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134 of 152 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Superman' on DVD...THE one to buy!
At last, Superman is presented the way it was meant to be! The master print for the 1978 classic had deteriorated so badly that the film, particularly the white-on-white Krypton opening scenes, was almost unwatchable. (I had even gone so far as to write a critique on demanding a 'Director's Cut' DVD edition, digitally transferred and remastered, be made!)...
Published on April 28, 2001 by Benjamin J Burgraff

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Still no edition that Donner would approve
The Blu-ray edition gives you the "Extended Version" edit, without telling you anywhere in the packaging that this is not the original release edit. The added scene where Superman tries to give Marlon Brando's ghost a hug is unintentially hilarious. There's a reason Donner cut it, and the decision to restore it is poor. We already have to deal with the Margot Kidder...
Published on June 19, 2008 by S. Jones

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134 of 152 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Superman' on DVD...THE one to buy!, April 28, 2001
This review is from: Superman - The Movie (DVD)
At last, Superman is presented the way it was meant to be! The master print for the 1978 classic had deteriorated so badly that the film, particularly the white-on-white Krypton opening scenes, was almost unwatchable. (I had even gone so far as to write a critique on demanding a 'Director's Cut' DVD edition, digitally transferred and remastered, be made!)
Somebody was listening! While this isn't a 'Director's Cut' (Donner has said that the version that premiered in 1978 was the version he preferred), the movie has been expanded, to include a couple of brief scenes with Brando, and the famous Superman Gauntlet sequence at Luthor's underground lair (the remaining unused sequences can be seen in the 'Deleted Scenes' Chapter, on Side 2).
Technically, the DVD is fabulous; the Krypton sequences are now clean and sharp, a couple of shots where, previously, color balancing problems had turned Superman's costume green have been corrected, and, best of all, the soundtrack has been digitally remastered and sounds even better than it did in 1978!
Three fabulous documentaries are included on Side 2 about the making of the film, and how the flying effects were achieved. This was an incredibly expensive and difficult film to make (so much so that Donner, after 'Superman' was released to rave reviews, was fired, and replaced by Richard Lester, for 'Superman 2'), and through interviews with Donner, Christopher Reeve (who is honored for his work in the film, and his courage since his crippling accident), Margot Kidder, Gene Hackman, and several of the creative team, you can appreciate what a unique and wonderful film this is!
Two other 'pluses'; a full-length audio commentary track with Richard Donner, and a 'music only' option, where you can admire one of composer John Williams' greatest scores!
This Special Edition DVD should be an essential part of any film lover's collection!
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76 of 85 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Video Quality Review (Blu-ray), January 30, 2007
This review is from: Superman: The Movie [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
This is a tough one to review. For a film made in 1978, I don't think it could look any better. I'm willing to bet this Blu-ray disc is as good if not better than the premiere screening of Superman back in 78. Great care must have been taken to clean up and restore this picture. It is practically free of scratches and dirt. It is detailed, far above standard definition. Colors are balanced and eye catching. Contrast is natural and evenly spread. Inserted scenes are consistent with the rest of the film. Never looked better. Still, 1978. There are a few scenes with plenty of grain and most of the film gives the impression of being a little out of focus, a little blurred. Five star transfer, four star visual impact. I doubt if a 1080p display is getting much more out of this picture than a 720p display.

(PS3 - 1080p projector - 92")
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75 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superman DVD gets A+, February 22, 2001
This review is from: Superman - The Movie (DVD)
Last night a friend that works at Warner Brothers brought over a surprise: The Superman-The Movie two disc DVD! And after watching it, I've got some good news, and some bad news.
First the good news- This new version is even better that the original edit of the film. A lot more of Marlon Brando's scenes. And the really cool sequence in Lex Luthor's underground hide out where he tries to kill Superman with bullets, fire & cold. Plus more...
The picture quality is just stunning. Krypton has this insane glow to it. And the new sound rivals brand new movies. The music is bright & vibrant, swirling all around you, and the entire 5.1 mix is used very well.
Now, the bad news- There's only the one version of the movie. I had hoped you'd be able to play the original, too.
More good news- The second disc has an enormous amount of brand new special features (almost two hours worth.) In their entirety, they seem to transport you back in time to relive the fascinating story of how the two Superman movies got made--up until director Richard Donner was stupidly fired, and not brought back to finish the second film. There's a lot of never-been-seen before, behind-the-scenes footage. In the casting tests you can see early versions of the Superman costume as Chris Reeve plays against many actresses including Leslie Warren, Anne Archer (both who were very good,) and of course Margot Kidder.
And then there are the two exceptional documentaries with new interviews from almost everybody. They follow the history of the two films, and include very interesting business aspects. Chris Reeves' story is very touching. Also included is a documentary on the special effects with neat(!) early flying tests.
Now more bad news- My friend took the discs with her.
To some up: this is the most complete, classy & top notch DVD package I have ever seen. Very well done ! A+
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally!, September 26, 2006
It is about time that this classic gets the full treatment--loaded with extras. However, if you are also interested in the Superman II special edition, it is more cost effective to get the "The Christopher Reeve Superman Collection - (8-Disc Deluxe Special Edition)" which is currently the same price as buying this set and II, only you get films 3 and 4 too (which is better than paying for them, right?)

