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A Classic best origin story of a superhero of all time!
ivo-cobra824 October 2015
Superman: The Movie (1978) is the Original film and the only that is the best origin story of a Superman who changes himself into an ultimate superhero. Christopher Reeve is and always will be the only SUPERMAN! No one could play Clark Kent/Superman like Christopher Reeve, the film is still instantiate classic till it's day.If anyone could be Superman. It is Christopher Reeve, he fits the part perfectly as the shy yet great reporter Clark Kent, Kal-El last son of Krypton, and Superman, Earths savior from the forces of evil. It is one of my personal favorite Superman movies.

Superman is a world known icon and is permanently set in stone as the best Superhero of all time. Though, the only Superman movies I enjoyed are the first three Superman movies that had Christopher Reeve in it! This is the best superhero of the 70's before Marvel and DC start making superhero movies. The origin story of a man who can fly, is terrific, believable and awesome. Marlon Brando's role was one of his best, the most films that become memorable for me are The Godfather (1972), Apocalypse Now (1979) and this film Superman, he completed 1.year earlier this film, before he started filming Apocalypse Now (1979).

What else can I say, that was already told? I love this film! I grew up with this film, this is the real original film which has a heart! Man of Steel (2013) reboot to Superman (1978) does not have a heart! This is the real film! The special effects are great, the CGI are barely in it, they aren't. The plot and the story are terrific. The cast is wonderful and acts believable. Superman and Christopher Reeve are the most beloved iconic heroes till it's day. For me Superman will always be Christopher Reeve no one else! I love Smallville (TV Series 2001-2011) and Tom Welling was playing young Clark Kent. Tom Welling will be Clark Kent for me, but Christopher Reeve will be Superman. Reeve also appeared in Season 2 and 3 as special guest in Smallvile which I love that so much. It is sad That Christopher Reeve died in October 10, 2004. John Williams theme score is the best score done for the character. I hear it and it makes me feel so uplifted and I feel like I can do anything. Great cast, beautiful score, and an Epic feeling that is lacking from movies in today's age. It is my favorite superhero film. Superman and his portrayal by Christopher Reeve is a masterpiece and is timeless . Incredible after all this time, this film still holds its own against more recent superhero films and all the CGI that goes with it. Richard Donner's work is a true homage to this classic hero that we have all come to love. I still get shivers when I hear the soundtrack as well.

This is a classic of the comic book hero genre, and in most respects the one that really set the standard for all comic book hero films that follow it. The special effects, sets, haircuts and wardrobe may all look dated, but Superman: The Movie remains among the most beloved films of the 1970s. Director Richard Donner brings the comic book hero to life in Christopher Reeve, who admirably adapts from the bumbling Clark Kent to the ultimate caped crusader. The entire cast is brilliant in its supporting roles. Gene Hackman gives a great performance as the unapologetically wicked Lex Luthor. And Margot Kidder delivers a portrait of a strong, ambitious Lois Lane at a time when women were starting to break the glass ceiling. But it is Donner's dedication to the spirit and style of the original Superman's comic book roots, as well as to inject a heavy dose of humor, that make Superman: The Movie a classic. In some ways, it has still not been surpassed, even by the CGI effects and faster-paced action of today's superhero movies.

The special effects and CGI look great and they don't suck. This film has a heart and it does not suck and is not bad. Marlon Brando was wonderful a touching movement performance as Jor-El, Clark's father. Incredible after all this time, this film still holds its own against more recent superhero films and all the CGI that goes with it. Richard Donner's work is a true homage to this classic hero that we have all come to love. I still get shivers when I hear the soundtrack as well.

A box-office smash, an Academy Award winner* and a fan favorite since it first flew into theaters in December 1978, Superman: The Movie assembles a cast and creative contingent as only a big movie can. At its heart (just as in three sequels) is Christopher Reeve's intelligent, affectionate portrayal of a most human Man of Steel. Watching Superman again isn't just like being a kid again. It's better. The movie's legacy soared even higher when director Richard Donner revisited this beloved adventure 22 years later and integrated eight minutes into the film. Christopher Reeve, Marlon Brando (Jor-El), Gene Hackman (Luthor) and Margot Kidder (Lois Lane) give indelible performances that fuel the film's aura of legend.

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, Trevor Howard, Marc McClure, Terence Stamp, Valerie Perrine, and Ned Beatty.

I love this film and is the best superhero classic film ever made!!!! 10/10 it is my personal favorite Superman movie.
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Best opening title sequence... ever!
LookingforJulia22 October 2004
We all have unique reasons for loving a film. That's what makes cinema so magical. It's personal. You can love the meat of the movie, or you can love the trimmings.

There's a bunch of good stuff here. Most people my age will refer to "Superman" as THE definitive superhero film. None will ever take it's place. A position no doubt dictated by the age we were when first viewing it. As with films like "Star Wars" and "Raiders of the Lost Ark", WHEN you experience them is just as important as HOW you experience them.

As we age, youth's eyes fade. Cynicism creeps in. Experience leads us to see the many injustices this life offers and we become more critical... less likely to accept that which we would rather believe. After all, an adult who clings to the youthful ideals of wonder is simply naive... right?

To this day, the opening title sequence for "Superman" fills me with the same magical joy it did over twenty years ago. Never was a score so perfectly crafted around a film. John Williams and Richard Donner created such an indelible experience that over 25 yrs later, Bryan Synger will use the same music and theme to bring the magic to a new generation of wondrous eyes.

As for me though, this will always remain the best.
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You'll still believe a man can fly
y2mckay12 May 2001
Every once in a while you'll be flipping channels or meandering through the aisles of the local videorama, and you will stumble upon a film that takes you back to your childhood - and the child-like wonder that accompanied it. After 2 decades, as well as numerous (inferior) sequels and remakes, the original Superman is back.

Well, okay, maybe this wasn't the ORIGINAL one, but certainly no other version of the legend has had such a lasting impact as this one. Nor has any other telling of the tale been as thorough and ambitious as that put forth by Director Richard Donner and Story writer Mario Puzo. Add to that the utterly inspired (and inspiring) score by John Williams, and you have a dose of that good old movie magic. Even the opening credits manage to raise your adrenaline levels, as the Superman symbol soars through space across the screen and Williams' opening theme perfectly builds to a masterful crescendo. It will make you want to stand up from your couch and soar out of the nearest window, though I don't recommend it if you live on anything above the first floor.

The film begins on Superman's home world of Krypton, a dazzling planet dotted by crystalline cities which, combined again with William's incredible theme music, seem to present an image of heaven itself. A super-race of highly advanced beings, the Kryptonians' only weakness is their pride, as the infant Superman's father, Jor-el points out. It is that pride that leads them to ignore Jor-el's warnings that the planet is doomed by an impending supernova. In a last ditch effort to save his son, as well as some remnant of his race, he sends his infant son Kal-el to the planet Earth in a deep space probe. Marlon Brando, in the role of Jor-el, gives one of his best performances. His role is the stuff of Hollywood legend, since he was paid 4 million dollars for his role of about 10 minutes, but despite his exorbitant fee and minimal screen time, his performance is no less worthy.

