Although Terence Stamp
's scenery-chewing performance as General Zod is most famous from Superman II
, the part was actually created for the first Superman
film, in which Zod and his partners-in-crime are, in a brief sequence at the beginning of the film, incarcerated in The Phantom Zone
This came about because the two films were originally to have been shot at the same time, in the manner of Richard Lester's 'The Three Musketeers' / 'The Four Musketeers'. However, Richard Donner, director of the original, fell out with the producers and was replaced by the aforementioned Richard Lester, resulting in a lengthy delay between the two films. This also explains the second film's campier tone, although Stamp is to be commended for remaining genuinely nasty - he actually killed people - despite being surrounded by buffoons.
As the previous writeup indicates, most of his lines are extremely quotable ("Kneel before Zod!" is a very good chat up line, even if your name is not Zod), and Stamp appeared to be having a whale of a time. Whether he likes it or not, it is for this film that he will be remembered by future generations; not Billy Budd, Far from the Madding Crowd, The Hit and so forth. Zod is also one of the earliest instances of a Hollywood blockbuster choosing to have a villain portrayed by a well-spoken British actor.
Furthermore, and thanks to Gamaliel: