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Richard Donner's big-budget blockbuster Superman: The Movie is an immensely entertaining recounting of the origin of the famous comic book character. Opening on Krypton (where Marlon Brando plays Supe... read more read more...rman's father), the film follows the Man of Steel (Christopher Reeve) as he's sent to Earth where he develops his alter-ego Clark Kent and is raised by a Midwestern family. In no time, the movie has run through his teenage years, and Clark gets a job at the Daily Planet, where he is a news reporter. It's there that he falls in love with Lois Lane (Margot Kidder), who is already in love with Superman. But the love story is quickly sidetracked once the villainous Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman) launches a diabolical plan to conquer the world and kill Superman. Superman: The Movie is filled with action, special effects and a surprising amount of humor. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

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86% liked it

283,089 ratings

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93% liked it

59 critics

DVD Release Date: May 1, 2001

Stats: 10,854 reviews

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Flixster Reviews (10,854)


  • June 8, 2011
    I just recently re-watched this movie in all its remastered blu ray goodness and I have to say I smiled a lot and just enjoyed it for so much of what it was. Cheesy goodness!! Christopher Reeve as Superman will always be that character. No other reboot will ever fill his shoes. E... read moreVER.
  • fb733768972
    June 15, 2013
    fb733768972
    Superman is one of the greatest superhero films I have ever seen. Filled with superb dialogue and a heart wrenching story that triumphs over any hero film out there, Superman delivers on everything possible in cinema, during it's time. The build-up of Clark Kent in act 1 of the f... read moreilm is incredible, telling the backstory of his life on the farm, which is something that is missing from many superhero films nowadays. The villains are not overly charismatic which I loved, because it focusses on him having powers and having people, rather than having to deal with a bad guy 24/7, which is what modern day superhero films always do. The screenplay is terrific for what it is, the acting is very good, and the direction and camerawork is great! I love everything about this film, and although the effects are now somewhat dated, I find it easy to ignore, because the story is so powerful! "Superman (1978)" is a masterpiece of a superhero film!
  • fb100000145236770
    June 8, 2013
    fb100000145236770
    I've honestly never been a big "Superman" fan. But with "Man of Steel" set to come out next week, I figured I would break open a "Superman" blu ray box set I have and rewatch all of the movies(even though I don't remember seeing any of them except the last one). The version I w... read moreatched of the original was the extended cut, so I'm not really sure what the differences are with the theatrical version, but it does feel really long at over 2 and a half hours. Also, this was made in 1978, so it's pretty dated, but not unwatchable dated. The effects don't hold up, but the story is great. It's an origin story, turned into Superman trying to stop Lex Luthor from destroying the entire west coast. The cast of this movie is absolutely amazing for the time it was released. Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Ned Beatty, Margot Kidder, and of course Christopher Reeve. Reeve really was an amazing Superman, and his performance holds up better than anything else in this movie. Also, a small piece of trivia that I didn't know. But this was written by Mario Puzo, aka the man who wrote "The Godfather" trilogy. When compared to modern day comic book movies, this obviously comes up short. But, when you consider the time it was made, and how well it's aged, it's still very good. Also, for how old the movie is, the transfer on Blu Ray is pretty darn good. Great way to get prepared for the new movie, and perfect to introduce kids to "Superman" who haven't seen any of the movies.
  • June 5, 2013
    Richard Donner (The Omen, Lethal Weapons) set out to make 70's audiences believe that a man CAN fly. Armed with a big budget and a charismatic cast, Donner delivers the first superhero epic that recounts the Man of Tomorrow's origins and his encounters with his first nemesis, Lex... read more Luthor. The story can be bloated, a bit un-even in tone (especially when the film turns towards a campy tone during the third act) and contains one of the most idiotic instances of a des ex machine ending ever; but delightful humor and memorable Superman moments are around every corner.