The probe crashes in a farmer's field in the early 1950's, to be discovered by the Kents, with Glen Ford in the role of Pa Kent. Though he seems to have even less screen time than Brando, his role as the young Superman's moral example is no less pivotal to the story. Superman's childhood and most of his teen years are completely skipped over, however, Jeff East gives an excellent portrayal of the teen Clark Kent, who is only beginning to discover the real extent of his powers.

Most of the supporting cast equally distinguish themselves. Gene Hackman creates a charming and amusing villain in Lex Luthor, and while Margot Kidder's portrayal of Lois Lane is a bit forced and grating at times, she still shines with a kind of charm, and it is always fun to watch her slip from the tough-as-nails reporter to the flustered schoolgirl every time the Man of Steel hits the scene. If you still don't like her performance, watch the "Lois Lane screen tests" in the special features section of the DVD, which includes tryouts by various prominent actresses of the day. After watching them, I think you'll agree that the filmmakers made the right casting choice.

But of course, the person we will remember the most is Christopher Reeve as Superman, and this is the way he should be remembered. It was certainly his greatest role, and although he overplayed the nerdy and fumbling Clark Kent, and his Superman sometimes pauses to deliver silly platitudes, he does so with an air of wry amusement. He may act like a goody two-shoes, but mostly he just seems to be having a good time showing off, and damn it, why shouldn't he? He's Superman, after all. If I could fly, you could damn well bet I'd be showing off too. This is confirmed in a brief but enjoyable restored scene in which, after saving Lois Lane and the President, as well as foiling several crimes, Superman flies back to his Fortress of Solitude to discuss it with his "Father", or rather, the persona of Jor-el which has been preserved in memory crystals and sent to earth with the infant Kal-el, so that he could benefit from Jor-el's knowledge and wisdom. He admonishes his son that, while it is natural to enjoy being able to show off his powers, he must learn to be humble and keep his vanity in check.

It is surprising how little moments of restored footage such as this one seem to breathe much more life into the characters, giving them a depth not seen in their previous cinematic incarnation. And while the film is a tale of the power of good, it is ultimately a tribute to the power of love. It is love that makes Superman more vulnerable than even kryptonite, love that makes him betray his Kryptonian father's admonition to "never interfere with human history", and love that makes him truly human.

Though it is nearly an hour into the film before Superman finally makes his first heroic and world-stunning appearance, it is well worth the wait. The action gets more and more exciting, rivaling anything that today's action counterparts, like "The Mummy Returns" can dish out. The effects, though antiquated by today's overblown CGI standards, are still impressive and manage to maintain their looks and grace in their old age. As Lex Luthor launches a diabolical plan involving hijacked twin nuclear missiles, the subsequent chase, followed by Superman's efforts to save an Earthquake-ravaged California, are breathtaking even by today's standards.

Like the superhero of title, the film itself is not without its weaknesses. In trying to keep in touch with its vintage comic book roots, it can be a tad cornball at times, and occasionally gets bogged down by what I call the "golly gee-whiz" factor. Yet it does so in a very tongue-in-cheek manner, retaining enough adult sophistication and genuine drama to keep it from lapsing into a mere kiddy show or a parody of the source material. In fact, the film has several surprisingly mature nuances. If, like me, you hadn't seen this film since you were a kid, then you will be in a much better position to fully enjoy the subtleties of the film now. (i.e, Lois Lane, in her rooftop interview of Superman asks "How big are you . . . er, I mean . .. how TALL are you". I obviously missed that as a kid, because it had me rolling with laughter this time around.

But despite a few loose threads in the cape and tights, The Man of Steel remains quite intact and appropriately larger than life. It is therefore fitting that this film has been re-mastered and re-released in collector's two-sided DVD format. The sound and picture quality are excellent, wiping away the tarnish of age and making the film shine again. Some of the many features include the aforementioned restored footage (about 10-15 minutes worth), a few additional deleted scenes (which, I thought, should have been restored into the film as well), commentary by director Richard Donner, the Lois Lane screen tests, specials on the making and origins of the film, and a music-only track (well worth the price of the DVD alone).

If you haven't seen this movie since you were a kid, and you want to feel like a kid again, rent it now. If you've never seen it at all, then the release of this DVD has taken away your last excuse. You will believe a man can fly.
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A brilliant Epic for the generations!!
Robert_duder29 September 2005
This is it ladies and 200th review. I thought long and hard about what I would dedicate my 200th review to...would it be something new and flashy, a movie that I knew was a knockout, something more personal to me?? One of my faves perhaps?? I finally decided on this film.

Since I was a little boy I have loved Superman. Even now many years later I am still fascinated by the character, I mean he has withstood 6 decades of changes and world upheaval and still one of the best selling heroes of our time. Without further ado let's talk about Richard Donner's big screen epic Superman: The Movie. Thanks for reading my reviews!! Superman: The Movie MUST be judged not by today's standards but by the standards set for films of the late seventies/early eighties. That's not to say that it doesn't stand up for itself even almost 3 decades later but it's true brilliance may be lost if you don't remember when and where it was made. Brilliant Director Richard Donner (Lethal Weapon series, The Goonies, and stocks of brilliant TV series) I think really knows what the audience wants out of characters. I'm sure he tread on thin ice when it came to bringing the infamous Man of Steel to the big screen having only comics and TV and radio before him to base it on. Donner took everything Superman stood for, truth, justice, American Way, fighting evil, his estrangement from his home planet, his love for Lois Lane and put it all into this film.

Nothing is left out of Superman, we have the origins including an in depth look into Krypton (which at the time would have been a first.) We see Kal-El's parents and their conflicts, we are given a small introduction to Clark Kent's youth and his coming of age and then everything else we know and love about the Superman legend. Everything from "The Phantom Zone" to Lois and Clark falling in love. I always thought the casting for Superman was it's one downfall but after watching the film again I really see that it wasn't such an error in judgment.

The late and incredible Christopher Reeve truly was built for Superman. He embodied the character and created two completely different people to the point where you believed a pair of glasses and a different part in the hair was the perfect alter ego. His Clark Kent was goofy but pure and honest but completely different from the strength and character of Superman. His Superman was tall, larger than life, strong, honest, too good to be true. He was perfect and he looked both parts perfectly too and he will forever be my The Superman of film. Margot Kidder pretty much had Lois Lane nailed. I always thought she was a little old for the role and wasn't sure she looked the part but the personality was perfect, strong, forceful, pig headed, leap before you look kinda gal. And the chemistry with Reeve's Superman was very good. They established a fast but very bonding romance between the two characters. The supporting cast was also well done...Jackie Cooper was great as Perry White, Marc McClure was perfectly cast as the young, naive Jimmy Olsen, and Marlon Brando was an awesome screen presence for Jor-El and considering the billing he got for his brief role it's good that he had that pull. Gene Hackman is a brilliant actor, I've loved him in many roles...he was not right for Lex Luthor or perhaps even his character wasn't written right. Although diabolical and evil it was done in a comedic way right down to the doofus sidekick which was more cartoonish than it was big budget film. You just didn't truly feel the tension and arch rivalry between Reeve and Hackman's characters. The only other beef I can find with Superman is the overlooking of some key elements of reality. Yes I know Superman must leave reality at the door and that's easy to do with such a brilliant beautifully done Epic but the whole concept of Superman reversing time by making the earth spin backwards, or turning into Superman and having his "human" clothes literally vanish into thin air...these are things that the writers should have looked more closely into. But I think they focused so much of their time on making sure other elements were in place that they let these things slide and that's okay but it's such a minor thing but still with such perfection in other areas they stand out.

