Why I still love the 1984 Supergirl Movie

Supergirl

Before I begin, there is something I should make clear from the start: I’m a big Superman fan. I don’t collect the comics, dress up with a cape, sport an ‘S’ tattoo or anything like that, but I did grow up watching Superman: The Movie and its sequels and those early viewings made a huge impression on my youthful self. The first Christopher Reeve film is also my favourite movie of all time and is unlikely to be displaced.

Now that you know that, you might wonder why I still think that Supergirl, the 1984 film starring Helen Slater, is a great movie? The plot of the film is incoherent, the villain is too tame, much of the acting is terrible… I could go on and on about the many flaws but, get past all of that and you still have one trump card to play with – Helen Slater is Supergirl.

Supergirl

Much like Reeve is Superman, Helen Slater struck an awesome pose as the Girl of Steel and, as a young boy, I was in awe of the blonde beauty who played her. Watching the longer Directors Cut of the film again as a 30-something, I’m still amazed by how well Slater portrayed the grace of Supergirl and the naivety of Linda Lee. It is hard to watch the whole film without wincing at some of its hokiest moments but any ill-feeling I have towards those involved is tempered by their choice in actress.

Watching the trailer from the time is a little cringe-worthy but serves Slater well:

Whilst I didn’t notice it in the 80’s, the soundtrack to Supergirl is also excellent and a great accompaniment to the character. Jerry Goldsmith doesn’t quite equal the majesty of the Williams’ Superman score but he had a good stab at it and I will happily listen to the 6 minute overture again and again.

You can listen to the full score on Youtube below, though I encourage you to buy the 1993 Silva CD for the best listening experience.

I really wish the movie had been a success at the time, we might have been able to avoid The Quest for Peace by having a Superman/Supergirl team-up!

Hayden Yale

Child of the 80's. Born, raised and living in the Cheshire countryside, England.Lover of fan art, especially if it is based on my childhood heroes from Masters of the Universe, Thundercats, Transformers and TMNT. Penchant for almost anything retro, especially movies, games and art.

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4 thoughts on “Why I still love the 1984 Supergirl Movie

  1. Good idea adding the film’s trailer to your post; after watching, it made me want to correct a childhood wrong.
    As a teen in ’84 I had dismissed SUPERGIRL as a mess of a movie not worth then admission price to see.
    Also at the time I somehow had access to a bootleg VHS of SUPERGIRL of a foreign market release print (there were subtitles, possibly Cantonese) and I never bothered to watch it while it was in my possession, choosing instead to watch EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and RAIDERS IF THE LOST ARK over and over.
    I regret snubbing SUPERGIRL now and plan on correctly this film-viewing faux pas.

  2. Hayden, you’ll sit through this horrid movie, but you won’t watch a few chapters of the Captain America serial? Shame on you.

    On a good note, she played Kal-El’s mother on Smallville in a few episodes :)

  3. Growing up this movie was a big deal for me. It’s very rare for girls to have super heroes to look up to in movies, so Supergirl has always had a special place in my heart, even though it is totally cheesy in some regards. It’s funny that you just posted this. My birthday was a couple weeks ago and one of the gifts I received from a friend was this movie on DVD. I was so excited. Really nice article! I will now be on the hunt for the soundtrack.

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