- Directors: Richard Lester, Richard Donner
- Producers: Pierre Spengler
- Writers: Screenplay, Mario Puzo, David Newman, Leslie Newman, Creative Consultant, Tom Mankiewicz, Story, Mario Puzo, Comic Book, Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster
- Genres: Adventure, Romance, Sci-Fi
- Actors: Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeve, Ned Beatty, Jackie Cooper, Sarah Douglas, Margot Kidder, Jack O Halloran, Valerie Perrine, Susannah York, Clifton James, E G Marshall, Marc McClure, Terence Stamp
Prior to the destruction of Krypton, the criminals General Zod, Ursa and Non are banished into the Phantom Zone. The Zone travels through the galaxy and nears Earth, where it is caught in the explosion of a hydrogen bomb that Superman threw into space in order to save the Eiffel Tower and Paris; the explosion causes the Zone to shatter and free the three Kryptonians, who find they have super powers due to the yellow light of Earth’s sun. They discover human astronauts on the moon, and mistakenly believe that the center of Earth’s power is in Houston, Texas, traveling there to claim the planet for themselves. After destroying much of the town of East Houston, Idaho and defacing the presidential faces on Mount Rushmore, they travel to the White House and force the United States President to surrender to General Zod; though the President does so, he also warns Zod that Superman will defeat them, causing Zod to demand via national broadcast that Superman kneel before him.
Meanwhile, Clark Kent and Lois Lane are sent on assignment for the Daily Planet to Niagara Falls. After Superman saves a boy carelessly playing on the rails, Lois decides that Clark is Superman and intentionally puts herself in danger by going into the water. Clark does not become Superman, but cuts a log secretly with his heat vision, and helps her escape that way. She feels disgusted. As they return to the hotel, she insists on cleaning up and requests something to restore her hair. Clark picks it up, trips, and burns his hands in the fireplace before her very eyes. At least, he should have. Scrambling to help him, she notices no damage and realizes she was right all along. With his secret revealed, Superman decides to take Lois to his Fortress of Solitude. There, he shows her the traces of his past stored in energy crystals, one of which Lois misplaces under her purse. Superman decides to undergo the irreversible process of becoming a human to be able to love Lois. After his transformation, the two spend the night together and then return to Metropolis. They discover what Zod and his companions have done, including Zod’s demand to Superman, and Clark realizes he must return to the Fortress to try to restore his powers, and begins the long trip alone. Once there, he discovers the crystal that Lois had misplaced, and uses its power to restore his abilities.
In the Fortress, Superman attempts to subdue Zod and the others, but is unable to. Under the threat of harming Lois, Zod forces Superman to become human again. Superman appears to undergo the transformation process, but when he emerges, Zod, Ursa, and Non realize they have been the ones transformed into humans, as Superman was able to reconfigure the process before they arrived. Lois is able to break free, and she and Superman quickly cause the three to fall into the depths of the Fortress to their doom. Lex tries to assure Superman that he was in on this plan, but Superman returns him to the authorities. After Superman helps to restore the damage Zod wrought, he still finds that Lois knows his secret. It’s also tearing her up inside. Superman kisses Lois, using his telepathic abilities to erase her memory of the past few days to keep his secret safe, and take her grief away. Superman restores the American flag atop the White House, assuring the President that he will never again abandon his duty.