50 Beautiful Movie Posters

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Movie posters are art and, unfortunately, the forgotten one. In the early years of cinema history, they were used just like advertising material. Displayed in theatres only, movie posters had the same function as a menu in a restaurant: what feast can I enjoy this evening? Nowadays, movie posters play a big role in cinema memorabilia collection. They have lost the “informative” tone to wear a more artistic and decorative dress. We want to change it with this post.

Made in many different sizes and versions, and released in different moments all along a movie’s life, posters immortalize in one static image the feeling and the atmosphere of a motion picture. Some posters can be dark or try to frighten the audience, others bedazzling with bright colors; some can be someway informative, while others can be fully teasing and may provide you only the date when movie will be released, even if you may not know what the movie is about.

In this post we present you a showcase of 50 beautiful movie posters. We went through different decades of movie history and different genre, different graphical approach, colors and style. Movies the posters are about may be famous or not, this is not the point.

Movie posters put together the love for for two different visual arts: cinema and graphics. Enjoy!

You may also want to take a look at the related posts:

50 Beautiful Movie Posters

Star Wars (1977)

Screenshot

Walk the line (2005)

Screenshot

Grindhouse (2007)

Grindhouse

Grindhouse

The Spirit (Upcoming, December 2008)

The Spirit

Vacancy (2007)

Screenshot

Moulin Rouge (2001)

Moulin Rouge

V For Vendetta (2006)

Screenshot

La Feria De Cepillin (2008)

Screenshot

The Thing (1982)

Screenshot

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street (2007)

Screenshot

Dexter (TV-show)

Screenshot

The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight

Kill Bill (2003)

Screenshot

Fearless (2006)

Screenshot

Cloverfield (2008)

Screenshot

The Birds (1963)

Screenshot

A Clockwork Orange (1971)

Screenshot

Mean Streets (1973)

Screenshot

Amadeus (1984)

Grindhouse

THX 1138 (1971)

THX II38

Pulp Fiction (1994)

Pulp Fiction

28 Weeks Later (2007)

Screenshot

The U.S. vs. John Lennon (2006)

Screenshot

Forrest Gump (1994)

Forrest Gump

Day Watch (2007)

Day Watch

Vertigo (1958)

Screenshot

Invasion (2008)

Screenshot

Planet of the apes (2001)

Screenshot

The Memory Thief (2007)

Screenshot

The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Screenshot

Death Proof (2007)

Screenshot

The Good German (2006)

Screenshot

Perfume (2007)

Screenshot

The Shining (2008)

Screenshot

W (2008)

Screenshot

Screenshot

American Beauty (1999)

Screenshot

The Bank Job (2007)

Screenshot

Man With One Red Shoe (1985)

Man With One Red Shoe

The Dark Crystal (1982)

Screenshot

Excalibur (1981)

Screenshot

Unforgiven (1992)

Unforgiven

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Zodiac (2007)

Screenshot

Dr. Strangelove (or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb) (1964)

Dr. Strangelove

Good The Bad And The Ugly (1966)
Italian version.

Good The Bad And The Ugly

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Indiana Jones

Rocky (1976)

Rocky

Last Click

Beyond A Reasonable Doubt (1956)
Please note the advice’s style (highlighted with the red circle) for the audience: an innocent suggestion or just marketing?.

Beyond A Reasonable Doubt

Blestenation (2007)

Screenshot

The Fountain (2006)

Screenshot

Screenshot

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Alessandro Cattaneo is a communication specialist with great passion for web and design.

  1. 1

    Those posters are great. Nice collection.

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  2. 2

    Lot of retro style posters. Nice collection.

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  3. 3

    Amazing collection of posters! I was shocked, when i saw links to movies nearby every poster! It was ver hard work, i respect to Alessandro Cattaneo!

    P.S. Sorry for bad english, i’m ukrainian ;)

    1
  4. 4

    Great Collection!
    I agree… I miss this slowly fading art.

