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The Making of 'Superman: The Movie' (1980)

Ernie Anderson narrates this look at the making of Richard Donner's blockbuster 1978 film. Behind-the-scenes footage, as well as scenes from the film, reveal just how audiences were able to... See full summary »


Iain Johnstone


Iain Johnstone


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ernie Anderson ... Narrator (voice)
Christopher Reeve ... Self - Host
Marlon Brando ... Self
Gene Hackman ... Self
Ned Beatty ... Self
Valerie Perrine ... Self
Margot Kidder ... Self
Susannah York ... Self
Richard Donner ... Self
Ilya Salkind ... Self
Alexander Salkind ... Self
Pierre Spengler Pierre Spengler ... Self
John Barry John Barry ... Self
Trevor Howard ... Self
Andy Warhol ... Self


Ernie Anderson narrates this look at the making of Richard Donner's blockbuster 1978 film. Behind-the-scenes footage, as well as scenes from the film, reveal just how audiences were able to "believe a man can fly". This program features interviews with key cast and crew. Written by hips <hiphats@attbi.com>

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Did You Know?


Over some footage of Marlon Brando and Trevor Howard in costume as Jor-El and the First Elder, the narrator says "Although Brando intimidates some, old friends such as Trevor Howard are unfazed". The two had worked together on Mutiny on the Bounty (1962) and Morituri (1965), but sadly their relationship was anything but friendly. This documentary's writer-director Iain Johnstone must have been privately aware of this, as in 1988 he broadcast an obituary of the British actor for the BBC, in which he claimed that Howard had summed his opinion of his American colleague with "Bugger him and his mumbling". See more »


The narrator mistakenly mentions that Kirk Alyn and Noel Neill, who appear as Lois Lane's parents on the train that the teenage Clark Kent races, were the original Superman and Lois Lane in the movie serials in 1937, one year before Superman made his debut in Action Comics #1. The movie serial that Alyn and Neill appear in, Superman, was actually distributed by Columbia Pictures in 1948, followed by a second serial, Atom Man vs. Superman. See more »


References The Godfather (1972) See more »

User Reviews

Under the Super-microscope
31 May 2015 | by redryan64See all my reviews

THE PUBLIC HAS long been interested in, watched enthusiastically and enjoyed the hell out of any of those "behind the scenes" making of type of films. They are really nothing unusual; having existed back into those "Paleolithic" early days of the motion picture industry.

OUR OLD FAMILY friend 'Uncle' Walt Disney made an art form out of those types of movies about movies; while he certainly didn't overlook or discount their value to the promotion of his theatrical feature films. Walt's own DISNEYLAND weekly television show was a veritable storehouse of the genre; featuring among others, shows devoted to the making of titles such as: 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA, WESTWARD HO THE WAGONS and THE LIGHTG IN THE FOREST.*

SO NOW, LET us fast-forward our perspective to the late 1970's and the much anticipated making of SUOERMAN: THE MOVIE (1978) and SUPERMAN II (1981); which we dare lump together so casually without fear of being corrected, admonished or both. The reason being is that the two films were made simultaneously with multiple crews filming all over the world.

AS FOR THE film itself, it seems to be more analytical and expositional rather than being a sort of hard-sell commercial for the SUPERMAN franchise. The script and narration both do great justice in asking some of the questions that those of us who are both movie buffs as well as fans of Superman from his other incarnations; be they in the Comics (both comic books and newspaper strips), radio & TV, the old cliffhanger serials or those marvelous full colour cartoons from the 1940's.

THE PRODUCTION OF this film did an excellent job in both laying out the genesis and history of The Man of Steel as well as getting in so much material that interviews so many of the people who worked on the movie. There was a concerted effort to achieve a balance between the on screen actors as well as those involved in production, direction, writing and the technical aspects (sound, photography, special effects).

WHEN WE WERE asked just what we thought was the best Superhero film that was ever made, both Schultz and his buddy (me) had to answer that "it" was SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE and SUPERMAN II. Yes, those are actually two different movies, right"

WRONG! BECAUSE, AS have already stated, the two pictures were filmed coincidentally and were both parts of the same story. Ergo, we maintain that they are truly one. As my own brother, Bob, observed right away ; the sequel was set up right at the beginning of the first SUPERMAN.

BOTH SCHULTZ AND I heartily concur and second the motion. All in favor say, Aye!

NOTE * The producers of the SUPERFILMS didn't miss the chance to bring this out most conveniently in 1980. With SUPERMAN II scheduled for a 1981 release, well................

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Release Date:

1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La realización de Superman: La película See more »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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