Superman:The Movie


2h 23m 1978

Brief Synopsis

The legendary man of steel fights to save the world and his true love from Lex Luthor's criminal plots.

Photos & Videos

Superman: The Movie - Program

Film Details

Also Known As
Superman, Superman the Movie, Superman: The Movie
MPAA Rating
Genre
Action
Adventure
Fantasy
Adaptation
Sci-Fi
Release Date
1978
Location
New Mexico, USA; Canada; New York City, New York, USA; England, United Kingdom

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 23m
Sound
70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints), Dolby (35 mm prints)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Synopsis

On the eve of his planet's destruction, a scientist sends his son to Earth, where the baby is found and adopted by the Kents, who name him Clark. The boy soon learns that he has powers that other humans do not possess and determines that he will use them for good. Clark Kent grows up and moves to Metropolis, where he works as a mild-mannered newspaper reporter, moonlights as the caped hero known as Superman and is tested by the evil Lex Luthor who plans to kill him and take over the world.

Crew

Betty Adamson

Wardrobe Supervisor

Betty Adamson

Costume Designer

George Akers

Assistant Editor

Patti Allen

Production Assistant

Peter Allwork

Other

Peter Allwork

Director Of Photography

Ted Ambrose

Other

Darrell Anderson

Photography

Howard Anderson

Camera Operator

Elvira Angelinetta

Wardrobe Assistant

Ronnie Anscombe

Camera Assistant

Diane Appleby

Production Assistant

Ernest Archer

Art Director

Vic Armstrong

Stunt Coordinator

James Aspinall

Other

Jack Atcheler

Photography

Bob Bailin

Photography

Stuart Baird

Editor

Trudy Balen

Assistant

George Ball

Property Master

Sally Ball

Production Assistant

Louis Barlia

Camera Operator

Jonathan Barry

Production Designer

Joy Bayley

Production Assistant

Bill Beavis

Art Department

Ivor Beddoes

Visual Effects

David Beesley

Assistant Editor

Max Bell

Consultant

Phillip Bennett

Art Director

Robert Benton

Screenplay

Peter L Bergquist

Assistant Director

Peter Biggs

Special Effects

Yvonne Blake

Costumes

Norman Bolland

Sound Mixer

Bert Bosher

Electrician

Dennis Bosher

Other

Derek Botell

Other

Reg Bream

Other

Patrick Brennan

Sound Editor

Leslie Bricusse

Song

Bill Brodie

Art Director

Geoff R. Brown

Sound Editor

Jamie Brown

Makeup

Timothy Burrill

Production Supervisor

Ron Burton

Special Effects

Dick Butler

Stunts

Roy Button

Assistant Director

Patrick Cadell

Assistant Director

John J Campbell

Camera Assistant

Michael Campbell

Visual Effects

Ray Caple

Matte Painter

Roy Carnon

Visual Effects

Pat Carr

Production Assistant

Jack Carter

Construction Manager

Alan Cassie

Other

Al Cerullo

Helicopter Pilot

Roy Charman

Sound Mixer

Michael Chevalier

Camera Operator

Colin Chilvers

Special Effects

Larry Cleary

Construction Manager

Chris Coles

Location Manager

Kenneth Coles

Camera Operator

Robert E Collins

Photography

James A Contner

Camera Operator

Denys Coop

Photography

Trevor Coop

Camera Assistant

Austin Cooper

Wardrobe Assistant

George Lane Cooper

Stunts

Jack Courtland

Camera Operator

Jane Cox

Other

Stuart Craig

Art Director

Sylvia Croft

Makeup

Rita Davison

Continuity

Leslie Dear

Photography

John Deaton

Camera Assistant

Jimmy Devis

Camera Operator

Leslie Dilley

Art Director

Jane Dixie

Other

Norman Dorme

Art Director

Mike Drew

Other

Michael Dryhurst

Assistant Director

Michael Dunleavy

Special Effects

Tony Dunsterville

Visual Effects

Michael Duthie

Production Coordinator

Des Edwards

