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Superman (1978)

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2:39 | Trailer
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.

Director:

Richard Donner

Writers:

Jerry Siegel (character created by: Superman), Joe Shuster (character created by: Superman) | 5 more credits »
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Popularity
1,145 ( 63)
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 17 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Marlon Brando ... Jor-El
Gene Hackman ... Lex Luthor
Christopher Reeve ... Superman / Clark Kent
Ned Beatty ... Otis
Jackie Cooper ... Perry White
Glenn Ford ... Pa Kent
Trevor Howard ... 1st Elder
Margot Kidder ... Lois Lane
Jack O'Halloran ... Non
Valerie Perrine ... Eve Teschmacher
Maria Schell ... Vond-Ah
Terence Stamp ... General Zod
Phyllis Thaxter ... Ma Kent
Susannah York ... Lara
Jeff East ... Young Clark Kent
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Storyline

Just before the destruction of the planet Krypton, scientist Jor-El sends his infant son Kal-El on a spaceship to Earth. Raised by kindly farmers Jonathan and Martha Kent, young Clark discovers the source of his superhuman powers and moves to Metropolis to fight evil. As Superman, he battles the villainous Lex Luthor, while, as novice reporter Clark Kent, he attempts to woo co-worker Lois Lane Written by Jwelch5742

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

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


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | UK | Canada | Switzerland

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 December 1978 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Superman: The Movie See more »

Filming Locations:

Barons , Alberta, Canada See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$55,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,465,343, 17 December 1978

Gross USA:

$134,451,603

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$300,451,603
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

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

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Dolby (35 mm prints)| Mono | Dolby Atmos

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A scene in which Jor-El explains to Superman why he must keep his secret identity was added for the Director's Cut. See more »

Goofs

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. Obviously it was not an instantaneous process. See more »

Quotes

[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 the 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 a symbol of hope for the city of Metropolis...
See more »

Crazy Credits

the credits rise from bottom to top with a 3D like haze behind them, to appear as though they are flying. See more »

Alternate Versions

When Superman was released to VHS in June 1979 by WCI Home Video, it was whittled down from 143 minutes, to 127 minutes. This was done because of the lack of longer playing tapes at the time. Warner Bros. did not release a full length, unedited copy of the movie until 1983 when a 144 minute cut of the film was issued. This edited VHS version is sixteen minutes shorter than the original 1978 Theatrical release (at 143 min.) and twenty-four minutes shorter than the 2001 Director's Cut (at 151 min.). No actual material was cut from this release, instead scenes with no dialogue and the opening credits were sped up. Another major difference included the deletion of the film's closing credits. We see the copyright notice from the original closing credits followed by a Chryon version of the credits from a trailer for the film, followed by the "Next Year: Superman II" tag (from the original closing credits) and then a copyright disclaimer. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Nostalgia Critic: Can an Ending Ruin a Film? (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Miles better than the 2006 disaster!
15 March 2007 | by CuriosityKilledShawnSee 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.


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