All 12 Superman Movies List By Their Release Order

There is no doubt that Superman has become synonymous with superheroes. Superman has been an inspiration to many and someone that the kids idealized back in the day. He is a symbol of justice, bravery, and righteousness. There are many other superheroes stronger, smarter, and better than him but he stands out the most. His principles and morals are realistic. He knows that there is no one stronger than him on Earth yet he chooses to protect the weak.

Superman was written by Jerry Seigel and illustrated by Joe Shuster. There are a couple of variations to the Superman story and they have their films. The baseline is that Superman a.k.a. Kal-El was an alien baby when he came to Earth. His home planet Krypton was destroyed and his parents had no other choice but to send him off to a distant planet. As he grows up in a rural family, much to their surprise, his foster parents and he realize that Kal has extraordinary abilities that no one else had. Kal- El grows up as Clark Kent, a name given by his foster parents. To keep his family and friends safe, Clark chooses to keep his identity a secret and stop crimes as his new alter ego, Superman.

How many Superman Movies Are There?

The adaptation of the comic book character into a live-action movie has several reboots. Keeping his origin story the same, there are 12 live-action adaptations of the fictional superhero. Superman’s first theatrical release was on January 5, 1948. The visual effects have come a long way since then. The recent movies truly show how powerful Superman is whereas the older versions are considered classic legacies.

Also Read: All Quentin Tarantino Movies

Are The Superman Movies Connected?

No. Not all of them are connected. They have their versions of adventures and feats. Few of them are standalone. Most of them are grouped according to the chronological continuation of the story. The 1950 release is a continuation of the film serial Superman (1948) featuring Kirk Alyn as Superman. Superman and the Mole Men is an independent black and white superhero film starring George Reeves as Superman.

The reboot in 1978 starred Christopher Reeves as Superman and he continued to play the first three sequels- Superman II, III, and IV. After almost 2 decades, Branden Routh was cast as the new Superman. Finally, the last reboot of Superman, Man of Steel starring Henry Cavill was the most visually stunning adaptation. The next three movies featured the superhero along with other DC superheroes like Batman, Wonder Woman, and other Justice League characters.

In What Order Should I Watch Superman Movies?

The list below shows the Superman movies grouped according to the plot and different versions.

  • The Golden Era

    • Superman (1948)
    • Atom Man vs Superman (1950)
    • Superman and the Mole Men (1951)- stand-alone
  • Christopher Reeves Era

    • Superman (1978)
    • Superman II (1981)
    • Superman III (1983)
    • Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)
  • Branden Routh’s Version

    • Superman Returns (2006)- stand-alone
  • Snyder’s Universe

    • Man of Steel (2013)
    • Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
    • Justice League (2017)
    • Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021)

Superman Movies

Every Superman Movies In Order Along With IMDB Rating And Release Date

  1. Superman (1948)

    Directors: Spencer Gordon Bennet, Thomas Carr

    Writers: George H. Plympton(adaptation), Joseph F. Poland(adaptation), Arthur Hoerl(screenplay)

    Stars: Kirk Alyn, Noel Neill, Tommy Bond

    Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama

    Release date: January 5, 1948

     Superman (1948) on IMDb

    Kal-El, an alien, is deported to Earth by his parents before his home planet Krypton blows up. As a baby, Kal-El is adopted by a farm couple who renamed him Clark Kent. After the death of his foster parents, Clark moves to Metropolis and joins as a staff of Daily Planet, a news company. Clark keeps his identity a secret and fights for the good of his alter ego Superman. Besides fighting criminals, Clark also discovers a mysterious stone called Kryptonite. After he faints near it, he deduces that the stone is his weakness. The story progresses and the plot revolves around Superman and a nefarious criminal who calls herself Spider Lady.

  2. Atom Man vs Superman (1950)

    Director: Spencer Gordon Bennet

    Writers: George H. Plympton(screenplay by), Joseph F. Poland(screenplay by), David Mathews(screenplay by)

    Stars: Kirk Alyn, Noel Neill, Lyle Talbot

    Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama

    Release date: July 20, 1950

     Atom Man vs. Superman (1950) on IMDb

    Lex Luthor, the Atom Man has the power to disintegrate matter to its basic atomic form and reconstruct it somewhere else. Superman manages to stop Luthor every time, ruining his plans. To put an end to Superman, Lex prepares are synthetic Kryptonite which snatches Superman of his powers. Powerless Superman loses his consciousness and is placed into a device. A lever is pulled and Superman vanishes into the void.

