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According to production notes in AMPAS library files, Superman was alternately known as Superman ’76, Superman – The Movie, Superman I, and Superman, Part I.
       The following text appears onscreen before the opening credits: “This picture is dedicated with love and respect to Geoffrey Unsworth. O.B.E.” Unsworth, the film’s photographer, died 28 Oct 1978, shortly before the picture was released.
       The end credits include the following acknowledgements: “In memory of Terry Hill, John Bodimeade,” as well as: “The producers wish to thank: The Mayor’s Office for Motion Pictures & Television, New York; The New Mexico State Film Commission; The Alberta Government Film Industry Development Board; Canadian Pacific Railways; The National Satellite Visual Survey Space Council for Space Photography.” The end credits state that the film was “Made by Dovemead Limited at Pinewood Studios, Iver Heath, Bucks, England. And on location in Canada & The United States of America and at Shepperton Studio Centre, England.” As the credits conclude, the following statement appears onscreen: “Next year ‘Superman II.’”
       On 8 Jul 1975, DV announced that producer Alexander Salkind and his son, executive producer Ilya Salkind, paid $3 million to acquire the film rights to Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster’s DC Comic, Superman, for a twenty-five-year period. A 29 Mar 1976 Publishers Weekly brief stated that screenwriter Mario Puzo was hired for $350,000 plus five percent of the film’s profits to adapt the comic book. However, Puzo’s screenplay was initially rejected when it deviated from the well-established Superman myth. A 22 Dec 1978 NYT article reported ... More Less

According to production notes in AMPAS library files, Superman was alternately known as Superman ’76, Superman – The Movie, Superman I, and Superman, Part I.
       The following text appears onscreen before the opening credits: “This picture is dedicated with love and respect to Geoffrey Unsworth. O.B.E.” Unsworth, the film’s photographer, died 28 Oct 1978, shortly before the picture was released.
       The end credits include the following acknowledgements: “In memory of Terry Hill, John Bodimeade,” as well as: “The producers wish to thank: The Mayor’s Office for Motion Pictures & Television, New York; The New Mexico State Film Commission; The Alberta Government Film Industry Development Board; Canadian Pacific Railways; The National Satellite Visual Survey Space Council for Space Photography.” The end credits state that the film was “Made by Dovemead Limited at Pinewood Studios, Iver Heath, Bucks, England. And on location in Canada & The United States of America and at Shepperton Studio Centre, England.” As the credits conclude, the following statement appears onscreen: “Next year ‘Superman II.’”
       On 8 Jul 1975, DV announced that producer Alexander Salkind and his son, executive producer Ilya Salkind, paid $3 million to acquire the film rights to Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster’s DC Comic, Superman, for a twenty-five-year period. A 29 Mar 1976 Publishers Weekly brief stated that screenwriter Mario Puzo was hired for $350,000 plus five percent of the film’s profits to adapt the comic book. However, Puzo’s screenplay was initially rejected when it deviated from the well-established Superman myth. A 22 Dec 1978 NYT article reported that Puzo’s early version portrayed “Clark Kent” as a television reporter with a “crime van” and “Lois Lane” as a meteorologist, or “weather girl.” “Lex Luthor,” who was rebranded “Luther Lux,” had a headquarters that was “protected by a mirrored maze.” On 24 Feb 1976, a DV news item announced that Robert Benton, David Newman, and his wife, Leslie Newman, had been hired to rewrite Puzo’s script. According to NYT, the writers restored Superman’s familiar elements, while heightening the special effects on Krypton and baby “Kal-El’s” journey to Earth. Unbeknown to the Salkinds, Benton and David Newman had worked on a 1966 Broadway musical adaptation of the comic and were familiar with the story. When Benton later left the project to write and direct The Late Show (1977, see entry), the Newmans worked on “six or seven rewrites,” as well as the script to the sequel, Superman II (1981, see entry), which was to be filmed at the same time. Although a 1 Aug 1977 Time article stated that Tom Mankiewicz was hired to polish both scripts during principal photography, he is credited onscreen as a creative consultant, not a writer.