    0
  5. 5

    IMHO, this is a way better cover for “Th’ good, th’ bad ‘n’ th’ ugly”:
    http://spaghettiwesterns.1g.fi/dvd/Good_Bad_Ugly_SE_DVD_eng.jpg

    Otherwise, nice list, but it got a bit uninspired in the end before the last click after “Man With One Red Shoe”, and what about Raiders of the lost ark? :o

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  6. 6

    Nice collection! I love the “Vacancy” the best!

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  7. 7

    Marcos Vera Chávez

    October 12, 2008 2:53 pm

    The THX 1138 poster is not precisely the actual movie poster, this is the design for the special edition on dvd

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  8. 8

    great collection, but where is jurassic park? forrest gump?

    0
  9. 9

    I honestly do not see how some of these posters made it here.

    4
  10. 10

    Wow….Great Post…..PULP FICTION is the best.

    -1
  11. 11

    Great that Saul Bass’ work (“Vertigo”) made it in there – he’s the master! You can see several other posters in this collection that directly reference or draw inspiration from him (particularly the mean streets one). And that one for The Shining that uses his original typography of course!

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  12. 12

    So inspiring! Most of these are really amazing. I think the first W post is lackluster and I’ve always been bothered by the placement of the type in Moulin Rouge with the stars names. Given that they are catering to some pretty big egos I can understand, otherwise its gorgeous. Love to see so many traditional paintings and illustrations in there- I love paintings done on the computer just as much but sometimes people forget about our design past!

    This makes me want to do more post designs. What a creative field!

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  13. 13

    Once again a great collection. I really like the old movies and retro posters. The W poster is lame. Funny quotes but the poster does not compete with the others here. I don’t see anything appealing or compelling about it.

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  14. 14

    Woah, where did you find those posters for The Fountain? Were they the international versions or something? They are awesome.

    0
  15. 15

    I love the “Perfume” movie poster, so much so when I seen it in the movie store I bought it due to the cover, and it turned out to be a very good movie!

    1
  16. 16

    Chinatown ?

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  17. 17

    this is just a collection of movies the author enjoyed.

    -1
  18. 18

    great collection. Dug planet of the apes, never seen that one before, it’s a fantastic poster. also vertigo, day watch, v for vendetta and dark knight were great selections.

    0
  19. 19

    Awesome :)

    0
  20. 20

    Great list ! Thanks you

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  21. 21

    Great collection. Love the work done in posters. very inspiring and most of these are really amazing.

    Roshan

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  22. 22

    Though I dislike retro style, I found some interesting retro posters in this list. I liked ‘The Birds’, ‘Forrest Gump’, ‘Perfume’, and ‘American Beuaty’ the best.

    Great efforrt Alessandro Cattaneo and Smashing Magazine Team, thank you so much.

    1
  23. 23
  24. 24

    I would like to add “The Spirit” [the three-split poster version]
    http://www.filmschoolrejects.com/images/spirit-poster1.jpg

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  25. 25

    i only remember posters of forrest gump and nightmare before christmas

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  26. 26

    superb work man. i have a new set of movies to watch now :)

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  27. 27

    Nice, The Color Purple would be a nice one to add

    0
  28. 28

    wow… what a nice collection of movie posters… like from tarantino´s films

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  29. 29

    Cepillin? Cepillin?…I fucking love Cepillin …haha… he’s he greatest of all clowns…even though I hate clowns he’s still an amazing character…fond memories from Mexico….

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  30. 30

    I love those movie posters. One of my biggest dreams, to make my own one.. :D
    Thanx for this article!
    (Why don’t you make an article about DVD Covers? Because they often don’t look so great like the movie posters…)

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  31. 31

    Cool, great post (Y)

    0
  32. 32

    Wow, I love this collection !