  3. Superman and the Mole Men (1951)

    Director: Lee Sholem

    Writers: Robert Maxwell(original screenplay), Joe Shuster(characters), Jerry Siegel(characters)

    Stars: George Reeves, Phyllis Coates, Jeff Corey

    Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama

    Release date: 23 November 1951

     Superman and the Mole-Men (1951) on IMDb

    Clark Kent and Lois Lane, his love interest, investigate a town as reporters for the Daily Planet. The town has an unsettling atmosphere with mysterious creatures lurking in the dark. These mysterious creatures can make anything they touch glow. Fed up with their miserable situation a mob led by Luke Benson is formed to kill the creatures. Superman saves one of the mole men after it gets shot. Later, three more mole men emerge from a drill shaft and try to kill Luke Benson with their laser weapons. Superman intervenes and saves Benson’s life. The wounded mole man that was earlier admitted to the hospital is carried by Superman to the drill shaft. The other mole men follow him. They enter the hole with their fellow mole man and close the drill shaft for good.

  4. Superman (1978)

    Director: Richard Donner

    Writers: Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster, Mario Puzo(story)

    Stars: Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, Gene Hackman

    Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama

    Release date: 25 December 1978

     Superman (1978) on IMDb

    Before Krypton gets destroyed Jor-El sends his son Kal-EL to Earth in a spaceship. Three years later the baby boy is found by a farmer couple, Jonathan and Martha Kent. They name the baby Clark Kent. After Jonathan’s death, Clark follows a voice leading him to a spaceship that resembled Krypton. For 12 years he is educated about his reason on Earth and his home planet by Jor-El’s hologram. Clark returns in a red and blue suit with a cape and his family crest on it. He disguises himself and works for Daily Planet.

    As Superman, Clark saves the day and stops the criminals. Meanwhile, Lex Luthor a criminal mastermind gets his hands on Kryptonite, Superman’s weakness. He lures Superman in and uses the glowing stone to snatch away the superhero’s powers. Luthor leaves Superman to die. Luthor’s accomplice Eve Teschmacher realizes that Lex’s success meant her mother’s death. She helps Superman. Two missiles are headed to the west and east coast of the country. Teschmacher requests Superman to stop the east missile to save her mother. Superman keeps his words and sends the east missile into space. Not being able to stop the west missile, Superman loses Lois Lane, his love interest. Disregarding Jor-El’s teachings, he spins across Earth at extreme speed traveling back in time saving everyone.

  5. Superman II (1981)

    Directors: Richard Lester, Richard Donner

    Writers: Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster, Mario Puzo

    Stars: Gene HackmanChristopher ReeveMargot Kidder

    Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

    Release date: 19 June 1981

     Superman II (1980) on IMDb

    General Zod, Ursa, and Non, three Kryptonian criminals decide to conquer Earth. Superman gives up his powers to live with Lois as a mortal. Led by Lex Luthor, General Zod decides to kill Superman. Clark regains his power to stop General Zod and his accomplices. Zod holds the bystanders’ hostage. The only way to defeat Zod is to lure him and the other two Kryptonians into the chamber where Superman lost his powers.

    Luthor is threatened after his purpose is served. Superman expects Luthor to help him lure the criminal meta-humans into the chamber. Instead, Luthor tells General Zod about Superman’s plans. Zod throws Superman in the chamber but this time he emerges unaffected. Zod, Ursa, and Non are thrown into the crevices of the chamber. Superman returns to civilization and promises the U.S. President not to abandon his superhero duties again.

  6. Superman III (1983)

    Director: Richard Lester

    Writers: Jerry Siegel, Shuster, David Newman

    Stars: Christopher Reeve, Richard Pryor, Margot Kidder

    Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy

    Release date: 17 June 1983

     Superman III (1983) on IMDb

    Gus Gorman, a computer genius, intrigues CEO Ross Webster. When Colombia refuses to engage in business with Webster, he orders Gus to command a weather satellite and create a devastating tornado to destroy Colombia’s coffee crops. Superman neutralizes the tornado and saves the crops. Webster acknowledges Superman as a threat to his plans. Webster creates a synthetic Kryptonite. Later, when Superman is exposed to a kryptonite beam, instead of taking away his powers, the stone makes him selfish. Superman starts vandalizing things.

