Superman Movies in Order (2024 Guide)

The United States of America was emerging from the Great Depression, the people had lost all hope and were in a state of distress. To give people a symbol of hope, a symbol of strength, Superman was created in 1930 by Action Comics. Labeled as the first American superhero, Superman won the hearts of readers in no time. His charm, strength and him being an embodiment of hope made him one of the most loved fictional characters ever created.

Throughout time, Superman has been incorporated into live-action movies which were equally loved and admired by the audience. In this article, we will look at the chronological order to watch all the Superman movies to date. So, Sit back, relax, and begin your journey to explore the world of Superman.

Since Superman movies do not follow any universal chronology, we have enlisted all Superman movies in release date order from the classic to the Man of Steel era.

1. Superman (1978)


This was the first time Superman was seen on the big screen and even after his first-ever appearance, this movie set a standard for Superhero movies to come. The story was written by Mario Puzo while the director was Richard Donner. In this first Superman movie, we are also introduced to Lex Luthor played by Gene Hackman as well as the very first introduction of Krypton and the Villainous General Zod played by Terence Stamp.

  • Release Date: December 15, 1978
  • Cast: Christopher Reeve, Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder, Terence Stamp
  • Director: Richard Donner
  • Runtime: 2 Hours 23 Minutes
  • IMDB/Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 7.4/ 94%

2. Superman 2 (1981)

Superman 2

Superman 2 was a direct continuation of the first Superman movie with Christopher Reeve reprising the role of Superman this movie was initially directed by Richard Donner but was later removed as the director by the final leg of the movie being replaced by Richard Lester. This movie features General Zod once again along with Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor. This movie was quite anticipated both by the audience as well as the team of the movie since its production began even before Superman(1978) was even released.

  • Release Date: June 19, 1981
  • Cast: Christopher Reeve, Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder, Terence Stamp
  • Director: Richard Lester
  • Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes
  • IMDB/Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 6.8/ 87%

3. Superman 3 (1983)

Superman 3

Superman 3 was the third installment of Christopher Reeve’s Superman, in this movie we see Gus Gorman played by Richard Pryor being hired by an industrialist named Ross Webster played by Robert Vaughn to gain control over the weather but Superman sabotages his plans. An annoyed Ross asks Gus to locate Kryptonite to kill Superman but they instead create an alter ego of Superman who is not exactly a good guy.

  • Release Date: June 17, 1983
  • Cast: Christopher Reeves, Richard Pryor, Annette O’Toole, Margot Kidder, Pamela Stephenson, Robert Vaughn, Marc McClure
  • Director: Richard Lester
  • Runtime: 2 Hours 5 Minutes
  • IMDB/Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 5/29%

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

Superman 4: The Quest for Peace

This movie was the final appearance of Christopher Reeves as Superman. It revolves around the time of the Cold War and Superman is making an attempt to convince human beings to get rid of their nuclear weapons. Superman’s arch-nemesis, Lex Luthor manages to escape from prison and creates an entity called Nuclear Man, played by Mark Pillow with his mission being the annihilation of Superman. This movie is considered to be the worst movie out of Christopher Reeves’ Superman movies and according to fans, this was not an appropriate farewell to the actor from his role.

  • Release Date: July 24, 1987
  • Cast: Christopher Reeve, Mark Pillow, Gene Hackman, Jon Cryer, Margot Kidder, Marc McClure, Don Fellows
  • Director: Sidney J. Furie
  • Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes
  • IMDB/Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 3.7/ 10%

5. Superman Returns (2006)

Superman Returns

Superman Returns’ storyline follows up the second part of Christopher Reeve’s Superman. The story of Superman Returns takes up right after what happens in Superman 2 ignoring the other two Superman movies. Superman returns to Earth after a five-year-long trip to his home planet Krypton. When he returns a lot has changed, Lex Luthor has been released from prison and is plotting something serious against Superman. This movie was a box-office hit but was not really profitable since the total revenue generated by the movie was $400 million but the expense of making the movie was $200 million.