       While a 9 Aug 1975 LAT article reported that Peter Yates, Alan Pakula , Irwin Allen, Ken Russell, Maximilian Schell, and Roman Polanski were being considered for director, the 30 Oct 1975 DV announced that Guy Hamilton was hired to direct. According to LAT, the picture was budgeted at $15 million, but the figure jumped to $20 million when the film and its sequel were scheduled to be shot “back-to-back,” as reported in the 5 Apr 1976 New York. An Oct 1977 Sundancer article noted that the Salkinds had applied the strategy of photographing a film and its sequel at the same time during the production of The Three Musketeers (1974, see entry) and The Four Musketeers (1975, see entry), but actors were infuriated when they were only paid for one film. In the aftermath, a “Salkind Clause” in actors’ contracts was established “for the first time in industry history,” stipulating that “an actor’s services” were “for one film only.” The budget continued to increase throughout production; while the 27 Nov 1978 Time reported that the film was made for $35 million, a Dec 1978 Los Angeles article estimated the cost at $50 million. According to an 8 Jul 1987 Var article, the escalating costs of special effects and reshoots caused by a change in directors pushed the budget into the $70 to $80 million range. In 1981, producer Pierre Spengler went on the record to state that the combined budgets of the film and its sequel totaled $109 million.
       After a two-year casting process, according to production notes, a 5 May 1976 Var news item announced that “unconfirmed but reliable” sources revealed Burt Reynolds as the next Superman. However, several months later, an 8 Jul 1975 DV news item noted that following actors were being considered for the starring role: Paul Newman, Clint Eastwood, Dustin Hoffman, and Al Pacino. The Aug 1976 edition of Cinemaphile stated that Ryan O’Neal and Terrance Hill were rumored to be in the running for the lead role, while Marlon Brando had been cast as Superman’s father “Jor-El.” Brando’s salary was $2.25 million for “twelve days’ work,” according to Time. As casting continued, the 9 Sep 1976 Beverly Hills Post reported that James Caan passed on the opportunity to play the title role because he did not want to work on two movies at the same time, noting that the Salkinds’ previous two-film shoot was decried by the Screen Actors Guild. Olympic gold-medalist Bruce Jenner was considered, but rejected for photographing too young, according to an 18 Sep 1976 LAT brief. The 15 Jan 1977 LAT stated that Robert Redford, Perry King, Sylvester Stallone, James Brolin, Neil Diamond, and college basketball player Denny Miller were also considered for the title role. The Dec 1978 issue of Los Angeles noted that Jon Voight was rejected because his celebrity was considered too distracting.
       On 15 Feb 1977, DV announced that relatively unknown New York City-based actor Christopher Reeve was selected for the role of Superman. While Time reported that Reeve trained with a “former Mr. Universe” to gain twenty pounds and add “two inches to his chest and to his biceps,” a 12 Dec 1978 Us Weekly article named Reeve’s trainer as David Prowse, who performed the role of “Darth Vader” in Star Wars. (1977, see entry). Production notes reported that Reeve transformed his body with a daily regimen of ninety minutes of trampoline and two hours of weight lifting, supplemented with a high-protein diet. Us Weekly noted that Reeve devoted himself to weight training because he did not want to wear a “Styrofoam muscle suit under the Superman uniform.”
       A 19 Feb 1977 LAT news item reported that the filmmakers’ search for the leading man had concluded and actresses Susan Sarandon, Jessica Lange and Stockard Channing were under consideration for the role of “Lois Lane.” Los Angeles added Lesley Ann Warren, Susan Blakely and Deborah Raffin to the list of screen-tested actresses and on 9 Mar 1977, LAT announced that Anne Archer was hired. However, Margot Kidder was cast in the role shortly before principal photography began.