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  33. 33

    I have to agree with a previous poster. This list seems to be a list of posters the author enjoyed. The Bank Job? Kill Bill? Cloverfiled Those are hardly artistic examples.

    I’d also like to mention The Thing and Planet of the Apes posters are from special alamo draft house theater screenings. The shining poster is from an art show and a few other posters are not from original screenings.

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  34. 34

    Puhlease… I love movies and their related artworks, but kill bill as a good example of a beautiful poster? Come on!
    There are quite a few that are really good though, and ranging from old to new. There may be a bit too much emphasis on the new IMO, as it’s far more inspiring to me to think of the trouble designers had to go through 20, 30 years ago to make posters that rival today’s Photoshopped stuff.

    Also, try writing your posts in a word processor and running spell check prior to posting them online. “We went trought different decades of movie history” WTF is trought?

    0
  35. 35

    Cool collection, but why is there no asian movie, I miss thous a little …

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  36. 36

    Smashing strikes again. A regurgitated list of posters for popular movies is not fresh content. Unedited, guest authored content will be the downfall of this magazine.

    Movie posters are not a “forgotten art”. Poster art is highly celebrated and recognised. The author seems confused in the intro and contradicts himself, before going on to post a few good examples of iconic movie poster design, mixed in amongst some forty-odd mediocre, run of the mill, mainstream posters.

    Once again, a poor show from SM.

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  37. 37

    Love the Grinhouse series ! … There were some I had seen but others are quite new to me cause I saw the public poster only such as the Dark Knight one ! Also love that retro feel in some of the posters ! A true work of art indeed !

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  38. 38

    why was the poster for the ring two with the girl sitting in the chair not included? I think thats one of the most powerful and disturbing movie posters i’ve ever seen

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  39. 39

    the japanese poster of “Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain”

    http://img241.imageshack.us/my.php?image=ameliext8.jpg

    and:

    http://film.fit.edu/img/fall02b.jpg

    0
  40. 40

    although it is a great poster, blestenation is not a movie but a music band.

    http://www.myspace.com/blestenation
    lol

    0
  41. 41

    Great but…
    No french poster, no indian poster, not enought from the rest of the world (>80% of the population).

    Good job anyway.

    0
  42. 42

    Grindhouse?! Black Snake Moan’s a much better poster of that style…

    I think this list should be renamed to ‘Cool posters what I like’. Posters are STILL playing the part of the informative advertising material in cinemas – with sometimes stages of teaser, main campaign etc. Would love to know where the author goes to the cinema.

    0
  43. 43

    The Birds poster is not the original, that was done recently by Corey Holms for “Now Showing” Exploring the Lost “Art” of the Film Poster.http://www.flickr.com/photos/keepsmesane/sets/72157601618281265/

    0
  44. 44

    Agree with logicalnot. Seven Samurai’s (B & W) poster is one of the best in terms of composition, amongst other Kurosawa’s. Nice collection

    0
  45. 45

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    October 13, 2008 2:58 am

    @all: please notice that this post was not intended to showcase best examples of movie posters art, but to provide some interesting ideas for designers and artists.

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  46. 46

    Yeah thats why the category is named ‘Monday Inspiration’!
    Great inspiration as always, thank you!

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  47. 47

    I know there’s so many that you couldn’t include all of them but, honestly, these seem much better to me than Cloverfield or one of the Grindhouses…

    http://www.impawards.com/2006/prestige_ver5.html

    http://www.impawards.com/2006/madeas_family_reunion_ver2.html

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  48. 48

    Just subject Alessandro Cattaneo to some delicate caning and we can get back to business for future updates, then. >:3

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  49. 49

    Movie Poster Forum

    October 13, 2008 5:08 am

    Cool Top 50 – Some i expected to see there, some I didn’t. Would have been disapointed if Mean Streets and Vertigo were not in there though.

