List of All Superman Movies in Order

List of All Superman Movies in Order: If you’re gearing up for a Superman movie marathon, this guide is tailor-made for you. Below, you’ll find a chronological list of all the Superman films to date. The journey begins with the Original Film Series (1978–1987), featuring Christopher Reeve as the iconic hero. Then, there’s Brandon Routh’s Superman Returns (2006), and lastly, three entries from the DC Extended Universe, starring Henry Cavill (note that Justice League is included for reference).

The inaugural Superman film was directed by Richard Donner, who also began work on Superman II before Richard Lester took over and altered its tone. Nonetheless, the sequel remained a success, even in competition with Raiders of the Lost Ark. Lester also helmed Superman III and the spin-off Supergirl (1984).

Following a 19-year hiatus between Superman IV: The Quest for Peace in 1987 and Brandon Routh’s Superman Returns in 2006, no new Superman films emerged. In 2006, Richard Donner released his own version of Superman II. Due to the poor reception of Superman IV, plans for Superman V were scrapped. Numerous other Superman projects were also abandoned during this period, including Superman Reborn, Superman Lives (featuring Nicolas Cage), Batman vs. Superman, Superman: Flyby, and Justice League: Mortal.

The Superman film series received a fresh start with Man of Steel (2013), starring Henry Cavill, which also serves as the inaugural installment in the DC Extended Universe. Following this, we have Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) and Justice League (2017), bringing Henry Cavill close to tying Christopher Reeve with four portrayals of Superman.

In 2021, Zack Snyder’s cut of Justice League was released on HBO Max, and there are reports suggesting that Cavill may return for another outing as Superman.

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

1. Superman (1978)

Superman | December 15, 1978 (United States) Summary: An alien orphan is sent from his dying planet to Earth, where he grows up to become his adoptive home's first and greatest superhero.
Countries: United States, United Kingdom, CanadaLanguages: English

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 like Superman. Criminal mind Lex Luthor will become his biggest nemesis.

2. Superman II (1980)

Superman II | June 19, 1981 (United States) Summary: Superman agrees to sacrifice his powers to start a relationship with Lois Lane, unaware that three Kryptonian criminals he inadvertently released are conquering Earth.
Countries: United States, United Kingdom, CanadaLanguages: English, French, Russian

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)

Superman III | June 17, 1983 (United States) Summary: Synthetic kryptonite laced with tar splits Superman in two: good Clark Kent and bad Man of Steel.
Countries: United Kingdom, United StatesLanguages: English, Italian, Spanish

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 neutralizes 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 the other. Now he first needs to restore his true self and then confront Ross.

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

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace | July 24, 1987 (United States) Summary: The Man of Steel crusades for nuclear disarmament and meets Lex Luthor's latest creation, Nuclear Man.
Countries: United Kingdom, United StatesLanguages: English, Russian, French, Italian

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)

Superman Returns | June 30, 2006 (United States) Summary: Superman returns to Earth after spending five years in space examining his homeworld Krypton. But he finds things have changed while he was gone, and he must once again prove himself importa... Read all
Countries: United States, AustraliaLanguages: English, German, French

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)

Man of Steel | June 14, 2013 (United States) Summary: An alien child is evacuated from his dying world and sent to Earth to live among humans. His peace is threatened when other survivors of his home planet invade Earth.
Countries: United States, United KingdomLanguages: English

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)

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice | March 25, 2016 (United States) Summary: Batman is manipulated by Lex Luthor to fear Superman. Superman´s existence is meanwhile dividing the world and he is framed for murder during an international crisis. The heroes clash and fo... Read all
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English

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)

Justice League | November 17, 2017 (United States) Summary: Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman's selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his new-found ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy.
Countries: United States, Canada, United KingdomLanguages: English, Irish Gaelic, Russian, Icelandic

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

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