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Superman II (1980)

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Superman agrees to sacrifice his powers to start a relationship with Lois Lane, unaware that three Kryptonian criminals he inadvertently released are conquering Earth.

Directors:

Richard Lester, Richard Donner (uncredited)

Writers:

Jerry Siegel (character created by: Superman), Joe Shuster (character created by: Superman) | 4 more credits »
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3,715 ( 128)
3 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gene Hackman ... Lex Luthor
Christopher Reeve ... Superman / Clark Kent
Ned Beatty ... Otis
Jackie Cooper ... Perry White
Sarah Douglas ... Ursa
Margot Kidder ... Lois Lane
Jack O'Halloran ... Non
Valerie Perrine ... Eve Teschmacher
Susannah York ... Lara
Clifton James ... Sheriff
E.G. Marshall ... The President
Marc McClure ... Jimmy Olsen
Terence Stamp ... General Zod
Leueen Willoughby ... Leueen
Robin Pappas Robin Pappas ... Alice
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Storyline

Picking up where "Superman: The Movie" left off, three criminals, General Zod (Terence Stamp), Ursa, (Sarah Douglas), and Non (Jack O'Halloran) from the planet Krypton are released from the Phantom Zone by a nuclear explosion in space. They descend upon Earth where they could finally rule. Superman, meanwhile, is in love with Lois Lane (Margot Kidder), who finds out who he really is. Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman) escapes from prison and is determined to destroy Superman by joining forces with the three criminals. Written by Keith Howley <lald@ptdprolog.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Man of Steel is back, and better than ever! See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for sequences of action violence, some language and brief mild sensuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | UK | Canada

Language:

English | French | Russian

Release Date:

19 June 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Superman 2 See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$54,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$14,100,523, 21 June 1981

Gross USA:

$108,185,706
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Richard Donner Cut)

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (MegaSound encoding) (70 mm prints)| Dolby (35 mm prints)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

John Williams did not return as composer, due to scheduling commitments with Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). However, Williams granted the Salkinds permission to use his original themes, and even recommended composer Ken Thorne, a personal friend of Williams, to compose the film's score. See more »

Goofs

After Zod, Ursa, and Non burst into Perry White's office, strings are hanging at their sides. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Krypton guard: Alert, alert, alert.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits incorporate an extensive amount of footage from the first Superman movie. See more »

Alternate Versions

In the ABC TV version, Superman passes a Concorde jet on his way to Paris. This is not in the video release. See more »

Connections

Version of The Return of Superman (1979) See more »

Soundtracks

Clark Fumbles Rescue
(uncredited)
Composed and Conducted by Ken Thorne
Original Material Composed by John Williams
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
The Greatest Superhero Movie Ever Made
31 December 1999 | by The_Movie_CatSee all my reviews

I have a confession to make. I love Superman II. Such innocent, almost niave, filmmaking, it personifies the term "family entertainment" and is, simply, great fun to watch.

Other superheroes have floundered at the box office, and maybe this is to do with lack of affinity between the makers and the source material. Certainly, the Superman films are tongue-in-cheek but never so that they're disrespectful to their content or their audience. The Crow was a good example of the "graphic novel" set, and the Batman series did well under the underrated Michael Keaton, but floundered under the flat Val Kilmer and increasingly childish set-pieces. The less said about "Batman and Robin" the better.

Of course, Superman had his own "Batman and Robin" in the guise of "Superman VI: The Quest For Peace", a movie made four years after the third and with seemingly a fraction of the budget. But Superman II was the series at its' peak. The theme music, a startling Star Wars sound-a-like by John Williams, fades to edited recaps of the previous film. These involve Superman as a baby being sent from the destruction of his home planet and are cleverly spliced together so as to avoid having to pay Marlon Brando any more royalties. (Yet we do see Brando's hand. Surely that's worth half a million?). 20% of this movie was shot alongside the 1978 vehicle and so we get reminded in this sequence of the three Kryptonian villains, about to be accidentally released by Superman in a h-bomb explosion.

This was still in the days when films were properly constructed to allow for a genuine build-up, a fully-formed middle and a proper end. Even minor players, such as Perry White (Jackie Cooper) have great lines and characterisation thrusted upon them. This may be just a "fun" movie, but it is lovingly put together, not "thrown together" as many films are. All the actors are wonderful, Christopher Reeve is just right as Superman, Margot Kidder is the definitive Lois Lane (despite almost drowning in soft focus for her close-ups) and Gene Hackman is, of course, absolutely hilarious as Lex Luthor.

But my favourite player in this sequel is Terence Camp as General Zod. Terence plays Zod exactly the same as he plays Bernadette in "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" and makes great work of the lead villain that must be, in Hollywood circles, always English. "Why do you say these things when you know I will kill you for it?" he minces to Hackman with great effect.

Of course, now twenty years old, this film is less "You'll believe a man can fly" than "You'll believe a man can swing on wires in front of an unconvincing backdrop" but this is still wonderful entertainment. Maybe the middle section, with Clark getting cut to ribbons after being thrown through a plate glass window is a little violent, as is the confrontation between Superman and the trio of villains. There's also the nagging feeling that this section is the biggest single example of product placement ever seen on film. Or is it coincidence that a Superman who featured in a comicbook anti-smoking campaign (against "Nick O'Teen", no less) is continually thrown into a Malboro van? Even Zod gets to know "things look better with Coca-Cola" as he is unceremoniously hurled into a neon sign for the corporation.

But these are minor gripes, and how anyone can hold them against such a harmless film is beyond me. Superman II isn't Citizen Kane by any means, but I defy you to sit through this movie and not love it.


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