Also, Amazon has the Richard Donner Cut of Superman II available for pre-order which has the extended version of the film never before available (the special edition will be the theatrical release only).
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you don't get this dvd, then NO SUPES FOR YOU !!, May 11, 2001
Daniel C. Storm (Los Angeles, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Superman - The Movie (DVD)
The name Superman brings back so many memories doesn't it? Well watching this special edition brought back all of those feelings and more. This is a FANTASTIC dvd! All dvd's should aspire to be this good! The other reviews seem to mostly touch on the sound and picture quality (which are great), but I thought I would do a review mostly on the EXTRAS on this disc which are just incredible.
First of all, there are 3, approximately half hour, documentaries on the making of Superman. These are the real gems of this disc. They're great! One involves pre-production, one involves production and one involves the special effects. They are all roughly a half hour each and they are all well worth your time. You see the original screen tests for both Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder plus screen tests of ... Anne Archer, Leslie Ann Warren, Stockard Channing and other famous actresses all tested for Lois and you see them all. I didn't notice anyone famous trying out for SUPES because they decided early on that they wanted an unknown but there are screen tests of plenty of unknowns including the dentist of one of the producers wives! Too funny. There are some great scenes here. The great thing about all these documentaries is that you get to hear from everyone involved in NEW interviews, even Christopher Reeve. Many documentaries or featurettes on other dvd's try and cut together old interviews and try and fool you into thinking you are getting something new. Not here! This is all new stuff! The second documentary even touches on the shady dealings of the producers of this film and all the wrangling done to get this film to the big screen. It's all quite fascinating. The third documentary is on special effects and it shows you numerous flying tests that they tried to get the man of steel to fly. Some are really bad and some are funny, but in the end, they figured it out. Flying is just one part of this documentary, they also go into matte painting, rear projection, front projection and many other techniques that were new to the biz and even effects that had never been attempted until this film. It really shows you the innovations that this film achieved that would set a precedent for future films to come. There's a lot more stuff in these documentaries but I think I'll just let you discover them for yourself.
There are ADDED scenes that were not shown theatrically but that are edited back into this "director's cut" of this dvd version. Most of them are throw away scenes or "bridges" for other scenes but I can't for the life of me figure out why they cut out the "FIRE AND ICE" sequence in the original theatrical version. It's fantastic. I also got a kick out of "little Lois" on the train.
There are 2 deleted scenes, that don't add much to the movie and I can see why they were deleted, but I did laugh at one of them.
Some of the deleted scenes and the added scenes have been shown in expanded tv versions of this film but if you have never seen them, they are quite a treat and it's just good to have them in your home in such a high quality dvd transfer.
The alternate music scores I didn't get much out of and I doubt you will either unless you are a big follower of music scores.
The commentary by Director Richard Donner and Creative Consultant Tom Mankiewiczwas was great. You could tell that these two really had a lot of fun making this picture and a lot of love for the final product. They told some great stories on their troubles filming certain scenes, how they hired certain actors and even giving kudos along the way to the behind-the-scenes folk who helped out. There's some great insight on this commentary on how much hard work it really took to get this picture made. Tom has a great memory and seemed to tell a lot of "little things" that even Richard Donner had forgotten.
The trailers and tv spots were cool to see and they brought back definite memories, including a teaser trailer that I remember way back when, that caused roars of applause from the audience.
