Superman: The Movie

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Superman: The Movie is a 1978 film about an alien orphan who is sent from his dying planet, Krypton, to Earth, where he grows up to become his adoptive home's first and greatest super-hero.

Directed by Richard Donner and written by Mario Puzo, David Newman, Leslie Newman, and Robert Benton. Based on the DC Comics by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.
You'll Believe a Man Can Fly! Taglines


  • This is no fantasy... no careless product of wild imagination. No, my good friends. These indictments that I have brought you today...specific charges listed herein against the individuals...their acts of treason, their ultimate aim of sedition. [Lifts up his crystal staff] These are matters of undeniable fact. I ask you now to pronounce judgment on those accused: on this - this mindless aberration, whose only means of expression are wanton violence and destruction; on the woman Ursa, whose perversions and unreasoning hatred of all mankind have threatened even the children of the planet Krypton. Finally, General Zod - once trusted by this Council, charged with maintaining the defense of the planet Krypton itself - chief architect of this intended revolution, and author of this insidious plot, to establish a "New Order" amongst us - with himself as absolute ruler! You have heard the evidence. The decision of the Council will now be heard.
  • A chance for survival, nonetheless... as opposed to us, if we ignore these facts. It's SUICIDE! No, it's worse. It's GENOCIDE...! My friends, you know me to be neither rash nor impulsive. I'm not given... to wild, unsupported statements. And I tell you we must evacuate this planet immediately!
  • [As he bids his infant son farewell before sending him to Earth] You will travel far, my little Kal-El. But we will never leave you... even in the face of our deaths... the richness of our lives shall be yours. All that I have, all that I've learned, everything I feel... all this, and more I... I bequeath you, my son. You will carry me inside you... all the days of your life. You will make my strength your own, and see my life through your own eyes, as your life will be seen through mine. The son becomes the father, and the father, the son. This is all I ... all I can send you, Kal-El.
  • Your name is Kal-El. You are the only survivor of the planet Krypton. Even though you've been raised as a human being, you are not one of them. You have great powers, only some of which you have as yet discovered.
  • Live as one of them, Kal-El, to discover where your strength and your power are needed. Always hold in your heart the pride of your special heritage. They can be a great people, Kal-El, they wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way. For this reason above all, their capacity for good, I have sent them you... my only son.

Lex Luthor

  • [Watching Otis approaching the hideout] It's amazing that brain can generate enough power to keep those legs moving.
  • This is Lex Luthor. Only one thing alive with less than four legs can hear this frequency, Superman, and that's you. In approximately five minutes, a poison gas pellet containing propane lithium compound will be released through thousands of air ducts in the city, effectively annihilating half the population of Metropolis.
  • Told ya. That's Kryptonite, Superman. Little souvenir from the old home town. I spared no expense to make you feel right at home.
  • [after he's explained how a meteor from Krypton can kill Superman] Doesn't it give you kind of a, a, a... shudder... of electricity through you to be in the same room with me?
  • [repeated line] MISS TESCHMACHER!
  • We all have our little faults. Mine's in California.
  • [to Otis] Do you know why the number two hundred is so vitally descriptive to both you and me? It's your weight and my I.Q.
  • You were great in your day, Superman. But it just stands to reason, when it came time to cash in your chips, this old "diseased maniac" would be your banker.
  • There's a strong streak of good in you, Superman. But then nobody's perfect... almost nobody.


  • [Having rescued Lois Lane from a crashing helicopter] I hope this experience hasn't put you off flying, miss. You know, statistically speaking it's still the safest way to travel.
  • [A cat burglar is climbing up the side of a building. He looks up and sees Superman standing there] Hi there. Something wrong with the elevator?
  • [Superman lands holding a cat burglar] Officer! They say confession's good for the soul.[takes a handful of stolen jewelry out of the burglar's bag] I'd listen to this man.
  • [After getting "clubbed" on the head by a crowbar by a thief] Bad vibrations?

Perry White

  • Now look. The Post: "It Flies!" The News: "Look, Ma, No Wires!" The Times: "Blue Bomb Buzzes Metropolis!" The Planet. We're sitting on top of the story of the century here! I want the name of this flying whatchamacallit to go with the Daily Planet like bacon and eggs, franks and beans, death and taxes, politics and corruption!
  • Lois, Clark Kent may seem like just a mild-mannered reporter, but listen, not only does he know how to treat his editor-in-chief with the proper respect, not only does he have a snappy, punchy prose style, but he is, in my forty years in this business, the fastest typist I've ever seen.
  • Now listen to me! I tell you, boys and girls - whichever one of you gets it on him... is going to wind up with the single most important interview since... God talked to Moses!