Sound Mixer

Sue Edwards

Other

Sheldon Elbourne

Photography

Iloe Elliott

Hair

Michael Ellis

Editor

Norman Enfield

Screenplay

Ray Evans

Electrician

Roy Evans

Assistant

Neil Farrell

Assistant Editor

Stuart Fell

Stunts

Jeanne Ferber

Assistant

Doug Ferris

Matte Painter

Stan Fiferman

Sound Effects Editor

Joe Fitt

Special Effects

Roy Ford

Camera Operator

Cyril Forster

Visual Effects

John Foster

Sound Effects Editor

Maurice Fowler

Art Director

Mike Fox

Camera Operator

Edward Francis

Props

Graham Freeborn

Makeup

Kay Freeborn

Makeup

Stuart Freeborn

Makeup Supervisor

Dominic Fulford

Assistant Director

Dominic Fulford

Production Coordinator

Josie Fulford

Continuity

Rodney Fuller

Special Effects

Norma Garment

Production Assistant

Alan Gatward

Camera Assistant

Yves Gaumont

Assistant

Ginger Gemmell

Camera Operator

George Gibbs

Visual Effects

Helen Gill

Wardrobe Assistant

Barbara Gillett

Wardrobe Assistant

Maurice Gillett

Electrician

Ed Gimmel

Visual Effects

Geoff Glover

Camera Operator

Ron Goodman

Camera Operator

Bud Grace

Assistant Director

Jerry Grandey

Assistant Director

Ann Green

Production Assistant

Leonard Green

Sound Editor

Liz Green

Production Assistant

Michael G Green

Assistant Director

Chris Greenham

Sound Editor

Charles F Greenlaw

Associate Producer

Richard Hackman

Stunts

Jean-francois Hall

Production Assistant

Darby Halpin

Hair

Peter Hammond

Camera Operator

Tim Hampton

Production Supervisor

Bob Harman

Other

Peter Harman

Camera Operator

Jim Harris

Special Effects

John Harris

Camera Operator

Norman Hart

Scenic Artist

Norman Hart

Other

Graham V Hartstone

Sound Mixer

Bob Hathaway

Sound Editor

Sue Hausner

Assistant

Gordon Hayman

Camera Operator

Norma Hazelden

Production Assistant

Graham Henderson

Accounting Assistant

Reginald Hill

Visual Effects

Michael Hook

Assistant Director

Mike Hopkins

Sound Editor

Peter Howitt

Set Decorator

Peter Jacobs

Assistant Director

Allan James

Assistant Director

Austen Jewell

Production Manager

Alf Joint

Stunt Coordinator

Stan Jolley

Art Director

Tim Jordan

Assistant Editor

Andrew Kelly

Visual Effects

Harry Kersey

Construction Manager

Cathy Kevany

Hair

Margot Kidder

Song Performer

Les Kimber

Production Manager

Robert Kindred

Photography

Brian King

Video

Katya Kolpaktchy

Continuity

Tadeusz Krzanowski

Visual Effects

David Lane

Visual Effects

Louis Lane

Makeup

Steve Lanning

Assistant Director

John Lanzer

Other

Christopher Large

Sound Mixer

Wendy Leech

Stunts

Nicolas Lemessurier

Sound Mixer

David Lenham

Camera Assistant

Adeline Leonard

Production Assistant

Liz Lettman

Art Assistant

Dick Liebegott

Production Assistant

Jack Lowen

Camera Operator

Harry Lowers

Construction Manager

Jeff Luff

Visual Effects

Douglas Luke

Photography

Keith Lund

Assistant Director

Bob Macdonald

Special Effects

Peter Macdonald

Camera Operator

Nick Maley

Makeup

Tom Mankiewicz

Creative Consultant

Charles Marriott

Assistant Director

Brian Marshall

Sound Mixer

Angela Martelli

Continuity

Doris Martin

Continuity

Domenic Mastrippolito

Camera Assistant

John May

Electrician

Gordon K. Mccallum

Sound Mixer

Gordon K. Mccallum

Sound

Jennie Mcclean

Other

Patricia Mcdermott

Hair

Derek Meddings

3-D Models

Derek Meddings

Visual Effects

Ray Meehan

Electrician

Simon Milton

Assistant Director

Photo Collections

Superman: The Movie - Program
Here is the official Movie Program from Warner Bros' Superman: The Movie (1978), starring Christopher Reeve, Marlon Brando, Margot Kidder, and Gene Hackman.