    Cheers
    Goodfella

    0
  50. 50

    Christopher Ross (thisismyurl.com)

    October 13, 2008 5:08 am

    That’s awesome! I had Beyond A Reasonable Doubt hanging in my studio for years, right beside my Clockwork Orange. Chris

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  51. 51
  52. 52
  53. 53

    cepillin bravo!!

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  54. 54

    For goodness sake, these are just 50 beautiful posters, its just an inspiration for designers like me, why do some of you keep complaining that this is better, that is better,

    “I honestly do not see how some of these posters made it here.”,

    oh come on, the title did not say that these are ‘the best movie posters ever’, did it? Just merely inspiration.

    Anyways good work SM, I loved the post!

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  55. 55

    nice list, I’d also add:

    The Exorcist
    Jaws
    Any Monty Python ala Terry Gilliam
    ET
    Plan 9 From Outer Space
    Yellow Submarine
    Casablanca
    Metropolis

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  56. 56

    Nice collection, some really nice stuff!

    0
  57. 57

    Some are actually pretty ugly (Excalibur). But well loved for being typical. Thanks!

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  58. 58

    I love The Dark Knight “Why So Serious” the most.

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  59. 59

    Simply amazing! The one from Dexter is terrific!

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  60. 60

    What?! you forgot Pink Floyd The Wall!

    0
  61. 61

    I have the Pulp Fiction poster in my office at work. Gets a lot of comments. Great for my Marketing role. Thanks for spreading the word!

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  62. 62

    I love the Vacancy poster. That one word jumps out at you. Zodiac design is cool too. Love the fog use.

    onwired.com

    0
  63. 63

    Awesome! That’s a expected for a long time. Good choice Smashing.

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  64. 64

    Stars Wars will alway’s be a classic!

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  65. 65

    Tennyson Williams

    October 13, 2008 12:44 pm

    That’s an interesting perspective that we forget about, but their is still a necessity for posters and even matte paintings, which is really cool and keeps all forms of art alive.

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  66. 66

    Very nice collection! (;

    0
  67. 67

    Essenitally posters after 1970. Why ?

    0
  68. 68

    I can’t believe you didn’t include Scarface.

    Shame on you.

    0
  69. 69

    one poster that I thought was pretty nice was the one for Midnight Meat Train

    0
  70. 70

    The Sweeney Todd poster features the Big Ben in the window. This was removed from the original poster because the Big Ben didn’t exist at the time of Sweeney Todd.

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  71. 71

    Hi, excellent collection indeed. Great job! One missing from the list, in my opinion, is Kieslowski’s “Trois Couleurs Bleu” (Three colours blue), showing mysteriously beautiful Juliette Binoche in one of her best roles ever.

    0
  72. 72

    Thanks for a great list of movie visual posters
    No Subscription Required

    0
  73. 73

    How does “The Good German” qualify when it’s nothing more than a ripoff of the iconic “Casablanca” poster (which, btw, is an unforgiveable omission)?

    0
  74. 74

    @ Beyond A Reasonable Doubt (1956)
    I think it’s all about marketing.

    0
  75. 75

    BLADE RUNNER?!?!?!?!

    And if that poster for The Graduate is not a late ’60′s iconic image for all times, I will eat my hat!

    0
  76. 76

    Umm.. you searched through DECADES of movie history and yet boring posters for “W.” appear on this list? C’mon! There are soo many lush, beautiful, inspiring posters from the early decades of film. I realize that not everyone may agree, but I think you left out quite a few “decades” here, hitting only the obvious highlights (“Vertigo”, etc).

    Not to mention you opened this article with a paragraph about how movie posters and advertising were crucial to movie’s success in the early days; yet you hardly have any early movie posters, which had to work their hardest to sell the movie to the viewer without any internet or television marketing.

    0
  77. 77

    Very nice set!

    0
  78. 78
  79. 79

    I love the sparsely designed posters, as well as the ‘era’ themed posters, (Death Proof & 28 Weeks Later). The pick for The Bank Job, however, is NOT the most beautiful choice for that movie.

