Superman, the American superhero and notable cultural icon, made his first debut in Action Comics #1 in 1938. Designed by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, Superman came to life for thousands of people all over the world. True fans of the comic books know that Superman was born on the planet Krypton yet was sent to Earth by his scientist father, Jor-El, because he believed the planet would soon blow up. Superman, also known as Clark Kent, demonstrated supernatural powers from an early age. Superman’s powers of strength, flight, super hearing, super seeing, and speed help to save civilians from the evil villains that continuously corrupt earth. However, since the beginning of his existence Kryptonite has always been his weakness.
Although Superman has spawned many films in a larger franchise, the original Superman movie, featuring many scenes in Manhattan, came out in 1978 and was directed by Richard Donner. Christopher Reeves starred as our superhero Clark Kent/Superman and Margot Kidder played Lois Lane. His father, Jor-El was played by Marlon Brando. In this film, villain Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman) is planning to use a pair of nuclear missiles to create an earthquake that will wipe out the California coastline. Superman must race against time and stop the sinister plan by Lex Luthor before millions of innocent people are killed. Since Superman was a success at the box office, three sequels soon followed throughout the 1980s.
After a long hiatus, Superman Returns came to the big screens in 2006. Superman Returns was directed by Bryan Singer and this time Superman was played by actor Brandon Routh. This Academy award nominated film told the story of Superman’s return after he had been missing for five years. Superman returns to Earth after finding only remnants of his home planet, Krypton. He finds Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth) is now engaged, and Lex Luther (Kevin Spacey) is at it again, wanting revenge for his foiled plan to destroy California. His new plan is to use crystals of Krypton to build a continent that will wipe out most of North America.
In 2012, Superman was rebooted again, this time as Man of Steel. A sequel, Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and the crossover event Justice League soon followed. Although the newest version of Superman is mostly filmed outside of New York, the original film franchise has many iconic NYC locations that you can see on our Super Tour, TCM Classic Film Tour, and NYC TV & Movie Tour:
New York’s old yet beautiful Grand Central Station is considered a popular tourist attraction and historical landmark in Manhattan. In the original 1978 Superman film, a chase scene takes place throughout the station, and Lex Luther’s lair is directly under it.
Lois Lane’s apartment building is located at Central Park South, and you can see the exact apartment on our tours
Superman takes Lois Lane for an evening flight around the Statue of Liberty
Nuclear Man (Mark Pillow), the villain in Superman IV: A Quest for Peace, lifts up the entire Statue of Liberty to throw it across Manhattan, only to be stopped by Superman
The Daily News Building in midtown acts as the Daily Planet building throughout all four films in the original franchise
In Superman IV, Superman makes a speech in front of diplomats to the Security Council at the real United Nations Headquarters on First Avenue and 42nd Street
In the 1980 sequel, Superman fights Zod (Terence Stamp), Ursa (Sarah Douglas), and Non (Jack O’Halloran) near the Empire State Building
The Empire State Building is also the location of Lex Luther’s (Gene Hackman) new lair in Superman IV: A Quest for Peace
* In an effort to stay current, we are constantly updating our tours with new locations and cannot guarantee the presence of locations mentioned on our site. If you have a particular interest in locations from a specific TV show or movie, please let your tour guide know and we will do our best to accommodate your request.