5 Most Well Known Movie Posters of all Time

These 5 movie posters not only became famous in their day, but they each changed the course of film advertising and remain some of cinema’s most iconic images.

Gone With the Wind (1939)

Italian illustrator Armando Seguso created the famous image of Rhett Butler holding onto Scarlett O’Hara as Atlanta burns beneath them. The smoldering scene not only conveyed the intense on-screen passion of what has perhaps become film’s greatest pair of lovers, but it also helped to capture the vibrant colour of the newly-emerging world of Technicolor cinema.

The Man with the Golden Arm (1955)

Saul Bass’ graphic design not only shaped cinema but the business world, with many of the famous logos of the 2nd half of the 20th century being attributable to him. However, it was Bass’ breakthrough poster for The Man with the Golden Arm that transformed film advertisements from realistic illustrations of movie scenes to a more abstract, symbol-based interpretation of a film’s themes.

Jaws (1976)

Artist Roger Kastel’s original illustration for the paperback edition of Peter Benchley’s novel Jaws so impressed the heads at Universal that they were quick to buy up the rights for the film’s poster. Kastel’s work here was important, because while the infamous shark remained mostly invisible for the first hour, it was the music of John Williams and that lingering image from the lobby of a massive beast rising up under an unsuspecting swimmer from the darkness beneath that helped to put the audience in a state of unrelenting suspense.

Star Wars (1977)

When Dr. Zhivago poster artist Tom Jung was hired to create an image for Star Wars, he was given the order to work with with the theme of “good over evil”. What resulted was the iconic image of a young Luke Skywalker holding up a brilliant white lightsaber as a slinky Princess Leia leans against his legs with blaster in hand, all while Darth Vader looms behind them. It’s interesting to note that the droids C-3PO and R2-D2 were not part of Jung’s original design, but added later at the insistence of director George Lucas.

Silence of the Lambs (1991)

An almost unrecognizable, pale-as-death Jodie Foster stares with soulful brown eyes as a deaths-head hawkmoth covers her mouth. An even closer examination will reveal that the skull pattern on the back of the moth is actually seven naked intertwined women. The poster was created by the ad agency Dazu and the naked-women skull pattern is actually a careful replication of the famous Salvador Dali photo titled In Voluptas Mors, which shows Dali beside seven naked women forming the shape of a skull. In 2006, the original poster for Silence of the Lambs was named “best film poster of the last 35 years” at the Key Art Awards.

Martin is a poster designer from Sydney, Australia. He has designed many well known Australian movie posters and uses the highest quality large format printing services that Sydney has to offer. Martin has recently married and he is currently trying to get into poster design for major Hollywood movies.