    This one is classic and quite possibly number 1 in overall design.

    0
  80. 80

    I would love to be able to see tutorials on how to create some of the effects in these movies posters. Great collection!

    0
  81. 81

    “The Shining” poster is for an art show about the movie, not a movie.

    0
  82. 82

    A great selection as always; the only thing is Blestenation isn’t a filme, it’s a rap music group!

    0
  83. 83

    When your sitting there, between cups of coffee and your vision and imagination is starting to flag, the Smashing team’s pages are always there to jolt you back into production. Lets take it in the spirit it is given and not forever criticise, great work SM.

    0
  84. 84

    Almost every one would be considered modern. And almost every one is American. If you factored in posters from Japan, Europe, Eastern Europe, India etc. You would have a potentially huge, interesting and exciting series.

    0
  85. 85

    These posters are awesome, but… Why there is no Godfather

    It’s hard to rate poster with no thinking about the movie. Respect ;)

    0
  86. 86

    There was a feature like this on another site, and the most captivating example I found there was the Downhill Racer Poster

    0
  87. 87

    tarantino fan much?
    lol. im pretty sure that the reason why most of his movie posters are of massive amounts of badass is because he is a fan of movie posters if im not mistaken… along with foreign language martial arts movies from the 70s. lol.

    0
  88. 88

    Whether you have seen some of them or not, it’s a very refreshing flash back.

    Cheers Smashing!

    0
  89. 89

    Talk about a blast from the past!

    0
  90. 90

    Planet of the Apes was done by artist Tod Slater for Alamo He does amazing gig posters as well…
    http://www.toddslater.net/

    0
  91. 91

    wow~ they are awesome!!!

    0
  92. 92

    It should be more appreciated, I think.
    Really great!!!
    I love the dark knight’s poster.

    0
  93. 93

    Nice collection. I’d also toss ‘Run Lola Run’ (the German version of the poster, not the North American), and Blade Runner into the mix.

    0
  94. 94

    Real Nice. What about “Premonition”? I think it deserves to be in this list.

    0
  95. 95

    these collection are terrific.

    0
  96. 96

    sometimes i think i have to live….live for seeing the best creator of the man …..the movie collection is really very nice.

    0
  97. 97

    love ‘the birds’ poster. can’t explain why, but i reckon its insane!

    0
  98. 98

    good ones, i also really like the burn after reading poster

    0
  99. 99

    Love the collection. What about Hard Candy?

    0
  100. 100

    these r wierd posters

    0
  101. 101

    great collection guys. Some very interesting posters.

    0
  102. 102

    Bastante Buenas
    Very Good!

    0
  103. 103

    Like the list some nice posters on there i hadnt seen and shows the great art behind these

    But..
    Metroplis has to be on that list one of the best movie posters of all time!!

    1
  104. 104

    Forrest Gump and Perfume very good films, definitely I would recommend if you have not followed.

    0
  105. 105

    original list

    0
  106. 106

    Great posters, thanks :)

    0
  107. 107
  108. 108

    Great collection!

    To all those complaining, the author doesn’t claim this is a definitive list or even a list of the BEST posters, just that they are beautiful. And that they are.

    Thank you very much, I feel inspired now!

    0
  109. 109

    Metropolis is one of the best ever.. here’s a preview
    i even dare say that Spirit is a copy of it.

    1
  110. 110

    Daniel Errante

    June 4, 2009 1:31 pm

    My favorite is the photo effect on the Sweeny Todd poster

    0
  111. 111

    Good list, some great alternative versions.

    I was surprised to see that Pan’s Labyrinth wasn’t on the list, the movie has so many wicked alternative poster versions.

    0
  112. 112
  113. 113

    Stop asking for a thumbs up, it’s pathetic and only shows how desperate you are for a little attention.

    1
  114. 114

    sha!.............

    August 19, 2009 1:37 am

    CoooOOoooL!!………..

