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 »
1,231 ( 112)
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 18 wins & 20 nominations. See more awards »





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


The movie that makes a legend come to life. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Throughout the seventies and early eighties, Lex Luthor was portrayed as wearing a Super Villian costume. Luthor's use of such a costume for the movie was jettisoned as part of the filmmaker's desire for a more realistic looking approach. See more »


While travelling in the spaceship to earth, you can hear Jor-El discussing Einstein. When Clark creates the fortress of solitude, the projection of Jor-El says that he's been dead for thousands of years before 1978. 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 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...
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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

(In the 188-minute version): At around 2:49:55, a scene of water flooding an otherwise barren Reservation in New Mexico is featured. In the minute-long scene, Native Americans bathe in the newfound river. See more »


Only You
Written by Buck Ram
Performed by The Platters
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User Reviews

A Classic best origin story of a superhero of all time!
24 October 2015 | by ivo-cobra8See all my reviews

Superman: The Movie (1978) is the Original film and the only that is the best origin story of a Superman who changes himself into an ultimate superhero. Christopher Reeve is and always will be the only SUPERMAN! No one could play Clark Kent/Superman like Christopher Reeve, the film is still instantiate classic till it's day.If anyone could be Superman. It is Christopher Reeve, he fits the part perfectly as the shy yet great reporter Clark Kent, Kal-El last son of Krypton, and Superman, Earths savior from the forces of evil. It is one of my personal favorite Superman movies.

Superman is a world known icon and is permanently set in stone as the best Superhero of all time. Though, the only Superman movies I enjoyed are the first three Superman movies that had Christopher Reeve in it! This is the best superhero of the 70's before Marvel and DC start making superhero movies. The origin story of a man who can fly, is terrific, believable and awesome. Marlon Brando's role was one of his best, the most films that become memorable for me are The Godfather (1972), Apocalypse Now (1979) and this film Superman, he completed 1.year earlier this film, before he started filming Apocalypse Now (1979).

What else can I say, that was already told? I love this film! I grew up with this film, this is the real original film which has a heart! Man of Steel (2013) reboot to Superman (1978) does not have a heart! This is the real film! The special effects are great, the CGI are barely in it, they aren't. The plot and the story are terrific. The cast is wonderful and acts believable. Superman and Christopher Reeve are the most beloved iconic heroes till it's day. For me Superman will always be Christopher Reeve no one else! I love Smallville (TV Series 2001-2011) and Tom Welling was playing young Clark Kent. Tom Welling will be Clark Kent for me, but Christopher Reeve will be Superman. Reeve also appeared in Season 2 and 3 as special guest in Smallvile which I love that so much. It is sad That Christopher Reeve died in October 10, 2004. John Williams theme score is the best score done for the character. I hear it and it makes me feel so uplifted and I feel like I can do anything. Great cast, beautiful score, and an Epic feeling that is lacking from movies in today's age. It is my favorite superhero film. Superman and his portrayal by Christopher Reeve is a masterpiece and is timeless . Incredible after all this time, this film still holds its own against more recent superhero films and all the CGI that goes with it. Richard Donner's work is a true homage to this classic hero that we have all come to love. I still get shivers when I hear the soundtrack as well.

This is a classic of the comic book hero genre, and in most respects the one that really set the standard for all comic book hero films that follow it. The special effects, sets, haircuts and wardrobe may all look dated, but Superman: The Movie remains among the most beloved films of the 1970s. Director Richard Donner brings the comic book hero to life in Christopher Reeve, who admirably adapts from the bumbling Clark Kent to the ultimate caped crusader. The entire cast is brilliant in its supporting roles. Gene Hackman gives a great performance as the unapologetically wicked Lex Luthor. And Margot Kidder delivers a portrait of a strong, ambitious Lois Lane at a time when women were starting to break the glass ceiling. But it is Donner's dedication to the spirit and style of the original Superman's comic book roots, as well as to inject a heavy dose of humor, that make Superman: The Movie a classic. In some ways, it has still not been surpassed, even by the CGI effects and faster-paced action of today's superhero movies.

The special effects and CGI look great and they don't suck. This film has a heart and it does not suck and is not bad. Marlon Brando was wonderful a touching movement performance as Jor-El, Clark's father. Incredible after all this time, this film still holds its own against more recent superhero films and all the CGI that goes with it. Richard Donner's work is a true homage to this classic hero that we have all come to love. I still get shivers when I hear the soundtrack as well.

A box-office smash, an Academy Award winner* and a fan favorite since it first flew into theaters in December 1978, Superman: The Movie assembles a cast and creative contingent as only a big movie can. At its heart (just as in three sequels) is Christopher Reeve's intelligent, affectionate portrayal of a most human Man of Steel. Watching Superman again isn't just like being a kid again. It's better. The movie's legacy soared even higher when director Richard Donner revisited this beloved adventure 22 years later and integrated eight minutes into the film. Christopher Reeve, Marlon Brando (Jor-El), Gene Hackman (Luthor) and Margot Kidder (Lois Lane) give indelible performances that fuel the film's aura of legend.

Superman (also known as Superman: The Movie) is a 1978 superhero film directed by Richard Donner. It is based on the DC Comics character of the same name and stars Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, Glenn Ford, Phyllis Thaxter, Jackie Cooper, Trevor Howard, Marc McClure, Terence Stamp, Valerie Perrine, and Ned Beatty.

I love this film and is the best superhero classic film ever made!!!! 10/10 it is my personal favorite Superman movie.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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USA | UK | Canada | Switzerland | France



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

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


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

Sound Mix:

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



Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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