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Superman: The 10 Best Scenes From The 1978 Movie | ScreenRant

Superhero films of our day and age tend to be on the edgy side. Heroes are gritty and damaged, villains are brutal and merciless, and the tone of many films is bleak and upsetting. While there's some argument to be made for the injection of imperfection into classic superheroes, there are times when positive and uplifting themes are much more enjoyable for an audience.

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The original 1978 version of Superman knew this and took full advantage of a social climate in the midst of a turn into a brighter age. Christopher Reeve sold the role of Kal-El, the Man of Steel who arrives on Earth to do good, just for the sake, and with no desired reward. That film contains a bevy of scenes that will stand the test of time.

10 The Opening Credits

By the end of the 1970s, America was just starting to come off of a particularly turbulent time. Race riots were dying down, an economic crisis was starting to turn over, and the Vietnam war was drawing to a close. It felt like it was time for the country to look forward with optimism, and Richard Donner seemed to realize it early on.

The opening credits of Superman are one of the single-greatest in cinema. The iconic Superman theme builds from a low rumbling to a triumphant and magnificent sonic explosion while blue-laser credits soar across the screen, creating a sense of excitement that still gives fans chills to this very day. Without Superman, it's doubtful comic book heroes would have made the jump to the silver screen in their current form.

9 The Trial Scene

Donner had ambitious plans for the Superman franchise, and it started with the very first scene of the original film when the villainous General Zod and his cronies are put on trial by the Kryptonian courts. Jor-El presides over the entire affair, banishing them to the Phantom Zone for crimes against the planet, and the rest of sentient life.

It was rare to see a film stand so confident in a sequel, but that was the idea with the follow-up film Superman II, released a short time after. It set up a major series villain, and a fondly remembered sequel, all within the first 10 minutes of the opening act.

8 Kal-El Lifts The Truck

Comic book fans knew of Superman long before he hit the silver screen, but 1970s moviegoers were still a tough nut to crack. In order to attract a wide audience, the film needed to sell its titular character from the very beginning, and that meant establishing who and what he was, even from childhood.

Shortly after crash landing on Earth, Martha and Jonathan Kent discover a young child wrapped in a red cape who has no trouble lifting a farm truck off its back wheels. It doesn't take Ma and Pa Kent long to figure out who this little fellow is, and how he got there.

7 Kal-El Becomes Superman

After the tragic death of Pa Kent, a distraught Clark decides to head north in an attempt to figure things out. He brings with him a Kryptonian crystal which constructs the legendary Fortress of Solitude within the frozen tundra. From there, Clark comes face to face with an interactive hologram of his true father, the late Jor-El.

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It is he who teaches Clark about his true identity as Kal-El, and the reason he was sent to Earth. With a beautiful and riveting speech, Marlon Brando's Jor-El encourages him to be a shining beacon of goodness, courage, and compassion for humanity. It all builds to that iconic moment 47 minutes into the film when Superman is finally revealed in costume.

6 The Rescue of Lois Lane

The first real catastrophe of the film takes place when the iconic Lois Lane gets into a TV news helicopter, which promptly begins to spin out of control after getting caught on a cable. As it dangles over the edge of the building, Lois hangs on for dear life while a crowd of terrified onlookers views the scene from below.

Without missing a beat, Clark soars into action as Superman, catching Lois before she plummets to her death. This prompts one of the most memorable lines in the film when Lois remarks, "You've got me? Who's got you?!" Superman ends up catching the falling helicopter with one hand while the onlookers cheer on this mysterious new hero.

5 Superman & Lois Take Flight

After saving Lois's life, Superman decides to grant her a personal interview in an attempt to shed some light on who he is. Hopefully, this will prevent the public from feeling apprehensive or fearful about his sudden arrival on Earth. From the very first moment, it becomes obvious that the two are romantically attracted to one another.

To better demonstrate what life is like as Superman, he decides to take Lois on a casual flight high up in the sky. Not only is it one of the sweetest moments in the franchise, but it's also one of the most iconic, as well. For the first time, audiences truly did believe that a man could fly.

4 Lex Luthor Reveals Himself

It was only a matter of time before the villainous Lex Luthor made his debut as Superman's nemesis, but he did so in a very clever way. He reaches out to Supes using a high-powered sonic frequency that only he could possibly hear and invites him to his lair in order to test out his abilities.

He unleashes a barrage of high-powered machine gun fire on the Man of Steel, to no effect. Next, he uses a combination of intense flames and a deep freeze to stop him in his tracks, both of which Supes shrugs off. When he finally busts down the door to the hideout, Luthor brings out the kryptonite, giving audiences their first glimpse at his one true weakness.

3 Superman Chases A Missile

Earlier in the film, Luthor managed to commandeer two nuclear missiles from the U.S. Navy, which he plans to detonate within the San Andreas fault in order to achieve his real estate money-making scheme. In order to distract Superman, he fires the second missile at New Jersey, knowing he won't have enough time to stop the second.

The pursuit of the missile itself is one of the cooler parts of the film, even if the effects haven't aged all that well. To audiences in 1978, it must have been thrilling to watch the Man of Steel grab a nuclear missile by its rear-end, and toss it out into space.

2 The San Andreas Quake

Everything about this semi-final sequence is amazing, still to this day. Luthor successfully detonates the second missile in the San Andreas fault, triggering a series of catastrophic earthquakes that threaten to destroy most of California. Superman leaps into action in one of the best examples of multitasking ever seen.

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First, he plunges deep into the ground to repair the fault line. He then averts a series of climatic disasters, including a train derailment, a school bus full of children going over the Golden Gate bridge, and massive flooding due to the collapse of the Hoover Dam. All in a day's work for Superman.

1 Saving Lois's Life

In spite of all his efforts to prevent several major catastrophes, Superman is unable to save the life of the woman he has grown to love. Once the other crises have been averted, Superman rushes to save her but arrives just too late.

It's one of the most powerful moments in the film, by far. The entire tone softens into almost deafening silence as Superman gazes upon her body. Then, just when the audience thinks she's gone for good, Superman screams out in rage, unwilling to accept her fate, and soars into outer space where he uses his awesome powers to turn back time itself, reversing all the damage caused. The notion is preposterous on its face, but suspension of reality is sometimes necessary to sell an amazing scene.

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