Movie posters are often considered just as important as the iconic movie they represent. Typography and imagery play important roles in what makes a movie poster iconic, in some cases more iconic than the movie itself. Classic movie posters are storytellers in themselves and usually the first thing that a viewer will see. Here are the top 10 most iconic movie posters of all time, in no particular order.
It took several attempts by Tony Seiniger, the man behind the iconic poster to relay what Jaws was about; pure terror. The image of the shark coming up beneath a woman swimming in the ocean sparked fear and excitement in moviegoers in 1975, making it one of the biggest blockbusters to date.
Back to the Future
The top grossing movie in 1985 and a true people’s sci-fi, Back to the Future was and still is a movie of epic proportion. The movie poster is no different, leaving moviegoers wanting more. In fact, Drew Struzan, creator of the timeless poster recycled the same image for the next two movies, adding Doc to the background for Back to the Future II and Clara, Doc’s love interest added into the Back to the Future III poster.
Silence of the Lambs
The Silence of the Lambs is instantly one of the most recognizable movie posters in history and in 2006 The American Film Institute named it one of the best 100 movie posters of all time. Within the poster, there are several other references and hidden works of art aside from the obvious meanings.
Vertigo, a classic movie poster with hand-cut typography, jagged, skewed and shadow figures and the symbolism of spiral curves. Not only is the poster a work of art, most consider this 1958 Alfred Hitchcock’s defining works of his career, among other classics.
National Lampoon’s Vacation
The ironic imagery behind the 1983 Vacation movie poster is depicted perfectly. Clark Griswold believes himself to be a powerful hero of his family, yet it causes epic destruction at every turn. Created by Boris Vallejo, known for his science-fiction illustrations, the Vacation movie poster is often referred to as a parody to the 1982 movie poster for Conan the Barbarian.
The original 1978 classic Halloween, set the stage and the standards by which modern horror films operate today. It was the start of a culture of “slasher movies” and a more realistic view at the horror genre. The movie poster serves as the perfect representation of what Halloween is about and what is to come in the series.
The Casablanca movie poster is one of the rare instances where having all of the characters present was the reason why it became icon Bill Gold, creator of the classic and well known poster said the goal of the design was to not give away the apparent love affair between Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart. Gold’s successful masterpiece launched Casablanca into one of the greatest wartime love stories of all time, winning an Oscar for best picture of the year.
Indiana Jone and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
The 1981 adventure Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark marked the childhood dreams of young boys. Richard Amsel created a comic-book style movie poster packed full of adventurous heroes, evil villains and a little bit of romance. The movie went on to be one of the top grossing films in American history.
The Jurassic Park logo was created for the original 1990 novel of the now infamous movie. The simple logo was carried over to the big screen and became the iconic symbol for the Jurassic Park movie series. The movie poster, in it’s simplicity creates intrigue and excitement without giving away any specifics about the movie. Jurassic Park has become one of the top grossing movie franchises in the world and the new Jurassic World is the 3rd largest grossing movie ever made.
There aren’t many words that need to be said about The Shining. Not only is it a classic horror movie, the movie poster expresses the escense of Jack Nicholson madness. The poster has been redone over the years, and the movie but nothing compares to the original.