User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 149 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 10 out of 149

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  1. Oct 27, 2014
    One of the best superhero movie ever! Christopher Reeve is a fantastic Superman, the effects are wonderful and the scenes are really great. This remains as my favorite since childhood.
  2. Oct 18, 2014
    An adventure re-told, spanning the Man of Steel's life from his Krypton infancy and Midwest boyhood to his career as Daily Planet reporter Clark Kent and through his titanic struggle with archnemesis Lex Luthor.
  3. Sep 30, 2014
    Though it can be corny at times, Christopher Reeves performance as well as Richard Donner's direction and the dazzling effects make Superman a classic
  4. Sep 3, 2014
    It's goofy yeah, I got that. But this classic super-hero film conveys a talented cast and a well-crafted storytelling that is more than enough to satisfy.
  5. Jun 8, 2014
    The original Superman is campy, superficially fun stuff, and knows it's that way. It's a bit overlong and the dialogue is cheesy at points, but all in all it passes the time. Hey, at least it's better than Man of Steel.
  6. May 16, 2014
    Great movie, really the first good superhero movie and it's a classic despite being somewhat outdated. Gotta love Christopher Reave as Superman he does it perfect and is one of the reasons this movie is a blast.
  7. May 8, 2014
    I am really sorry to say it but this movie is out of time. Maybe it was cool in the 70' but now.. nope. I mean Superman is not super because the technology couldn't show us his full scale of power. So it had to focus to much on humor and it feels to much like a kids movie. Reeve was good for that purpose i'll give you that
  8. Jan 22, 2014
    Originally filmed back to back with Superman 2, Richard Donner was fired half way through filming the second part (due to budget and timing miscalculations) and the end of Superman 2 was slapped onto the first. The genius with the former is bringing to life such an iconic character, but yet it still feels like something is missing.
  9. Nov 29, 2013
    This is an original superhero movie. Sure its extremely cheesy, but hey, no one really cares at this point. It's a classic. It began the Superman franchise. Although most of the other ones were bad, this one was still okay.
  10. Aug 29, 2013
    May have been made over 30 years ago but Superman still loves up to the superhero standards set today, Heck I'd go as far as saying it's better then quite a few recent superhero films I have seen. Reeves was a great pick for the title character (Superman), He's everything you'd want in an actor and then some. The rest of the cast is solid, No complaints about them.

    The story itself is a
    bit too slow and the 2 hour run time certainly pushed on my nerves a few times through out. Did not care for the character Otis, He was a much unneeded comedy relief and I felt he brought the movie down some.

    Other than that though, I'd recommend watching it because despite it's age, Superman is still a good film and is a prime example of how superhero films should be made.
  11. Aug 29, 2013
    This a great film. The one thing I cannot stand in this movie is superman turning back time to save Lois. Superman cannot do that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  12. Aug 5, 2013
    Insanely entertaining, and a complete breakout movie for its time period, both as a superhero film and an epic in special effects. Superman is one exciting ride.
  13. Jul 3, 2013
    I loved this movie! It was amazing! super entertaining....DO NOT LISTEN TO CRITICS! Judge for yourself and go see it. You will not be disappointed. Superman is my HERO!
  14. Jul 3, 2013
    AWESOME! AWESOME! AWESOME! Best Superman Movie ever made hand down! I thoroughly enjoyed this movie so much so I am going to see it again at the IMAX 3D.
  15. Jul 3, 2013
    BEST MOVIE EVER! The critics are a bunch of idiots because "Man of Steel" is a must see, especially on IMAX 3D! It was epic! Best movie of the year! The acting was superb, special effects and graphics were amazing! and story line was edge of your seat entertaining. I love the fact that they still incorporated some of the old school storyline into a modern day feel. I recommend everyone see this movie. I plan to see it again! Expand
  16. Jun 14, 2013
    I seen the movie man of steel and i give 3 and a half star's that doesn't mean it is a bad movie., i like more Superman (1978) and Superman II (1980) and the soundtrack of Superman (1978) is better.
  17. May 19, 2013
    The film is very dated and grimace, but the performance of C.Reve behind some weight to the image of the character and the film, but the trump card is its soundtrack which has a theme inspiring and phenomenal band, and a reasonable communist history the film keeps slowly but good.
  18. Nov 17, 2012
    Arguably the greatest superhero of all time in what is inarguably his greatest movie. Yes, its campy. Its campy to the extreme. But it meant to be. Superman, from the clothes to the sets to the colors, is a living comic book. The classic Man of Steel books of yesteryear brought to life on screen, and the most faithful adaptation of the superhero source material you'll find. Of course, in the light of the obsession with "dark, gritty and real", the film falters, but its not about that. It's about childlike wonderment, it's about the good, honest power of Superman, the sincerity of it all. He's not a tortured soul, but merely a good-hearted young man with a sense of purpose, played inimitably by the late Christopher Reeves. And say what you will about the Caped Crusader, nobody cared when Rachel blew up like we did when Lois died. We all wanted to spin the world backwards then. It is a comic book through and through, and maybe not the bleak, murder-filled darkness everyone prefers, but for what it is, it's perfection. Let go of the obsession with brooding, turn on your inner child, and watch. You will believe a man can fly. Expand
  19. Jul 12, 2012
    The effects are outdated now, but when Superman first came into theaters it astounded audiences. Although the effects haven't aged particularly well, Superman is a feel-good, well-told superhero origin story that features strong performances from a terrific cast.
  20. May 11, 2012
    Superman, possibly the first superhero movie ever, is a movie that is exactly what Superman should be. Lets hope someday Superman has a video game that is as good as this movie.
  21. Sep 28, 2011
    This movie has a special place in my heart. Christopher Reeve set the bar for all other actors portraying superheroes. And nobody since has managed to meet it. To me, Reeve *is* the Man of Steel. I don't care if the special effects are dated these days. This film's greatness transcends that. After all, Superman Returns had state of the art special effects and yet was a complete failure of a film. Christopher Reeve was able to make me believe a man could fly.

