Monday, July 18, 2011

Inspiration: Top 25 Movie Posters

I recently watched "Buried" because I am a huge Hitchcock fan and heard it was a film in a style that would make Hitch proud (and I agree). Seeing the film reminded me that I absolutely love the poster for this movie. I think the concept and typography are so excellent and really portray the feeling of the film. Looking at this poster again inspired me to share some of my favorite movie posters. All of these are on this list for either their typography, concept, and/or iconic imagery.

So many movie posters are just cut and paste jobs that all blend together. But some stand out. These are the Top 25 (in no particular order) that stood out to me over the years. I am not necessarily saying these are great films, but in my opinion they are great posters.

Let me know some of your favorites too that aren't on the list!

Beautiful Typography that really captured the claustrophobic feeling of the film. 

The Dark Knight Rises (Teaser)
I love the simplicity of the poster. No words are needed yet everyone knows this is a Batman movie. And for those who love symbolism, it really captures the idea that Gotham must fall for the Dark Knight to rise.

Ben Hur
This hand-illustrated poster has become an iconic image and if you look at the detail it is incredibly impressive. Go ahead and try to re-create this by hand. 

Love the use of the eye chart for this poster. simple idea, yet the execution is beautiful. 

Little Miss Sunshine
The imagery on this poster captures the feeling of the film for me. I really like the extra dose of creativity to right-align the typography so that it adds the element of movement with the van. White space on a poster also makes a poster stand out in the theater a lot of the time, so the bold yellow really is great.

Cloverfield (Teaser)
I love that this poster does not even need any type except the date. The imagery draws you in. Most people know what this image is by now too, so I guess it has become somewhat iconic. 

Really like the photo/illustration work on this poster. Very creative. I think the taglines on it actually distract from the art and don't add all that much.  

District 9 (Teaser)
An image that most people saw at the theater and were intrigued by. A great poster that stands out and says so much about what the film is about. 

Empire of the Sun
An oldie but a goodie. Love the image of the plane crashing in the sky as the kid is playing with a plane on the ground. This poster says so much: location, the fact it is a war movie, and maybe even that a small child will be crushed by falling plane debris. This poster really stands out. 

The Exorcist
This poster is the perfect example of what most modern horror films get wrong in their posters. If this movie came out today, it would have some grotesque, hi-Photoshopped scary image on the front. On this poster, the image itself does not scare you, it is the anticipation of what's inside that window. Great imagery and use of lighting.

From Paris with Love
Really like the photo illustration work on this poster against the white background. 

The Dark Knight (Teaser)
Really creative use of the Batman logo to create the Joker's face. Instantly you know who the hero is and who the villain is without the poster saying either in words. 

Order of Chaos
This poster really caught my eye and intrigues me. I have not seen this movie, but the poster makes me want to because it is so different from other movie posters and it really tells a story.  

The Silence of the Lambs
Such a famous image now. The amazing thing to me about this poster is that if you blow it up and look at the skull on the moth it is made of bodies. Love the attention to detail. 

The Sixth Sense
A simple concept, but one that was very intriguing when this film first came out. Made people ask: what is the 6th sense!? 

Star Wars Episode 1 (Teaser)
When this poster came out months before the film, fanboys everywhere squealed and peed their pants. No words are needed to see that this movie is going to show how Darth Vader got started on the path to become Darth Vader. Beautiful image.

X-Men 3 (Teaser)
I remember seeing this poster in theaters and being so impressed by its simple use of Wolverine's claws to represent the number 3. So creative!

THX 1138
I love the simplicity of this poster and how the title of the movie is just a tiny script on the ear tag. This poster has a lot of mystery to it that generates interest in the film. 

This poster is an example of going above and beyond in designing a poster. This poster could have been the standard horror photoshop hack-job of blurred people screaming or something, but instead it is a beautifully-crafted, well-designed poster that implies more than it shows (similar to the Exorcist poster).

V For Vendetta
I love the illustration technique used to make this look like an old propaganda poster. 

Ocean's 11 (Teaser)
This poster says nothing about the film and doesn't even say the film's name. It lets the names of the stars sell the film and the beautiful, bold 11 catch your interest.

 Independence Day
An image that achieves what many movie posters have tried to copy since. The sense of scale accomplished on this poster is almost breathtaking and instantly says "summer movie". 

Lady in the Water
The level of detail in this poster art is astonishing. I spent a good 5 minutes looking closely at this one the first time I saw it trying to see every little thing that was going on. 

Lord of War
At a quick glance, this poster doesn't look that special. But when you look at all the bullets and even the extra touch to put all the text wrapped around the outside instead of just pasted at the bottom center, this poster stands out. 

An iconic image, and one that instantly tells you what you are going to watch. So simple, yet so perfect. 


  1. This is such a great post! There's a couple of movies on here that I have yet to watch and the movie poster makes me want to check them out RIGHT NOW! I don't typically like movie posters because they aren't what they used to be in the level of though, detail and craftsmanship that goes into them, but the ones that you've picked may prove me wrong.

  2. thanks! I agree that the level of thought and craftsmanship has gone way down. That's why this list is only a Top 25 and not a top 50 or top 100. It was hard to find many more that I liked as much as these. There are a few more I love, but the number of good posters compared to the number of movies that come out is pretty pathetic.

  3. These Movies posters are totally amazing, these posters attract all views !

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