       As stated in the 8 Jul 1975 DV, the following actors were considered for the role of Lex Luthor: Yul Brynner, Jack Palance, Lee Marvin and Telly Savalas, but Gene Hackman was cast for approximately $ 2.25 million for three months’ work, according to Time. A 2 Aug 1977 HR news item announced the casting of two veteran actors from the 1948 Superman serial. While actress Noel Neill, who played Lois Lane in the serial, was cast in the role of Lois Lane’s mother and Kirk Alyn, who played Superman, was cast as Lane’s father, neither actor or role is credited onscreen.
       Although a 30 Oct 1975 DV news item announced that principal photography was scheduled to begin 29 Feb 1976 in Los Angeles, CA, the production start date was pushed back several times. On 1 Sep 1976, Var stated that filming would begin early 1977 at studios in Italy and then move to locations in Australia and the U.S. However, Brando was not welcome in Italy after his “obscenity conviction” resulting from Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1972 French-Italian film, Last Tango in Paris, and the producers were forced to change locations to Pinewood/Shepperton Studios in England, according to a 3 Nov 1976 DV brief. In turn, the switch created problems for Guy Hamilton, who maintained a “tax exile” status in England that prohibited him from remaining in the country for longer than thirty days. When the director opted to maintain his exemption from taxes and left the project, Richard Donner was hired to replace him, as announced in a 5 Nov 1976 DV news item. On 16 Feb 1977, Var reported that the production start date was scheduled for 28 Mar 1977, with shooting to occupy “eight of the nine stages at Shepperton Studios,” but Los Angeles stated that principal photography did not begin until Apr 1976. On the first day of filming, Brando performed a lengthy monologue in one take, despite suffering from a cold, 105-degree heat under the stage lights, and a thirty-pound costume, according to production notes. Superman was filmed over two-years in locations including New York City, Gallup, NM, Washington, D.C., Alberta, Canada, and England’s Pinewood Studios. On 2 Aug 1977, DV reported that the production was scheduled spend five weeks in Calgary, Canada, shooting “special effects at missile sites” and an HR article published the same day stated that sequences “depicting Lois Lane’s childhood on the farm” were also shot in Calgary. No such scenes of Lane’s childhood appear in the film.
       According to the 27 Nov 1978 Time article, production designer John Barry had eleven weeks to “design and build Krypton.” Barry based his ideas on “a book about crystal photography,” which displayed “futuristic shapes such a planet might contain.”
       The 1 Aug 1977 Time article stated that Reeve had twenty-five different costumes, including approximately six capes specifically designed for “standing, sitting, flying and coming in for a landing.” The flying cape was “stretched out with wires” so that “it appeared to be billowing in the wind.” A 100-foot crane with wires lifted Reeve fifty feet in the air to simulate flying in some sequences. Los Angeles reported that the five-minute sequence of Superman flying Lois around the New York City skyline took three months to film. The “aerial ballet” was filmed in close up from “every conceivable angle” without doubles or stunt people.
       Both DV and HR reported huge box-office earnings following the film’s release. According to a 19 Dec 1978 DV article, the film set a record for “the third highest opening weekend domestic box-office figures in film history” behind Jaws 2 (1978, see entry) and Grease (1978, see entry), earning $7, 465,343 in 501 theaters. A brief in the 26 Dec 1978 HR stated that the film earned a “record-breaking” $12,044,352 after its first week of domestic release. Three weeks later, on 8 Jan 1979, DV reported that the film continued its earning streak of $47,333,567 from 805 prints, marking a new industry high. A Warner Bros. press release in AMPAS library files announced that the film earned $64,423,042 at 821 theaters in thirty-three days. According to the 8 Jul 1987 Var article, Alexander Salkind claimed he was in debt $15 million despite the film and its sequel’s huge revenues from worldwide and ancillary markets.