Lois Lane

  • Can you read my mind? Do you know what it is that you do to me? I don't know who you are. Just a friend from another star. Here I am, like a kid out of school. Holding hands with a god. I'm a fool. Will you look at me? Quivering. Like a little girl, shivering. You can see right through me. Can you read my mind? Can you picture the things I'm thinking of? Wondering why you are... all the wonderful things you are. You can fly. You belong in the sky. You and I... could belong to each other. If you need a friend... I'm the one to fly to. If you need to be loved... here I am. Read my mind.
  • That's Clark, nice.

General Zod

  • The vote must be unanimous, Jor-El. It is now therefore your decision. You alone will condemn us, if you wish, and you alone will be held responsible ... by me.
  • Join us. You have been known to disagree with the Council before. Yours could become an important voice in the new order, second only to my own! I offer you a chance for greatness, Jor-El, take it! Join us!... You will bow down before me, Jor-El. I swear it, no matter that it takes an eternity! You will bow down before me! Both you and then one day your heirs!


  • Young Clark Kent: All those things I can do .... all those powers...... and I couldn't even save him.
  • Miss Teschmacher: Why is it I can't get it on with the good guys?
  • Desk Sergeant: [on seeing a boat in the middle of the street and Superman flying off] Mooney, first bottle's on me, let me get my hat.
  • First Elder: [in the "extended" version of the film... following the trial and sentencing of General Zod and "Company"] An unpleasant duty has been masterfully performed, Jor-El. They have received the fate they deserve: isolation in the Phantom Zone, an eternal living death.


Pa Kent: [after Clark has beaten Brad's car to the Kent farmhouse... by running] Been showing off a bit, haven't you, son?
Young Clark Kent: Uh... I didn't mean to show off, Pa. It's just that... well, guys like that Brad, I just wanna tear 'em apart... I know I shouldn't, but...
Pa Kent: I know. You can do all these amazing things, and sometimes you think that you will just go bust unless you can tell someone about it.
Young Clark Kent: Yeah!... I mean, every time I get the ball, I could make a touchdown. Every time! Is it showing off for a person to do what he's capable of? Is a bird showing off when it flies?
Pa Kent: No. Now you listen to me. When you first came to us, we thought they'd take you away from us if people found out about the things you could do. But a man thinks different as he gets older, thinks better. Wiser. Starts to see things clear. There's one thing I do know, son. And that is, you are here for a reason. I don't know whose reason it is, or whatever the reason... maybe it's... I don't know.... but I do know one thing: it's not to score touchdowns.
Young Clark Kent: C'mon Dad! I'll race you to it!
Pa Kent: You will?
[Both of them run to the barn]
Young Clark Kent: C'mon! C'mon!
[Clark runs into the barn with his dog]
Pa Kent: [begins to have a heart attack] Oh, no. [dies]
[Ma Kent looks over at the scene]
Ma Kent: Johathan... Jonathan!
Young Clark Kent: [runs out from the barn] Dad...

Young Clark Kent: I have to leave.
Ma Kent: I knew this day would come. We both knew it from the day we found you.
Young Clark Kent: I talked to Ben Hubbard yesterday and he said... he can come around to help. Mother...
Ma Kent: I know, son. I know. Do you... know where you'll be going?
Young Clark Kent: North.
Ma Kent: Remember, son. Always remember.

Jimmy Olsen: Golly, Miss Lane, how come you get all the best stories?
Lois Lane: A good reporter doesn't get great stories, Jimmy... [enters Mr. White's office]
Perry White: [to Clark] ...a good reporter makes them great.

Clark Kent: Excuse me, Mr. White. I was wondering if, if, uh, perhaps you could arrange for half my salary to be sent to this address on a weekly basis.
Lois Lane: Your bookie, right?
Clark Kent: My what?
Lois Lane: Don't tell me: he sends a check every week to his sweet, grey-haired old mother.
Clark Kent: Actually, she's silver-haired.
Perry White: Yeah. I'll see what I can do.
Lois Lane: Any more at home like you?
Clark Kent: Uh, not really, no.
Lois Lane: I didn't think so.