    Also, Superman is one of those magical movies that really lodged itself in my mind because it's one of those films that, because of its length, I could never actually finish watching as a kid. Ya know, it's one of those films that you'll catch on tv, or see at a day care center somewhere in Reno, and yet something will always come up which prevents you from getting the ending. Either you'll just fall asleep, or you'll get picked up from the daycare center... just events unfold which prevent a full viewing. For me, it was this film and Back to the Future 2 that always seemed to last forever and I'd never finish till the end. That gave them a sort of mystique in my childhood.

    Now, there is one weakness of Superman, and that's the ending. Superman turns the world backwards in time to save Lois and stop California from falling into the ocean. Yes, it's not great... it doesn't really make any sense. But it's one small blemish on an otherwise grand superhero origin story. And honestly, how could you resist the very end when Christopher Reeve flies over the earth at the onset of a new dawn, looks up at us, and smiles in the way that Superman would smile? It's just movie magic, folks.

    What makes Superman work is Richard Donner's verisimilitude, especially during the Krypton and Smallville scenes. This movie was the first to tell the superhero origin story, and is still the best one, in my opinion. The shots of the crystalline Kryptonian landscape are awe inspiring. You really believe this is an alien world with an alien people. Smallville looked like the town that Norman Rockwell grew up in. Sure, it doesn't actually exist in real life, but it looks like how we would all want a small American town to look. Who wouldn't want to grow up in a pastural idyllic setting like that? Who could possibly doubt that America's greatest hero would emerge from such a place? When the camera rose and zoomed ahead of Clark and Martha Kent, embracing in a rich field of golden wheat, it was the film letting us know we had just witnessed the birth of a modern American myth.

    And of course, the soundtrack. Who the hell doesn't know the Superman soundtrack? I haven't really talked about the soundtrack of any other film in my reviews, and it's for good reason. None of them matter compared to John Williams' work here. Truly a masterpiece of scoring, and probably his greatest work to date. The notes simply cry out "Superman" even though there aren't any lyrics. Just as Aliens worked to pummel you with dread and suspense, the Superman music worked to uplift the spirit and allow the audience to soar like the Man of Steel himself.
  22. Sep 22, 2011
    Do you people know how comic book adapted movies started out? Uh Huh. "Superman" started it all, and guess what; it was marvelous.
  23. Jun 14, 2011
    Well the movie was good enough to watch. And the actor for Superman acted pretty well so yeah it was good that's worth watching.
  24. Oct 19, 2010
    Planet about to explode, parents send son to Earth in capsule, old couple find capsule & adopt son, son is not all that he seems.
    The film that made Christopher Reeve & he really does excel in the lead as both Clark Kent & Superman. Has a hell of a cast around him too with Gene Hackman hamming it up as Lex Luthor, a bumbling Ned Beatty & a very sexy Valerie Perrine as his assistants.
    first hour is very well done setting up the background & the hero growing up but I felt it got a bit silly later on when everything becomes a cheesy catalogue of disaster & the effects haven't dated too well either.
    John Williams's score is huge, the main theme being the highlight, but there is a lot of similarities with Star Wars in the incidental music.

Universal acclaim - based on 11 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 11
  2. Negative: 0 out of 11
  1. Reviewed by: Jack Kroll
    Jun 4, 2013
    Superman turns out to be a surprisingly infectious entertainment, nicely balanced between warmth and wit, intimacy and impressive special effects, comic-strip fantasy and several elements that make the movie eminently eligible for Deep Thinking about rescue fantasies, cherubic messiahs and other pieces of popcorn metaphysics. [1 Jan 1979, p.46]
  2. Boasts a smart screenplay by Robert Benton and David and Leslie Newman, striking cinematography by Geoffrey Unsworth (especially in the Smallville sequence), bright comic turns by Margot Kidder and Gene Hackman, and of course, that winning performance by Christopher Reeve in the title role. Believe a man can fly? You bet!
  3. 70
    The film is best when it takes itself seriously, worst when it takes the easy way out into giggly camp--as it does, finally and fatally, when Lex Luthor enters the action; Gene Hackman plays the arch-villain like a hairdresser left over from a TV skit.