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Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)

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The Man of Steel crusades for nuclear disarmament and meets Lex Luthor's latest creation, Nuclear Man.

Director:

Sidney J. Furie

Writers:

Jerry Siegel (character created by: Superman), Joe Shuster (character created by: Superman) | 5 more credits »
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Popularity
3,705 ( 506)
Bottom Rated Movies #73 | 2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Christopher Reeve ... Superman / Clark Kent
Gene Hackman ... Lex Luthor / Nuclear Man (voice)
Jackie Cooper ... Perry White
Marc McClure ... Jimmy Olsen
Jon Cryer ... Lenny
Sam Wanamaker ... David Warfield
Mark Pillow Mark Pillow ... Nuclear Man
Mariel Hemingway ... Lacy Warfield
Margot Kidder ... Lois Lane
Damian McLawhorn Damian McLawhorn ... Jeremy
William Hootkins ... Harry Howler
Jim Broadbent ... Jean Pierre Dubois
Stanley Lebor ... General Romoff
Don Fellows ... Levon Hornsby
Robert Beatty ... U.S. President
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Storyline

Superman does a lot in his newest adventure. Archvillain Lex Luthor, determined to make the world safe for nuclear arms merchants, creates a new being to challenge the Man of Steel: the radiation-charged Nuclear Man. The two super-powered foes clash in an explosive screen extranvaganza that sees Superman save the Statue of Liberty, repulse a volcanic eruption of Mount Etna, rebuild the demolished Great Wall of China and perform many more spetactular feats. Written by Robert Lynch <docrlynch@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Nuclear Power. In the best hands, it is dangerous. In the hands of Lex Luthor, it is pure evil. This is Superman's greatest battle. And it is for all of us.


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English | Russian | French | Italian

Release Date:

24 July 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Superman IV See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$17,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$15,681,020
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (1987) | (pre-release cut)

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At the end of the film, Superman says to Lex Luthor as he's dropping him back off in the prison quarry, "See you in twenty". Superman and Lex wouldn't appear in a feature film together until Superman Returns (2006). See more »

Goofs

When Nuclear Man is thought to be destroyed, and Superman lands on the moon to stand the American flag in its proper place, wires are clearly visible. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Cosmonaut Captain: [in Russian] You can sing later comrade Sinatra.
Cosmonaut: [in Russian] Back at home they told me to sing in space.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Many of the scenes that were cut include:
  • Clark visits his adopted parent's grave.
  • Superman is seen flying to Jeremy's school with the letter in hand.
  • Superman visit's Jeremy's classroom. Superman tells Jeremy and his classmates "I can't interfere, but I will pass your concerns on to the world's leaders."
  • Lex Luthor creating the protoplasm that will make the Nuclear Man - Mark One. The shot is of Gene Hackman by himself in his laboratory pulling (or placing) the protoplasm from (onto?) his engineering chamber.
  • Out of the oven pops Nuclear Man One, Lex looks at him and says "I'm smarter than I thought!" Lex Luthor, dressed in surgical garb, looks up and says about his creation of the first Nuclear Man, hey then test Nuclear Man's powers. Lex gives him an iron bar and he breaks it. Then he shoots him with a machine gun and the bullets bounce off. Then he commands him to fly. Nuclear Man jumps up and hits himself against the ceiling. Lex tells him to kill Superman, but they decide that maybe he should be tested out first. He gets the paper and reads about the opening of the Metroclub.
  • Clark and Lacy do go on a date at the Metro club.
  • Nuclear Man One shows up and strong arms his way into the club. He sees Lacy and falls in love with her on the spot. But another woman drags him away and starts to hit on him. He glows and burns her hand as she tries to unbutton his shirt. She screams and the sound carries to Clark's ear. He hears it and turns into Superman.
  • Superman fights Nuclear Man One outside the Metro Club.
  • Nuclear Man One fails and is sent down the sewer. Lenny is the one who scooped up the remains of the first Nuclear Man. He was thrown into a transformer and reduced to a pile of ooze which can be seen in the scene when Lenny says "we're going to be parents!"
  • Suddenly Superman shows up and leads everyone into UN--Missile speech Collecting the missiles Two short, but important scenes showing Pentagon people tracking Russian missiles destroyed and Kremlin people tracking US missiles destroyed. Each side agrees this is not a trick the other side is trying to pull.
  • Short sequence where Nuclear Man doubles in size when Superman meets him.
  • When the Nuclear Man kidnaps Lacy from the Daily Planet (after he sees her picture on the paper), he brings her back to Luthor's hideout, where he says that he will be king and Lacey will become Queen. She slaps the Nuclear Man.
  • Nuclear Man 2 then transforms himself, increases his size and stands in a missile and flies off.
  • Luthor realizes that this ploy will cause war because the suspicious US and Russian sides will each think that the other side is trying to pull a fast one and everyone is going to die, leaving Nuclear Man to rule with Lacy. They hurry off but right as Luthor and Lenny go to their underground cavern, Superman shows up and confronts them but there is no time to deal with Luthor, so he and Lacy fly off.
  • Lacy Warfield leaves the Planet, and Clark gives her Levon Hornsby's card so she can buy Kent's farm. She says to Clark if she was not the stuck up brat when they met maybe things would be different. They both laugh and Clark walks up to Lois and Jimmy.
  • Superman flies to a High School football game to collect Jeremy to fly with him. Superman flies Jeremy round the earth to tell the world what its like to see the earth from Superman's point of view (no boundaries between countries all one world)then returns Jeremy home.
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Connections

