20 Incredibly Cool Movie Posters

    written by Tom Walker

    Throughout the history of cinema, posters have existed to promote movies, supporting material that has evolved into an art in its own right. The best posters reflect the content of the film and the art and design of the times. This post brings together 20 examples of cool cinematic posters, a personal selection set out chronologically to represent the evolution of the form.

    This post is sponsored by LargeFormatPosters.com, a company that provides affordable
    poster printing services.

    1. Metropolis (1927)

    Metropolis
    Image: Jedimoonshyne9

    Fritz Lang’s silent movie of 1927 is a classic science fiction and an exploration of contemporary social themes. The film itself is full of Modernist and Art Deco design, and the accompanying promotional material features beautiful, iconic graphics. Russian-born designer Boris Bilinsky produced a variety of posters for the film, including this design that inventively blends typography and architecture.

    2. Doctor X (1932)

    Doctorx
    Image: thesilverlined

    Doctor X is a Technicolor production following the story of a New York news reporter’s investigation into a series of cannibalistic murders.

    3. King Kong (1933)

    Kingkong
    Image: Wikimedia

    The original, and many would say best, appearance of King Kong was the groundbreaking stop-motion monster of 1933. This theatrical poster shows the film’s dramatic final scene, with the giant ape on the Empire State Building, holding the heroine and under attack from military aircraft.

    4. The Lady from Shanghai (1947)

    The Lady from Shanghai
    Image: cinemasterpieces.com

    Orson Welles directed and starred alongside Rita Hayworth in this noir tale involving a complex murder plot.

    5. The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

    The Day the Earth Stood Still
    Image: circleboxblog.com

    In The Day the Earth Stood Still, an alien craft lands in America and tells the people of Earth that humanity must live in peace or face destruction. A nervous soldier accidentally shoots the messenger, getting mankind’s extra-terrestrial relations off to a poor start.

    6. Pickpocket (1959)

    Pickpocket
    Image: mommasboydesign.com

    French illustrator Christian Broutin crafted this sublime poster for Robert Bresson’s influential tale of thievery and morality.

    7. The Hustler (1961)

    The Hustler
    Image: pdxfilm

    This stylish poster is for The Hustler, which follows the story of Paul Newman’s ‘Fast Eddie’ and his attempts to become the best pool player in America. The film is recognized as a modern classic, exploring the fundamental challenges of human fulfilment, played out in the context of pool hall competitions.

    8. Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965)

    Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!
    Image: tofslie.com

    Russ Meyer’s film features three strippers who take off in three fast cars to go on a murder rampage. The movie’s scandalous thrill seeking is reflected in the poster’s graphic montage.

    9. Le Samourai (1967)

    Le Samourai
    Image: Jedimoonshyne9

    This minimalist poster design is for Le Samourai, an equally minimalist French thriller starring Alan Delon as a perfectionist free-agent hitman. The film’s style, plot and characterisation have been highly influential on subsequent crime cinema.

    10. Easy Rider (1969)

    Easy Rider
    Image: impawards.com

    Easy Rider is the classic counterculture road movie, following two bikers, played by Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper, as they ride through the American South searching for freedom.

    11. Solaris (1972)

    Solaris
    Image: blapblapblap

    Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris is a psychological science fiction film based on a novel by Stanislaw Lem. The story follows a scientist who is sent to investigate the fate of the crew of a mission to the Solaris Ocean. Designer Bertrandt Andrzej produced this beautiful poster for the film’s Polish release. In 2002, Steven Soderbergh remade the movie with George Clooney in the lead role.

    12. Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979)

    Nosferatu the Vampyre
    Image: impawards.com

    This poster is for Werner Herzog’s version of Nosferatu, with Klaus Kinski as Dracula stalking 19th Century Transylvania and Germany, bringing plague and death in his wake.

    13. Altered States (1980)

    Altered States
    Image: impawards.com/

    William Hurt stars in Altered States as a psychologist submitting himself to experiments as part of his investigations into human consciousness. Director Ken Russell created a baroque psychedelic vision, often verging on the ridiculous.

    14. A View to a Kill (1985)

    A View to a Kill
    Image: cinemasterpieces.com

    Roger Moore brought his own touch to his portrayal of Bond; this poster reflects mid-Eighties design and glamour, with Grace Jones’ baddie May Day threatening the British agent.

    15. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

    Ferris Buellers Day Off
    Image: cinemasterpieces.com

    ‘While the rest of us were just thinking about it…Ferris borrowed a Ferrari and did it…all in a day’. In John Hughes’ film, archetypal Eighties high school wise guy Ferris Bueller is determined to take the day off and have some fun in downtown Chicago.

    16. Empire of the Sun (1987)

    Empire of the Sun
    Image: Jedimoonshyne9

    Empire of the Sun, based on JG Ballard’s semi-autobiographical novel, follows a British boy’s coming-of-age in Shanghai and surviving a Japanese World War Two prisoner of war camp.

