ByKen Anderson, writer at
Ken Anderson

The art of the movie poster is the distillation of a film's content, theme, and market appeal into a simple image and a succinct sentence or phrase. By no means a complete list, here are a few of my favorite movie posters from the '60s, '70s, and '80s which combine the best graphic art with the sharpest ad copy.

1. Rosemary's Baby (1968) The great granddaddy of epic poster images

2. Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967) The riding crop is genius

3. Lipstick (1976) Use of bullet/lipstick imagery mirrors sex/violence theme

4. Last of the Red Hot Lovers (1972) Perfect one-liner to sell this comedy

5. Remember My Name (1978) Kick-ass tagline for tough-as-nails noir

6. Just Tell Me What You Want (1980) Play on famous Bonnie & Clyde tagline

7. The Possession of Joel Delaney (1972) Striking image, intriguing tagline

8. Alien (1979) Classic from Steve Frankfurt/ Phil Gips, tagline by Grace Gips

9. Secret Ceremony (1968) Evocative tagline, provocative images

10. The Fortune (1975) Great deco graphics and comically cryptic tagline

11. Don't Look Now (1973) Puts you on edge from the start

12. The Day of the Locust (1975) Iconic art by David Edward Byrd

13. Barbarella (1968) "See Barbarella do her thing!" It doesn't get any better.

14. The Great White Hope (1970) Powerful image, poignant tagline.

15. Goodbye Columbus (1969) *copy reads: "Every father's daughter is a virgin."

16. The Tenant (1976) Um...I plead the fifth

17. Bonnie & Clyde (1967) Classic, iconographic, timeless

18. Sophie's Choice (1982) Romantic poster for a horror film

19. The Boys in the Band (1970) Hard-hitting and funny

20. They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969) Perfect example of visual economy

21. Klute (1971) Graphic minimalism used to startling effect

22. The Mephisto Waltz (1971) Love it when a movie poster taunts me

23. Superman: The Movie (1978) Simple, heroic graphic and tagline

24. The Omen (1976) Clever ad campaign created a buzz in 1976

25. Shampoo (1975) Sexy in its simplicity

This post is dedicated to Philip Gips and the late Stephen Frankfurt; two legendary Madison Avenue ad men who, in the late '60s, revolutionized the way American motion pictures were marketed and promoted. Many of the most iconic posters and taglines above (most notably those for: Rosemary's Baby, Goodbye Columbus, & Alien) are their creations.


Were movie posters better in the '60s, '70s and '80s?


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