois out of her car and lays her on the ground with her arms pointing down and her clothes are all dirty. Yet when he screams in rage and takes off, her right arm is up by her head and her clothes are clean.
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When a staff member lights Perry White's cigar, the lighter immediately vanishes and the guy has his hands in his pockets in a split second.
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During the Krypton sequence,when Jor-El looks at one of the other Elders, and says "My friend, I have never been otherwise... .this madness is yours". he places his hands on the shoulders (upper arms) of the Elder (shot over Jor-El's shoulder, looking at the Elder). When the camera switches to a shot over the Elder's shoulder looking at Jor-El, Jor-El's hands are up on the Elder's shoulders, near his neck. When the P.O.V. switches back to look at the Elder over Jor'El's shoulder again, his hands are back on the Elder's shoulders (upper arms).
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After the earthquake the Hoover Dam in several scenes is breaking up, but when Superman is flying towards the Hoover Dam to save Lois, the dam is in one piece.
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Lois kicks the mugger with her left leg, but in the next angle, her right leg is up in the air.
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After Clark finds the green crystal in the barn, we cut to a wide shot of the Kent farm, with the sun casting rays at a 45º angle from behind a cloud, clearly mid-morning. We then cut to a shot of dawn just breaking from inside Clark's bedroom.
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When Superman hands Frisky the cat to the girl, the cat's head faces her right shoulder. In the next shot, and for the remainder of the scene, the cat's head faces her left shoulder.
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On the DVD, there is a scene not in previous releases where Superman is talking to Jor-El at the fortress. His hair is much longer in that scene than in the rest of the movie. It is the same length as in the screen tests.
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After Superman turns the world back and forward, he meets Lois trying to start her car. When she looks at him through the window of the car, the glass is dirty and Superman appears blurred. When he looks at her, the glass of the window is clean and Lois appears perfectly visible.
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Crew or equipment visible 

After jumping across in front of the moving train, a reflection of the cameraman can be seen in the train windows as Clark runs home.
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During the sequence of Superman's first rescue, police and fire engines are shown responding to crash scene. Shooting briefly from inside the fire truck, the camera drives past a row of four or five location crew campers.
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Director Richard Donner is reflected in the Daily Planet revolving door when Clark and Lois are leaving (just after the "swell" exchange).
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The cable holding Superman while he is carrying Lex Luthor and his henchman to the prison is clearly visible as he lands.
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When the planet Krypton explodes, you can clearly see folds in the cloth on the ceiling that makes up the black "space" surrounding the planet. Explosions that are supposed to take place in space are photographed from directly underneath so the sparks "fly" evenly in direction of the camera.
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Errors in geography 

Hoover Dam sits at the head of a long, narrow canyon, which ultimately leads into Lake Mohave, and does not have any towns downstream within sight of it.
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Factual errors 

A "500 Megaton" bomb would do far more than cause California to have massive damage. The largest nuclear weapon ever detonated was only 57 MT and caused damage up to 170 miles away. 500 MT would be more than twice the power of the eruption of Krakatoa, the largest explosion in recorded history.
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The "Air Force One" in use in 1978 was a VC-137C (the military designation for a Boeing 707) which can easily operate on three engines. If the only thing the plane had lost was one engine, there would have been no need for Superman to "rescue" them.
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After Air Force one is struck by lightning and her crew apparently panics, the Captain instructs one of the others to inform the ground that the president is aboard. "Air Force One" only becomes so when the President is aboard, so the notification would not be needed.
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In the opening sequence, when the film dissolves to show the Daily Planet building, the camera tilts up to show the Moon, but the view shown is one that is not visible from the Earth, as it shows a large amount of the Moon's far side.
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No known heliport in the world has ever had electrical cables strewn across the helipad as shown on top of the Daily Planet building. Thus, the helicopter accident should never had occurred, and such an accident would be the very reason why no helipad in the world would ever have electrical cables strewn around it.
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The fire trail along which Kalel's ship had traveled when he landed on earth as a boy would have been much longer and would have burned and smoked longer than it did.
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The "subway" train that runs over Detective Harry is not a subway train; it is a standard New Haven commuter train that is powered by an FL-9 dual mode diesel-electric/straight electric locomotive. Subway systems generally do not use diesel locomotives for revenue service, only for work trains so the 3rd rail can be deenergized. Due to the risk of pollution; they use electrical-powered train cars. Some commuter train routes do have trains traveling through extended tunnels like a subway normally would (such as in the Grand Central Station area of New York, where this scene was filmed) and these often use dual mode or straight electric locomotives and/or self propelled electric MU cars.
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Miscellaneous 

During the credits, when the "Cast" names scroll up, there is a cast credit for "Secret Agent" at the "Golf Course". This was a scene cut out of the original film (but reappeared when ABC first broadcast their 'extended' version), in which the President of the United States (who is never shown) is trying to dig himself out of a sand trap. The Secret Agent is informing him of the events occurring, the earthquake and such.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