       Review were mostly positive. On 13 Dec 1978, DV praised the “delightful” performances of Reeve, Kidder, Hackman, Valerie Perrine and Ned Beatty and the expertise of cinematographer Geoffrey Unsworth, production designer Barry and the “bold score” of John Williams. A NYT review found Reeve and Kidder “charming,” and the performances of the supporting cast high caliber. Brando was praised for capturing both humor and gravitas in his performance. The special effects were recognized for being “mostly very good.” While the 25 Dec 1978 Village Voice noted that the film’s charm hinged on Kidder’s “fully articulated character,” the 8 Jan 1979 New York criticized the film for being a “mishmash of styles and moods.” The 15 Dec 1978 LAT stated that the film was hampered by a weak script and found Superman’s flying repetitive.
       As noted in a 3 Apr 1980 LAT article, several legal and financial difficulties emerged as the film was released. During its intensive, $7 million promotional campaign, Warner Bros. sold the picture “sight unseen” to 750 U.S. theaters; however, Alexander Salkind needed to compensate his backers and requested that Warner Bros. pay $15 million “to purchase additional distribution rights for ‘certain foreign territories,’” implying that he would withhold the negative as leverage. According to LAT, the “additional distribution rights” were worth only a “fraction” of Salkind’s asking price, but Warner Bros. was under pressure to make the film available to exhibitors by the 15 Dec 1978 opening. When Salkind reminded the studio that his contract stipulated a 31 Dec 1978 release date and he was legally entitled to keep the negative until that time, Warner Bros. agreed, ultimately recouping their losses and more; the film reportedly grossed as much as $60 million overseas at the time of the article. Arguing that he had initially “undersold” the picture’s foreign distribution rights, Salkind denied that he used the film as “ransom.”
       Shortly after the Warner Bros. deal was signed, Salkind was arrested in Switzerland for allegedly stealing $20 million from a German company owned by William Foreman, a Los Angeles theater mogul, but Salkind won immunity by exploiting his credentials as a Costa Rican “diplomatic attaché.” In an ongoing civil complaint, Foreman accused Salkind of forcing the German company to embezzle funds to benefit “Salkind-controlled firms” and the alleged misappropriations were to be compensated to Foreman with twenty-five percent of the producer’s net gross from Superman. The criminal case was dropped and a settlement ensued, but the details were not publically recorded. However, Salkind told LAT that he agreed to pay Foreman $23.4 million in a “buy-out” of Foreman’s share of the film.
       A 28 Jan 1979 LAHExam article reported that Mario Puzo filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court on 11 Nov 1978, alleging that Alexander Salkind’s Panamanian company, Film Trust, had violated his contract by failing to deliver “a detailed statement breaking down the cost of production ninety days after the movie’s completion.” Puzo argued that this statement would allow him to be properly compensated for his five percent share of the film’s gross. In addition, the suit maintained that the Salkinds improperly refused to pay Puzo a percentage of the film’s foreign gross, and illegally published portions of Puzo’s screenplay without his permission.
       On 13 Dec 1978, two days before the film’s release, Marlon Brando sued the Salkinds for $50 million, arguing that the producers orchestrated and carried out “a fraudulent scheme to withhold a substantial portion of… revenues.” As Brando’s contract awarded him approximately sixteen percent of the film’s box office gross worldwide, he maintained that he would be denied his share of the assets. However, a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge rejected Brando’s petition to prevent the defendants from distributing monies accrued from the film’s distribution until a proper “accounting of revenues” had been made, as noted in a 3 Jan 1979 Var news item. A 13 Sep 1981 LAT article stated that Brando signed his contract without full disclosure; the Salkinds had vested film’s distribution rights in Export, a Swiss company owned by a “longtime friend,” who was granted “50% interest in eventual profits.” Arguing that Brando would not have agreed to the deal if he were privy to this information, the suit also contended that Warner Bros. “embarked on a program” of guarantees, payments and shares to investors “knowing full well the precarious financial position of the entire Superman venture.” Ultimately, the studio gained creative and financial control over the Superman series, negating any earlier financial agreements between Brando and the film’s producers. Brando’s suit alleged that Warner Bros. did not intend to compensate the actor until it “had repaid to itself its investment in the project,” including distribution costs and “every percentage point of its whopping participation in the movies’ revenues.”