  • Release Date: June 28, 2006
  • Cast: Brandon Routh, Kate Bosworth, Kevin Spacey, Sam Huntington, James Marsden
  • Director: Bryan Singer
  • Runtime: 2 Hours 34 Minutes
  • IMDB/Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 6.1/ 74%

6. Man of Steel (2013)

Man of Steel

Man of Steel is the first Superman movie to come out after The Dark Knight era and turned out to be an absolute blockbuster. The movie was directed by Zack Snyder and contained all his signature styles of direction and casts Henry Cavill as Superman. This movie shows us the origin of Superman from the very beginning showing us a new take on the relationship Clark Kent had with his parents alongside facing a fierce enemy like General Zod.

  • Release Date: June 14, 2013
  • Cast: Henry Cavill, Diana Lane, Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Michael Shanon, Amy Adams
  • Director: Zack Snyder
  • Runtime: 2 Hours 23 Minutes
  • IMDB/Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 7.1/ 56%

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

Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice

Following up to Man of Steel, Batman vs Superman takes place in the aftermath of the battle between Superman and Zod in Metropolis leading to its destruction. The US government attempts to stop Superman’s efforts to help people all across the world as it is causing certain political issues. Lex Luthor is reprised in this movie as Superman’s arch-nemesis. He manipulates Batman, who has been watching over Gotham for some time now, and Superman. Both superheroes get into a fight with each other. Meanwhile, Lex unleashes Doomsday, a murderous monster who wants to kill Superman.

  • Release Date: March 25, 2016
  • Cast: Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jesse Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons, Diana Lane
  • Director: Zack Snyder
  • Runtime: 3 Hours 3 Minutes
  • IMDB/Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 6.4/ 29%

8. Justice League (2017)

Justice League

This Justice League movie was extremely flawed since the direction of the movie shifted from Zack Snyder to Joss Whedon because of a tragedy in Zack Snyder’s family. It revolves around Batman trying to bring together superpowered individuals into a team as Superman is dead and an alien threat on Earth is imminent. This movie faced a lot of backlash for its poor CGI, especially Henry Cavill’s graphically removed mustache.

  • Release Date: November 17, 2017
  • Cast: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher, Jason Momoa, Jeremy Irons, Ciarán Hinds
  • Director: Zack Snyder, Joss Whedon
  • Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes
  • IMDB/Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 6.1/ 39%

9. Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021)

Zack Snyder's Justice League

The 2017 Justice League was so bad that DC fans started a campaign for the release of Zack Snyder’s version of the Justice League but Warner Bros. was not ready to do so. In 2020, HBO Max came to the rescue by announcing that they are going to allow Snyder to finish and release his version of the Justice League. In Zack Snyder’s Justice League, we got to see a much more elaborate description of Superman’s resurrection and many more previously missing details.

  • Release Date: March 18, 2021
  • Cast: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher, Jason Momoa, Jeremy Irons, Ciarán Hinds
  • Director: Zack Snyder
  • Runtime: 4 Hours 2 Minutes
  • IMDB/Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 7.9/72%

10. Superman: Legacy (2025)

Superman: Legacy

James Gunn recently announced a new rebooted DCU with all new actors, some new characters, and a linear storyline, and the first DCU Movie to come out will be Superman Legacy. Superman, to date played by Henry Cavill, will now be played by David Corenswet and Rachel Brosnahan is going to play the role of Lois Lane. As far as the plot of the movie is concerned, James Gunn has confirmed that this movie will not explore the origin of Superman but will focus more on the Clark Kent side of Superman who is trying to balance his life as a news reporter and a superhero. It is uncertain who might be the villain in this upcoming DC movie but there’s a high possibility that we might get to see Superman fighting his arch-nemesis Lex Luthor.

Here is a list of all Superman movies in release date order if you don’t want any spoilers.

MovieRelease dateActor
SupermanDecember 15, 1978Christopher Reeve
Superman 2June 19, 1981Christopher Reeve
Superman 3June 17, 1983Christopher Reeve
Superman 4: The Quest for PeaceJuly 24, 1987Christopher Reeve
Superman ReturnsJune 28, 2006Brandon Routh
Man of SteelJune 14, 2013Henry Cavill
Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of JusticeMarch 25, 2016Henry Cavill
Justice LeagueNovember 17, 2017Henry Cavill
Zack Snyder’s Justice LeagueMarch 18, 2021Henry Cavill
Superman: Legacy2025David Corenswet
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