[Clark and Lois are leaving the Daily Planet]
Lois Lane: So how did you enjoy your first day on the job?
Clark Kent: Frankly the hours were somewhat longer than I expected, but meeting you and Jimmy and Mr. White on the whole I think it's just swell.
Lois Lane: Swell? You know, Clark, there are very few people left in the world these days who sound comfortable saying that word.
Clark Kent: What word?
Lois Lane: "Swell".
Clark Kent: Really? It just sort of comes naturally to me.

[Clark and Lois are being mugged]
Clark Kent: [points the Mugger's gun away from himself and Lois] Now just a minute, mister. I realize times are tough for some these days, but this isn't the answer. You can't solve society's problems...with a gun.
Mugger: You know something, buddy? You're right I'm turning over a new leaf.
Clark Kent: Now that's the spirit. [to Lois] See he really doesn't want to hurt anybody.
[Mugger points the gun back at them]
Lois Lane: Uh-huh.
Mugger: Right after I rip off this lady's purse. Now c'mon, lady. Hand it over.
Clark Kent: Now, Lois, I think you better... [Lois begins to hand the Mugger her purse, but instead drops it] Lois! What are you doing?
[The Mugger bends down to receive Lois' purse, but Lois kicks him in the face causing him to fire the gun. Clark Kent catches the bullet and falls over as the Mugger runs away]
Lois Lane: Clark! Clark, are you okay?
Clark Kent: [wakes up] Golly, I... I guess I might have fainted.
Lois Lane: Fainted? You fainted!
Clark Kent: Sorry. [Lois walks away as Clark tosses the bullet away] Really, Lois, supposing that man had shot you? Is it worth risking your life over ten dollars, two credit cards, a hairbrush, and a lipstick?
Lois Lane: How did you know that?
Clark Kent: Know what?
Lois Lane: You just described the exact contents of my purse.
Clark Kent: [looks in] Hmm. Wild guess. [runs off] Taxi!

[after Lex caused a cop to get pushed in front of a train]
Miss Teschmacher: That's sick, Lex. You're really sick!
Lex Luthor: Sick, Miss Teschmacher? With mere days away from executing The Crime of the Century. How do you choose to congratulate the greatest criminal mind on Earh? Do you call me brilliant? A bit obvious, that, I grant you. Charismatic, then? Fiendishly gifted?
Miss Teschmacher: [laughs] Try twisted.
[Both laugh as Miss Teschmacher begins to search through a cabnet]
Lex Luthor: Get away from there! Get away from there!
Miss Teschmacher: [closes the drawer] Tell me something Lex, why do so many people have to die for the crime of the century?
Lex Luthor: Why, you ask why? Why does the phone always ring when you're in the bathtub? Why does the world's greatest genius surround himself with nincompoops?
Otis: [enter] I'm back, Mr. Luthor.
Lex Luthor: Ah Otis, we were just talking about you. You were followed again. [Otis spins around, knocking over a lamp] In spite of those catlike reflexes.
Otis: Mr. Luthor? Mr. Luthor, I'm sorry.
Lex Luthor: Otis, is that the newspaper I asked you to get me?
Otis: [looks at the newspaper] Yeah.
Lex Luthor: Why am I not reading it?
Otis: [thinks for a second] 'Cause I haven't given it to you yet?
Lex Luthor: [smiles] Right. [snatches the newspaper from Otis' hand and reads it] At last it's official! Thanks to the generous help of our own government, we are finally going to realize the greatest real swindle in history!
Miss Teschmacher: Lex what is this obsession with Real Estate all the time land, land, land.
Lex Luthor:Miss Teschmacher, When I was six years old my father said to me...
Miss Teschmacher: Get out!
Lex Luthor: [laughs] Before that... he said "Son... Stocks may rise and fall, Utilities and Transportation systems may collapse, People are just no damn good but they will always need land and they will pay through the nose to get it. Remember my father said...
Otis: Land.
Lex Luthor: Right. It's a pity he didn't see how, from such humble beginnings, I created an empire.
Miss Teschmacher: An empire? This?
Lex Luthor: Miss Teschmacher. How many other girls are lucky enough to have a Park Avenue address?
Miss Teschmacher: Park Avenue address, two hundred feet below?
Lex Luthor: Do you realize what they're all paying per square foot up there for a few miserable rooms of a common elevator? [in unison with Otis] What more could anyone ask?

[Clark changes into Superman in a revolving door]
Pimp: Say, Jim! Whoo!
Superman: Excuse me.
Pimp: That's a bad outfit!
[Superman flies off]
Pimp: Whoo!