Film Details

Also Known As
Superman, Superman the Movie, Superman: The Movie
MPAA Rating
Genre
Action
Adventure
Fantasy
Adaptation
Sci-Fi
Release Date
1978
Location
New Mexico, USA; Canada; New York City, New York, USA; England, United Kingdom

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 23m
Sound
70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints), Dolby (35 mm prints)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Award Nominations

Best Editing

1978
Stuart Baird

Best Score

1978

Best Sound

1978

Articles

Superman: The Movie


"What makes Superman a hero is not that he has power, but that he has the wisdom and the maturity to use the power wisely. From an acting point of view, that's how I approached the part." - Christopher Reeve

Superman, the comic strip character, first appeared in 1938. Over the next two decades, radio productions, movie serials, a 1951 feature and a famous TV series followed, meaning that Superman was always around in one form or another from the moment of his creation. By the time the mega-budget, A-level Hollywood feature arrived in 1978, such a movie might have seemed overdue, but the truth is that comic strip movies - which we now take for granted - were simply unheard-of in the 1970s.

But producers Ilya Salkind and Pierre Spengler were so confident in their production that they got Warner Bros to pony up a then-astronomical $55 million by the time all was said and done - a gamble that paid off handsomely when Superman (1978) became a worldwide hit, ratcheted three Oscar® nominations (editing, sound, score) and spawned a franchise of three sequels. Everything about Superman was big: the budget, the scope of the production, the casting, even the music and the end-titles which ran a then-record seven minutes. A sizable amount of footage for Superman II was shot at the same time as the first film. But before shooting was completed for the sequel, director Richard Donner was fired and replaced by Richard Lester, who reshot most of the original footage.

The appeal of Superman was its old-fashioned, action hero approach. Director Richard Donner recognized this immediately, saying at the time, "The minute you lose the truth or make fun of it or begin to parody it, you destroy the line of tension, the honesty." The first script draft Donner read "was like 400 pages. It was ridiculous. They had Superman flying down looking for Lex Luthor, but he stops Telly Savalas on the street, who says, 'Who loves ya baby.' It was just sickening. It had no approach, no sense of its own verisimilitude - its own life in the reality of what Krypton was, what Smallville was, what the transition to Metropolis was going to be." The director's biggest challenge was to convincingly making a man fly. "Everything in those days was done either with miniatures, green/blue screen, or rotoscope - it was the state of the art, but it was totally naive in comparison to what you can do today."

On a more subtle level, Donner "had to convince the audience that the man who was playing that role could fly. And I could not believe Redford or Newman in blue leotards and a red cape, flying." Established stars like Redford were the studio¿s top choices for the role, but Donner convinced them to go with unknown 24-year-old Christopher Reeve, whose lack of star baggage would allow audiences to more easily believe him. To make up for Reeve's newcomer status, the rest of the cast featured prominent supporting players like Gene Hackman, Glenn Ford, Trevor Howard, Terence Stamp, and most famously, Marlon Brando as Superman's father Jor-El.

Brando was paid an unheard-of $3.7 million for only 12 days of work and 10 minutes of screen time. Donner later said, "Knowing how little time we had with Brando, I'd even been figuring out what it would cost us every time he went to the lavatory." By all accounts, Brando did not enjoy making this movie. He refused to memorize most of his lines in advance. In the scene where he puts infant Kal-El (Superman) into the escape pod, he was actually reading his lines from the diaper of the baby.

Reeve, on the other hand, took the movie seriously. He underwent six months of bodybuilding (supervised by David Prowse - the actor who played Darth Vader) to bulk up for the film. He also pondered his role on a philosophical level. "Truth and justice seemed relatively easy to understand," Reeve later wrote, "but what about 'the American way?' What does that mean? Is the American way different from the way of other countries that uphold democracy and human rights? After considerable thought and discussion with friends, I decided that because the character is a hero for the entire world, nationalism was not an issue. I thought about other aspects of the American way and the basic rights of pluralistic societies: equal opportunity, equal rights, tolerance, free speech, and fair play."

More tangibly, Reeve based his performance as the awkward Clark Kent on Cary Grant's character in Bringing Up Baby (1938). Reeve went on to portray Superman in three more films, and he acted in many more movies and plays, even directing occasionally. In 1995 he was paralyzed in a horseback riding accident. He declared that he would one day walk again, and he has since regained the use of part of his body and continues to progress on a miraculous level, becoming a symbol of hope and resilience to other people suffering from similar permanent injuries.

In his inspirational memoir Nothing is Impossible, Reeve wrote, "To say that I believed in Superman is quite an understatement. Of course I knew it was only a movie, but it seemed to me that the values embodied by Superman on the screen should be the values that prevail in the real world. I've seen first-hand how Superman actually transforms people's lives. I have seen children dying of brain tumors who wanted as their last request to be able to talk to me, and have gone to their graves with a peace brought on by knowing that their belief in this kind of character is intact. They're connecting with something very basic: the ability to overcome obstacles, the ability to persevere, the ability to understand difficulty and to turn your back on it."