Special effects like this had never been seen before and they are still stunning. Watching Superman fly and the explosions and earthquake and his miracle powers are just wonderful and will forever be in the mind of movie goers. This is such a brilliant film and put a stamp on the genre of superheroes that every other film will try to live up to. For the record I am thrilled and excited about the upcoming Bryan Singer Superman film, I think he will take everything that was great about this original and utilize it to continue on the epic. Bravo to him!! Superman: The Movie also had and still has one of the most haunting, beautiful and stunning scores ever created. The music became his anthem no matter where Superman is. This is one of the best films ever, and will always be a classic especially to me!! 9/10
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Superman Takes Off On The Big Screen
ccthemovieman-110 January 2006
It's interesting that another re-make is coming out this year. Man, time flies because I vividly remember when this movie came out and the excitement it caused. This was the first Superman anyone had ever seen with modern-day special effects, so it was pretty cool, to say the least.

It's still very entertaining, and the more I watch this the more I'm amused with the villain (Gene Hackman as "Lex Luthor") and the lines he delivers. He's a funny guy. Christopher Reeve, meanwhile, was always a popular "Man Of Steel" and the special effects are still fun to watch, from the long opening scenes showing the end of the planet Kryton all the way to the ending credits. There's a solid soundtrack to this, too.

Personally, I didn't care for Margot Kidder as Lois Lane but then again, Lane's character in the 1950s TV series was a bit annoying, too. I guess it comes with her character. However, being a kid growing up with that series with all its innocence (it's now on DVD, by the way, and worth a purchase), it was just too weird hearing Lois ask Superman what color her panties were!

Anyway, this is simply great entertainment. As a superhero, Superman has always been THE MAN. Three sequels followed this film, the second one being the best in my opinion.
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You Will Believe a Man Can Fly!
batattack6629 January 2005
"Superman: The Movie," Say those to anyone and they'll most likely say "Oh, I love that movie!" Superman is packed with drama, action, romance, great special effects. Christopher Reeve is truly the one and only Superman and always will be to me. Margot Kidder is a fantastic Lois Lane, witty yet beautiful, she is great! Gene Hackman is hilarious as Lex Luthor along with his henchman and henchwoman played by Ned Beatty and Valerie Perrenie. You'll laugh every time you hear him yell, "MS.TESENMACHERRRR!!!" John Williams Score is brilliant and really sets the mood for the movie. One of the most memorable parts of the movie is the opening credits. I suggest you rent or buy the special edition DVD of this because it's loaded with A lot of bonus features. I rate this movie *****/5 [5/5]
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"Super" is a way that will never be matched
dee.reid8 April 2005
This is my 301st review on IMDb, so I'm going to make this short, simple, and super:

"You'll believe a man can fly!" - the tagline for "Superman"

He stood for "truth, justice, and the American way." Ahh, to just think that this is the movie that started it all, ladies and gentlemen. Carefully adapted from the popular DC Comics character created by Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel, Richard Donner's 1978 epic has stood the test of time to become the supreme superhero film. Alongside Tim Burton ("Batman") and Sam Raimi ("Spider-Man"), Donner earned his place in cinematic history by becoming the first director to make a perfect superhero film. Superman is the most recognizable comic book superhero in history, and when Clark Kent (the late, great Christopher Reeve) rips open his shirt to reveal that symbolic "S" an hour and 11 minutes into the film, you know that it's one of the greatest cinematic moments. This epic defined the superhero film, and in the 27 years since its release, every subsequent comic book superhero movie is forever indebted to "Superman." The plot (and what a plot) runs complete throughout its epic 154 minutes and believe me, there's not a single wasted moment in the film's entire running length. Of course, Clark Kent is sent from his dying home world of Krypton by his father Jor-El (the late Marlon Brando), grows up and works at the Daily Planet, falls in love with Lois Lane (Margot Kidder), and must foil the diabolical plans of Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman). Put simply, there will never be another movie like "Superman," and who can forget those *cosmic* credits, the aforementioned "S" scene, the Superman and Lois date over New York City and later above the clouds, and that one, definitive climax when Superman lets out a painful cry that reveals that one glint of humanity that he's earned from his time on earth. Reeve will forever be linked to the role that really made people believe he was a super man, even when he wasn't wearing the blues, reds, and yellows, and was instead confined to the prison that's called a wheelchair. But we know that he's up there, flying high with the Almighty and proving to us all that he is who we believed he was. The recent news that Bryan Singer ("X-Men") is directing a new Superman is not exactly getting me giddy, considering the low standards of today's film-making and the onslaught of CGI effects that dominate many Hollywood action movies these days. I love "Superman" and even today, I'm still touched by its magic, and deeply saddened by the real-life tragedies that have followed it.

A perfect, "super" 10/10.
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xxdisintegrationxx1 July 2006
Having recently seen the huge disappointment: Superman Returns, I felt an obligation to watch this version to see how it measured up. I couldn't believe my eyes, and ears! 'My God!' I thought, 'Characters that actually interact with one another!'. That is one of the key elements Superman Returns was missing: dialogue. This movie had so much fun with the story, and the characters, that despite its lack of modern effects, it was still immensely enjoyable to watch. There was real character development, real humor (particularly the scenes between Lex and Otis, which I found hysterical) and a palpable chemistry between Lois and Clark/Superman. From the very beginning, this movie grabs you tightly and keeps you interested. It has an enlivening effect on you, where you feel genuinely happy after watching it, which, to my understanding, is what the movies are all about. Gene Hackman had great one-liners, for instance,"Otis, do you know why the number 200 is so vitally descriptive to both you and I? Because it's your weight, and my IQ", and the entire cast sat right. The roles fit, the effects (for their time) were great, and the script was wonderful. It's amazing to me, that movies like this can still hold up against movies that are made with the gross national product of a small country. If you want Superman in all his glory, ignore 'Returns', and pick up this one; you won't be disappointed.

