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Superman (1978)

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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.


Richard Donner


Jerry Siegel (character created by: Superman), Joe Shuster (character created by: Superman) | 5 more credits »
1,355 ( 58)
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 17 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »



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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


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


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 »



USA | UK | Switzerland | Canada | Panama



Release Date:

15 December 1978 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Superman: The Movie See more »

Filming Locations:

Barons , Alberta, Canada See more »


Box Office


$55,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,465,343, 17 December 1978, Limited Release

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


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

Sound Mix:

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


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The filmmakers included several Superman in-jokes (the phone booth gag, for instance). A lesser-known example was the scene where Otis tries to take Superman's cape. This was a tribute to the 1972 Jim Croce song "You Don't Mess Around With Jim", which had the line, "You don't tug on Superman's cape." See more »


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. 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

For the first few opening credits, the graphics 'soar' towards the viewer. Following the appearance of the 'S' symbol, they change direction and from the film's title onwards, recede into the distance. See more »

Alternate Versions

The current DVD, in addition to containing the 2000 restored director's cut, has 2 deleted scenes (both of Lex' babies, and seen in the TV edits in their original context), and alternate audio scoring for 8 sequences (including an unreleased alternate pop version of Margot Kidder's "Can You Read My Mind"). The DVD has the 2000 restoration with the following additions / expansions (all of which were seen in previous expanded television versions):
  • Some added dialogue when Jor-El is talking with the council.
  • The council calls an "Executioner" to hunt and kill Jor-El to keep the rocket from launching.
  • Noel Neill and Kirk Alyn's speaking cameos on the train.
  • Little girl sees Clark running faster than train, parents call her Lois Lane.
  • In the kitchen Martha Kent takes out a box of Cheerios.
  • After rescuing Air Force One Superman returns to Fortress of Solitude and has a conversation with his father.
  • In Metropolis when the news of Superman comes out, Clark is a spectator. A stranger (played by an uncredited Richard Donner) comments "that'll be the day when a man can fly"; Clark grins.
  • While trying to get Luthor's lair Superman goes through machine guns, flame throwers, ice machines with Luthor taunting on loudspeaker.
  • The sequence with the Girl Scouts.
See more »


Featured in The Making of 'Superman III' (1985) See more »


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

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A masterpiece - my number 1 favorite Superman the greatest superhero of all time
29 August 2018 | by rambofan4lifeSee all my reviews

Superman: The Movie (1978) is a masterpiece of one of the greatest superhero "Superman" of all time. It is my number 1 favorite Superman of all time. I love, love, love, love this movie to death and even more so much I love it!!! This is a classic the best the original origin story of how a young boy grow up to become the greatest superhero as: "superman" of all time. Christopher Reeve is the only Clark Kent/Superman a great reporter who make fool of him self, his the best, his performance of Superman was written on his skin.

He was a good heart person. It is sad That Christopher Reeve died in October 10, 2004 and I really miss the actor. I was in high school sophomore that year when I heard Christopher Reeve died I was sad. This movie has elements in the film that works. Special effects, great acting from everyone, great plot and story. It is going to be 40 years anniversary since this movie come out in December 10 1978. Superman: The Movie was Nominated for 3 Oscars, 17 wins & 18 nominations.

I grew up watching Christopher Reeve as Superman saving the world and saving us, I believed in Superman. Superman: The Movie defines my childhood it is a classic and one of the best superhero movies of all time. From the comics and movies. This movie has heart, soul, adrenalin and it is a joy ride trough whole movie. Superman for me is an adventure, sci-fi, romance and a disaster film which was an earth quake after a bomb explode and Superman was racing against time to fix things and saving people. We don't see fighting or war movies in which superhero fights in here, but normal mother of nature disaster earth quakes.

Why is this movie so good: - We found out more about planet Krypton and how Jor-El with his wife Lara sent Kal-El to planet Earth.

We see Clark growing up and we see his first love Lana Lang. Susannah York played excellent as Kal-El's mom she was also in the sequel. Diane Sherry Case was good as Lana Lang but the actress was forgotten she didn't had much screen time in this movie.

Marlon Brando was excellent as Jor-El he is incredible father figure to Superman. I love the actor and his performance from The Godfather (1972) to Apocalypse Now (1979) to Superman (1978) he is incredible. Director Richard Donner directs perfectly and excellent this masterpiece of origin story and it is a joy watching it.

Here we also find that "man of steel" no fire, no bullets no iron or steel, no ice nothing can hurt him but only kryptonite green meteorite can hurt him.

We have 3 villains here: Lex Luthor, Otis and Eve Teschmacher and they are good in their roles. The film has a lighter tone and humor thanks to Gene Hackman's performance and Ned Beatty they not so horrible evil villians but comic and funny at times. Valerie Perrine is the only Eve Teschmacher for me and Lex Luthor is Gene Hackman no one else.

Margot Kidder is Lois Lane who become love interest for Superman but Clark never reveals his secret, that's what I love about this film. No one knows who is superman but us audience.

I love how Superman saves those children on the bridge in the bus, or how Superman helped a helpless young girl getting her cat back from a tree. Superman saved all the passengers in a airplane. Superman stops a cat burglar. Christopher Reeve doesn't kill anyone the new Superman Henry Cavill kills people twists necks, while Chrispoher Reeve saves people he saves the world and he saves Lois Lane, Jimmy Olson and of course he stops Lex Luthor. Ms. Teschmacher saves Superman from drowning I love that so much.

John Williams made a beautiful score for the Superman music theme even today people talk about the music and this movie. Hans Zimmer score for "Man of Steel" can't come near this movie score.

10/10 I hate Henry Cavill's Superman! Christopher Reeve is the greatest super hero and Superman of all time for me. I love Superman: The Movie (1978) to death it is my number 1 favorite Superman film it is my childhood movie I grew up watching this movie and it is going to be 40 year anniversary December 10th.

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