       Salkind denied any wrongdoing or participation in premeditated schemes to defraud Brando and Puzo. The outcomes of the lawsuits have not been determined.
       A Warner Bros. press release in AMPAS library files stated the film would be honored with a Golden Halo Award on 7 Feb 1979 by the Southern California Motion Picture Council, a nonprofit organization promoting the best in motion pictures. The organization cited the film as a ”thoroughly delightful all-family, all-entertainment gem of a film.” The Council also recognized the film for its “outstanding photography, music, casting and a beautifully done story by Mario Puzo.”
       The film received three Academy Award nominations, including Film Editing, Music (Original Score), and Sound. Superman received an honorary Special Achievement Award from the Academy for Visual Effects. Additionally, John Williams received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Score – Motion Picture.
       Superman ranked #26 on AFI’s Hero List for the 100 Years… 100 Heroes & Villians television show in 2003.
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BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Beverly Hills Post
9 Sep 1976.
---
Cinemaphile
Aug 1976.
---
Daily Variety
8 Jul 1975.
---
Daily Variety
30 Oct 1975.
---
Daily Variety
24 Feb 1976.
---
Daily Variety
3 Nov 1976.
---
Daily Variety
5 Nov 1976.
---
Daily Variety
15 Feb 1977.
---
Daily Variety
2 Aug 1977.
---
Daily Variety
13 Dec 1978
p. 3, 12.
Daily Variety
19 Dec 1978
p. 1, 22.
Daily Variety
8 Jan 1979
p.1, 30.
Daily Variety
9 Feb 1979
p. 1, 24.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Aug 1977.
---
Hollywood Reporter
13 Dec 1978
p. 16, 24.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Dec 1978.
---
LAHExam
28 Jan 1979
Section E, p. 1, 5.
Los Angeles
Dec 1978
pp. 244-249, 405, 444.
Los Angeles Times
9 Aug 1975.
---
Los Angeles Times
18 Sep 1976.
---
Los Angeles Times
15 Jan 1977.
---
Los Angeles Times
19 Feb 1977.
---
Los Angeles Times
9 Mar 1977.
---
Los Angeles Times
24 Aug 1977.
---
Los Angeles Times
15 Dec 1978
Section IV, p. 1, 18.
Los Angeles Times
29 Dec 1978.
---
Los Angeles Times
3 Apr 1980
p. 1, 12-15.
Los Angeles Times
13 Sep 1981.
---
New York
5 Apr 1976.
---
New York
8 Jan 1979.
---
New York Times
15 Dec 1978
p. 15.
New York Times
22 Dec 1978.
---
New York Times
29 Dec 1978.
---
Publishers Weekly
29 Mar 1976.
---
Sundancer
Oct 1977.
---
Time
14 Apr 1975.
---
Time
1 Aug 1977
p. 64-66.
Time
27 Nov 1978
p. 60-61.
Us
12 Dec 1978
p. 24-27.
Variety
5 May 1976.
---
Variety
1 Sep 1976.
---
Variety
16 Feb 1977.
---
Variety
13 Dec 1978
p. 24.
Variety
3 Jan 1979.
---
Variety
8 Jul 1987
p. 32.
Village Voice
25 Dec 1978
p. 46.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Krypton council
Smallville
Metropolis
Superman's 1st night
Missile convoys
Missile control
Robert O'Neill
Golf course
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Richard Donner film
An Alexander & Ilya Salkind production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
2d unit dir/Asst dir
2d unit dir
2d unit dir
2d unit dir
2d unit dir
Prod mgr
Prod mgr, New York
Prod mgr, Alberta
Prod mgr, New Mexico
Asst dir & flying unit co-ord
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir, U.S.A.
Asst dir, U.S.A.
Asst dir, U.S.A.
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir, U.S.A.
2d asst dir, U.S.A.
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Story
Addl scr material
PHOTOGRAPHY
Addl photog
Model photog
Addl photog
Addl photog, New Mexico
Addl photog, Alberta
Addl photog, New York
Addl model photog
Addl model photog
Addl model photog
Addl model photog, U.S.A.
