50 Best Sci-Fi Movies of the 1970s

From cosmic head trips to adventures in galaxies far, far away

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20. 'Superman' (1978)

In light of today's fixation on "dark" superhero tales, Richard Donner's fidelity to the DC comics plays as positively unfussy and wholesome in retrospect. But like its 21st century brethren, this is no B-movie cheapie — it's a $55 million, franchise-launching behemoth that employed Oscar winners Marlon Brando and Gene Hackman, as well Godfather scribe Mario Puzo, to make you believe a man could fly. As epitomized by Christopher Reeve's throwback movie-star charisma, there’s more vintage screwball pizzazz and widescreen spectacle than malaise-days grit here, though Margot Kidder's E.R.A-era Lois Lane helps bring things up to speed. While Hackman steals the show as a dastardly dandyish Lex Luthor, even he's upstaged by an ingenious set design that turns Grand Central Station into a supervillain's swimming-pool-bedecked secret lair. EH

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