    On Webster’s orders, Gus makes the world’s most sophisticated supercomputer. Superman fights back his new evil self and then splits into two beings Clark, the good version, and the immoral, evil version of Superman. Both fight and Clark defeats his evil version regaining his sanity. Gus’s supercomputer fires a kryptonite beam to kill Superman. Gus, guilt-tripping, stops the beam. Gus tries to deactivate it but the computer becomes self-aware and tries to defend itself. Superman manages to destroy the supercomputer with beltric acid.

  7. Superman IV (1987)

    Director: Sidney J. Furie

    Writers: Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster, Christopher Reeve

    Stars: Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder

    Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

    Release date: 24 July 1987

     Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987) on IMDb

    After knowing that the U.S. and the Soviet Union are going to engage in a nuclear war, Superman throws all of the nuclear warheads into the sun to prevent the war. With the help of his nephew Lenny, Lex escapes the prison and experiments on a strand of Superman’s hair. Luthor with the help of a few infuriated nuclear weapon dealers launches a nuclear missile with the experimented strand of hair in it. Superman shows up and throws the missile into the sun. A glowing ball of energy is discharged giving birth to Nuclear Man.

    Nuclear Man’s source of energy is the sun. A super battle between Superman and Nuclear Man breaks out. Superman tries to minimize the collateral damage. Superman is infected with radiation sickness by a claw scratch from Nuclear Man. Nuclear Man kicks Superman far off into the distance. As Nuclear Man wreaks havoc throughout Metropolis, Lois Lane searches for Superman. Clark grown weak because of the sickness uses his last resort, a green energy module that can be used only once to gain vitality.

    In the second round, Nuclear Man drives Superman into the surface of the moon. Superman frees himself disorienting the position of the moon. This causes an eclipse deactivating Nuclear Man. Superman throws Nuclear Man into a nuclear powerplant. The once Nuclear Man gets destroyed and dissipates into electricity.

  8. Superman Returns (2006)

    Director: Bryan Singer

    Writers: Michael Dougherty, Dan Harris, Bryan Singer

    Stars: Brandon Routh, Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth

    Genre: Action, Sci-Fi

    Release date: 30 June 2006

     Superman Returns (2006) on IMDb

    After being missing for 5 years, Superman returns to Metropolis and continues his job as a reporter at Daily Planet. Lex Luthor is released from prison. After the death of his rich wife, Luthor inherits all her property. His experiments cause a power surge disrupting the flight test of an airplane with a space shuttle on top of it. Superman arrives, detaches the shuttle, and pushes it into space. As the airplane falls towards Earth, Superman stops and slowly lowers it down on a baseball stadium.

    While Superman stops an out-of-control car, Luthor steals kryptonite from a museum. Combining kryptonite and the Kryptonian crystals previously obtained from the Fortress of Solitude, Luthor creates a new landmass in the Northern Atlantic Ocean. When Superman arrives on the newly formed landmass made of kryptonite, he is weakened to a mortal state. Luthor and his henchmen torture him before stabbing him with a fragment of Kryptonite.

    Lois manages to extract the shrapnel from Superman’s body. Superman flies into space to absorb energy from the sun and revive his powers completely. With layers of landmass separating Superman and the huge chunk of Kryptonite, he lifts it and pushes it into space. The radiation and still-growing Kryptonite entered Superman’s body while he was lifting it into space. He crashes on Earth creating a crater.

    He is instantly rushed to the hospital. The doctors take out most of the Kryptonite but his heartbeat stops. Lois comes in whispers something in his ears and kisses him goodbye. Later, Superman sees his and Lois’s son before flying off to space getting a complete view of Earth.

  9. Man of Steel (2013)

    Director: Zack Snyder

    Writers: David S. Goyer, Christopher Nolan, Jerry Siegel

    Stars: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon

    Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

    Release date: 14 June 2013

     Man of Steel (2013) on IMDb

    With Krypton’s existence at stake, supreme council chief advisor Jor-El infuses the genetics codex into his infant son Kal-El, the first natural-born in centuries. Before the planets explode, Jor-El manages to send Kal-El in a spacecraft towards Earth. On arriving Earth, Kal-El is adopted by Jonathan and Martha Kent and is renamed Clark Kent. Soon the family gets to know that Clark is an extraordinary child with superpowers. Jonathan insists on keeping it a secret. On a car trip, they get caught up in a cyclone.

