Box art for Superman: The Movie

Superman: The Movie

action & adventure, children & family, romance

A new, updated version of the popular comic book hero "Superman."

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

ON for kids age 8
4 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
Educational value
1 out of 5
2 out of 5
Positive messages
4 out of 5
Positive role models
4 out of 5
Sexy Stuff
1 out of 5
Violence & scariness
3 out of 5

Super-nostalgic superhero adventure still soars.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that many characters are in peril before Superman saves the day, including a school bus full of kids teetering off the Golden Gate Bridge, two coasts threatened by a missle launch, and Lois who is buried alive after an earthquake. Superman can't save his adopted dad from a heart attack, however, and is shown mourning his death. There is some smoking in the Daily Planet newsroom typical of the '70s and a few swear words. Superman fights for "truth, justice, and the American way" -- your basic superhero role model.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about favorite superhero movies. What makes a good superhero movie? What makes Lex Luthor one of the best villains?
  • Families can also talk about different versions of the Superman story. And why do you think in the last century he fought for the "American way" and in this one he becomes more globally minded?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

Top Critic Reviews

Rotten: The film is best when it takes itself seriously, worst when it takes the easy way out in giggly camp -- as it does, finally and fatally, when Lex Luthor enters the action.

- Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader, Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Fresh: ...the film has aged incredibly poorly in the years since its 1978 debut.

- David Nusair, Reel Film Reviews, Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Fresh: The film ranks among the greatest crowd pleasers in cinema history, an achievement it will surely hold for a long time.

- Felix Gonzalez Jr., DVD Review, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Audience Reviews

5 stars

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!

- fb733768972, Saturday, June 15, 2013

4 stars

I've honestly never been a big "Superman" fan. But with "Man of Steel" set to come out next week, I figured I would break open a "Superman" blu ray box set I have and rewatch all of the movies(even though I don't remember seeing any of them except the last one). The version I watched of the original was the extended cut, so I'm not really sure what the differences are with the theatrical version, but it does feel really long at over 2 and a half hours. Also, this was made in 1978, so it's pretty dated, but not unwatchable dated. The effects don't hold up, but the story is great. It's an origin story, turned into Superman trying to stop Lex Luthor from destroying the entire west coast. The cast of this movie is absolutely amazing for the time it was released. Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Ned Beatty, Margot Kidder, and of course Christopher Reeve. Reeve really was an amazing Superman, and his performance holds up better than anything else in this movie. Also, a small piece of trivia that I didn't know. But this was written by Mario Puzo, aka the man who wrote "The Godfather" trilogy. When compared to modern day comic book movies, this obviously comes up short. But, when you consider the time it was made, and how well it's aged, it's still very good. Also, for how old the movie is, the transfer on Blu Ray is pretty darn good. Great way to get prepared for the new movie, and perfect to introduce kids to "Superman" who haven't seen any of the movies.

- fb100000145236770, Saturday, June 8, 2013

3 stars

Richard Donner (The Omen, Lethal Weapons) set out to make 70's audiences believe that a man CAN fly. Armed with a big budget and a charismatic cast, Donner delivers the first superhero epic that recounts the Man of Tomorrow's origins and his encounters with his first nemesis, Lex Luthor. The story can be bloated, a bit un-even in tone (especially when the film turns towards a campy tone during the third act) and contains one of the most idiotic instances of a des ex machine ending ever; but delightful humor and memorable Superman moments are around every corner. The large-scale special effects may be a tad dated (some of the models look a tad plasticy) but the flying sequences still look impressive even today, especially considering it was done before the days of CGI. However, the ultimate element that makes the affair worthwhile is the wonderful cast. Christopher Reeve makes the character leap off the comic pages with his balance of good-hearted nature and emotional depth. Margot Kidder plays Lois Lane and she has a fantastic chemistry with Reeve. Gene Hackman's interpretation of Luthor may not be the most literal, but he nails every comedic note to the point that this can be forgiven (enough to make you excuse the villain's underwhelming and ridiculous real estate scheme). The legacy of this movie should not be underestimated; it established to a wider audience that superhero movies could be more than silly camp-romp like the Adam West Batman TV show.

- fb100002384654145, Wednesday, June 5, 2013