“You’ll believe a man can fly.”

There has simply never been a comic book icon as popular as Superman. From his Action Comics origins in 1938 to radio, cartoons and movie serials in the 40’s, to a television series in the 50’s, to animated adventures in the 60’s and 70’s, the Man of Steel was the superhero’s superhero, a mild-mannered good guy fighting for truth, justice and the American Way.

No surprise then that, in 1978, when Warner Bros. decided to make the first Superman feature in over 25 years, they lavished the production with big-name stars and big-budget effects. Marlon Brando got top billing as Superman’s father, but the cast also included Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor, Jackie Cooper as Daily Planet editor Perry White, Susannah York as Superman’s mother, Ned Beatty and Valerie Perrine as Luthor’s sidekicks, Glenn Ford and Phyllis Thaxter as Superman’s adoptive parents and Margot Kidder as love interest Lois Lane. For Superman himself, the studio conducted an exhaustive casting search, finally finding their Man of Steel in then-unknown Christopher Reeve.

The film explores Superman’s origins, beginning on homeworld Krypton. Scientist Jor-El, convinced the planet is doomed to explosive destruction, prepares a crystalline escape craft for his infant son, Kal-El. As Krypton is destroyed, the pod lifts off, traveling the cosmos before landing in rural Smallville on the planet Earth. The baby is discovered and adopted by kindly farm couple, the Kents, who adopt the child as their own. The boy grows to maturity as Clark Kent, in the process discovering that Earth’s yellow sun has given him superhuman powers.

After learning the the truth of his origin, the big guy commits himself to doing good. A grown Clark relocates to the bustling Metropolis, where he takes a reporting job at the Daily Planet, hiding his identity under glasses, a slightly different hairstyle and a bumbling demeanor. Superman makes his debut on one event-filled night, highlighted by the high-flying rescue of Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane. Lois takes an instant fancy to the caped hero, looking for an exclusive story and possibly a date.

Meanwhile, evil mastermind Lex Luthor has cooked up a fiendish plot: with the help of bungling assistant Otis and the curvy Miss Tessmacher, Luthor plans to detonate two nuclear warheads on a California fault line, plunging the state into the ocean and creating a new, Luthor-owned coast. Superman flies in to foil the plot, but Luthor has a secret weapon: Kryptonite, remnants of Superman’s homeworld and the Man of Steel’s only weakness.

With groundbreaking flying effects, Superman made true believers out of fans around the world, achieving a spectacular financial, critical and popular success. John Williams’ score, including the ballad “Can You Read My Mind,” became a hit of its own, and Christopher Reeve gained instant stardom.

Plans had originally called for a sequel to be filmed at the same time, but production problems kept that from happening. Despite several disasters and one director change, Superman II flew into theaters two years later, with two more Superman sequels arriving over the next ten years.

Christopher Reeve. the unknown actor that beat out the likes of Robert Redford, Burt Reynolds and James Caan for the title role, became a household name thanks to the Superman franchise, starring in numerous films until a horse riding accident in 1995 left him a quadriplegic.

He became a tireless advocate for those with spinal cord injuries in his remaining years, bringing worldwide attention to the cause and proving that one needn’t wear a cape or fly to be a true superhero. And, while other would play the role in future reboots of the franchise, to the millions that watched him fly across the big screen back in the 70s and 80s, and to those he helped in the years that followed, Christopher Reeve will always be the one and only Superman.

If you remember watching Superman back in the day, we hope you’ll take a moment to share your thoughts and memories with us in our comments section below.

One Response to “Superman”

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  1. Truyện tranh says:

    batman vs super man is coming

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