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Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut (2006)

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


Richard Donner, Richard Lester (uncredited)


Joe Shuster (characters), Jerry Siegel (characters) | 4 more credits »
4 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Gene Hackman ... Lex Luthor
Christopher Reeve ... Clark Kent / Kal-El / Superman
Marlon Brando ... Jor-El
Ned Beatty ... Otis
Jackie Cooper ... Perry White
Sarah Douglas ... Ursa
Margot Kidder ... Lois Lane
Jack O'Halloran ... Non
Valerie Perrine ... Eve Teschmacher
Clifton James ... Sheriff
E.G. Marshall ... The President
Marc McClure ... Jimmy Olsen
Terence Stamp ... General Zod
John Ratzenberger ... Controller #1
Shane Rimmer ... Controller #2


Before Krypton exploded and Jor-El put his baby son, Kal-El, in a rocket ship to Earth, the benevolent ruler was forced to banish three irredeemable criminals to another dimension called The Phantom Zone. The trio's leader, General Zod, vowed revenge. Later, of course, Kal-El grew up to become Superman, Earth's mighty champion. A battle with the criminal mastermind, Lex Luthor, ends with Superman hurling a nuclear warhead into space where it explodes, but not harmlessly. Instead, it frees the Kryptonian threesome from their other-dimensional prison. They soon discover they have almost unlimited power (the same powers, in fact, as Superman), which they use to take over the Earth. Meanwhile, the intrepid reporter, Lois Lane, learns that her bumbling colleague, Clark Kent, is really Superman, a revelation that leads to him bringing her to his frozen Fortress of Solitude and renouncing his powers in order to make love to her. It is only when Superman and Lois return to civilization that ... Written by J. Spurlin

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Version You Have Never Seen See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


In shooting an emotional scene near the end of the film where Lois sheds tears while having a conversation with Superman on the roof of her apartment, Margot Kidder refused to have anything help her to cry, and sure enough, she was able to do it on her own. See more »


In the Richard Donnor cut during the sequence where Superman reverses time there are several crowd shots which clearly show modern day New York instead of when the rest of the movie takes place. You can tell by the style of clothes and the cars in the background. See more »


[first lines]
Jor-El: I ask you now to pronounce judgment on those accused. On this... this mindless aberration, whose only means of expression are wanton violence and destruction; on the woman Ursa, whose perversions and unreasoning hatred of all mankind have threatened even the children of the planet Krypton; finally, General Zod. Chief architect of this intended revolution and author of this insidious plot to establish a new order amongst us... with himself as absolute ruler. You have heard the ...
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Crazy Credits

Since the making of this film in the late 1970s, a greater awareness has developed regarding the cruelty to animals in connection with the fur business, and the health risks associated with smoking and second hand smoke. Therefore, I do not condone the use of tobacco and fur products as depicted in this film. -Richard Donner See more »


Version of Golden Moustache: Batman v Superman (2013) See more »

User Reviews

Sadly, the ending makes this greatly superior cut fall short of a masterpiece.
20 March 2017 | by joshteggertSee all my reviews

Back in 1978, 'Superman' was a huge success and stands today as a generation defining film. The disputes between the father and son production team, the Salkinds, and director Richard Donner were no secret; filming the two original films back-to-back proved problematic. Following the triumph of the first film, Donner was sacked and the director's chair was handed over to Richard Lester for 'Superman II', who distorted Donner's original idea significantly, producing a camp and hugely flawed Superman sequel that started the franchise's fall to ridicule. 'Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut' is the film that should have been, superior in every way to Lester's theatrical version… until the last few minutes.

Richard Donner's name explodes emphatically onto the screen at the end of the opening credits, establishing Donner's authoritative mark on this film: the closest thing he can get to *his* original vision. It is an entirely different film to Lester's, which is to be expected. Donner had already recorded roughly 80% of the footage before he was fired, which Lester would have to rewrite and reshoot under the rules of the Director's Guild. Thus, everything ludicrous about 'Superman II' is gone: no more Kryptonians with finger pointing levitation beams or the power to erase memories with a kiss (even those giant Superman emblem "nets" are not present). Instead, the story is much more absorbing, the characters are therefore fleshed out incredibly and it truly is a much more enjoyable and worthwhile Superman film.

The character dynamics are of noteworthy interest. The three Kryptonian villains (Terence Stamp, Sarah Douglas and Jack O'Halloran), for example, are much more integral to the plot and Gene Hackman develops much more in this edition as the evil genius Lex Luthor, supported wonderfully by Miss Teschmacher (Valerie Perrine). But dedicated to Christopher Reeves memory, this definitely is his greatest performance as the titular character. Reeves is ever charming as Clark Kent, yet the contrast between him and Superman is particularly mesmerising here, as Reeves is remarkably more powerful and captivating as the superhero. It really is a shame that general audiences may never see him play the character the way he did here: it is the definitive Superman portrayal.

Yet it is still a flawed film. An excusable downside to the cut is the often choppy editing, making some areas feel rushed, but as the film was never finalised, it is fair to allow this slide as an unfortunate product of circumstance. However, the ending is an utter disappointment. It is difficult to get over the way that the closing moments make the entire film inconsequential. Granted, studio interference played a part here, but Donner could have reached unprecedented heights with Superman in this new cut, should he have chosen to make the logical choice and evict this ending from his cut (disregarding continuity errors that may impose).

'The Richard Donner Cut' is overall undoubtedly the better movie, and yet still could have been even better with a more satisfactory finish.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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English | Russian

Release Date:

28 November 2006 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut See more »

Filming Locations:

Calgary, Alberta, Canada See more »


Box Office


$54,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

SDDS | Dolby Digital | DTS



Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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