Version of Super-Man (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Jeremy's Theme
(uncredited)
Composed by Alexander Courage
Original Material Composed by John Williams
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Not As Bad As You Might Think...
31 October 2006 | by timdalton007See all my reviews

Despite its reputation as the worst of the Superman movies, Superman IV: The Quest For Peace is not. Despite the horrendous special effects and rushed ending, the film manages to still present itself with some respect.

Christopher Reeves had proved in the three previous films his ability to convincingly play the role of Superman. With this film, he not only proves his abilities but this is, in many respects, his best performance in the role. His speeches during the film are a sign of this and his chemistry with all the other actors helps also. Reeves also does his best to sell the special effects sequences it is a shame he couldn't. Reeves is the films biggest saving grace and it's a shame this would be his last time in the role.

Gene Hackman also returns in the role of Lex Luthor and with brings him that character's with, charm, and silent menace. But somehow he seems to be out of place most of the time and serves as a drawback in many of his scenes. Mark McClure, Jackie Cooper and Margot Kidder all return in their roles. But unfortunately they are all under used and their appearances might as well be cameos.

The rest of the cast does a decent job. Mark Pillow does excellent in the role of Nuclear Man, Luthor's super powered creation. Pillow does the role so well that one wonders how much better eh might have been in the special effects had been better. Mariel Hemingway is a welcomed addition to the cast as a heiress who serves as an additional love interest for Clark Kent. The only major addition that doesn't fit is Jon Cryer who could easily be the single most annoying character to ever appear in a Superman movie.

The film's real drawback is its low budget values. While this doesn't affect the majority of sets, the Fortress of Solitude set in particular looks cheap when compared to the one found in previous films. The same can also be said of the Daily Planet set. The low budget would also hurt the film in the area a budget was needed most: special effects.

The previous films, for all their flaws, at least had decent special effects and mostly convincing flying sequences and this film has neither. The special effects are sub-par by virtually any standard and despite being made nearly a decade after the first movie the effects from the first movie are still more convincing. The truly horrific nature of this films effect sequences can be seen during the climactic battles between Superman and Nuclear Man. The added addition of new powers with bad special effects doesn't help either.

The other major problem is the pacing of the film. The first 50 minutes or so is sheer entertainment that's the set up the story of both Superman riding the world of nukes and Luthor's evil plan. The set up, however, is better then the execution of the ending, which is both rushed and disjointed. The subplots of Mariel Hemingway's character and the boy who inspired Superman's quest are both left unfinished for example. Whole scenes feel incomplete and the final battle is over far too quickly to be effective.

But the film does have a saving grace in its concept. The idea of taking Superman, the ultimate hero of America, and placing him into the timely situation of Cold War disarmament is a stroke of utter brilliance. The concept of Luthor and Nuclear Man added to it also serve as an interesting addition to the story and it makes for good entertainment when viewed in this context. But this concept is ruined by the rushed feeling of the ending. But one still has to give high marks to Christopher Reeves and the screenwriters for their concept.

The films does have another saving grace: its musical score. Like the Ken Thorne scores for II and III, Alexander Courage's score makes heavy use of the John Williams themes composed for the first film and is highly effective. The Courage adaptation never fails to use the Williams music to maximum effect and it's a shame that, at Courage's own request, it has yet to see release.

Despite its flaws in special effects and editing, Superman IV has saving graces in Christopher Reeves, the rest of the cast, the music, and the timely nature of the story. While nowhere near as good as Superman The Movie or Superman II and while not as bad as Superman III, the film still serves its purpose and is your average Superman adventure.


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