The design on Jor-El's shirt is the familiar Superman S. In the comic books that S design was designed by Martha Kent on Earth, long after Krypton was destroyed. She fashioned Clark's suit from blankets found in the rocket that brought Kal-El to earth. Jor-El wore a green shirt with a yellow sun design on the front. However, while this may be true for the comic book universe, it isn't really a goof as it's not uncommon for film adaptations of comic books to differ from their source material.
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It was said Superman has to pass through other galaxies to reach Earth, therefore due to the distance it is impossible for a fragment of planet Krypton to ever reach Earth, also given the distance even if the meteorite was traveling at the speed of light, it would never reach Earth in the time allowed. Unless the many galaxies statement was an exaggeration
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Jor-El wears an alien device with an uncanny resemblance to a Rolex watch on his wrist.
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We see every second of Lois' interview of Superman, from his arrival to his departure. Yet the next day, when Luthor sees the article in the Daily Planet, he "reads" several bits of information that were never mentioned during the interview, however it has to be assumed that they had plenty of time to talk and interview during their "can you read my mind?" flight sequence around Metropolis.
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When Superman turns back time, the Hoover Dam is shown sealing itself back up, which means that time has turned back to before the moment when Superman rescued Jimmy. Superman then immediately flies back to Lois. Somehow in this new time-line, the Dam doesn't seem to break and the road doesn't crack open, despite Superman having done nothing to change these events. But when Jimmy shows up a few minutes later, he still remembers being rescued by Superman, even though in this time-line he was never rescued and indeed there was nothing to rescue him from. Since time travel does not exist in the real world, it can work in the movie world however the writers want
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Plot holes 

When Jor-El introduces himself in the Fortress of Solitude, he explains that by this time, he will have been dead for thousands of Earth years. Yet during his teaching during Kal's journey to Earth from Krypton, Jor-El refers to Einstein's theory of relativity, which wasn't formulated until long after the destruction of Krypton.
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Revealing mistakes 

When Superman lands on a street corner to drill himself down towards Luthor's hideaway, you can clearly see that the street is not concrete, but a pad that moves when he lands on it.
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As Superman and Lois Lane fly around "Metropolis", a full moon lies to the north of the Big Dipper, an astronomical impossibility.
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As Supes in reaching out to grab the missile to hurl it into space, you can see the scaffolding used for Chris Reeve to lie on sticking out inside his suit (moulded to fit Chris Reeve's chest and tummy).
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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.
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When they do the pan shot of the town site just before the cemetery scene, on the grain elevators, the logo for the "Alberta Wheat Pool" is clearly visible on the green grain elevator.
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When Superman is catching the cat burglar falling down the side of the skyscraper, his cape (also note the burglar's flashlight) is flat against his body revealing the tilt camera special effect.
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During the Superman and Lois Lane flying scene, right after a bird flies by them, you can see the background stars through their bodies.
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When Superman and Lois Lane go out flying, wires are visible on Lois for a second or two when they take off.
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When Lex Luthor and Otis are brought to prison at the end of the film, the flaps of Luthor's bald cap are clearly visible on the back of his neck (especially when he tells Otis to shut up).
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When the Girl Scouts are fleeing the falling "Hollywood" sign, as the camera pans to a side-angle shot, we see that all the letters in the sign are on the same line (as they fall forward). In real life, several of the letters are staggered at fairly large intervals (easily seen in overhead shots).
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After the Hoover Dam breaks sending a wall of water towards the homes, there is a scene where a telephone pole by a dock is springing back and forth by the force of the water - an obvious model.
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When Baby Kal-El is launched from Krypton and his pod shatters the skylight, the falling glass makes the ship sway as if on a string, because it IS dangling from a string.
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There was another vehicle on the highway behind the Kent's when Kalel's ship landed on earth. When the Kents stop to investigate, the other vehicle has vanished.
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When Clark jumps out of the Daily Planet window on hearing Luthor's ultrasound tone, and changes into his Superman costume instantaneously on the way down, his legs stay clad in Clark Kent's trousers.
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When Lois faints on the rooftop, after Superman flies away. She braces her fall with her right hand.
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At the end of the work day in the Daily Planet, Clark presses the 'Up' button on the elevator and when the doors open, he asks if the lift is going down, and an irate passenger retorts, 'Up! Up!' Clark then presses the 'Down' button. Basically, Clark should have pressed the 'Down' button the first time if he were going down.
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When young Clark is "running" next to the train, his feet are not touching the ground.
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When teenage Clark Kent leaps through the moving train, the wire can be seen from above.
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Spoilers 

The goof items below may give away important plot points.

Character error 

When Luthor reveals his plan for his real estate swindle, he mentions that California will "fall into the sea" after he hits it with the nuclear missile. The San Andreas fault is the wrong kind of fault for this to happen. Rather than being a thrust or "normal" dip-slip fault, in which the two plates move toward or away from each other, respectively; San Andreas is a strike-slip transform fault, with each plate sliding along each other. The amount of energy required to slide the entire western part of California away from the rest of North America would be far greater than any natural or man-made source could generate.
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Revealing mistakes 

Safety cable attached to helicopter when it's balancing on the wedge on during the crash scene on the roof.
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Revealing mistakes 

Right before Miss Tessmacher removes the kryptonite necklace from Superman, it is black. After she tosses it, the kryptonite has turned green again.
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See also

Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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