Superman IV: The Quest for Peace

Movie review by
Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace Movie Poster Image
Terrible '80s sequel has violence, nuclear weapons.
  • PG
  • 1987
  • 90 minutes

Parents say

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Kids say

age 9+
Based on 6 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Some goals are well-intentioned but too difficult for any one man, no matter how powerful, to achieve alone. The earth is our home, and we should do what we can to keep it from being destroyed. Go with your gut. Journalists are responsible for telling the truth to the public. When people want peace badly enough, they will force their leaders to give it to them.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Superman is a man of high morals and myriad powers who tries to help everyone in need and to wipe out evil wherever he encounters it. Lex Luther is a boastful, evil, and selfish man who thinks highly of himself. He has no hesitation about hurting others if it benefits him.

Violence & Scariness

Luther and his henchmen want to sell black market nuclear weapons to the highest bidders. He creates an evil being with superpowers to match Superman's in the quest to destroy Superman. The two superguys battle it out in space, on the moon, over volcanoes, in a big city, and in other dangerous settings. There are multiple references to the violent destruction of Superman's home planet and the loss of his parents.

Sexy Stuff

Lois and Superman seem to love each other. Lacey does her best to seduce Clark Kent, hiking her short skirts to show her legs and pushing herself against him.


"Hell," "freaks."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults smoke cigars.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this Superman IV: The Quest for Peace is No. 4 in the late-1970s-to-1980s movie series that featured the amiable Christopher Reeve as the 1930s cartoon superhero. Superman promises to rid the world of nuclear weapons, a task that proves beyond him, but it will raise the scary issue of possible world destruction for the young kids whom this movie targets. Superman fights an evil superbeing bent on the Man of Steel's destruction, and the ensuing growling, brawling, and explosions may frighten small children. There are multiple references to the violent destruction of Superman's home planet and the loss of his parents. Adults smoke cigars, and there's one "hell." Lacey does her best to seduce Clark Kent, hiking her short skirts to show her legs and pushing herself against him.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Kid, 11 years old October 11, 2016

Fun movie

I think this is a fun movie that kids will want to see. I liked seeing Lex Luthor and the other prisoners working. I also think Lex's nephew Lenny has a fu... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byDonny A October 8, 2016

A very bad sequel that should've stayed put

My rating: PG for violence, thematic elements, sensuality and some language

What's the story?

Superman continues to fight evil and save those in need. When a schoolboy asks Superman (Christopher Reeve ) to rid the earth of nuclear weapons, Superman agrees. As he starts catching launched nuclear weapons mid-flight, Luther (Gene Hackman) plots to get rid of Superman with a newly created evil superbeing and then start selling black market nukes to the highest bidders. Lois Lane (Margot Kidder) continues to pine for Superman, and a newspaper publisher (Mariel Hemingway) puts the moves on an unresponsive Clark Kent.

Is it any good?

Originally budgeted at $35 million, this movie had its funding cut by $20 million, resulting in terrible special effects and nonsensical plot points -- flaws that have not improved with age. Superman's mother's voice speaks to him at times, and one wonders why she does so with a British accent. It feels odd to criticize a cartoon for being cartoonish, but the hope is that movies based on comic books will transcend their origins when reformatted as big-screen adventures. This one doesn't even equal the thrill of the actual comic books. A woman is kidnapped and flown into space without an oxygen tank. How does she survive? The movie's heart seems to be in the right place -- nuclear proliferation and containment are important issues -- but it's laughable to think that Superman's plan is to collect nukes only when they're shot into space on missiles. What is his plan for all the weapons stockpiled on earth? Luther seems too goofy to be a truly evil genius, and one can't help but wonder why the police aren't looking for him as soon as he escapes from prison. Why doesn't Superman just grab him and fly him directly back into prison upon their first encounter? The answer is that such a move would end the movie before it even begins.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why some people think all nuclear weapons should be destroyed. What do you think?

  • How does the movie treat bad guys? Are they scary or a little silly?

  • How does this movie compare to the past titles in the series?

Movie details

For kids who love superheroes

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