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  • 10 Best Movie Posters of All Time

    April 04, 2024 4 min read

    In today's world of instant YouTube trailers and social media buzz, the classic movie poster retains a timeless allure. These tangible, artistic creations offer a unique snapshot of a film's essence. While some contemporary designs may lean on familiar tropes, the movie poster remains a distinctive art form with the power to ignite our imaginations and build excitement for upcoming releases.

    Thankfully, we can still appreciate the glorious movie posters of eras gone by. At Film Art Gallery, we have one of the most extensive collections of movie posters available online. Here, we present our curated selection of the ten greatest movie posters of all time, each deserving of a place on any collector's wall.

    1. Jaws (1975)

    Steven Spielberg’s “Jaws” is a classic of the genre, an epic man-versus-beast tale in which the titular villain isn’t seen until late in the runtime. In fact, part of what makes Jaws so great is that you rarely get a good look at the shark. That is, unless you look at the poster. 

    In this illustration, the toothy shark looms below an unsuspecting swimmer, while blood-red letters spell out the name of the movie. This is pretty much a perfect poster, encapsulating the plot of the movie while also creating the tension that Spielberg skilfully draws out for the duration of the film.

    2. The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

    Renowned poster artist Drew Struzan worked on a lot of the Star Wars movie posters, but “The Empire Strikes Back” was illustrated by Roger Kastel, the same artist who created the “Jaws” poster. 

    The atmospheric backdrop here sets the tone for the movie, while the main characters in the foreground have a fantastic depth of emotion that lets the audience know what they’re in for. 

    3. Pulp Fiction (1994)

    Many a film buff has this famous poster on their wall. Indeed, it’s an iconic poster depicting Uma Thurman’s Mia Wallace lazing on a bed smoking a cigarette. Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” is a heavily stylized movie that pays homage to the pulp magazines of the early 1900s. 

    And here’s an Easter egg: in the poster, Thurman appears to be reading a magazine that shares the movie’s name.

    4. Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)

    Many of Audrey Hepburn’s films have iconic posters, but few are quite as classic as “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” The movie relies heavily on Hepburn’s performance, so it makes sense that she’s central to the poster. Her Holly Golightly character is perfectly captured by the elegant clothing, demure expression, and the cat on her shoulder.

    In the background, we see her in an embrace with her romantic lead, letting audiences in on the plot and key themes of the movie. 

    5. The Thing (1982)

    Creating a movie poster for a film about a terrifying shape-shifting creature is no easy feat. You don’t want to give too much away, and yet you need to make it clear that there is something to be afraid of. Drew Struzan’s artwork for “The Thing” fits the brief perfectly. 

    The poster depicts something ominous and human-like, with eerie lighting that encapsulates the Antarctic setting of the movie. Simply look at the poster, and you know you’re in for a nail-biter.

    6. A Clockwork Orange (1971)

    A Clockwork Orange” is a harrowing and often violent film, but with such complex themes, it’s hard to distill this film into a poster. 

    The imagery on the poster is quite disturbing, with a semi-nude woman, an eyeball, and the main character brandishing a dangerous weapon. Certainly, the themes of violence and sexual content are quite clear. The contrast of black and bright orange on a white background foreshadows some of the visuals in the film. It’s also a classic for any Stanley Kubrick movie, with the director favoring a lot of white space in his promotional posters.

    7. Anatomy of a Murder (1959)

    The poster for “Anatomy of a Murder” mirrors the movie’s title sequence. This is a fantastic example of a minimalist poster that tells so much with so little.

    The cartoonish shape of a corpse on a stark background sums up the movie well–there are many complex parts that fit together to make a whole. The bright background itself makes this poster easy to recognize, too, which makes it a classic.

    8. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)

    We simply had to include another Star Wars poster on this list because the imagery for “Episode I: The Phantom Menace” is a true lesson in skilled poster design. As a prequel, the audience already knows some of what’s to come. So, depicting Anakin’s child form in front of Darth Vader’s shadow was a genius move. 

    9. The Godfather (1972)

    Marlon Brando’s Don Corleone is a formidable figure on the poster for “The Godfather.” The figure, outlined in red, fades into a black background, painting a deeply atmospheric image that sets the tone for this gritty classic film.

    A nice touch is that the poster features the puppeteer logo from the book cover, designed by S. Neil Fujita, paying homage to the source material.

    10. Airplane! (1980)

    A lot of the best movie posters are romantic, sci-fi, or dramas where the designer captures the emotions of the characters. To that end, there are few comedy posters quite as iconic as that of “Airplane!” 

    This poster is a genius nod to the movie’s insane satire, depicting a Boeing 707 tied into a knot. Robert Grossman’s work is deserving of the classic movie poster title, if not only for its slogan, “Thank God it’s only a motion picture!”

    Elevate Your Collection

    At Film Art Gallery, we offer a curated selection of the finest movie posters from across the decades. Browse our extensive collection to discover timeless treasures that celebrate the magic of cinema. Browse our full collection

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