"Otis, do you want to see a very, very long arm?" "Oh no, Mr. Luthor!"
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Christopher Reeve Will Be Missed
departed0711 October 2004
I thought I would pay tribute to one of Christopher's Reeve's best role ever; and that role is Superman. As many comic book fans follow, the film tells the story of Clark Kent who was born on Krypton and was transported into Earth after the planet exploded and loses his real family. As a new family finds him in the field going home, the couple take Clark as their own son and raise him. What the couple know about Clark is that he has a gift to do things twice as fast than any other ordinary human being; but as time goes by, Clark loses his father of a stroke and decides to take a life of his own as he works for the Metropoltian Newspaper, he meets Lois Lane (Margot Kidder) and he has a crush on her, even saving the woman from being killed. Just like any comic book movie, there is always a villain; with Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor in a campy role along with Ned Beatty as Otis, the sycophant with no sense, these two plan to destroy the world with nuclear weapons. Christopher Reeve doesn't get into the Superman Costume until 45 minutes into the film in which he saves Lois in one scene, busts bad guys and becomes and icon to the public. Superman is the finest comic book movie, and I only wish Christopher Reeve's family the best.
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The movie that set the standard for superhero flicks
garard-taylor7 August 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Superman The Movie is one of my all time favorite flicks. Some people say Man of Steel is better, but this movie is still worth watching. It begins with the 3 villains of Krypton being banished into the Phantom Zone. Jor-El, a Kryptonian scientist,warns the council of the planet's impending doom,but the elders don't believe him. He sends his only son,Kal-El, into space with the destination planet Earth. Krypton explodes in a fireball with its only survivor headed for his new home. The ship crashes in 1950's Kansas,where the Kents,a elderly couple,discover the baby and bring him up as Clark Kent. The second part has Clark during his high-school days discovering his awesome powers like super-speed,when he races a speeding train,and strength, when he kicks a football into outer space. When his earth dad passes on, he gets a green crystal from his ship hidden in the barn and makes a trek to the North Pole. He throws the crystal into a snowbank,where it becomes the Fortress of Solitude.

Inside the fortress, crystals with his father's image inform him of his Kryptonian past and his powers. After many years he emerges as Superman and the third act begins. He gets a job at the Daily Planet as a reporter and meets his friend,Lois Lane but he wants more than just her friendship. One night,a terrible accident happens with a helicopter and she falls out plunging to her death,but Superman swoops in and saves her.

Superman flies around,stopping crimes and doing good deeds. Perry White orders his reporters to find out more about him. Lois gets a note from "a friend' telling her to meet him at 8 that evening. It's Clark but she doesn't know. Superman shows up for the interview and takes Lois on a flying date around town. Meanwhile,Lex Luthor is hatching a evil plan to destroy the West Coast so his worthless land will become valuable. He tricks our hero, saying he's going to kill millions of people in the city with poison gas. The Man of Steel bursts into his lair,but Luthor attacks him with Kryptonite, the only thing he's powerless against. All is lost until Ms.Tesmacher takes the stuff off of him and he springs into action.

He catches one missile and throws it into outer space,but the 2nd one hits the San Andreas fault and starts a massive earthquake. Superman goes underground to plug up the fault,then races around saving people from certain doom. But he doesn't save that special someone in time, as Lois Lane gets killed in a rockslide. Heartbroken,he flies into outer space, defying his father Jor-El's order not to interfere with human events. He orbits the earth to reverse time and bring Lois back to life.

The movie ends with Luthor and his idiotic henchman Otis being dropped off in the pen by Superman and the iconic image of him flying over Earth .

Man of Steel has its good points,but nothing can top this one in my opinion.
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And then, Christopher Reeve became even more of a superhero in real life.
lee_eisenberg9 March 2006
Obviously, everyone knows Superman, so I'll talk about a few aspects. It was sort of a shock to everyone when Christopher Reeve got paralyzed, seeing as to how we associated him with the man of steel. But his tireless crusade for people with spinal cord injuries showed him to be a sort of superhero in his own right.

As Superman's father Jor-El, Marlon Brando seems subdued, but still shows why he was one of the greatest actors of all time (as it was, he and Reeve died within four months of each other). As villain Lex Luthor, Gene Hackman makes a really interesting character: vile, but kinda cool, he's the bad guy who we all want to be deep down. Margot Kidder also has a great role as the title character's self-standing hubby Lois Lane, and Ned Beatty is really funny as Luthor's goofy sidekick Otis. Also starring is Marc McClure as Jimmy Olson.

I remember a "Saturday Night Live" episode where they imagine what would have happened had Superman been raised in Germany: they conclude that the man of steel - played by Dan Aykroyd in that skit - would have joined the Nazis and been called Ubermann. As it was, Friedrich Nietzsche theorized an "Ubermensch".

All in all, "Superman" is an inimitable superhero flick. I agree with a previous reviewer that "Batman" and "Spiderman" owe a lot to this movie. Truly great.
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Miles better than the 2006 disaster!
CuriosityKilledShawn15 March 2007
I had only ever seen the TV version of the original Superman movie until I bought the HD-DVD. So, as you can imagine, on TV it was in hideous pan and scan and with several scenes missing. In reality, I have never seen the 'full' movie until now. And I have to admit, it's far, far superior to Bryan Singer's self-indulgent mess of Superman Returns.

It actually takes quite a while to get going, but there's so much going on that the running time certainly doesn't seem two and a half hours. Richard Donner shot it back to back with Superman II, so there's an extended opening act that establishes the plot of the sequel at the same time.

Anyone who doesn't know the story of Superman must be from another galaxy, but for those people I will give you a quick soundbite. Kal El is the orphan of the planet Krypton, which has recently blown up. He comes to Earth as a baby and lands in Smallville where he is quickly adopted by a farmer and his wife and renamed Clark Kent. His dense molecular structure and his ability to defy Earth's gravity give him advantages over humans and ultimately he becomes...SUPERMAN! But who doesn't already know that?

Clark Kent assumes an exaggerated, clumsy, meek newspaper reporter persona to distance himself from the Superman guise. Somehow everybody, including secret love Lois Lane, falls for it even though the glasses and the hair are all that is different. Hypervillain Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman) doesn't take well to the man of steel as he might interfere with his plans for Real Estate Domination (the modern term for World Domination). But does he really think he can win? Hypervillains never know when to be humble.

Just about everything that was terrible about Superman Returns is completely right about this one. The cinematography, the music, the editing, the pacing. I won't call the SFX fake, since it doesn't ever take you out of the film, so I'll just call them 'quaint'. For 1978 they're good and even though they are all done optically it's still better than the CGI crapfest of Singer's interpretation.

Christopher Reeve's ultimate fate does kind of upset me, so it's good to see him in his prime and being made immortal in a way. The cast of this film does have a lot of big names. Along with the huge scope and spectacle, such a large cast adds to the epic feel of it. Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Ned Beatty, Margot Kidder, Terence Stamp and Glenn Ford just seem like a far more dynamic bunch of actors than Kate Bosworth and Kal Penn. Don't you think?

