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Superman III (1983)

Synthetic kryptonite laced with tar splits Superman in two: good Clark Kent and bad Man of Steel.


Richard Lester


Jerry Siegel (character created by: Superman), Joe Shuster (character created by: Superman) | 2 more credits »
4,266 ( 675)

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2 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Christopher Reeve ... Superman / Clark Kent
Richard Pryor ... Gus Gorman
Jackie Cooper ... Perry White
Marc McClure ... Jimmy Olsen
Annette O'Toole ... Lana Lang
Annie Ross ... Vera
Pamela Stephenson ... Lorelei
Robert Vaughn ... Ross Webster
Margot Kidder ... Lois Lane
Gavan O'Herlihy ... Brad
Nancy Roberts Nancy Roberts ... Unemployment Clerk
Graham Stark ... Blind Man
Henry Woolf ... Penguin Man
Gordon Rollings ... Man In Cap
Peter Wear ... Bank Robber


Wealthy businessman Ross Webster (Robert Vaughn)discovers the hidden talents of Gus Gorman (Richard Pryor), a mischievous computer genius. Ross decides to abuse his talents, in a way to help Webster with his plans for economic control. When the man of steel interferes, something must be done about Supes. When Gus' synthetic Kryptonite fails to kill Superman, it turns him in an evil incarnation of his former self. The tar-laced Kryptonite pits man against himself, setting up the Clark vs. Superman battle. Written by ahmetkozan

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


This time is gonna be the best time of all! See more »


Action | Comedy | Sci-Fi


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »





English | Italian | Spanish

Release Date:

17 June 1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Superman vs. Superman See more »

Filming Locations:

Glen Canyon, Arizona, USA See more »


Box Office


$39,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$13,352,357, 19 June 1983

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

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



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The scenes in which Superman straightens the leaning tower of Pisa and then leans it back in the end were originally planned for Superman II (1980). See more »


In the opening slapstick routine, Clark is seen buying a newspaper from a vending machine. Why would he buy a paper? He works at The Daily Planet, which should have plenty of current copies for their employees to reference. See more »


[first lines]
Unemployment Clerk: Next. Name?
Gus Gorman: Gus Gorman.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The section that is still included on the video release where a bank is robbed; is extended on the TV release to include a scene where superman catches the bank robber who drops his stolen money bag on to a nearby seesaw with a child on it. The child is catapulted into a tree, and is then rescued by superman and returned to his/her mother. See more »


Referenced in Entrapment (1999) See more »


On the Streets of Metropolis (Intro to Superman III)
Written by John Williams and Giorgio Moroder
Performed and Produced by Giorgio Moroder
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

Superman is about as confused as the audience
12 August 2006 | by TBJCSKCNRRQTreviewsSee all my reviews

Christoper Reeves' biography page contains a quote explaining that Richard Lester, who re-(and, some would say, mis-)directed most of Donner's footage in the second movie and did all of this, was "always looking for a gag". This film proves that beyond any doubt. Following a hard-to-read title sequence over a scene of slapstick that would have had(and quite possibly did have) Benny Hill shaking his head and averting his eyes(featuring none other than Bob Todd, who often appeared with Hill), the entire film is a long line of attempted jokes. I say attempted because Lester has little respect for or understanding of comedy(nor the character of mythology of Superman, as has been firmly established); any joke needs proper setup for the punchline to have any effect, and no joke should be *immediately* followed by another, with no room to laugh in-between. This is similar to a recent and unfortunate development in the genre of action films, where a director who doesn't understand the need for the slow-down in-between the major action sequences, to allow the audience to breathe, to take in what they've just seen. Now, without these much-needed breaks in-between, the film basically becomes one very long sketch. Had this been a TV-special with a fraction of the running time and the title "Silly Superman", perhaps it would have been tolerable. I don't care much for Pryor. Maybe fans of him will enjoy his performance. The acting is all overplayed... even in the case of newly added Annette O'Toole, who's definitely displayed her talent on Smallville. Clark continues to be a fish-out-of-water and more there for comic relief than anything else. The dialog and various actions of the characters are rarely too credible, and most of the film is marred by the overly comic-book-like tone. The humor has taken what must be the last leap downwards, not only reaching the very bottom but going through it. While the conflict seen at one point in the film, between the good-natured Clark Kent and the now-evil Superman could have proved to be interesting, it isn't used for anything, and ends up simply being an action scene. Near the very end of the film, the quality of the writing takes a solid dive... and yes, I, too, was surprised that it could manage to go any lower. Wasting the potential of an excellent science fiction idea put forth many, many years back and using it just to throw more adversity into our hero's path, the plot twist is unexpected and without any grounds in logic or any remainder of proper storytelling. As if the writer had no actual ideas left, and just threw in whatever sprung to mind. Then again, the film itself seems like one big case of that. The pacing is consistently off. The cinematography retains its comic-book look and feel. The special effects are of slightly lesser quality than the former efforts... easier to tell, less convincing. Margot Kidder, who portrays Lois Lane, confronted the producers of the film to complain about the firing of Donner on the second film... with the result that her part was cut down to an absolute minimum(though so unusually(for this film, and the other by Lester) well-explained that you wouldn't notice it unless you thought hard). To me, that seems like a juvenile act, and an abuse of power(though I will admit, I can't say for sure that I missed the character in this... Lana Lang certainly provided an interesting new development, if one of the only good things in this at all). All in all... this is probably a good place to skip this attempt at making a film series out of the character. This is not a good film at all... and from what I've heard, it only gets worse in the next one. I recommend this to those fans who *must* see every piece of film regarding the hero... and I urge you to save some episodes of Smallville, or perhaps the Singer film(soon to be plural) for after, to see a better representation as well as a more skilled execution of him. 5/10

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