Movie Posters

8 Must-See Movie Posters of All Time

Movie posters are an art form in themselves. A great poster should capture the essence of the film and entice audiences without giving too much away. Here, we count down the eight best movie posters of all time.

1. Kill Bill (2003/4)

The poster for Quentin Tarantino’s ultra-violent two-part epic Kill Bill is strikingly abstract. A close-up of Uma Thurman’s face as the Bride, arms crossed and sword in hand, is highly stylised. Her beautiful but ominous portrait is surrounded by bright blocks of colour that seem to vibrate against each other.

This visually captivating poster has an edgy, graphic novel feel that echoes the movie’s blend of gritty violence, vibrant style and pop culture references. What is abstract art? Abstract art is all about provoking a reaction using shapes, colours and textures. This Kill Bill poster does exactly that.

2. Jaws (1975)

The poster for Steven Spielberg’s seminal 1975 blockbuster Jaws is utterly iconic. The image of a gigantic great white shark emerging from the depths, mouth agape, about to devour an unsuspecting swimmer is one of the most enduring in film history. The poster epitomises the suspense and terror of the movie itself. The tagline ‘Don’t go in the water’ is brilliantly simple and stark. This poster became so popular it spawned many imitators and parodies, but the original remains the best.

3. Vertigo (1958)

Alfred Hitchcock was the master of suspense, and the poster for his 1958 classic Vertigo is a sublime representation of the film’s mystery and intrigue. It depicts the profile of a woman’s face and the disorientating spiral motif that became the film’s defining visual hallmark. The hypnotic drawing hints at the film’s dizzying plot twists without giving anything away. Evocative and unforgettable, it is a poster that draws you in and demands repeat viewings, just like the film itself.

4. The Shining (1980)

Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 Stephen King adaptation of The Shining boasts one of the most unsettling posters in movie history. The iconic, cropped image of a deranged Jack Nicholson peering through a broken door as he utters the famous line “Here’s Johnny!” perfectly encapsulates the menace and madness at the heart of the film. Nicholson’s crazed expression tells you everything you need to know. The Shining is a masterclass in suspense, and this poster chillingly reflects that.

5. Alien (1979)

The poster for Ridley Scott’s 1979 sci-fi horror masterpiece Alien is a marvel of visual economy and suspense. The twisted, organic-looking alien egg takes centre stage, with faint smoke rising from the top, hinting at the terror lurking within. The tagline ‘In space no one can hear you scream’ perfectly captures the isolation and body horror that made the film so impactful. The poster leaves much to the imagination but makes it clear you are in for an intensely scary ride. Less is more – and this poster is fantastically ambiguous and creepy.

6. Metropolis (1927)

Fritz Lang’s seminal 1927 sci-fi epic Metropolis still stands as a landmark in cinema history, and its poster is equally iconic. The art deco styling depicting a robotic female form holding a clock face as the city skyline spins behind her is a striking and unforgettable image. It encapsulates the futuristic splendour and proto-cyberpunk feel of the film itself. The Metropolis poster has become the definitive visual depiction of a dystopian mechanised society and launched a thousand imitators. But the original remains the greatest.

7. Scarface (1983)

Brian De Palma’s ultra-violent 1983 crime saga Scarface is one of the most iconic gangster flicks ever made, and its poster is just as memorable. Al Pacino as Tony Montana takes centre stage, a mountain of cocaine piled in front of him atop his desk, all guns blazing. It’s an explosion of excess and violence that sums up both the character and the film. The use of solid red is eye-catching and Pop Art inspired. This poster perfectly encapsulates the decadent, overblown nature of this gangster classic.

8. Back to the Future (1985)

The poster for Robert Zemeckis’s 1985 time travel smash Back to the Future is magnificently eye-catching and dynamic. The image of Marty McFly leaning against the iconic DeLorean as it’s struck by lightning, sending him back to 1955, is endlessly evocative. The smoke letters spelling out the title add to the movement and energy of the piece. This poster sells the film’s high-concept premise with style and humour. As iconic as the film itself, it makes you desperate to take the time-travelling journey.

So, there we have it – eight of the greatest movie posters ever produced, each brilliantly encapsulating the film it promotes.

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