New York process plate photog
New York process stills
Aerial photog
Cam op
Cam op
Cam op
Cam op
Cam op
Cam op
Cam op
Cam op
Cam op
Cam op
Cam op, U.S.A.
Cam op, U.S.A.
Cam op, U.S.A.
Cam op, U.S.A.
Cam op, Canada
Matte cam op
Matte cam op
Wesscam photog
Cam asst
Cam asst
Cam asst
Cam asst
Cam asst
Cam asst
Cam asst
Cam asst
Cam asst, U.S.A.
Cam asst, Canada
Stills
Stills
Chief elec, Lee Electric
Chief elec, Pinewood
Elec, Lee Electric
Elec, Lee Electric
Elec, Pinewood
Elec, Pinewood
Elec, Pinewood
Elec, Pinewood
Elec, Pinewood
Aerial cam seqs
Cam equip supplied by
Lighting equip by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Supv art dir, England & New York
Supv art dir, Canada & New Mexico
Art dir
Art dir
Art dir
Art dir
Art dir
Art dir
Art dir, U.S.A.
Art dir, U.S.A.
Draughtsman
Draughtsman
Draughtsman
Draughtsman
Draughtsman
Illustrator
Illustrator
Illustrator
Modeler
Modeler
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
1st asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec, U.S.A.
Star ship by
Scenic artist
Decor & lettering artist
Const mgr
Const mgr
Const mgr, U.S.A.
Const mgr, U.S.A.
Model const mgr
Asst const mgr
Model maker
Model maker
Model maker
Model maker
Model maker
Model maker
Prop master
Prop master
Prod buyer
Prod buyer
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward supv & addl des
Addl cost
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward asst
Clark Kent's ward furnished by
Jewellery by
Watches by
MUSIC
Mus ed
Mus ed asst
Mus mixed & rec at
Mus mixed & rec by
All original compositions © 1978
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Sd mixed & re-rec
Sd ed eff
Sd ed dial
Sd ed dial
Sd ed footsteps & eff
Sd ed footsteps & eff
Asst dubbing ed
Asst dubbing ed
Asst dubbing ed
Asst dubbing ed
Asst dubbing ed
Asst dubbing ed
Asst dubbing mixer
Asst dubbing mixer
Asst dubbing mixer
Sd mixer
Sd mixer
Sd mixer
Sd mixer, U.S.A.
Sd mixer, U.S.A.
Sd mixer, Canada
Sd mixed & re-rec at
Dolby sd consultant
VISUAL EFFECTS
Creative supv & dir of spec eff
Creative supv of opt visual eff
Creative supv of mattes & composites
Creative dir of process photog
Model eff dir & created
Addl model eff
Spec visual eff des
Creative supv of make-up & spec visuals
Zoptic spec eff
Supv ed of opt & spec eff
Spec eff, Canada & New York
Spec eff, New Mexico
Asst ed of optical & spec eff
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Addl model eff
Flying systems & process projection
Process systems
Travelling matte supv
Opt liaison
Zoptic operation
Zoptic operation
Zoptic operation
Matte artist
Matte artist
Asst matte artist
Flying effects
Flying effects
Title & spec opt seq photog
Title & spec opt seq photog, Camera Effects Ltd.
Title & spec opt seq photog, Camera Effects Ltd.
Opt seqs, Oxford
Opt seqs, Oxford
Opt seqs
Video op
Video op
Main title credits
Main title credits
Main titles des
MAKEUP
Make-up artist
Make-up artist
Make-up artist
Make-up artist
Make-up artist
Make-up artist
Make-up artist
Make-up artist, U.S.A.
Make-up artist, Canada
Hairdresser
Hairdresser
Hairdresser
Hairdresser
Hairdresser, U.S.A.