    -1
  115. 115

    These are all pretty terrible…guess you happened to pick some of the worst

    0
  116. 116

    great collection, I’d like to add Barry Lindon’s poster:

    http://www.mondomostre.it/images/estateraffaello/locandine/barry_lindon_06.jpg

    0
  117. 117

    I have a lovely poster for “the perfume” hanging on the wall even more beautyful than the one shown here (I think it’s the italian version)

    0
  118. 118

    It has to be the Star Wars poster that wins it for me… check this guys alternative Star wars prints I came across … I really like ‘the entirety of space’ print.

    0
  119. 119

    Meh, mediocre collection of posters. Some classics are here alright, but would preferred there to be a bit more insight into foreign versions of classic american posters. See the russian blade runner poster for example.

    1
  120. 120

    Thank’s for this very creative collection.
    You may also see my post aboout minimalist movie posters
    http://www.leblogdebango.fr/2010/02/60-redesign-minimalistes-daffiches-de-films-et-de-series/

    0
  121. 121

    What about scarface?

    0
  122. 122

    Cepillin POP-ART Awesome!!!

    0
  123. 123

    More nice Poster you will find : Wandtattoo

    0
  124. 124

    This really is a super collection, A very refreshing look back at some fantastic posters.

    I personally love the Dexter poster, It very much looks to me as if it is a Shephard Fairy design who features in the new banksy film, If it isnt a shephard fairy design I would say that it is meant to replicate it.

    The vertigo poster is always a true classic.

    acrylic prints

    0
  125. 125

    thanx for this artful package . I think w. Unforgiven & invasion were best . and fountai poster was just like its movie beyond of any compliment .

    0
  126. 126

    These posters must be preserved as works of art too!

    0
  127. 127

    These movie posters are great,what software did they use for these kinds of posters.Specifically With Shinning?

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  128. 128

    Does anyone know why there is spacing at the top of the Cloverfield poster. I mean between the ‘some’ and the ‘thing’

    0
  129. 129

    Your article is featured at srecograd.blogspot.com/ as one of the examples that will have a lot of influence in the future, at our work.

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  130. 130

    Really like ‘the memory thief’, never seen that before? will need to go watch it! very creative artwork, thank you canvas prints

    0
  131. 131

    The Good German Poster shouldnt be there, since it is a copy in the Style of the original “Casablanca” Poster. So it is not an unique Original Design.

    1
  132. 132

    so good , thank’s

    1
  133. 133

    Although Raiders is obviously the best Indy movie, the best Indy poster is clearly: http://www.impawards.com/1984/posters/indiana_jones_and_the_temple_of_doom_ver1.jpg

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  134. 134

    i dont know where else to go with this question lol i have an original Les Miserables poster with original cast autographs about 40 sigs. Dont know the value and would appreciate any info on poster or value thanks

    0
  135. 135

    Really creative and inspiring posters.
    Check some more here http://goo.gl/tqN8o

    0
  136. 136

    Thanks – Some really great poster artwork and some that i not seen before.

    You may also want to take a look at this site looking at the art of the movie poster with some great images and details about the artists.

    0
  137. 137

    The dark knight poster is brilliant! I love seeing these, it’s like going to an art gallery.

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  138. 138

    this is a fantastic page for the use of G.C.S.E’S. I have been looking throught this page for hours on end trying to find a decetn film poster in the end i chose TOM HANKS IS FOREST GUMP, i only chose this film poster because i have watched the film over and over again art home an di find it very interesting as he is AUTISTIC and that i have a AUTISTIC brother and iy helps me to undertstand the way my brother reacts to things and my brother is very similar

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  139. 139

    This poster may not be the most ground breaking I do think it gives a good atmosphere of what the movie entails…

    http://www.moviepostersdb.com/the-butler/poster-1

    1
  140. 140

    I see someone shares my taste in movies.

    0

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