Jor-El tells his adult son that many hundred Earth years have passed since the death of Krypton. However, during Kal-El's journey to Earth, Jor spoke to the infant about the works of Joyce Kilmer and Albert Einstein, early 20th-century authors.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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).
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.
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).
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.
The goof items below may give away important plot points.
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.
The 1963 Limited Test Ban Treaty signed by the US, UK and USSR outlawed the testing of nuclear warheads within the atmosphere, outer space and under water - making the dual missile test that is the backbone of Lex Luthor's master plan impossible to have occurred in 1978.
In the Expanded Edition, after Superman beaks free of the ice that Luthor put him in, there is an over head shot of Supes walking across the pipe to go to Lex's door. Underneath the pipe he is walking under, there is a big black space. Before the scene was cut for the Theatrical Edition, this space would've been filled with a matte painting showing the rest of the silo or space Supes was in, looking down.