An alien orphan is sent from his dying planet to Earth, where he grows up to become his adoptive home's first and greatest super-hero.
143 min, USA:127 min (1980 video release), USA:151 min (2000 restoration)
2.35 : 1
Rated PG for peril, some mild sensuality and language.
Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Planet, Superman, Reporter, Newspaper, Earthquake
70 mm 6-Track, Dolby, Mono
Superhero Film, Master Criminal Films
Assumed Identities, Heroic Mission, Righting the Wronged
Humorous, Light, Rousing, Slick, Tense, Upbeat
Fantastic Reality, Thrill Rides
Has Detailed Data (New)
1, 2, 3
Count - Awards
US Box Office
Canada, UK, USA
Country Of Origin
Canada, UK, USA
On the planet Krypton, using evidence provided by scientist Jor-El, the Ruling Council sentences three attempted insurrectionists, General Zod, Ursa and Non, to "eternal living death" in the Phantom Zone. Despite his eminence, Jor-El is unable to convince the Council of his belief that Krypton will soon explode. To save his infant son Kal-El, Jor-El launches a spacecraft containing the child towards Earth, a distant planet with a suitable atmosphere, and where Kal-El's dense molecular structure will give him superhuman powers. Shortly after the launch, Krypton is destroyed.
Three years later, the ship lands near an American farming town, Smallville, where Kal-El is found by Jonathan and Martha Kent. The Kents take the child back to their farm and raised him as their own son, naming him Clark after Martha's maiden name. At age 18, soon after the death of Jonathan, Clark hears a psychic "call", discovering a glowing green crystal in the ship. It compels him to travel to the Arctic, where the crystal builds the Fortress of Solitude, resembling the architecture of Krypton. Inside, a vision of Jor-El explains Clark's origins, educating him in powers and responsibilities. After 12 years, with his powers fully developed, Clark leaves the Fortress with a colorful costume and becomes a reporter at the Daily Planet in Metropolis. He meets and develops a romantic attraction to coworker Lois Lane, but she sees him as awkward and unsophisticated.
Lois becomes involved in a helicopter accident where conventional means of rescue are impossible, requiring Clark to use his powers in public for the first time to save her. The rescue of Air Force One and other good deeds make the mysterious "caped wonder" a celebrity. The hero visits Lois at home, takes her for a flight over the city, and allows her to interview him for an article in which she names him "Superman." Meanwhile, criminal genius Lex Luthor has developed a cunning plan to make a fortune in real estate by buying large amounts of barren desert land and then diverting a nuclear missile test flight to the San Andreas Fault. The missile will sink California and leave Luthor's desert as the new West Coast of the United States, greatly increasing its value.
After his incompetent henchman Otis accidentally redirects the first rocket to the wrong place, Luthor's girlfriend Eve Teschmacher successfully changes the course of a second missile. Knowing Superman could stop his plan, Luthor lures him to his underground lair and exposes him to Kryptonite. As Superman weakens, Luthor taunts him by revealing that the first missile is headed to Hackensack, New Jersey, in the opposite direction, knowing that Superman cannot stop both impacts. Teschmacher is horrified because her mother lives in Hackensack, but Luthor does not care and leaves Superman to a slow death. Knowing the hero's reputation for keeping his word, Teschmacher rescues Superman on the condition that he will deal with the New Jersey missile first. He is thus too late to stop
Superman (also known as Superman: The Movie) is a 1978 superhero film directed by Richard Donner. It is based on the DC Comics character of the same name and stars Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, Glenn Ford, Phyllis Thaxter, Jackie Cooper, Marc McClure, Valerie Perrine and Ned Beatty.