    The large-scale special effects may be a tad dated (some of the models look a tad plasticy) but the flying sequences still look impressive even today, especially considering it was done before the days of CGI. However, the ultimate element that makes the affair worthwhile is the wonderful cast. Christopher Reeve makes the character leap off the comic pages with his balance of good-hearted nature and emotional depth. Margot Kidder plays Lois Lane and she has a fantastic chemistry with Reeve. Gene Hackman's interpretation of Luthor may not be the most literal, but he nails every comedic note to the point that this can be forgiven (enough to make you excuse the villain's underwhelming and ridiculous real estate scheme).

    The legacy of this movie should not be underestimated; it established to a wider audience that superhero movies could be more than silly camp-romp like the Adam West Batman TV show.
  • February 9, 2013
    Revisiting this film a second time around, I loved it a lot more. Although I'm not that big on Superman, as I'm more a fan of Batman, this film was very much entertaining, and delivered good action, some good comedic elements and plenty of thrills. Christopher Reeve is effective ... read moreas Clark Kent/Superman and Gene Hackman is terrific as Lex Luthor. For its time Superman has impressive special effects that still hold up to this day. Richard Donner's directing is terrific, and he does a great job at crafting an exciting action adventure that is lots of fun. Superman is a true superhero classic now, having watched it a second time around, I really understand the merit behind this picture. This is a great film that has stood the test of time, although many superhero films tend to fail in terms of delivering good action, effective thrills and at times comedy, this one is a near flawless film that really brings out those elements and doesn't make them irritating like Batman & Robin. With Superman you have one of the greatest superhero films only topped recently by The Dark Knight. Even with that said, this is a definite classic of which every superhero films are judged. With a brilliant cast of incredible talent, a great story and exhilarating special effects, Superman is a must see for superhero fans everywhere. This film has something for everyone. If you want an evening of good fun, and haven't watched this one, definitely do; it is worth your time. Though I'm still reserved on the whole Superman thing, I really thought this was a great film. A definite classic of the genre.
  • July 14, 2012
    Lex Luthor: It's kryptonite, Superman. Little souvenir from the old home town. I spared no expense to make you feel right at home. 

    "The movie that makes a legend come to life."

    Superman is, in my opinion, the best non-Nolan superhero movie ever made. I also think that it is a ... read moregenre masterpiece. It has everything that makes the genre great. It's effects are somewhat dated now, but for its time they aren't bad. There's so much talent at work here. Richard Donner is directing and he does so with a balance of seriousness, humor, camp, and style. He knows when to inject humor and camp, but never overdoes either, while he keeps a certain amount of seriousness in the characters. Superman is played by none other then Christopher Reeve, who would go on to play the flying Man of Steel for three sequels as well. Gene Hackman plays Lex Luthor with a perfect amount of confidence and flair. Ned Beatty plays Luthor's sidekick. Margret Kidder, who Donner must love, plays Superman's love interest Lois Lane. Marlon Brando even has a role as Jor-El, Superman's father. 

    Superman is an origin story, and might be the best origin superhero movie ever made. Well it's second behind Batman Begins. We begin are story on Krypton, Superman's home planet, where we learn that it will soon explode. Jor-El sends his son to earth in order to save him. When the boy lands on earth years later, he is taken in by the Kent's. He soon realizes he is not like everyone else. He's strong and quick. By the time he's eighteen, he finds the fortress of solitude and becomes the superhero we know. By day, he is a reporter named Clarke Kent, who is constantly bumping into things. By night, he flies the skies, keeping the people of Metropolis safe. Lex Luthor has a big plan up his sleeves though, that should keep Superman on his toes.

    Superman has always been a favorite of mine. I also think it's a slightly underrated film. It's classic status among superhero films is undoubted, but I believe it deserves to be classified as a great film period. It's one of the 70's defining films. This film is a big, explosive, well written, and well made masterpiece of cinema; not just superhero movies. 

