Superman: The Movie (1978)

Genres - Action, Science Fiction  |   Sub-Genres - Master Criminal Films, Superhero Film  |   Release Date - Dec 15, 1978 (USA)  |   Run Time - 150 min.  |   Countries - UK, USA  |   MPAA Rating - PG
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A rousing big-budget spectacle of the highest order, 1978's Superman succeeds thanks to its snappy pace, a witty script and a slew of memorable performances. Director Richard Donner wanted an unknown for the tricky title role; Christopher Reeve fits the bill with a finely nuanced performance, poking fun at the Superman mystique without diminishing its power. The reliable Gene Hackman steals just about every scene he's in as smarmy archenemy Lex Luthor. In a smaller but no less memorable role, Marlon Brando was reportedly paid close to $4 million dollars for his ten-minute cameo as The Man of Steel's father. Superman proved to be another hit for Donner, following 1976's The Omen; the film would inspire three sequels of descending quality (though many argue that the second installment is in fact superior to this one).