If you have even a little nostalgia for this film, you are going to love it! Some of the effects don't hold up in this day and age , but a surprising number of them do! I found myself thinking to myself "how did they do that back in 1978?". The answer: By Hand. The story is timeless and even though today's younger audience might be jaded with all of today's computer wizadry, I think this movie stands the test of time. Just the EXTRAS alone make this disc worth it. After watching this film, you too will believe a man can fly ... I know I did ...
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Superman Movie! A lot of information with DVD features, May 21, 2001
C R Heath (San Diego, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Superman - The Movie (DVD)
I am so glad Superman is now on DVD! It is one of my favorite features. The special features on the DVD are very nice. Christopher Reeve's screen test is finally shown, along with the other actors. The three feature documentaries were all very interesting, particularly the explanation of what happened to Richard Donner after the first feature. It shed a lot of light on what happened after the first movie. It makes you wonder what would have happened to II if Donner had finished it.
I also enjoyed the audio commentary by Richard Donner and Tom Mankiewics. They provide interesting and funny commentary. Mankiewics mentions that 70% of II was already finished by the time the first movie came out. Also note the scene where Donner mentions a real good looking actor that Clark Kent is talking to. When he turns around, it's Donner himself.
My only problem with the DVD is the restoration of the previously cut scenes. Why couldn't they give two versions of the film, one theatrical version and one special version (like the Terminator II and Independence Day)? These scenes were cut for a reason and they are detrimental to the finished product when they are inserted back in. The added scenes on Krypton don't amount to much. Neither does the scene between Brando and Reeve on the Fortress of Solitude. I also didn't care for the flashy scenes where Luthor tries to kill Superman with the machine guns, fire, and ice methods. We are supposed to be entertained by how confident Lex Luthor is in his brains. In the theatrical version, Superman lands in Luthor's hideaway, proceeds to the entrance, and tears down the door. Luthor calmly sits in his chair waiting for him, poised because he knows he has outsmarted him with Kryptonite. In this expanded edition, Luthor tries several methods to kill him. Why does he have to do this when he already has the solution up his sleeve.
Still, this is a very entertaining DVD and worth buying. I only wish they would do this with the 2nd one.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The One and Only, December 6, 2000
The Bluto "adncjs3" (Fresno, CA. United States) - See all my reviews
Movies based on superheroes are usually very entertaining. Some of the Batman films and the recent "X-Men" have proved that, but even they can't compare to the epic splendor of the first "Superman" film. Director Richard Donnor of the "Lethal Weapons" and "Goonies" released this film in 1978 to rave reviews and huge box office. It was one of the most anticipated films of it's time, I'm sure if you were to ask anyone who's old enough they could tell you about the first time they saw "Superman: The Movie" in the theaters and what a treat it was.
"Superman: The Movie" is a glorious fantasy/adventure full of clever villians, inventive visual effects, huge sets, wonderful music by John Williams, romance, and unexpected humor. The film closer resembles the spirit of "Star Wars" than the thundering action of the "Batman" films. "Superman" is a comic book movie, yes, but it's more than that. For starters, no comic book movie has ever had such faith in it's premise than in "Superman". The film is almost a history lesson for us, taking us back to the origins of the hero on the planet Krypton and following him through his adolescence in Smallville and eventually to his arrival in Metropolis. Richard Donner has such command of the storytelling here. He treats the story of "Superman" with such respect in placing the Man of Steel in the so-called real world instead of the phony sets that you might come to expect in a film called "Superman". Since Donner gives us a realistic setting, the heroics of Superman are viewed with greater awe by the people of Metropolis, as well as the viewing audience.