    17. My Left Foot (1989)

    My Left Foot
    Image: Jedimoonshyne9

    This unusual painterly poster is for My Life Foot, in which Daniel Day-Lewis delivers an astonishing performance as a severely disabled man who paints with the only limb he has available: his left foot. The film is based on the autobiography of the same name by Irish author, painter and poet Christy Brown.

    18. Fargo (1996)

    Fargo
    Image: Fargo/

    This is another inventive poster design, created for the Cohen Brother’s thriller Fargo. The artwork has the appearance of a cross-stitched sampler, reflecting the ‘homespun’ feel of the American murder mystery plot.

    19. The Cooler (2003)

    The Cooler
    Image: impawards.com

    This striking neon-themed poster is for The Cooler, a film following the life of Bernie Lootz, the unluckiest man in Las Vegas.

    20. Death Proof (2007)

    Death Proof
    Image: starstore.com

    Death Proof is Quentin Tarantino’s homage to the grindhouse cinema of the 1960s and 70s. In keeping with the theme, the posters publicising the film’s theatrical release reflected the graphic design of the genre.

    Self-referential, aware of its past and skilfully created, the Death Proof poster represents best in movie poster design, a constantly evolving and cutting edge art form.

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31 Comments
ADD COMMENT
  • Richie says:

    March 8, 2010

    These are just awesome. Lovely inspiration here…. I like all of them. I am very impressed that you took time to describe each of them. Thanks a lot

  • Rocky says:

    March 8, 2010

    Nice collection..

  • Jacques van Heerden says:

    March 8, 2010

    Really love the Old Posters bro.

    Gives us a sense of inspiration we don’t receive through others.

    Cheers

  • Andy Sowards says:

    March 8, 2010

    Awesome! I haven’t seen a lot of these because they are really old, amazing what they could do back then eh?

    Nice work!

  • webbografico says:

    March 8, 2010

    nice inspiration… I really like the easy rider one (maybe I can turn it a beautiful yellowish website

  • Simone D'Amico says:

    March 8, 2010

    Nice work! :)

    Thanks for inspiration! ;)

  • jared thompson says:

    March 8, 2010

    big fan of the death proof poster :)

  • Vikas Ghodke says:

    March 8, 2010

    Amazing list.. havent seen most of them but these are great. This is my first visit here, Looking forward for upcoming posts from webexpedition.

    • Nikola Lazarevic says:

      March 8, 2010

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting Vikas! I hope you will find much more quality content here :)

  • Michelle says:

    March 8, 2010

    wow great collection :)

  • Design That Rocks says:

    March 8, 2010

    Love the Faster Pussycat poster….that movie is where the sleaze band took its name…great collection.

  • Mike Lane says:

    March 8, 2010

    Excellent list, my friend. I love the style of just about all of these!

  • Raj_r says:

    March 8, 2010

    Awesome, Most of them are unseen for me

  • Dan says:

    March 8, 2010

    A brilliant selection of posters. It’s great how you have done a cross-section of posters from almost a century of cinema, which gives us a nice quick journey through how movie posters have developed over time. Cheers!

    • Nikola Lazarevic says:

      March 8, 2010

      Thanks Dan for stopping by! I’m glad you liked it :)

  • Melody says:

    March 8, 2010

    It’s always interesting seeing work from the past. Especially during the times way before photoshop came into the picture..great artwork here..

    • Nikola Lazarevic says:

      March 8, 2010

      Thank you Melody, I really appreciate it!

  • sriganesh says:

    March 8, 2010

    look at the oldest poster, doctor X, and easy rider is really inspiration. and most of them are not known by me !! thanks for sharing some cool posters

  • Teylor Feliz says:

    March 8, 2010

    Good list, King Kong ftw :P

  • Cre8ive Commando says:

    March 9, 2010

    Wow, those old school designers had some skills. Yeh, King Kong is my fave too! :-)

  • Sneh Roy says:

    March 9, 2010

    Awesome stuff Nikola!! I love vintage and retro movie posters! So cool!

  • Sneh Roy says:

    March 9, 2010

    Great post Tom :):)

  • Duane says:

    March 9, 2010

    Gotta love classic movie posters. Thanks very much!

  • kovshenin says:

    March 9, 2010

    Wow, classic! Thanks for the list!

  • Andrea Olivato says:

    March 9, 2010

    Loving this!

  • Voodoo says:

    March 9, 2010

    Me favorite is Bond, yesterday i see it in TV
    Great list

  • Mihai O. says:

    March 9, 2010

    Great showcase!

  • Robine says:

    March 10, 2010

    Real cool to see all of these!

  • Las Vegas Web Design says:

    August 6, 2010

    Cool! I love seeing the work from the past. It reminds us of how far have we achieve. Las Vegas Web Design