    The family manages to escape on time but Jonathan runs back to save their dog trapped inside the car. Jonathan manages to save the dog but he does not make it out. Clark blames himself for not being able to do anything just to keep his powers a secret. He ventures across the world under various aliases to find a purpose in life. Lois Lane from Daily Planet goes to investigate a Kryptonian spaceship discovered recently. Clark enters the ship and learns his purpose; to guide the people of Earth.

    He wears a Kryptonian outfit and tests his flying skills. Lois tries to expose Clark’s identity but drops the idea after hearing about Jonathan’s sacrifice. Kryptonian criminal and renegade General Zod along with his accomplices escape a Krypton-based prison, the Phantom Zone. They travel to Earth to turn it into the second Krypton. With his hands on Clark’s gene and the plan to create a second Krypton, Zod visions to create a new race of Kryptonian.

    Zod deploys his terraforming machine. One in Metropolis and the other on the antipode of the city. With the terraforming process, Clark manages to destroy one of the machines. The military launches a suicidal attack, sending Zod’s troop and the ship back to the Phantom Zone. Failing to create what he intended to, Zod battles against Superman, Clark’s superhero moniker. They cause heavy collateral damage throughout the city. With lives at stake, Clark reluctantly kills the only other Kryptonian left.

  10. Batman vs Superman (2016)

    Director: Zack Snyder

    Writers: Chris Terrio, David S. Goyer, Bob Kane

    Stars: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams

    Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

    Release date: 25 March 2016

     Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) on IMDb

    Batman, the dark knight of Gotham City has been fighting criminals for the past 20 years. After witnessing the collateral damage caused by the battle between Superman’s battle and General Zod, Bruce Wayne (Batman’s civilian identity) recognizes Superman as a potential threat to humanity. Superman learns of Batman and his way of delivering justice and tries to expose Bruce Wayne. Both of them attend the same gala organized by genius, billionaire, and philanthropist Lex Luthor. Bruce manages to steal sensitive data from Lex Corps’.

    Mainframe but loses the device to Diana Prince, an artifact collector. She returns it after not being able to decrypt it. Batman visualizes a post-apocalyptic world where Superman turns evil. From the sensitive data, Bruce learns about other metahumans on Earth, Diana being one of them. Superman is held in court because of his fight with Zod that caused damage. A bomb goes off killing everyone but Superman. He imposes self-exile. Batman breaks into Lex Corp and steals the Kryptonite that was found after the little terraforming on Earth.

    Luthor holds Lois Lane and Martha Kent hostage. Luthor lures Superman with the hostages and goes on to explain how he fuelled distrust among both the superheroes. Superman saves Lois. Luthor tells Superman to kill Batman to save Martha. Batman awaits Superman in his armor suit. With ample prep time, Batman manages to overpower Superman with the help of Kryptonite. As he is about to kill Superman with a Kryptonite spear, Lois intervenes. Batman realizes that he was blinded by misconceptions about Superman. Batman manages to save Martha.

    Luthor executes his backup plan and creates a genetically mutated creature to kill Superman. Diana joins the battle. Superman realizes that the creature has the same weakness as him. He flies back to retrieve the Kryptonite spear while Batman and Diana try to stop the creature. Superman weakened by the radiation somehow manages to impale the creature with the spear. The creature dies but not before stabbing Superman with one of its horns. Superman succumbs to the wounds. With Superman’s death, Clark Kent also dies. Bruce and Diana attend Clark’s funeral. Bruce regrets and resents for failing the fallen superhero. He asks Diana to help him form a team of metahumans to protect the world in Superman’s absence.

  11. Justice League (2017)

    Director: Zack Snyder

    Writers: Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster, Chris Terrio

    Stars: Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa

    Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy

    Release date: 17 November 2017

     Justice League (2017) on IMDb

    Thousands of years ago Steppenwolf and his army of Para demons try to conquer Earth with the help of the three Mother Boxes. They are opposed by the Olympian Gods, Amazons, and Atlanteans which resulted in Steppenwolf’s defeat. The Mother Boxes were separated and hidden in secure places. Two years after Superman’s death which brought back Steppenwolf to Earth, he aims to combine the boxes and use them to terraform Earth in the image of his world.

