This week’s Top 10 covers the most impressive movie posters ever released
A movie poster can sell a million tickets with a single image. While the art of creating engaging images which represent what a film is about and promote it effectively has died a death of late, Peter Jackson’s recently revealed poster for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey shows that there is still hope.
In honour of film posters, here are 10 of the most striking to have graced greasy cinema foyers. The only rule for this list is that the poster must have been released alongside the film, so no fan creations are allowed.
10) Attack of the 50 Foot Woman – 1958
Wanton destruction during rush hour has never been so sexy. Aside from the excellent illustration, it is the apparent casualness of the titular woman (Allison Hayes) that makes the poster so impressive.
9) Scarface – 1983
This black and white image adorns the ‘cribs’ of a thousand rappers, but this odd idolisation of hubris-extraordinaire Tony Montana doesn’t detract from the power of this poster.
8 ) Dirty Harry – 1971
The Magnum revolver takes centre stage in this striking poster, while a stylised black and while rendering of the Golden Gate Bridge with silhouetted protagonists implies the chase that awaits.
7) Blade Runner – 1982
John Alvin’s poster encapsulates three key facts: Harrison Ford is cool, futuristic skyscrapers are cool and smoking ladies are cool. (Don’t smoke, kids. Only replicants can do so without risking cancer/smelliness).
6) Apocalypse Now – 1979
The grim, bald face of Marlon Brando’s Kurtz stares listlessly out of Bob Peak’s black and red mishmash of imagery, recalling the horrors of the Vietnam war and the rose-tinted rage blinding all involved.
5) Straw Dogs – 1971
Fractured glasses on the face of Dustin Hoffman’s protagonist define the poster for Sam Peckinpah’s classic backwoods thriller, outlining his descent from intellectual to territorial avenger in an instant.
4) Chinatown – 1974
Designed by Jim Pearsall, the poster for Chinatown evokes the noirish atmosphere of the movie perfectly, with cigarette smoke curling from the gritty foreground of Jack Nicolson’s Jake Gittes to frame the floating solar face of Fay Dunaway’s fallen heroine Evelyn.
3) Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope – 1977
Riffing on the aesthetics associated with classic movie posters, this illustration shows a buff Luke Skywalker and a slutty Princess Leia, deliberately overemphasising their onscreen characters.Anyone who has seen George Lucas’ original space opera will get a little tingle of excitement and nostalgia when they encounter this poster.
2) Jaws – 1975
The massive, snaggle-toothed maw of the shark racing to the surface to snatch up an unwary bather, forever frozen in the poster for Jaws, is instantly recognisable. Combined with the irresistible rouge of the typography, you have a winner on your hands.
1) Metropolis – 1927
Fritz Lang’s dystopian masterpiece is effortlessly echoed in the monochrome poster, with anonymous skyscrapers rearing over the metallic face of a mysterious machine-person. Once again, a poster that pays dividends to those who have seen the film.
Basically, if you’re looking for amazing movie posters, either seek out original artwork for films released prior to 1990, or check out the fan tributes made by talented artists online. There are hundreds of brilliant examples and this top 10 is barely scratches the surface.