It's been 29 years since this film was released and people still make a big fuss over it today. In 29 years, will be still be talking about Superman Returns? Outside of ridicule, I think not.
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Classic that will remain past the ends of time...
TruPretender4 March 2004
In 1976 a pair of father/son producers were trying to find the perfect way to score a box office success. Then they thought of a new way to produce a Superhero movie. Alas, Superman was the most famous Superhero at the time and the rights were acquired. Then a director and writer were required. This is when they went to first Guy Hamilton, and then Richard Donner. Alas, Donner won the acclaim and the Newman's were on board for writing a script. After months of screen testing and such, a Superman was found and cast-that of a young New York native Christopher Reeve, who fit the bill and filled the role well. Then a gorgeous woman was needed for the part of Lois Lane, no more gorgeous than the manic, energetic actress Margot Kidder, who was then known for small movie roles such as The Great Waldo Pepper and Sisters. Gene Hackman and Marlon Brando had already signed on before alot of the cast was cast. And to make a long story short, Superman: The Movie was filmed! A great film indeed, with then state of the art special effects to make your views and experiences soar high! Christopher Reeve does a terrific job as the man of steel who learns of a plot to destroy the west coast. Gene Hackman was perfect for the role of Lex Luthor, the villain who wants to own his own territory of the would be new coast of California( Costa Del Lex!) Margot Kidder was just right as the gorgeous Lois Lane who falls in love with Superman but gives Clark Kent lessons on life, while Jackie Cooper is great as Perry White. Ned Beatty and Valerie Perrine do good performances as well as supporting dim witted characters. The script had to be re worked for a couple of times because of being too hammy, and so Donner brought in the wonderful Tom Mank. who did a great job of modifying the script to a more down to earth level. Great musical score by John Williams. T.V. version ran 191 minutes in full length on the famous California tele channel KCOP. But all was not well in paradise. Richard Donner was in opposing thoughts with producers Alexander and Ilya Salkind, and so a mediator was brought in, that of Richard Lester, directer of the Three and Four Musketeers, and the Beatles films. This went on whilst Superman and Superman II were being filmed back to back. Then, in a sudden chance to get Superman released before the year 1979, the cast and crew stopped filming Superman II to finish the first film. And so it was done, but at was price...
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Still Amazing After All These Years
d-maxsted27 April 2011
After the huge success of "The Omen" director Richard Donner made his true mark on the world of cinema with what most would agree is then and still is the greatest portrayal of 'The Man Of Steel' ever to grace the big screen. Massive in its production and filming schedule,one only has to listen to his directors commentary to understand just what was involved in making this masterpiece,not to mention filming the second Superman movie back to back with the first,he created an icon in cinema history. After its release Superman went on to amount a massive $300.000.000 plus around the world and director Richard Donner became one of the most sought after directors in the world,his movies dominated our big screens for more than 20 years. Yet when we think of Superman in the 21st century Im sure everyone would agree that Christopher Reeve was then and always will be seen as the man who made the world believe a man could fly,his portrayal as both Clarke Kent and Superman is nothing less than brilliant,just watch Superman Returns,actor Brandon Routh who was cast is a true compliment to what Christopher Reeve gave us over his 4 outings as Superman,he looks and even sounds,as uncanny as it was the first time he spoke as Superman,like Christopher Reeve....I think Superman fans around the world would agree that if Superman Returns was not a tribute to the legacy of Christopher Reeve then nothing was. Of Marlon Brando as Supermans father,one can only say this.."WOW" A motion picture that has stood the test of time and will do Im sure for many many years to come Christopher Reeve...Thank You..We Miss You
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The Godfather of the superhero Genre
hotrobinproductions17 April 2019
The amazing Godfather film of the Superhero Genre. It brought not only the first live action superhero to the big screen, but impacted and proved to Hollywood that superhero films can be possible. The score is the greatest score in not only the superhero genre, but movies period. A sound as iconic as Star Wars, John Williams score really grabs the audience to believe this movie. The script is amazingly written from beginning to end. This film is over 40 years old and looking back at it today you can pick it apart from effects and certain jokes all you want but you cannot deny the magic that they crafted off such limited things at the time. Richard Donner is what Sam Rami was to the Spider-Man trilogy. The first is amazing, with a sequel arguably better than the first, with a very frustrating 3rd because of studio interference. This film set the golden book standard to how a origin film should be told. And they use the format in superhero movies today, period. The film may not have the most complex themes or plot twists, but it actually makes the film even better. Currently, Shazam and Wonder Woman literally ripped the pages out of this film to craft the beauties they made. This film has such beautiful character development, and feels so alive. I have my fair share of love for superhero movies but no other film I have seen can capture the magic this film made. The only problem I can come up with for Christopher Reeves, is he literally set the god damn bar sooo high. HE IS SUPERMAN. He has the charisma his acting is amazing and you feel as if it makes so much sense the reasons he does things. I like to compare this film to Man of Steel or maybe to Superman 2 because of general sod in that film. And there's just 10 times more things this film gets right that man of steel doesn't.

Score 10/10 Acting 10/10 Special Effects 10/10 Scenery 10/10 Performance 10/10 Cinematography 10/10 Screenplay 10/10 Script 10/10 Villain 10/10 Plot 10/10

Overall, this film is the big chungus of superhero films whether you hate it or not you can't deny the impact this film had especially overtime and today. Superman 1978 is what I tell people is what defines the true meaning of being a superhero and what it means and displays in the message is so amazing.
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The Superhero movie on which all other superhero movies are based on
nirome11 January 2019
I'll start off by saying right off the bat, that this is probably my favourite superhero movie for numerous reasons. I happen to be a huge fan of the comic book character, always have been, ever since I was a kid. This is probably the first superhero movie that I remember watching as a kid and I have very fond memories of it. That's one reason. The second one, is that, as an adult, I really got to appreciate how much work and above all, how much love was put into bringing this wonderful character to the big screen. Before the Salkinds did it successfully, no one had dared attempt something like this on such a huge scale. No expense was spared. They threw everything at it. They started out by trying to get the best cast that was available at the time to play the main roles and after exhausting and never ending casting auditions, with some pretty crazy ideas about who was going to play Superman, names like Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman were thrown out there, they finally settled on the one man who would forever, in my mind, embody the best attributes of the character. Everything from set and costume design, special effects, sound design, script, acting, cinematography and a truly memorable score by John Williams, probably his best soundtrack, is top notch. The three act structure of the movie is clearly defined, not only tonally but also visually. We've got the other worldly and wonderfully eerie visual look of the scenes that take place on Krypton, the bucolic and almost dream like quality of the scenes that take place in Smallville during Clark Kent's teenage years and the bustling and fast pace of the city life in the Metropolis-set scenes. The movie moves along a very quick pace, no dead spaces, it is superbly and tightly edited and masterfully directed by Richard Donner. The third reason is that this movie managed to catch lightning in a bottle at a time where nobody, neither the producers nor the audience believed in the Superhero genre. Dooner's paved the way for future producers and directors to try and emulate what this movie achieved. Has deeply inspired directors the likes of Raimi, Nolan, Singer, with different levels of success, to put out some of their best work. Raimi with Spiderman 2 and Nolan with Batman Begins have been by far the best exponents of what can be achieved when a filmmaker is truly motivated and inspired. And fourth and final reason. To date, no movie has portrayed or been as faithful to its source material as this movie is. Kudos to Donner and the Salkinds for giving us one of the best movies of the 20th Century and the best example of how a Superhero movie must be made.
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A genuine classic that still hasn't gotten its due
IrishWriter3416 May 2002
Richard Donner's 1978 film SUPERMAN has to be one of the most misunderstood films of all time. In an age where it's "hip" to deconstruct superhero characters and make them grim-n-gritty and/or vapid teen idols, the movie can't help but come off as a valentine to a bygone era. And with the advent of SMALLVILLE and a proposed new Superman movie (in which producer Jon Peters and his crew have been trying for the past 10 years to radically alter everything about the character except the name), even Superman fans have taken to bashing Donner's film, sneering at it as being "campy," too reverential of the source material, and too "dated."

