Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
Superman 4 poster
Directed by Sidney J. Furie
Produced by Menahem Golan
Yoram Globus
Starring Christopher Reeve
Gene Hackman
Jackie Cooper
Marc McClure
Jon Cryer
Sam Wanamaker
Mark Pillow
Mariel Hemingway
Margot Kidder
Music by Alexander Courage
Cinematography Ernest Day
Editing by John Shirley
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release July 24, 1987
Running time 90 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget US$17 million
Gross revenue $15,681,020
Preceded by Superman III
Followed by Superman Returns

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace is a 1987 superhero film directed by Sidney J. Furie. It is the fourth film in the original Superman film series and the last installment to star Christopher Reeve as Superman.

This is the first film in this series not to be produced by Alexander and Ilya Salkind, but instead by Golan-Globus's Cannon Films, in association with Warner Bros. Gene Hackman returns as Lex Luthor, who creates an evil solar-powered Superman clone called Nuclear Man. Superman IV was neither a critical nor a box office success.

The series went on hiatus until 2006, when Superman Returns, the final installment of this series, was released, though it ignores the events of this film and its predecessor in the series.


Superman saves a spaceship of cosmonauts whose ship was thrown off course by debris, then visits his home-town of Smallville as Clark. Now that his adoptive parents have died, Clark has inherited their now-unattended farm. In an empty barn, he uncovers the capsule that brought him to Earth, and removes a luminescent green Kryptonian energy module. A recording left by his mother Lara (voiced by Susannah York) states that its power can be used only once. Unwilling to sell the farm to a mall developer, Superman returns to Metropolis.

Returning to the Daily Planet, Clark learns that the newspaper went bankrupt and has been taken over by David Warfield (Sam Wanamaker), a tabloid tycoon who fires Perry White and hires his own daughter Lacy (Mariel Hemingway) as the new editor. Lacy takes a liking to Clark and tries to seduce him. Clark agrees to go on a date with her. Following the news that the United States and the Soviet Union may engage in nuclear war, Clark is conflicted about how much Superman should intervene. After receiving a letter from a concerned schoolboy, Superman travels to the Fortress of Solitude to seek advice from the spirits of his Kryptonian ancestors. They recommend that he let Earth solve its own problems, or seek new worlds where war has been outlawed. After asking for advice from Lois Lane (Margot Kidder), Superman attends a meeting of the United Nations, announcing to the assembly that he will rid the planet of nuclear weapons. Various nations fire their nuclear warheads into space, which are collected by Superman into a giant net and then thrown into the sun.

Meanwhile, young Lenny Luthor (Jon Cryer) breaks his uncle Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman) out of prison. Returning to Metropolis, the pair steal a strand of Superman's hair from a museum, and create a genetic matrix which Lex attaches to a U.S. nuclear missile. After the missile is test launched, Superman intercepts it and throws it into the sun. A glowing ball of energy is discharged, which develops into a superhuman (played by Mark Pillow and voiced by Gene Hackman). This "Nuclear Man" makes his way back to Earth to find his 'father' Luthor, who establishes that while his creation is powerful, he will deactivate without Solar light. A vicious battle ensues between Luthor's creation and Superman. While saving the Statue of Liberty from falling onto New York, Superman is infected with radiation sickness by a scratch from Nuclear Man's radioactive claws. Nuclear Man kicks Superman into the distance with such strength that his cape is torn away.

To Lois' disgust, the Daily Planet (which has been reformatted as a tabloid newspaper) publishes the headline "Superman Dead?". Lois indicates a desire to quit and seizes Superman's recovered cape for herself. Lacy is also upset and reveals to Lois that she cares for Clark. Lois ventures to Clark's apartment where she proclaims her love for Superman. Felled by radiation sickness, Clark staggers to his terrace where he retrieves the Kryptonian energy module and attempts to heal himself. Having developed a crush on Lacy, Nuclear Man threatens mayhem if they are not introduced. The newly restored Superman agrees to take him to her to prevent anyone else from being hurt. Superman lures Nuclear Man into an elevator car, trapping him inside and then depositing it on the far side of the moon. As the sun rises, Nuclear Man breaks free due to a crack in the elevator doors and Superman is again forced to defend himself. At the end of the battle, it appears as though Superman has been defeated, and he is driven into the moon's surface by his opponent.

Nuclear Man forces his way into the Daily Planet and abducts Lacy. Superman frees himself from the moon's surface and pushes it out of its orbit, casting Earth into an eclipse which nullifies Nuclear Man's powers. Superman rescues Lacy, then recovers Nuclear Man and deposits him into the core of a nuclear power plant, destroying him. What had been Nuclear Man becomes electrical power for the entire electrical grid. Perry White secures a loan to buy a controlling interest in the newspaper, making David Warfield a minority shareholder and protecting the paper from any further takeovers. In a press conference, Superman declares only partial victory in his campaign, saying, "There will be peace when the people of the world want it so badly that their governments will have no choice but to give it to them". Superman also recaptures the fleeing Luthors. He places Lenny in Boys Town, telling the priest that Lenny has been under a bad influence, and returns Lex to prison.


  • Christopher Reeve as Clark Kent / Superman
  • Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor, Voice of Nuclear Man
  • Jackie Cooper as Perry White
  • Margot Kidder as Lois Lane
  • Marc McClure as Jimmy Olsen
  • Jon Cryer as Lenny Luthor
  • Sam Wanamaker as David Warfield
  • Mark Pillow as Nuclear Man
  • Mariel Hemingway as Lacy Warfield
  • Damian McLawhorn as Jeremy
  • William Hootkins as Harry Howler
  • Jim Broadbent as Jean Pierre Dubois
  • Stanley Lebor as General Romoff
  • Don Fellows as Levon Hornsby
  • Robert Beatty as U.S. President
  • Susannah York as Voice of Lara
  • Esmond Knight as 2nd Elder


External links

Superman Films
Films 1978-1987
SupermanSuperman IISuperman IIISuperman IV: The Quest for Peace
Other films

SupergirlSuperman II: The Richard Donner CutSuperman ReturnsMan of SteelBatman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Adapted characters
General ZodJor-ElJonathan KentMartha KentNonUrsaLaraLois LaneLucy LaneLana LangLex LuthorJimmy OlsenSupergirl / Kara Zor-ElSuperman / Clark KentPerry WhiteOtisRoss WebsterGus GormanDaily PlanetMetropolis
Christopher Reeve films

Superman (1978)  · Superman II (1980)  · Superman III (1983)  · Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)  · Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut (2006)  ·

Gene Hackman films

Superman (1978)  · Superman II (1980)  · Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)  · Heartbreakers (2001)  ·