For trivia hounds, there are some golden nuggets in the casting: As a tribute to Superman's Hollywood history, Lois Lane's parents in this film are played by Kirk Alyn and Noel Neill. Alyn played Superman in the 1940s serials, and Neill played Lois in the serials and in the 1950s TV show. Also, Jeff East, who plays young Clark Kent, is the real-life son of Glenn Ford, who here plays Clark Kent's father Jonathan Kent.

Producer: Alexander Salkind, Ilya Salkind, Pierre Spengler
Director: Richard Donner
Screenplay: Robert Benton, David Newman, Leslie Newman, Mario Puzo (story)
Cinematography: Geoffrey Unsworth
Film Editing: Stuart Baird, Michael Ellis
Art Direction: Ernest Archer, Philip Bennet, Bill Brodie, Stuart Craig, Norman Dorme, Leslie Dilley, Maurice Fowler, Tony Reading, Stan Jolley, Norman Reynolds, Gene Rudolf.
Music: John Williams
Cast: Marlon Brando (Jor-El), Gene Hackman (Lex Luthor), Christopher Reeve (Clark Kent/Superman), Margot Kidder (Lois Lane), Ned Beatty (Otis), Jackie Cooper (Perry White).
C-144m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning.

by Jeremy Arnold
Superman: The Movie

Superman: The Movie

"What makes Superman a hero is not that he has power, but that he has the wisdom and the maturity to use the power wisely. From an acting point of view, that's how I approached the part." - Christopher Reeve Superman, the comic strip character, first appeared in 1938. Over the next two decades, radio productions, movie serials, a 1951 feature and a famous TV series followed, meaning that Superman was always around in one form or another from the moment of his creation. By the time the mega-budget, A-level Hollywood feature arrived in 1978, such a movie might have seemed overdue, but the truth is that comic strip movies - which we now take for granted - were simply unheard-of in the 1970s. But producers Ilya Salkind and Pierre Spengler were so confident in their production that they got Warner Bros to pony up a then-astronomical $55 million by the time all was said and done - a gamble that paid off handsomely when Superman (1978) became a worldwide hit, ratcheted three Oscar® nominations (editing, sound, score) and spawned a franchise of three sequels. Everything about Superman was big: the budget, the scope of the production, the casting, even the music and the end-titles which ran a then-record seven minutes. A sizable amount of footage for Superman II was shot at the same time as the first film. But before shooting was completed for the sequel, director Richard Donner was fired and replaced by Richard Lester, who reshot most of the original footage. The appeal of Superman was its old-fashioned, action hero approach. Director Richard Donner recognized this immediately, saying at the time, "The minute you lose the truth or make fun of it or begin to parody it, you destroy the line of tension, the honesty." The first script draft Donner read "was like 400 pages. It was ridiculous. They had Superman flying down looking for Lex Luthor, but he stops Telly Savalas on the street, who says, 'Who loves ya baby.' It was just sickening. It had no approach, no sense of its own verisimilitude - its own life in the reality of what Krypton was, what Smallville was, what the transition to Metropolis was going to be." The director's biggest challenge was to convincingly making a man fly. "Everything in those days was done either with miniatures, green/blue screen, or rotoscope - it was the state of the art, but it was totally naive in comparison to what you can do today." On a more subtle level, Donner "had to convince the audience that the man who was playing that role could fly. And I could not believe Redford or Newman in blue leotards and a red cape, flying." Established stars like Redford were the studio¿s top choices for the role, but Donner convinced them to go with unknown 24-year-old Christopher Reeve, whose lack of star baggage would allow audiences to more easily believe him. To make up for Reeve's newcomer status, the rest of the cast featured prominent supporting players like Gene Hackman, Glenn Ford, Trevor Howard, Terence Stamp, and most famously, Marlon Brando as Superman's father Jor-El. Brando was paid an unheard-of $3.7 million for only 12 days of work and 10 minutes of screen time. Donner later said, "Knowing how little time we had with Brando, I'd even been figuring out what it would cost us every time he went to the lavatory." By all accounts, Brando did not enjoy making this movie. He refused to memorize most of his lines in advance. In the scene where he puts infant Kal-El (Superman) into the escape pod, he was actually reading his lines from the diaper of the baby. Reeve, on the other hand, took the movie seriously. He underwent six months of bodybuilding (supervised by David Prowse - the actor who played Darth Vader) to bulk up for the film. He also pondered his role on a philosophical level. "Truth and justice seemed relatively easy to understand," Reeve later wrote, "but what about 'the American way?' What does that mean? Is the American way different from the way of other countries that uphold democracy and human rights? After considerable thought and discussion with friends, I decided that because the character is a hero for the entire world, nationalism was not an issue. I thought about other aspects of the American way and the basic rights of pluralistic societies: equal opportunity, equal rights, tolerance, free speech, and fair play." More tangibly, Reeve based his performance as the awkward Clark Kent on Cary Grant's character in Bringing Up Baby (1938). Reeve went on to portray Superman in three more films, and he acted in many more movies and plays, even directing occasionally. In 1995 he was paralyzed in a horseback riding accident. He declared that he would one day walk again, and he has since regained the use of part of his body and continues to progress on a miraculous level, becoming a symbol of hope and resilience to other people suffering from similar permanent injuries. In his inspirational memoir Nothing is Impossible, Reeve wrote, "To say that I believed in Superman is quite an understatement. Of course I knew it was only a movie, but it seemed to me that the values embodied by Superman on the screen should be the values that prevail in the real world. I've seen first-hand how Superman actually transforms people's lives. I have seen children dying of brain tumors who wanted as their last request to be able to talk to me, and have gone to their graves with a peace brought on by knowing that their belief in this kind of character is intact. They're connecting with something very basic: the ability to overcome obstacles, the ability to persevere, the ability to understand difficulty and to turn your back on it." For trivia hounds, there are some golden nuggets in the casting: As a tribute to Superman's Hollywood history, Lois Lane's parents in this film are played by Kirk Alyn and Noel Neill. Alyn played Superman in the 1940s serials, and Neill played Lois in the serials and in the 1950s TV show. Also, Jeff East, who plays young Clark Kent, is the real-life son of Glenn Ford, who here plays Clark Kent's father Jonathan Kent. Producer: Alexander Salkind, Ilya Salkind, Pierre Spengler Director: Richard Donner Screenplay: Robert Benton, David Newman, Leslie Newman, Mario Puzo (story) Cinematography: Geoffrey Unsworth Film Editing: Stuart Baird, Michael Ellis Art Direction: Ernest Archer, Philip Bennet, Bill Brodie, Stuart Craig, Norman Dorme, Leslie Dilley, Maurice Fowler, Tony Reading, Stan Jolley, Norman Reynolds, Gene Rudolf. Music: John Williams Cast: Marlon Brando (Jor-El), Gene Hackman (Lex Luthor), Christopher Reeve (Clark Kent/Superman), Margot Kidder (Lois Lane), Ned Beatty (Otis), Jackie Cooper (Perry White). C-144m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning. by Jeremy Arnold

