Superman (1978)

Switzerland, UK, USA,
143m, 151m (2000 restoration), 182m (ABC television version – 1981), 188m (KCOP television version, Los Angeles – 1994)
35mm, 70mm (blow-up), Panavision (anamorphic), Technicolor, 2.35:1
Dolby, 70mm 6-Track, English

A Swiss/British/American science fiction film directed by Richard Donner.

Plot Summary

With his home world Krypton on the edge of destruction, scientist Jor-El packs his infant son off in a spacecraft, hoping that he will reach Earth and safety. The boy, Kal-El, has tremendous physical strength and agility and, later, the power of flight thanks to the effects of Earth's yellow sun. Brought up by the kindly Ma and Pa Kent, the young boy grows up to become Clark Kent, shy and bumbling reporter for the Metropolis newspaper The Daily Planet. But he has a secret identity – as costumed crime fighter who tackles genius super villain Lex Luthor.


Directed by: Richard Donner
© Film Export A.G. MCMLXXVIII [1978]
Alexander Salkind presents. A Richard Donner film. An Alexander & Ilya Salkind production. Made by Dovemead Limited. An International Film Production Inc. picture. Distributed by Warner Bros.
Executive Producer: Ilya Salkind
Produced by: Pierre Spengler
Associate Producer: Charles F. Greenlaw
Screenplay by: Mario Puzo, David Newman, Leslie Newman & Robert Benton
Story by: Mario Puzo
Creative Consutant: Tom Mankiewicz
Additional Script Material by: Norman Enfield
Superman Created by: Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster
Photographed by: Geoffrey Unsworth
Editor: Stuart Baird
Film Editor: Michael Ellis
Music by: John Williams
Sound Mixed & Re-recorded by: Gordon K. McCallum
Sound Mixers: Roy Charman, Norman Bolland, Brian Marshall
Costumes Designed by: Jerry R. Allen, Yvonne Blake
Make-up Artists: Philip Rhodes, Basil Newall, Kay Freeborn, Graham Freeborn, Nick Maley, Sylvia Croft, Connie Reeve
Hairdressers: Pat McDermott, Joan White, Stella Rivers, Cathy Kevany
Creative Supervisor of Make Up & Special Visuals: Stuart Freeborn
Creative Supervisor & Director of Special Effects: Colin Chilvers
Creative Supervisor of Optical Visual Effects: Roy Field
Creative Supervisor of Mattes and Composities: Les Bowie
Creative Director of Process Photography: Denys Coop
Model Effects Directed & Created by: Derek Meddings
Zoptic Special Effects by: Zoran Perisic
Production Designer: John Barry

Marlon Brando (Jor-El)
Gene Hackman (Lex Luthor)
Christopher Reeve (Superman/Clark Kent)
Ned Beatty (Otis)
Jackie Cooper (Perry White)
Glenn Ford (Pa Kent)
Trevor Howard (1st Elder)
Margot Kidder (Lois Lane)
Jack O'Halloran (Non)
Valerie Perrine (Eve Teschmacher)
Maria Schell (Vond-Ah)
Terence Stamp (General Zod)
Phyllis Thaxter (Ma Kent)
Susannah York (Lara)
Jeff East (young Clark Kent)
Marc McClure (Jimmy Olsen)
Sarah Douglas (Ursa)
Harry Andrews (2nd Elder)

Alternative Titles

Superman: The Movie
Superman: el film
– Spanish title
Supermann – Norwegian title
Super-Homem – Portugese title
Stålmannen – Swedish title

Superman II (1980)
Superman III (1983)
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)

Extracts included in
Here's Looking at You, Warner Bros. (1991)
Hollywoodism: Jews, Movies, and the American Dream (1998)
Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994)

See also
Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1993)
The New Batman/Superman Adventures (1997)
Smallville (2001-2011)
Supergirl (1984)
Superman (1988)
Superman (1996)
Superboy (1988)



  • Films in Review vol.30 no.2 (February 1979) pp.119-120 – review (by Jim Beaver)
  • Halls of Horror no.27 p.27 – note
  • Infinity no.32 (2021) pp.48-52 – illustrated interview with Richard Donner (Richard Donner: A super talent by Calum Waddell)
  • Screen International no.137 (6-12 May 1978) p.12 – credits (In production)
  • Screen International no.223 (12-19 January 1980) p.12 -credits (Post production – January)
  • Screen International no.228 (16-23 February 1980) p.9 – note (World news desk: Germany by Richard Pohler)
  • Screen International no.231 (8-15 March 1980) p.14 – illustrated article (Production facilities guide '80: Zoptic takes off in a big way by Adrian Hodges)
  • TV Times (Thames/LWT) 24 December 1982-7 January 1983 p.54 – review (Your Christmas and New Year Films by David Quinlan)


  • Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Science Fiction by Phil Hardy (ed) p.344
  • BFI Screen Guides: 100 Science Fiction Films by Barry Keith Grant pp.153-154
  • The Encyclopedia of on Film and Television by John Kenneth Muir pp.574-575
  • Film Review 1979-1980 by F. Maurice Speed p.157
  • Horror and Science Fiction Films II by Donald C. Willis p.379-380
  • Nuclear Movies: A Filmography by Mick Broderick p.86
  • Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Film Sequels, Series, and Remakes by Kim R. Holston and Tom Winchester p.461-463
  • Science Fiction Films of the Seventies by Craig W. Anderson pp.198-202
  • Trick Cinematography by R.M. Hayes pp.229-234
  • Variety Science-Fiction Movies by Julian Brown (ed.) p.106-107 – illustrated credits, review
  • The World of Fantasy Films by Richard Myers p.11