The greatest praise however rests on the invulnerable shoulders of the man who dons the red cape on screen; Christopher Reeve. While playing what is essentially a dual role in Clark Kent and Superman, Reeve makes the presence of these characters more effective by giving Clark an off-beat personality and Superman a HEART of steel. Reeve's Superman is more of a friend than a hero. He's just a kind man with incredible powers who wants to make the world a better place. Reeve's spin on the character makes the big S more sympathetic and even human. Reeve has great fun playing the two personalities off each other. Even through Clark's feeble dorkiness, you can still sense the intelligent hero hiding behind the glasses and even when Superman romances reporter Lois Lane you sense his vulnerbility and love for her and when he mourns for her we realize that he's more like us than a comic book hero.
While not a hulk-like figure which the early concepts of Superman indicated in the comics, Reeve still provides a powerful prescence proving that it's heart not muscle which makes a true hero. A cape doesn't hurt though.
Facing off against the Man of Steel is the mighty Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor. Hackman's Luthor is one of the screen's greatest film villians. An evil super genius with world domination on the brain, Luthor is also quite funny. Hackman gives Luthor a spoiled brat quality but also a lethal seriousness with his scenes with Christopher Reeve. This is an awesome screen rivalry.
The music by John Williams is one of his best scores ever if not THE best. The effects and design of the film make it totally belivable that a man is flying around trying to save the world, and all other technical aspects of the film are first rate.
"Superman" is for the kid in us all and for those who still believe in heroes. A classic filled with affectionate performances, stand up and cheer adventure and wonder which is owed to skilled directon and a terrific lead performance by Christopher Reeve, the one and only Superman.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superman Soars On Blu-Ray, March 30, 2009
This review is from: Superman: The Movie [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I was lucky enough to have seen Superman in the theatres when I was a child back in the 70s, and the sense of wonder it evoked in me then is renewed every time I watch it as an adult. Its epic grandeur, its sense of gravitas, has never been equaled by any other superhero movie (I mean, Marlon Brando, Glenn Ford, Trevor Howard, Gene Hackman, Mario Puzo, all screen legends of the time for a film based on comics? What were they thinking!). Christopher Reeve is the quintessential Superman, incredibly handsome, incredibly wholesome and good-natured, and his heroism on screen is all the more poignant in the light of what happened to him in real life. I still think that the CAN YOU READ MY MIND night-flying sequence is among the most romantic scenes in all cinema. This blu-ray version is beautiful. If you're looking for the sharpness of IRONMAN or BATMAN BEGINS on blu-ray, you will be disappointed. Much of the film is shot in a soft-glow style, and this look has been preserved in the blu-ray transfer. The Krypton sequences seem to take place behind a veil of haze, which might be frustrating for those of us used to the crystal-clear images of hi-def. But the Smallville sequences are beautifully awash in golden sunlight and lush colours and the sharp outlines of prairie houses. They could have made the whole film sharper and clearer in the transfer, but this would have altered the sweeping, romantic, film-like feel of the cinematography. What you get here is better colour saturation. It's a pity that the studio did not offer the latest Dolby True-HD or DTS-HD Master Audio sound format; but the Dolby 5.1 sound here still soars (John William's magnificent score is itself worth the price of admission). Compared to the earlier DVD edition, the channel separation in this blu-ray is more pronounced; towards the end when Jor-El warns Superman against tampering with history, check out how impressively his disembodied voice scans across all 5 speakers. If you never had the chance to catch Superman in the theatres--or if you simply want to relive that experience-- the next best thing is to get this blu-ray and watch it in a darkened room at home on a large projector screen with surround speakers. (5 stars for movie, 4 stars for the blu-ray).
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30 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great superhero flick looks as good as it likely can on Blu-Ray, May 25, 2009
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This review is from: Superman: The Movie [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
The movie:

