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Superman

Year: 1978
Studio: Warner Bros
Director: Richard Donner
Producer: Ilya Salkind/Alexander Salkind
Writer: Mario Puzo/David Newman/Leslie Newman/Robert Benton
Cast: Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, Gene Hackman, Glenn Ford, Marlon Brando, Jackie Cooper, Ned Beatty, Valerie Perrine, Susannah York, Trevor Howard, Terence Stamp, Marc McClure, Larry Hagman

This film captured a piece of magic. Special effects weren't exactly in their infancy in 1978, but we were still entranced by believing a man could fly. And when you look back now, the visuals of Christopher Reeve taking off and landing were brilliant. In the absence of CGI I can only assume it was all done with wires on real sets, and it stands up thirty years later as I write these words.

Would the origin story of DC Comics' most famous superhero have been as well received today? Back then such films weren't a dime a dozen with their cynical modern political comments and Stan Lee cameos. Like Super Mario Brothers, seeing comic book or videogame characters portrayed on the big screen with real actors in real places was buzz enough to ensure success.

Thankfully, director Donner won the bitter struggles with the Salkinds, the Russian father and son businessmen who owned the film rights, and made a great movie too. The appeal of seeing where Kal-El came from resulted in a long stretch of Clark Kent reaching maturity and coming to terms with who he was, and it wasn't something we'd seen a million times before.

As anyone who was alive during the 20th century knows, Clark (Reeve) goes to Metropolis to become a reporter with the Daily Planet, befriends and – we suspect secretly loves – his His Girl Friday -inspired plucky female counterpart Lois (Kidder).

Meanwhile, the self-appointed greatest criminal mind of our time, Lex Luthor (Hackmam in what's still one of his best roles) hatches a scheme to buy tracts of land east of California that will be worth a fortune when he fires missiles into the Earth's crust to set off the San Andreas fault, giving his previously-worthless landholdings water frontage.

The story does a great job of introducing us to who Superman is and giving him his first important job as the Man of Steel, and as the famous tagline suggested, we all believed.

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