Christopher Reeve as Superman

No. 3: "Superman" (1978)

Sure, the special effects don't quite hold up to today's visuals, but the spirit of "Superman" makes DC's Superman soar high above most films the superhero genre has to offer.

Starring Christopher Reeve in his first major film role, the film covers all of the important bases of the Superman legend: his roots on Krypton (with Marlon Brando as his dad, Jor-El, to boot); his descent to Earth and earnest upbringings with George and Martha Kent; his journey to the Fortress of Solitude and, lastly, his job as a reporter at the Daily Planet in Metropolis where he will realize his full superhero potential.

The casting -- including Margot Kidder as Lois Lane and Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor -- is spot on, but no mold is more flawless than Reeve as the chiseled Man of Steel.

The only downside watching the film is knowing the eventual fate of Reeve the man -- who carried on with a Superman-like dignity from the day he became quadriplegic in 1995 to his death in 2004. Watching "Superman" today is exhilarating as much as it is heartbreaking.

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