And yet…nothing could be further from the truth. Far from being "dated," SUPERMAN is just as fresh and timely today as it was 24 years ago, and the spectacular digital restoration (including a new sound FX track-the original had deteriorated) makes the movie look just as fresh and new as the latest box-office hits. Even more impressive is how the special effects have held up; except for three brief front-projection shots, you can still believe a man can fly. I can only imagine that the "dated" claims have to do with the film being 24 years old and having been made before CGI and choppy MTV-style editing came into use, because there's nothing else about the film that dates it to the 1970s. (Do yourselves a favor and watch the 3 documentaries on the DVD. They give incredible insight into how much work was put into the film.)

And then there's the script, by Tom Mankiewicz (credited to Mario Puzo, David and Leslie Newman, and Robert Benton). When producers Alexander and Ilya Salkind first developed the project, they intended it to be a camp comedy. When Donner and Mankiewicz came aboard, the film was altered into a serious piece, and the end result is magical. We're given an epic depiction of the origin of Superman, beginning with the Krypton holocaust, going thru his childhood in Smallville, and finally ending up in Metropolis where the adult Superman faces his first trial-by-fire in his encounter with Lex Luthor. The story has plenty of humor in it, but it's still played straight, and runs the entire gamut of emotions. The oft-criticized ending, in which Lois dies in an earthquake and a grieving Superman defies his oath to not interfere with human history by flying back in time to save her, is the defining character moment for Superman. In defying the orders of his father and following his heart, Superman rejects his alien heritage and embraces his humanity. It's a great moment, but yet it's one that too many people are quick to bash because "he can save anybody that way." They don't see what it really means as a character bit. Making the story even stronger is Donner's taut, reverent direction, as well as some truly great acting. Christopher Reeve IS Clark Kent/Superman, body and soul (his own size mirrors the physical stats of the comic book character). Playing the role with heart and conviction, Reeve literally becomes the character made flesh. Marlon Brando, in his small role as Jor-El, is also excellent, bringing a commanding dignity to film. Gene Hackman's sociopathic Luthor, a guy who merrily jokes and brags about himself while planning an act of genocide simply to make big real estate money, is both funny and chilling. Add to this knockout trio fine performances by an international cast of superstars, and the film comes alive. Also of note is the powerful score by John Williams. Those condemn this score as being "too heroic" need to have their hearing checked. Williams delivers more than just heroism; he captures the eerie ambiance of Krypton, the rural warmth of Smallville, and the romanticism and tragedy of Superman and Lois' relationship beautifully. And to cap it all off, he gives Superman one of the most unforgettable fanfares in film history. Further strengthening the film is Stuart Baird's brisk, punchy editing; John Barry's lavish production designs (including the memorable crystalline Krypton); Yvonne Blake's clever costuming (the glowing Krypton costumes, and a flawless rendering of Superman's classic suit); and Geoffrey Unsworth's misty, ethereal cinematography, which enhances the fairy tale aspects of the character. Every step of the way, the film successfully brings Superman and his world to life.

That said, SUPERMAN has its flaws. Ned Beatty's Otis character is mostly a non-entity; he doesn't really add anything to the proceedings. And Margot Kidder is badly miscast as Lois; not only is she far too tomboyish to play what in the comics is a glamorous character, but she comes off more like Reeve's vapid sister than she does a feisty love interest. Their scenes only work because Reeve makes us buy into the movie. Watching the screen test for Anne Archer-a much better and much better-looking actress, I can't help wondering why she wasn't cast as Lois instead. She would have been perfect opposite Reeve. (But to be fair to Kidder, she was way better than most of the other actresses tested-Stockard Channing in particular was awful.) And there's a really careless glitch when Superman saves Air Force One; the film is reversed when he grabs the plane, so his emblem and spit-curl are both backwards. But in the end, those flaws aren't enough to weaken SUPERMAN's impact. It was and still is not only the best comic book movie ever, but it's also one of the finest films ever made, period. Those who bash the classic version of Superman and this film while supporting the planned Jon Peters version should definitely reconsider their stance. This is not an inept drek-fest like BATTLEFIELD EARTH, nor is it a heartless, soulless mess like the Peters film promises to be. This is a beautiful, heartfelt piece of Americana, crafted with love and respect. SUPERMAN deserves to be seen as the classic it is, not to be disrespected and forgotten.
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This is a Review of the 3 Hour Edition
stanheckjrr23 June 2017
As many of you are aware there is several versions of this "Superman" film. This review is for the Longest Edition. This is called the RESTORED INTERNATIONAL CUT.

I was not a huge "Superman" fan when I saw this film. I herd this was a good movie. I never seen a cartoon or television show on "Superman" so U had no idea who Lois Lane was. However I think that served me well. I was taken on an "E TICKET RIDE" that I never forgot. Even to this day this is still one of my favorite movie going experiences. In fact I loved this more than I did "Star Wars".

Most of you know the story of "Superman". This film starts off with a bang however I am not a fan of the pro-longed opening credit sequence. To me that is still pretty to watch but it BORING. Thank god for the fast forward buttons.

Academy Award-winners Marlon Brando and Gene Hackman head an all- star cast in the fantastic, action-packed film that made Christopher Reeve an international star playing the greatest superhero of all time. From the doomed planet of Krypton, two parents launch a spaceship carrying their infant son to earth. Here he grows up to become Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter for the Metropolis Daily Planet. But with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men, he battles for truth and justice as Superman.

Now the 3 hour Plus edition is worth watching however there is not much in the way of new scenes but more like SCENES BEING EXTENDED. The only NEW SCENE that comes to mind that should have been left in the original theatrical edition is when"Superman" talks to his father after he has revealed himself for the first time. It is a great scene and this is about the only SCENE that Richard Donner added back into the film for its DVD debut.

I do however enjoy seeing the extension of Lois talking to the Indian Chief. It adds more information about why the Indians were selling their land.

This film is still the best comic book movie ever made. Every film that has been based on a comic is compared to this 1978 Film. Nothing has come close to have the magic that this film captured.

Richard Donner created a classic that still Under-appreciated. Today's comic book movies are garbage. They have no heart and are cast with the likes of Jessica Alba and other terrible actors.

This is a first class production. The actors are all great in the roles they have. Can't say that about any "Batman" movies.
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Soaring Hero
hellraiser727 August 2018
Superman is one of my favorite fictional protagonists as well as favorite superheroes of all time. Other than his powers to me what really appealed to me was in his unbreakable humanity which I feel surpasses his superpowers but is also why his legend has continued to soar throughout the years.

Believe it or not my first exposure to Superman really wasn't this film but it was actually the Ruby Spears cartoon from the 80's (which is an under the radar gem) which I saw when I was about 8. I really liked what I saw I never seen a superhero quite like him, except He-Man but that's a different story. That cartoon soon lead me to the live action film which at the time blew my mind, I loved that film and I love it now, it literally was believe or not again the first live action comic book film I've ever seen.

Everything about this film feels big which made it all the more special, it was beloved by fans and non-fans of the comics. Even he teaser and trailer for this film are enjoyable, seeing these audiences back then must've been blown away as fans and non-fans of the comics weren't expecting it. The music is just fantastic from one of my favorite composers John Williams, that theme (along with these opening credits) one of my favorite themes of all time it just says Superman, there were some others over he years but this one is still the best in my book.