"You'll believe a man can fly." That was the advertising tagline. Well, I can't think of many instances of it, but this was one time when a movie delivered on its hype. "Superman" fires on many cylinders, but the main one, the integral one, was believability. This film is an absolute achievement in terms of tone, style, and effects. For 1978, the effects are terrific, but also the performances and the writing really gel and sell the concept to the audience.

We haven't seen yet the actor who can top Christopher Reeve's Superman. The solidness, the goodness radiating from his presence in costume, combined with the vulnerability and sheer hilarity of his Clark Kent are (perhaps) impossible to top. Margot Kidder turns in a feisty Lois Lane, and their chemistry is great. Gene Hackman is a credible Lex Luthor, both funny and menacing at the same time. Supporting players fill out a cast that just really inhabits the world and never feels less than real.

The run time of the movie is perhaps a bit flabby, and this edition adds about 3 minute of new material. But I for one am quick to forgive it - it just so captures a feeling of innocence, wonder, Americana, that I'm willing to just bask in it, even when the action slows down.

The Blu-Ray:

Well, this is not one of the discs you'll pop in to show off "how great HD looks." The film was shot almost throughout with soft focus filters which bump up the haze of lighting and obscure detail.

BUT: It looks as good as it probably ever can and ever will. In A-B comparisons with the previous DVD (which was great for its day) the upgrade is subtle but evident. Some shots show very strong detail, when it's in focus. Check out the foliage in Lois' rooftop apartment. Some facial shots show exceptional detail in fine lines. Whenever the soft filter is absent, you can really tell you're watching an HD presentation. The colors are the main upgrade in the Blu-Ray - reds and blues really pop, and black levels are rock solid in most shots not involving visual effects. Film grain is present and generally not too obtrusive, except during some effects shots. But I prefer its presence to excessive digital noise reduction. In the end, how you feel about this Blu-Ray will depend on your emotions for the film itself (mine are very strongly positive), and how you feel about a home video accurately replicating the look and feel of the original presentation's film stock (something I'm also strongly in favor of).

Audio is presented in a strong Dolby Digital 5.1 channel mix. There isn't much of a workout for the surrounds, but John Williams' iconic score really sings, nonetheless.

Extras include an hour's worth of documentaries, reprises from the DVD edition. Casting tests, trailers, a commentary by Richard Donner and Tom Mankiewicz, and a wonderful score only track highlighting the music, round out the disc. Overall, at least average and probably slightly above average.


I grew up with this film. I'm predisposed to enjoying it. As a Blu-Ray, it is hampered by the stylistic choices of the filmmakers, but still gives us a very good presentation of the film.

It's a five star film in my book. It's certainly in the top 5 comic book movies ever made (and was the true pioneer in terms of big budget successes from comic book material.) I considered downgrading this disc by one star simply because it can't overcome the flaws inherent to the source material. For the paltry sum Amazon is asking for it, you really can't go wrong, though. Kids of all ages (ages 3 to 83?) who just want to feel good about the world will be transported to a better, simpler, more beautiful place. Fans of 1970's cinema will find a lot to love, as well. There are many shots which really shine in detail, and almost all of the shots benefit from zippier colors. If you don't own this film otherwise, or are just a fan of the action/comic book genre, this is a must-buy. It's a classic.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Superman For My Generation, July 6, 2006
This review is from: Superman - The Movie (DVD)
I was born in 1976, so I spent most of my developmental years in the wonderful 80's. Although I was still a bit young when "Superman-The Movie" hit the big screen, I caught up with him through VHS and television. Plenty have donned the red cape, from George Reeves to Dean Cain and everyone in between. Brandon Routh, who I have yet to see in the latest film, is the current hero of the day. Christopher Reeve was, is, and always will be Superman to me. I don't care how hokey the special effects look in this particular flick or how bad the third and fourth films were, Reeve is the Man of Steel in my opinion.

This film gives us the origination story of Kal-El, son of Jor-El, of the planet known as Krypton. If you've been around for a few years, you probably know the rest of the story, so I'll skip that and just stick with the performances of the actors and actresses. I've gloated on Reeve enough, but I have to admit that his bungling, country-tinged Clark Kent is perfect. He does a complete 180 degree turn when he rips open his business suit and that "S" bursts onto the scene. Lois Lane is done with sassy flair by the great Margot Kidder. She, much like Reeve, has become her character in my mind. Gene Hackman hams it up as Superman's arch enemy, Lex Luthor. His over-the-top performance is fun to watch on the screen. Ned Beatty portrays the bumbling sidekick, Otis, and Valerie Perrine is a scene stealer as the luscious Eve. Marlon Brando is sufficient as Kent's father, but his performance comes across as rather wooden. Terence Stamp (General Zod), Jack O'Halloran (Non), and Maria Schell (Vond-Ah) have sinister small roles in this feature, but set the stage well for "Superman II." The rest of the cast, primarily reduced to supporting roles, do a wonderful job with what they have to work with.

As stated before, the special effects are pretty hokey by today's standards, but they were top-notch in 1978. They help move the story along at a decent pace without hindering the performers on the screen.

This film set a high standard for future comic book-based films. While many have met, and in some cases surpassed, this standard, "Superman" will always be considered the first of the great modern comic flicks.

Highly recommended to any fan of comic flicks, or anyone who just wants to relive the excitement of seeing ol' Superman fly for the first time!
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Superman: The Movie [Blu-ray]
Superman: The Movie [Blu-ray] by Richard Donner (Blu-ray - 2006)
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