    If you haven't seen Superman yet, I implore you to seek it out. Then go get number two, because it is nearly as good. Three and four aren't necessary viewing as the tone of the franchise is lost and they become ridiculous. I still get a certain amount of enjoyment out of three and four, but most people hate them. This one is a must see though. It's everything you want in a superhero movie. It's big, fun, thrilling entertainment. It's also the definitive Superman movie. That will likely never change either.
  • July 13, 2012
    you had me till you flew around the earth to reverse time. overall this is a really good film, but it certainly will be beaten sooner than later as a definitive superman film. reeve was very good, and the story is engaging.
  • October 9, 2011
    Superman is a incredible and exciting superhero film and started one of the most famous genres in film. The story is a incredible telling of who is considered the greatest superhero ever, and although i'm more of a Batman guy, this movie tells a great story and I enjoyed learnin... read moreg his past and the movie gives us interesting characters and adds humor, I loved the story. The cast was great, Christopher Reeve was truly born to play Superman and gene Hackman played a very evil role as well. The special effects are amazing, they were some of the most groundbreaking visuals ever at the time, and I loved them. Superman is a film that lives on through many people, and it may not be the best superhero film ever, but its certainly one of the best.
  • August 16, 2011
    This was a good classic...Some scenes are really epic...That was cool. Gene Hackman is a cool guy. Everybody knows I'm not a fan of Superman...But this was a good show
  • February 9, 2011
    The original comic book movie...this is an all-time favorite. I thoroughly enjoy both versions of the film and can't imagine it being made at any other time with any other crew.

Critic Reviews


Pauline Kael
January 15, 2013
Pauline Kael, New Yorker

Superman doesn't have enough conviction or courage to be solidly square and dumb; it keeps pushing smarmy big emotions at us -- but half-heartedly. Full Review

Judith Martin
July 14, 2010
Judith Martin, Washington Post

It's the simple, earth-bound quality of the film that makes this comic-book fantasy soar. Full Review

Dave Kehr
April 17, 2007
Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader

The film is best when it takes itself seriously, worst when it takes the easy way out in giggly camp -- as it does, finally and fatally, when Lex Luthor enters the action. Full Review

Geoff Andrew
June 24, 2006
Geoff Andrew, Time Out

By keeping the spectacular possibilities open, through the opening scenes of the destruction of Krypton, and the subsequent growth to manhood of the planet's only son on the plains of the Midwest, the... Full Review

Vincent Canby
May 9, 2005
Vincent Canby, New York Times

Superman is good, clean, simple-minded fun... Full Review

Roger Ebert
October 23, 2004
Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

Superman is a pure delight... Full Review

James Harwood
February 13, 2001
James Harwood, Variety

Magnify James Bond's extraordinary physical powers while curbing his sex drive and you have the essence of Superman, a wonderful, chuckling, preposterously exciting fantasy. Full Review

James Berardinelli
January 1, 2000
James Berardinelli, ReelViews

Along with its 1980 sequel, no live-action version has so effectively captured the essence of the characters. Full Review

Josh Larsen
June 13, 2013
Josh Larsen, LarsenOnFilm

...a studio product, certainly, but also something that could have grown from one of Smallville's sun-kissed cornfields. Full Review

Jeffrey Lyles
June 7, 2013
Jeffrey Lyles, Lyles' Movie Files

The most influential, if not definitive comic book superhero origin story we'll ever see. Full Review

Critic ratings and reviews powered by RottenTomatoes.com

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Facts


    • Jor-El: Your name is Kal-El. You are the only survivor of the planet Krypton. Even though you've been raised as a human, you are not one of them. You have great powers, only some of which you have as yet discovered.
    • Jor-El: They're a good people, Kal-El. They need only to be shown the way.
    • Clark Kent/Superman: Actually she's silver haired....
    • Lois Lane: Thats Clark nice....
    • Clark Kent/Superman: Is that how a warped brain like yours gets its kicks? By planning the death of innocent people?
    • Lex Luthor: No, by causing the death of innocent people.
    • Lex Luthor: [to Otis] Do you know why the number two hundred is so vitally descriptive to both you and me? It's your weight and my I.Q.

Superman : Watch Free on TV


Superman Trivia


  • In which film does Clark Kent reveal the fact that he's Superman to Lois Lane?  Answer »
  • Which Superman movie stars Richard Pryor?  Answer »
  • For what article did Lois Lane win the Pulitzer Prize in Superman Returns?  Answer »
  • in what superman film dose superman suffer from multiple personality disorder  Answer »

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