Superman: Easy, miss. I've got you.
Lois Lane: You... you've got me? Who's got you?

Lois Lane: Wait! Who are you?
Superman: A friend. [flies away] Bye.
[Lois waves at Superman and faints]

Little Girl with Cat: [running into her house after Superman leaves] Mommy! Mommy! Frisky was stuck in a tree! And this man came swooping out of the sky and gave him to me!
Little Girl's Mom: Haven't I told you to stop telling lies?

[In the "extended" version of the film. Superman heads back to the Fortress of Solitude and talks with his father.]
Jor-El: You…enjoyed it.
Superman: I don’t know what to say. I guess I just got…carried away.
Jor-El: I anticipated this, my son. I…
Superman: You couldn’t have! You couldn’t have imagined…
Jor-El: (gently) How good it felt!
Superman: How good it felt…
[Superman falls silent again, ashamed. Jor-El can’t resist a small smile.]
Jor-El: You are revealed to the world. Very well. So be it. But still you must keep your secret identity.
Superman: Why?
Jor-El: The reasons are two: First, even you cannot serve humanity twenty-eight hours a day…
Superman: Twenty-four.
Jor-El: Or twenty-four as it is in Earth time. Your help would be called for endlessly, even for those tasks which human beings could solve for themselves. It is their habit to abuse their resources in such a way.
Superman: And secondly?
Jor-El: Second: Your enemies will discover their only way to hurt you – by hurting the people you care for.
Superman: Thank you, Father…
Jor-El: Lastly- do not punish yourself for your feelings of vanity. Simply learn to control them. It is an affliction common to all, even here on Krypton...(expression changes) Our destruction could have been avoided but for the vanity of some who considered us indestructible. Were it not for vanity…why…at this very moment...I could embrace you in my arms (barely audible) son...

[Miss Teschmacher asks if Superman is real; Lex Luthor says if he is, he can't be from this world]
Miss Teschmacher: Why?
Lex Luthor: Because if any human being were going to perpetrate such a fantastic hoax, it would've been me!

Lois Lane: Um, um, would you like a glass of wine?
Superman: Uh, no, no thanks. I never drink when I fly.

[Lois begins to light a cigarette]
Superman: You really shouldn't smoke, you know.
Lois Lane: Don't tell me. Lung cancer, right?
Superman: [uses his x-ray vision to see her lungs] Well, not yet, thank goodness.

Lois Lane: Lets start with the basics. Are you married?
Superman: Uh, no. No, I'm not.
Lois Lane: Okay, do you have a girlfriend?
Superman: (tongue-in-cheek) Uh, no, I don't, Lois, but if I did you would be the first to know about it.
Lois Lane: Uh-huh. Okay, how old are you?
Superman: Over twenty-one.
Lois Lane: Oh, I get it you don't want anyone to know. How big are you- tall are you?
Superman: I'm 6'4
Lois Lane: Okay. And how much do you weigh?
Superman: Hmm...around two, two twenty-five.
Lois Lane: Two- two twenty-five? [Superman shrugs] And I take it the rest or your bodily functions are normal?
Superman: I beg your pardon?
Lois Lane: Well - putting it delicately - [Lois zones out glaring at Superman] Do you... eat?
Superman: Yes, Miss Lane, I do. When I'm hungry.
Lois Lane: [gets up from the table and stands besides a large lead planter] Is it true you can see through anything?
Superman: Pretty much.
Lois Lane: And you're totally impervious to pain?
Superman: Well, so far.
Lois Lane: What color underwear am I wearing?
Superman: [looking] Hmmm...
Lois Lane: Oh, I'm sorry, I embarrassed you, didn't I?
Superman: Oh, no, no, no, not at all, Miss Lane, it's just that this planter must be made of lead.
Lois Lane: Uh, yes it is. So?
Superman: Well, you see, I, uh, I sort of have a problem seeing through lead.
Lois Lane: Oh, that's interesting.
Lois Lane: [Writing] 'Problem seeing through lead.' Hmmm. Uh, d-do you have a first name?
Superman: What do you mean, like, uh, Ralph or something?
Lois Lane: No, no, I mean like... [Walks away from the planter]
Superman: Pink.
Lois Lane: Huh?
Superman: Pink.
[Lois scurries back to the planter]
Superman: Um, sorry, Miss Lane, I didn't mean to embarrass you.
Lois Lane: [gazing into his eyes] Why are you?
Superman: I'm sorry?
Lois Lane: I mean, why are you here? There must be a reason.
Superman: Yes. I'm here to fight for truth, and justice, and the American way.
Lois Lane: [Laughs] You're gonna end up fighting every elected official in this country!
Superman: I'm sure you don't really mean that.
Lois Lane: I don't believe this.
Superman: Lois, I never lie.

