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Superman: The Movie [1978]

Director:Richard Donner
Writer:David Newman [II]
Leslie Newman
Mario Puzo
Robert Benton
Tom Mankiewicz
Composer:John Williams
Length:143 minutes
(2 hours 23 minutes)
MPAA Rating:PG
Sorting Category:Graphic Novel
IMDB Rating:7.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating:93%
Amazon Rating:4.5/5 stars
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Synopsis: After the explosion of his home planet, Kal-El is sent to earth where he is found and cared for by a loving couple, until he learns of his true birthright.

Reaction: This is a wonderful way to start off the superman series on the big screen.

Personal Rating: 8/10

Richard Donner => Director
David Newman [II] => Writer
Leslie Newman => Writer
Mario Puzo => Writer
Robert Benton => Writer
Tom Mankiewicz => Writer
John Williams => Composer
Jerry Siegel => Characters
Joe Shuster => Characters
Aaron Smolinski => Baby Clark Kent
Christopher Reeve => Superman / Clark Kent
Colin Skeaping => Pilot
David Baxt => Burglar
Diane Sherry => Lana Lang
Gene Hackman => Lex Luthor
George Harris II => Patrolman Mooney
Glenn Ford => Jonathan Kent
Jack O'Halloran => Non
Jackie Cooper => Perry White
Jeff East => Young Clark Kent
John Hollis => 4th Elder
John Ratzenberger => Controller #1
Larry Hagman => Major
Lee Quigley => Baby Kal-El (placed in capsule)
Marc McClure => Jimmy Olsen
Margot Kidder => Lois Lane
Marlon Brando => Jor-El
Michael Ensign => Newscaster #3
Ned Beatty => Otis
Phyllis Thaxter => Martha Kent
Rex Everhart => Desk Sergeant
Rex Reed => Rex Reed
Sarah Douglas => Ursa
Steve Kahan => Detective Armus (as Stephen Kahan)
Susannah York => Lara
Terence Stamp => General Zod
Valerie Perrine => Eve Teschmacher
Weston Gavin => Mugger

Random Trivia For This Title:

  • Gene Hackman initially balked at wearing a skull cap to portray the bald Lex Luthor, preferring instead to wear a series of increasingly silly wigs, designed to point out the obviousness of Luthor's baldness. Hackman eventually relented, agreeing to wear the skull cap in one scene, his last in the picture. The wigs worn by Luthor throughout the film are visible in his underground lair during the bathing sequence.
  • As a nod to the original comics, Clark Kent is seen briefly considering a phone booth as a place to convert into his alter-ego for the first time, before deciding on another solution.
  • Christopher Reeve worked out so much during the making of the film that the traveling matte shots taken of him at the beginning of the shoot did not match the later shots, and had to be re-taken.
  • Much of the footage for what would become Superman II was written and shot simultaneously with the original. Before shooting was complete for the sequel, however, director Richard Donner was fired and replaced with Richard Lester, who re-shot most of the footage directed by Donner.
  • Numerous actors were considered for the part of Superman/Clark Kent: Warren Beatty, James Caan, Kris Kristofferson, Nick Nolte, Robert Redford, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jon Voight, with the front-runners being Nolte and Voight after the role was turned down by Beatty and Redford. Among the unknowns tested for the role were Ilya Salkind's wife's dentist (footage of the dentist testing for the part of Superman can, in fact, be seen in the supplemental section of the DVD). Eventually, the Salkinds cast an almost unknown actor they kept coming back to from earlier in their search - Christopher Reeve (who had only one other film and a television soap opera to his credit).
  • The closing titles credit five different second unit directors. According to Richard Donner, at one point there were seven units filming simultaneously.
  • Among the actresses who screen tested for the role of Lois Lane were Anne Archer, Lesley Ann Warren, Deborah Raffin, [?] Susan Blakely and Stockard Channing.
  • Clark Kent's and Superman's hair part on opposite sides.
  • The credits sequence cost more than most films made up to that point.
  • 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) that he had just completed did at the box office. The movie was a huge success, and Spielberg went on to other projects.