The Amazing Spider-Man
The Amazing Spider-Man 1977
Directed by: E.W. Swackhamer
Produced by: Edward J. Montagne
Screenplay by: Alvin Boretz
Based on the
Characters by:
Stan Lee &
Steve Ditko
Starring: Nicholas Hammond
Thayer David
Lisa Eilbacher
Michael Pataki
Bob Hastings
Music by: Johnnie Spence
Distributed by: Colombia Pictures
Release Date: 14 September, 1977
Followed by: Spider-Man Strikes Back

The Amazing Spider-Man is a 1977 made-for-television film directed by E. W. Swackhamer and starring Nicholas Hammond as the tile character. A live action television series followed in 1978. A film with the same name was made in 2012.


A mysterious Guru surfaces in New York City and places people under mind-control to rob banks and threatens to have 10 New Yorkers under his command commit suicide unless the city pays him a $50 million ransom. Meanwhile, College student Peter Parker, a freelance photographer for The Daily Bugle struggles to make ends meet under his sometimes hostile boss J. Jonah Jameson. Jameson tells Peter to improve his photographs in order to warrant him purchasing any further photos from him.

Later on, Peter is bitten by a radioactive spider after a lab session at college and discovers he has gained superhuman powers, such as super-strength, agility and the ability to climb sheer walls and ceilings. On his way home a car chases him through some alleyways. He manages to evade the car by climing up a wall and on to a balcony. He then meets Captain Barbera at the scene and explained the circumstances to him. Peter went home to his Aunt May's house and spent a rough night there, his DNA changing further. He wakes and tests his powers climbing the outside of Aunt May's house. After inventing a super-sticky web serum, he donned a masked costume, and began fighting crime as the superhero Spider-Man.

Spider-Man's first revealed his presence by helping to stop a thief who stole a woman's purse. The thief was so incapasitated by seeing a man climbing the side of a building he froze, allowing the police to arrest him. Both he and the crowd looke at Spider-Man in disbelief. At the Daily Bugle, Jameson is pessimistic about the new "hero", although when Robbie Robertson tells him of the public demand for information about him, he smelt sales. Peter took photos of his alter-ego and sold them to the Bugle.

Jameson then sent Peter to photograph the scene where Professor Noah Tyler was found at the wheel of his car fleeing from a crime scene. He had been brainwashed into a robbery and forced to drive his car into a brick wall. Peter frees Tyler from the car allowing him to be taken to hospital. Captain Barbera grew suspicious of Peter being at a second car crash, telling him so before Peter left with Tyler's daughter Judy. The two visit Noah in hospital. While there Tyler is again brainwashed into jumping out of a window, but is saved by Spider-Man.

Judy reveals to Peter that her father saw a spiritual guru and thought he may know what was plaguing her father's mind. She asks Peter to accompany her to meet him at their next meeting. The two meet Edward Byron and the two observe his methods and Peter grows sceptical. Later Peter intercepts a strange signal on his computer and tracks it to its source discovering it is Byron's therapy centre.

Peter called Judy and warned her to stay away from Byron. He then visited Byron and said he would like to join his group. Byron siezed the opportunity to provide a mind tampering device on Peter and gave him instructions to jump off the Empire State building at 12pm Friday. Later, Peter discovers a way to jam the signal that Byron is using and called Captain Barbera to inform him. En route Byron' mind contrl kicks in and Peter heads towards the Empire State building. The police arrest Byron's men sent to pick up the ransom so Byron proceeds to activate his signal but Peter's signal blocked it. It backfired and brainwashed Byron. Spider-Man convinced Byron to turn himself in.


The Amazing Spider-Man (1977 film)

VHS Cover

The movie was a "made for television" film and also served as a pilot for the television series that followed it. In terms of villains the film is an indication of the limits of film technology in the 1970's. While the Spider-Man cartoon series of the day had fanciful villains such as Doctor Octopus and The Green Goblin, the villain in the film is completely made for the film. This is similair to other contemporary live action super hero shows such as The Incredible Hulk and Wonder Woman, which likewise did not have any comic book villains present. Even 1978's high budget Superman film was subject to this. The one thing done effectively in The Amazing Spider-Man was wall crawling, although there wasn't any web swinging.


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