List of All Superman Movies in Order

If you plan to watch every Superman movie, this article is for you. Below is the list of all Superman movies ordered by release date. There are four movies in the Original film series (1978–1987) starring Christopher Reeve. Then there is Brandon Routh’s Superman Returns (2006). Finally, there are three movies from DC Extended Universe starring Henry Cavill (Justice League is not really a Superman movie, but it should be on the list too).

Richard Donner directed the first Superman and started Superman II but did not finish. It was completed with Richard Lester who changed the tone of the movie. The second movie was still successful, even though it competed with Raiders of the Lost Ark. Lester also directed Superman III and the spin-off Supergirl (1984).

In the 19-year period, between Superman IV: The Quest for Peace from 1987 and Brandon Routh’s Superman Returns from 2006, no Superman movie was made. Richard Donner released his own version of Superman II also in 2006. Superman IV was poorly received so Superman V was canceled. Several other Superman projects were abandoned during these years: Superman Reborn, Superman Lives (which would star Nicolas Cage), Batman vs. Superman, Superman: Flyby, and Justice League: Mortal.

RELATED: List of DC Extended Universe Films

The Superman film series was rebooted with the Man of Steel (2013) starring Henry Cavill, which is also the first installment in the DC Extended Universe. With the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) and Justice League (2017), Henry Cavill is one movie away to portray Superman four times, as many times as Christopher Reeve.

Zack Snyder’s cut of Justice League is released in 2021 on HBO Max. Also, according to reports, besides helping with Snyder’s cut, Cavill is about to play Superman one more time.

Here is the list of all Superman movies ordered by release date:

1. Superman (1978)

Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama
Director: Richard Donner
Starring: Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, Gene Hackman

This is the first installment in the Superman film series. At the time, it was the most expensive movie. The story begins on the planet Krypton where scientist Jor-El (Superman’s father) learns that his planet will be destroyed. In order to save his son Kal-El, he will send him to Earth. Raised by farmers Jonathan and Martha Kent, young Kal-El, now Clark Kent will discover that he was born with superhuman powers. As an adult, he will move to Metropolis to work as a reporter. But this is only a disguise, his real job is to fight evil as Superman. Criminal mind Lex Luthor will become his biggest nemesis.

2. Superman II (1980)

Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Director: Richard Lester, Richard Donner (uncredited)
Starring: Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder

Before Superman’s home planet Krypton was destroyed, three criminals, General Zod, Ursa, and Non, were sent to Phantom Zone prison. When a hydrogen bomb is thrown from the Earth by Superman, the Phantom Zone is shattered and the three criminals from Krypton become free. With the same powers as Superman, they are headed for Earth. Meanwhile, Superman has given up his powers and become mortal so he can spend his life with Lois Lane, not knowing what danger is coming. Now he must find the green crystal that restores his powers and face the three Kryptonians who team up with Lex Luthor.

In 2006, Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut was released. Richard Donner was the original director, but he was taken off the project and replaced. The new director rewrote and reshot substantial portions of Donner’s footage. The Richard Donner Cut features a significant amount of lost footage.

3. Superman III (1983)

Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy
Director: Richard Lester
Starring: Christopher Reeve, Richard Pryor, Margot Kidder

In the third installment of the Superman film series, there is a new villain, a megalomaniac Ross Webster, who wants to control the world. After Superman neutralized his attempt to destroy Colombia’s coffee crop with a weather satellite, Ross orders computer genius Guss to create synthetic kryptonite. This will corrupt Superman and split him into two personae, Clark Kent on one side and dark immoral Superman on another. Now he first needs to restore his true self and then confront Ross.

4. Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)

Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Director: Sidney J. Furie
Starring: Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder

Because of the news about the nuclear arms race, Superman decides to attend the United Nations General Assembly and announce that he will remove all nuclear weapons from the planet. His archenemy Lex Luthor has other plans. When he steals a hair from Superman’s head, Luthor will create a Nuclear Man. Superman and Nuclear Man will engage in a vicious battle.

It’s the last appearance of Christopher Reeve as Superman. The movie did not have a very good reception and it is considered to be the weakest in the series.

5. Superman Returns (2006)

Genre: Action, Sci-Fi
Director: Bryan Singer
Starring: Brandon Routh, Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth

After a five-year-long absence, looking for the remains of his home planet Krypton, Superman has finally returned to Earth. His archenemy Lex Luthor is free again and he is plotting to kill millions, including Superman himself.

The movie is supposed to serve as an homage sequel to the original Superman movie, as well as to Superman II, while ignoring Superman III and Superman IV. The sequel was planned for 2009 but was canceled. Brandon Routh reprised the role as Superman in the 2019 Arrowverse crossover “Crisis on Infinite Earths”.

6. Man of Steel (2013)

Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Director: Zack Snyder
Starring: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon

Man of Steel is a complete reboot of the Superman film series. It tells the original Superman story. As a young boy, Clark Kent learns that he is from another planet called Krypton and that he has superpowers. Eventually, he will become the protector of mankind. But there is another survivor from Krypton, General Zod, and his plan is completely opposite. He wants to destroy humanity. Man of Steel is the only one who can stop him.

Man of Steel is the first movie in the DC Extended Universe. It was a box office success grossing over $668 million worldwide.

7. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Director: Zack Snyder
Starring: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams

A year and a half after Superman fought General Zod in Metropolis, Batman starts to see him as a threat because of Superman’s destructive capabilities. On the other hand, Superman doesn’t believe in Batman’s form of justice. The two will clash, but eventually, they will be forced to work together because Lex Luthor will unleash a monster created from Zod’s DNA.

8. Justice League (2017)

Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Director: Zack Snyder
Starring: Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Henry Cavill

Justice League follows the Superman story from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Superman is dead and the world is facing a new threat, Steppenwolf. Batman and Wonder Woman gather a group of superheroes to face the threat, but they are not matched to Steppenwolf. The only way to save the world is to revive Superman with a Mother Box.

Snyder’s original version of the film (Snyder’s cut) is scheduled for release in 2021.

All Superman Movies Ranked According to IMDb

  • Superman (1978) – 7.3 with 156,000 votes
  • Man of Steel (2013) – 7.0 with 679,000 votes
  • Superman II (1980) – 6.8 with 96,000 votes
  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) – 6.4 with 613,000 votes
  • Justice League (2017) – 6.3 with 372,000 votes
  • Superman Returns (2006) – 6.0 with 268,000 votes
  • Superman III (1983) – 5.0 with 63,000 votes
  • Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987) – 3.7 with 42,000 votes

All Superman Movies Box Office Performance

  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) – $874 million
  • Man of Steel (2013) – $668 million
  • Justice League (2017) – $658 million
  • Superman Returns (2006) – $391 million
  • Superman (1978) – $300 million
  • Superman II (1980) – $190 million
  • Superman III (1983) – $100 million
  • Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987) – $37 million