Lois Lane: Clark said you were only rigged with wires. Like Peter Pan.
Superman: Clark? Who is he; your boyfriend?
Lois Lane: Clark!? Oh, he's nothing at all, really. Dull, mild-mannered, you know the type -
Superman: Well, Peter Pan flew with children, Lois. In a fairy tale.

[Lex stands on his library sliding ladder searching for a book]
Lex Luthor: N... .N.. N...
Otis: 'M'! You want 'M' Mr. Luthor?
[Otis moves the sliding ladder Lex is standing on, leaving Lex hanging from a shelf]
Otis: So, there you go, 'M'.
Lex Luthor: 'M' as in moron Otis? No, no, no, it's 'N'! 'N' as in Neanderthal, nincompoop, nitwit and 'L' as in ladder!

Lex Luthor: Miss Teschmacher, some people can read War and Peace and come away thinking it's a simple adventure story. Others can read the ingredients on a chewing gum wrapper and unlock the secrets of the universe.
Miss Teschmacher: Lex, what has chewing gum got to do with the secrets of the universe?
Lex Luthor: [sighs] Right, Miss Teschmacher. Right.

[Superman breaks down Lex Luthor's door]
Lex Luthor: It's open, come in. My attorney will be in touch with you about the damage to the door. Otis, take the gentleman's cape.
[Otis approaches Superman, who glares at him]
Otis: I don't think he wants me to, Mr. Luthor.
Superman: All right, Luthor. Where's the gas mine?
Lex Luthor: Somewhere... hidden in the back of my mind.
Superman: Is that how a warped brain like yours gets its kicks? By planning the death of innocent people?
Lex Luthor: No, by causing the death of innocent people.

Lex Luthor: [pointing to a map of California and the San Andreas Fault] Everything west of this line is the richest, most expensive real estate in the world: San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco. Everything on THIS side of the line is just hundreds and hundreds of miles of worthless desert land, which just so happens to be owned by...
[Whaps Otis with his pointer]
Otis: Uhhh... Lex Luthor Incorporated.
Lex Luthor: Now, call me foolish, call me irresponsible, it occurs to me that a 500 megaton bomb planted at just the proper point would, uh...
Superman: Would destroy most of California. Millions of innocent people would be killed. And the west coast as we know it would-...
Lex Luthor: Fall into the sea. [Gives a little wave with his hand] Bye-bye, California. Hello, new west coast. My west coast.
[Otis overlays map with new map]
Lex Luthor: Costa Del Lex. Luthorville. Marina del Lex. Otisburg [hand-written by Otis, with backwards 'S']... Otisburg?
Otis: Miss Teschmacher, she's got her own place. ["Teschmacher Peaks"]
Lex Luthor: Otisburg?
Otis: It's a little bitty place.
Lex Luthor: [Angrily] Otisburg?
Otis: Okay, I'll just wipe it off, that's all. It's just a little town. [Erases Otisburg]

[after Superman flies away to stop the earthquake... again]
Jimmy Olsen: It's a real shame Clark wasn't here to see this.
Lois Lane: Yeah, Clark is never around when... Clark? Lois Lane, that is the dumbest idea I've ever heard.
Jimmy Olsen: He really seems to care about you, Miss Lane.
Lois Lane: Clark, of course he does.
Jimmy Olsen: No, not Clark. [looks up in the sky]
Lois Lane: Oh... Superman cares about everyone, Jimmy. But who knows, maybe one day... If he's lucky...

[final scene]
Superman: Hello, Warden. I think these men should be safe here with you until they can get a fair trial.
Warden: Who are they, Superman?
Lex Luthor: [removes his wig] Lex Luthor; the greatest criminal mind of our age! I hearby serve notice -
Otis: He's serving notice.
Lex Luthor: ...that these walls -
Otis: That these wall!
Lex Luthor: Would you shut up!
Warden: This country is safe again, Superman, thanks to you.
Superman: No, sir. Don't thank me, Warden. We're all part of the same team. Good night.


  • You'll Believe a Man Can Fly!
  • The movie that makes a legend come to life.
  • Look, up on the screen! It's Superman!


See also

External links

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