Quotes

Any more like you at home?
- Lois Lane
No, not really.
- Clark Kent
This is Lex Luthor. Only one thing alive with less than four legs can hear this frequency, Superman, and that's you.
- Lex Luthor
It's kryptonite, Superman. A little souvenir from the old home town. I spared no expense in making you feel right at home.
- Lex Luthor
And why not?
- Miss Teschmacher
Because if any human being were going to perpetrate such a fantastic hoax, it would've been me!
- Lex Luthor
Doesn't it give you a... shudder... of electricity through you to be in the same room with me?
- Lex Luthor

Trivia

Steven Spielberg was offered the chance to direct this film, but the producers balked at the salary he asked for. They decided to wait until they saw how "this fish movie" (Jaws (1975)) that he had just completed did at the box office. The movie was a huge success, and Spielberg went on to other projects.

Guy Hamilton was originally hired to direct this movie, which was scheduled to shoot in Italy. When production was moved to England for monetary reasons, Hamilton backed out because of his status at the time as a tax exile, meaning he could only be in England for thirty days out of every year.

Patrick Wayne was offered to play Superman, but because of his father's (The Duke, John Wayne) cancer, Patrick Wayne dropped out.

Among the actresses who screen tested for the role of Lois Lane were Anne Archer, Lesley Ann Warren, Deborah Raffin and Stockard Channing.

To obtain the musculature to convincingly play Superman, Christopher Reeve underwent a bodybuilding regime supervised by David Prowse, the man who played Darth Vader in the original Star Wars (1977) trilogy.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States on Video February 1, 1989

Film noted "Dedicated with love and respect to Geoffrey Unsworth, O.B.E."

Released in United States Winter December 1978

Released in United States on Video February 1, 1989

Released in United States Winter December 1978