Hairdresser, Canada
PRODUCTION MISC
Creative consultant
Casting
Continuity supv
Prod exec
Prod supv
Prod supv for North America
Prod supv for New Mexico
Exec asst to the prods
Exec asst to Richard Donner
Loc mgr, New York
Visual co-ord
Visual co-ord
Visual co-ord
Prod co-ord
Trainee asst
Trainee asst
Trainee asst
Trainee asst
Continuity
Continuity
Continuity, U.S.A.
Asst cont
Addl continuity
Addl continuity
Addl continuity
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst, U.S.A.
Prod asst, U.S.A.
Prod asst, Canada
Spec unit secy
Spec unit secy
Spec unit secy
Spec unit secy
Secy to the exec prod
Secy to the prod
Helicopter pilot, New Mexico
Helicopter pilot, New York
Prod accountant
Asst accountant
Pub asst
Pub asst
English casting
Chemtone seqs by
TV & audio by
Cheerios by
Sales consultant
STAND INS
Stunt co-ord
Stunt co-ord
New York stunt co-ord
Addl stunts
Addl stunts
Addl stunts
Addl stunts
Addl stunts
Addl stunts, Canada
Addl stunts, Canada
COLOR PERSONNEL
Processed by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the comic strip "Superman" by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, copyrighted by DC Comics (1933--1988).
SONGS
"Can You Read My Mind," music by John Williams, lyrics by Leslie Bricusse, performed by Margot Kidder.
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Superman '76
Superman -- The Movie
Superman I
Superman, Part 1
Release Date:
15 December 1978
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 15 December 1978
Production Date:
began April 1976 at Shepperton Studios, England
Copyright Claimant:
Film Export, A.G.
Copyright Date:
13 December 1978
Copyright Number:
PA20921
Physical Properties:
Sound
Recorded in Dolby Stereo
Color
Widescreen/ratio
Filmed in Panavision
Duration(in mins):
148
MPAA Rating:
PG
Countries:
United Kingdom, Switzerland, Panama, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
25403
SYNOPSIS

On the planet Krypton, Jor-El explains that the planet is bent on a natural course of self-destruction but the Kryptonian Council rejects his theory that its citizens should evacuate. While agreeing not to start a panic, Jor-El only has enough time to save his baby son Kal-El by sending him to Earth. Wife Lara doubts their son will fit in, but Jor-El tells her that his powers will help Earth’s people survive. The baby is sent off in a rocket capsule carrying crystals filled with Krypton’s history. Couple Martha and Jonathan Kent stop their car to inspect a burnt out crater in the field. A naked Kal-El emerges with his arms outstretched. As Jonathan fixes a flat tire, arguing with Martha whether they should keep the child, the tire jack gives way. The baby lifts the truck before Jonathan is crushed. He is persuaded at that moment to raise the child as family, and they name him Clark. The years go by and Clark doesn’t always fit in with his high school crowd, but a pep talk from his dad reminds him that although he is different, he was put on Earth for a reason. Clark races his dad to the house but Jonathan has a fatal heart attack. One night, Clark goes to the barn and discovers crystals from his Kryptonian rocket. He tells his mother he must go North to discover his birthright, and she gives him her blessing. In the far reaches of the North Pole, Clark creates a Fortress of Solitude. He listens to the archives that Jor-El prepared to explain his heritage. The crystals hold the secrets to Clark’s existence. Clark ... +


On the planet Krypton, Jor-El explains that the planet is bent on a natural course of self-destruction but the Kryptonian Council rejects his theory that its citizens should evacuate. While agreeing not to start a panic, Jor-El only has enough time to save his baby son Kal-El by sending him to Earth. Wife Lara doubts their son will fit in, but Jor-El tells her that his powers will help Earth’s people survive. The baby is sent off in a rocket capsule carrying crystals filled with Krypton’s history. Couple Martha and Jonathan Kent stop their car to inspect a burnt out crater in the field. A naked Kal-El emerges with his arms outstretched. As Jonathan fixes a flat tire, arguing with Martha whether they should keep the child, the tire jack gives way. The baby lifts the truck before Jonathan is crushed. He is persuaded at that moment to raise the child as family, and they name him Clark. The years go by and Clark doesn’t always fit in with his high school crowd, but a pep talk from his dad reminds him that although he is different, he was put on Earth for a reason. Clark races his dad to the house but Jonathan