This was also one of the longest comic book films for its time though now that running time is a little more common place now. It's goes at a good steady pace which works to the films benefit as it wants to give us time to know who Superman is and the world he inherits, and you have to understand also not everyone has read the Superman comics so seeing how things came to be for the character really helps in getting depth.

Christopher Reeve one of my favorite actors is just fantastic as Superman/Clark Kent he is the character much as Karl Urban is Judge Dredd or Peter Weller is Robocop; you just can't see or want to see anyone else play that role. Sure, there have been many others after Christopher Reeve but he is still the best Superman in my book. I really love how he plays it as he is able to separate his actually identity to his costume; in this film Superman is his real identity and Clark Kent (at least the one from the Daily Planet) is the real costume.

Chris's performance is great you really kind of buy that he's totally two different people all together, his Clark Kent persona from the planet is sort of insecure, cumbersome, nice but kind of on the uncool side. It makes sense he's put up this act because no one would suspect anyone of this persona of being a superhero, but I also feel there is some truth to this, according to psychology everyone of us when we go to work or anyplace outside we tend to put on a mask to blend in to our social structure and hide our real persona because we don't want to reveal or open up to anyone unless ready or gain a certain amount of trust.

And it's great as he plays Superman, whom is heroic in every sense. He's got lots of sharp charisma, so he's got plenty of good and memorable lines. But what I love about him is just the strong humanity he welds inside.

Yes, he's an alien from a different planet and he has power where he can just about do anything, but he's exercises a continuous know that he shouldn't misuse his powers that if he does there are dire consequences, as an old saying goes "just because you can do a thing, doesn't always mean you should."

But most of all remembers how human he is, as he's lived among them most to all his life he also has the same feelings and his wants and needs. There is one quote from his that is my favorite that stuck with me "All those things I can do, all those powers and I couldn't even save him." I know that's pretty sad, but I felt that really summed up the core of what ever hero and superhero truly is human, that there really are limitations in heroism that we can only do the very best we can to save whoever we can. This also help in emphasizing with him, as there is truth to him how deep within us where capable of greatness or having it inside ourselves to do what is right no matter the odds but most importantly how there is a wonder person inside us.

Margot Kidder as Lois Lane is solid despite the fact she a little low on my list of favorite live action Lois Lane's. Her character like the character is an aggressive go getter that has big ambitions of being a great reporter. Though that go getter attitude is also sort of her Achilles heel as she lands in a lot of really sticky situations, though you could also say it could be luck in disguise as it a way of always meeting Superman. And the chemistry between both of them is pretty good, really bought there was attraction going on.

Gene Hackman is great as Lex Luthor whom is one of my favorite fictional antagonists, this is one of my favorite roles from the actor, like in the comic he's a villain you love to hate, despite how really bad he is you still at the same time have fun with the guy. Personally, I mainly like the latter version of Lex Luthor whom is a villain more in a grey area. This version is more the golden age version as he's just the plain evil supervillain archetype whom is comical but menacing at the same time. Lex here is a sociopath that will do anything to make his grand dark ambitions reality, human lives to him are just obstacles that need to be eliminated or necessary sacrifices, you could see he lives by the dictum, "you want to make an omelet, you've got to crack some eggs." But in a twisted perverse sense.

He's also a egocentric, he's like a real diva that wants his name everywhere like in one scene where he is showing off his grand plan to Superman it's the same with almost every villain in a James Bond film, sort of their way of flaunting their ego toward them but at the same time their way of challenging the protagonist by presenting them with a challenge they can't possibly beat.

But one thing I really like about him is how smart he is, much as Professor Morarity is in Sherlock Homes as he uses his sharp wits as his weapon against Superman. Really like the verbal interplay between both Superman and him is was sort of like a chess match, it's suspenseful because we unfortunately know Lex already has the winning move and we're hoping Superman can uncover it in time. Of course, this character just has some of the best and memorable lines like the one from the library scene and the other when he has Superman cornered "when it came time to cash in your chips, this diseased maniac became your banker." That quote just oozes with menace and rings true because for where there are heroes and superheroes there will always be villains and supervillains waiting.

The action is pretty solid, it's not exactly wall to wall action as most of it consists mainly rescue missions and emergency work. But I personally didn't mind, it's also something I don't see much in the comics anymore which is kind of strange considering their heroes and superheroes. Personally, I find it's kind of a nice break from the constantly typical pounding the baddies which is frequent in just about every comic. But most importantly we saw Superman at work using his superpowers which are awesome the effects on them are top notch, almost as if he could exist in reality. There are a lot of crowd pleasing moments in the action from seeing him rescue Lois Lane for the first time and catch that Helicopter, I remember my mom who saw it in the theater said that the audience cheered during that scene, and it's understandable why I love moments like that in a theater those don't happen much. Or even that nuclear missile chase which I always found really cool, I remember being on the edge of my seat think, "C'mon Superman, get there."

Well, I've said enough for anyone that is a rookie starting out this film is a good place to start with the series. Or an experienced comic book reader or movie watcher this is a vintage classic worth flying toward.

This film like the man of steel himself soar high in legend and into our hearts.

Rating: 4 stars
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The Legendary Man of Steel
stormhawk201921 August 2018
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 film 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!
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New Oscar Category- Best design in movie titles
darinwalter-3470122 June 2018
Winner of all time, Richard Greenberg for "Superman" The Movie. Genius, original, and breathtaking.
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Bored_Dragon26 April 2017
Warning: Spoilers
If we ignore the fact that the opening and ending credits are suspiciously similar to those in the "Star Wars" and a dumb idea that you could turn back time by spinning the planet in opposite direction, this is one super movie. The first real superhero movie and the foundation of the genre that has enormous expansion these days. But even after a great number of superhero movies that followed and huge technology advancement, in my opinion, this movie still has no match. The moment when Superman shows up in costume for the first time, revealing the famous S on his chest, is one of the most recognizable and famous scenes in the history of cinematography.

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Watched it again
godsprincess-626198 October 2015
I recently just watched Superman again for a class and I must say, IT IS SO MUCH BETTER THAN MAN OF STEEL! I thought the characters were more memorable, the story line was better and it was just better overall. Of course the special effects weren't as good as the newest one, but that's pretty obvious, what with all the technology we have now. However, when I watched Man of Steel, I remember being bored through a lot of it. When I watched Superman I wasn't. It didn't matter how cheesy it seems now, it was still a good story and it was wonderfully entertaining. I recommend this movie to anyone, especially people interested in classics.
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I believed a man could fly
Tyson1416 August 2014
As soon as I heard that Christopher Reeve died the first thing that came to my mind was my favourite scene in "Superman." This is when Clark Kent has spied Lois Lane dangling from a helicopter atop the "Daily Planet" building, discovers that there are no phone booths in which to change in the modern version of Metropolis, and as he runs across the street he opens his shirt and for the first time we see the big "S" that stands for truth, justice, and the American way. The second thing I thought about was the director, whose name I forget, who was chastised by a friend for considering Reeve for a serious film since the actor had played Superman. The director's rejoinder was to stop and consider how hard it is to play an American icon like Superman (if you want more evidence of that consider how hard it is has been to cast the role for the 2006 film "Superman Returns," and that apparently they have settled on actor James Caviezel, who knows a lot about playing a character considered sacred by a lot of people). Of course, the final thing I thought about with regard to Reeve was that he was never going to benefit from the tireless lobbying he did for spinal cord injury patients ever since he began the most famous quadriplegic on the face of the planet after that horrible equestrian accident in 1995.