    He gets the first box from the Amazons which alerts Diana Prince. Diana joins Bruce to form a team. Bruce tries to recruit two more metahumans, Arthur Curry and Barry Allen while Diana tries to bring Victor Stone. Arthur and Victor decline the offer but Barry shows great interest. Victor joins the team after his father gets kidnapped by Steppenwolf. Steppenwolf usurps the second Mother Box protected by the Atlanteans.

    Arthur agrees to team up with the rest of them. With the third and final box in Victor’s possession, Wayne decides to resurrect Superman. Superman, without his memories, starts attacking the rest of them. He stops after seeing Lois. While they manage to calm down Superman, Steppenwolf steals the final Mother Box. With Superman out of the scenario, the team fights through the Para demons and tries to stop Steppenwolf.

    While Batman, Diana, and Arthur hold off Steppenwolf, Victor tries to separate the three mother boxes. Superman flies in to assist Flash in evacuating the locals. He returns to the fight and helps Victor separate the boxes. They succeed while frightened Steppenwolf is attacked by his Para demons.

  12. Snyder’s Cut Justice League (2021)

    Director: Zack Snyder

    Writers: Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster, Zack Snyder

    Stars: Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot

    Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy

    Release date: 18 March 2021

     Zack Snyder's Justice League (2021) on IMDb

    Five thousand years ago an army led by an alien ruler from planet Apokolips called Darkseid waged war against Earth to conquer it with the help of three Mother Boxes. He was defeated with the combined forces of the old gods, Amazons, Atlanteans, a green lantern, and humans. At present, Superman’s death summons Steppenwolf, Darkseid’s disgraced lieutenant. Steppenwolf seeks the opportunity to gain Darkseid’s favor by collecting the boxes and forming the Unity.

    He attacks Themyscira, homeland to Diana, and steals the first mother box. Alarmed Diana seeks Bruce Wayne a.k.a. Batman’s help. Both of them recruit different metahumans forming the Justice League. Steppenwolf gets his hand on the second mother box that was guarded by the Atlanteans. Victor Stone, one of the metahumans, explains how his body was reconfigured after an accident with the help of the Mother Box.

    Aware of Steppenwolf being notified if they use the box, the League agrees to use the power of the box to resurrect Superman. Meanwhile, Steppenwolf has a vision of the Anti-Life Equation, a secret power sought by Darkseid to control all of existence, and he informs his master. Clark without his memory attacks the Justice League after being provoked by Victor’s self-defense system. Lois arrives and calms him down.

    He flies back to his hometown with Louis. Without Clark, the team tries to stop Steppenwolf from performing the Unity. They battle through the Para demons. Clark arrives later and easily overpowers Steppenwolf but Victor fails to stop the Unity. With the Unity formed, Earth is destroyed. Barry manages to enter the Speed force and travel back in time. With Barry’s previous experience, they can defeat Steppenwolf as well as stop the Unity.

    The Justice League witnessed Darkseid standing on the other side of a portal. He vows to return to Earth to complete the Anti-Life Equation. In the end, a headquarter is formed for the Justice League, Death Stroke visits Lex Luthor and Bruce finally meets the Martian Manhunter who was disguised as the Secretary of Defence Calvin Swanwick.

All Superman Movies According To Highest To Lowest IMDb Ranking

  • Snyder’s Cut Justice League (2021) – 8.1 with 368k
  • Superman (1978) – 7.4 with 171k
  • Man of Steel (2013) – 7.1 with 748k
  • Superman (1948) – 6.9 with 1.1k
  • Atom Man vs Superman (1950) – 6.8 with 723
  • Superman II (1981) – 6.8 with 106k
  • Batman vs Superman (2016) – 6.5 with 682k
  • Superman Returns (2006) – 6.1 with 280k
  • Justice League (2017) – 6.1 with 438k
  • Superman and the Mole Men (1951) – 5.6 with 2k
  • Superman III (1983) – 5.0 with 69k
  • Superman IV (1987) – 3.7 with 48k

Conclusion

There you have all the live-action Superman movies to date. The stories and adventures of the superhero in red and blue are extremely fascinating. One thing to remember- Superman may be famous for his super strength and super speed and all sorts of stuff he can do but one superpower that overshadows all of them is his willpower. “There is a superhero in all of us, we just need the courage to put on the cape”- Superman

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