has a fatal heart attack. One night, Clark goes to the barn and discovers crystals from his Kryptonian rocket. He tells his mother he must go North to discover his birthright, and she gives him her blessing. In the far reaches of the North Pole, Clark creates a Fortress of Solitude. He listens to the archives that Jor-El prepared to explain his heritage. The crystals hold the secrets to Clark’s existence. Clark becomes a reporter at the Daily Planet newspaper as his day job and Superman becomes his secret identity. Editor Perry White introduces Clark to the staff, and reporter Lois Lane is annoyed when he assigns Clark the city beat, which was Lois’ job. Later, two policemen follow Otis, a henchman who works for criminal mastermind Lex Luther. At the train yard, Otis descends a secret passageway controled by Luther. When one officer arrives at the passageway entrance, Luther’s controls push him into the path of an oncoming train. Luther hints to his assistant, Miss [Eve] Teschmacher that his latest crime involves real estate and he reminds her she is fortunate to have a Park Avenue address. The only problem is that the address is two hundred feet underground and she is not impressed. At the Daily Planet, Lois rides a helicopter to get a story at the airport. The helicopter spins out of control and the pilot is knocked unconscious. Lois hangs precariously from the helicopter as it leans off the side of the building. Clark transforms into Superman and saves Lois after she loses her grip and plummets through the air. When Superman grabs the helicopter and returns it safely to the roof, the public watches from below and cheers. Shortly thereafter, Superman catches a criminal and delivers him and his stolen jewels into the hands of a police officer. So begins Superman’s war on crime and good deeds throughout Metropolis. Perry rallies his reporters to find out everything they can about Superman. He wants the Daily Planet to have the best coverage on the caped crusader. Later, Lois gets an anonymous note to have dinner. Superman shows up on her terrace and Lois interviews him. He explains his purpose is to fight for “truth, justice, and the American way.” They fly all over the city and by the time they return to her apartment, Lois has fallen in love with him. When Clark shows up for their date, her thoughts are miles away. While Otis and Miss Teschmacher read Lois’ exclusive interview with Superman, Luther realizes that pieces of exploding Krypton that have landed on Earth are lethal to Superman. Luther sets up a roadside accident to create a diversion for some soldiers transporting a missile, while Miss Teschmacher inputs the coordinates that change the missile codes. Meanwhile, Luther sends a high-frequency message that only Superman can hear. Within five minutes, Luther plans to release poison gas from thousands of air ducts in the city. Clark becomes Superman, burrowing deep in the ground like a drill bit until he steps into Luther’s underground headquarters. Luther shares his plan to send nuclear missiles to the San Andreas fault, which would destroy big cities like Los Angeles and San Diego and increase the value of all the land Luther owns east of the fault. As the military launches its test missile, it’s apparent that the coordinates have malfunctioned and Lois is heading straight into the path of the destruction. Luther says only his detonator can stop the missiles. When Superman searches for it, he opens a lead box and is weakened by some Kryptonite. Luther tosses him and the Kryptonite into the swimming pool to drown. Miss Teschmacher rescues him because he promises to save her mother who lives in Hackensack, New Jersey, in the path of one of the missiles. Superman destroys one missile, while the other missile goes off, causing an earthquake as Luther predicted. He repairs the fault line, saves a train from derailing, and reporter Jimmy Olsen from failing into the Hoover dam. Superman also prevents the broken dam from flooding a town and saves Lois by turning back time after she suffocates when her car is buried in the fault. Alive again, Lois complains to Superman about her crummy day filled with exploding rocks and crumbling roads as he grins at her. She melts at his smile but Jimmy interrupts them. Soon, Superman leaves them to deliver Luther and Otis to prison. The warden thanks him for making the country safer. In turn, Superman tells him they are all part of the same team. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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