The tagline for the 1978 film "Superman" was that "You'll Believe a Man Can Fly!" but the impressive thing was that audience were willing to accept a relative unknown in the role of the Man of Steel. Reeve did not even get top billing; in fact he was billed third behind Marlon Brando as Jor-El and Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor. Yet the whole movie hinged on Reeve, not only as the heroic Superman but as the purposefully bumbling Clakr Kent. Of course it was a put on and with Reeve it was clear, as it would become in the DC comics about "Superman" after this movie came out, that Superman was the real person and Clark Kent the faux identity (I also liked the idea that in addition to the glasses on/off variable Clark and Superman part their hair on opposite sides).

Richard Donner filmed "Superman" and a lot of "Superman II" at the same time and at one point it was apparently supposed to be one giant movie (think "The Three Mustketeers" and "The Four Musketeers"). But there is decidedly a sense in which "Superman" is three different films. The first, taking place on Krypton, is a solemn and almost sacred recreation of the events that led Jor-El to put the infant Kal-El into a spacecraft and send him to Earth to survive the death of Krytpon. The second, set in Smallville, Kansas, is pure Americana as young Clark Kent (Jeff East) has to deal with the idea that he was literally put on Earth to do something more important than score touchdowns, a lesson imparted by Pa Kent (Glenn Ford, in a wonderful bit part that deserved at least serious Oscar nomination).

However, most of the film takes place in Metropolis and has a decidedly comic tone that is different from the first two parts. Clark Kent is a klutz, Perry White (Jackie Cooper) a blowhard, and Lois Lane (Margot Kidder) cannot spell. Hackman's Lex Luthor has fun going over the top, playing out his grandiose plans to his dumb and dumber tag team, Miss Teschmacher (Valerie Perrine) and Otis (Ned Beatty). No wonder Reeve's Superman comes out of this one looking so good; he is clearly taking what is going on in this movie far more seriously than anyone else. The sequence in the film is when Superman follows up his rescue of Lois with a series of heroic deeds that go from saving Air Force One to rescuing a cat up a tree. Certainly this Superman has more of a sense of humour than his predecessors, although clearly in an All-American sort of way. The ending is big in a comic book sort of way, but all the larger than life stuff is grounded in the moment when Superman weeps over the body of Lois.

Watch "Superman" and "Superman II" again some time to remember how good Reeve was in the role. But to honour his memory skip the third and fourth "Superman" movies. If you want more of Reeve then go check out "Someone in Time" (another instance of where his acting ability overcomes the problems of believing you can "think" yourself back in time), "Deathtrap" and "The Remains of the Day." If you want more of the Superman mythos the first two seasons of "Smallville" are out on DVD, which connects nicely to the second act of this film, while if you catch repeats of "Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" you can see the stars finally get uncrossed for the love triangle that was made up of only two people.
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The One and Only Superman Origin!
mrrockey30 July 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Superman: The Movie is where it all started. Without this film, the superhero movie genre would never have even started. Yes, there were some films that helped the genre along the way such as Tim Burton's Batman, Blade, X-Men, Spider-Man, and Batman Begins but this is the first superhero movie that had a huge budget, was serious in tone(with the exception of the Lex Luthor bits), and was a huge blockbuster. So knowing that, you probably already seen this film or at least know a bunch of scenes and lines from it. But with that being said, does this film still hold up after all these years?

In one word, yes. Yes, it's a little corny and dated in spots but overall it still holds up and here's why. Firstly, it's an epic. Most superhero movies today are very basic in plot structure and feel very small in scale(Iron Man, Thor, Captain America) but this film has a huge long plot and although it doesn't have a lot of action, it still fells like an epic because of the way it spans over years of his journey becoming Superman. In fact, we don't see Christopher Reeve until at least 45 minutes into the film, and yet, this film isn't boring.

The first act in the film is the story of how Krypton gets destroyed and how Jor-El sends his son, Kal-El into planet Earth. What really works about this act, is that we don't just see him launch the ship to Earth and then the planet explodes. Instead, we see the drama that Jor-El and Lara face as they realize that planet Krypton is approaching its doom and how there's nothing they can do about it. The scene where they decide to send their son to Earth is a very touching scene and it's great that the writers chose not to have them just send him away quickly as the planet's exploding to make it more exciting.

The second act in the film is the story of Kal-El, or Clark Kent as he's named by his foster parents Jonathan and Martha Kent having problems fitting in with his amazing abilities(super strength, speed, hearing etc). He wants to show the world what he can do but Jonathan wants him to keep it a secret and moments later, he dies of a heart attack. I like how while this act is dramatic, it doesn't feel too much of a downer like Man of Steel did. We get some fun stuff along the way too like when Clark runs with his super speed as fast as a train. After Jonathan dies, Clark discovers the Fortress of Solitude which is a replica of Krypton where Jor-El's consciousness reveals to him where he came from and what he was destined to do on Earth, to inspire hope in others as Superman. This scene has a bit of 70s cheese to it with the space effects going on as Jor-El's educating Clark but I love the shot of him flying out of the Fortress as Superman.

The third act is when Clark finally becomes Superman, stops a bunch of crimes, gets romantically involved with Lois Lane, and has to stop Lex Luthor's scheme of blowing up lands and taking them over. Not only does he develop the identity of Superman but he also has the alter ego of Clark Kent, a shy and clumsy reporter of Daily Planet. One thing that's different with this Clark Kent than with the previous George Reeves Clark is that he isn't a confident, upstanding guy like George was which I prefer. I mean, think about it. When all he has to disguise himself is a pair of glasses and a different way of combing his hair, he needs to create a different personality for himself. So this provides a far-fetched but entertaining way of making the audience believe that he can actually fool people like that. Christopher Reeve really shines as Superman, he's confident, charming, witty, handsome, and intimidating when he's dealing with Lex Luthor. The scene where he's interviewed by Lois is really clever and charming and results in a romantic flight set to a great John Williams score. But how's the villain?

Lex Luthor in this film has often been criticized by fans for being played by Gene Hackman in a comedic and goofy tone but you know what, I think he's hilarious! His arrogance for his intellect and his interactions with Ms. Tesmacher and Otis is just comedy genius in my opinion. But this is a villain all up to taste, if you don't like villains that are played for laughs instead of menace then this movie might not be for you. But I think he fits perfectly into the tone of this film.

So those are the things I love about this movie but here's some things that bothered me. The film is essentially about responsibility and Jor- El even tells Clark in the Fortress not to interfere with the course of human events but he ends up spinning the Earth backwards to turn back time to save Lois from the earthquake caused by Lex's missiles. I wouldn't mind this even though it's not scientifically accurate but it bothers me how he gets no consequences from this. I also think that while the special effects looked great for the time, it doesn't look that great today. But it is 35 years old now so it's expected.

But overall, this is a great film and I highly recommend it to all comic-book fans, film fans, or just casual movie-goers. Just don't expect to see the modern Lex Luthor on film. If you want that, then watch Superman: The Animated Series instead. I give it a 8/10.
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