The Top 100 Movie Posters of the Last 100 Years

Top 100 movie posters Anyone who’s captivated by art and illustration likely has a favorite movie poster—or 20. Paste magazine published a fascinating list of the top 100 movie posters of the last 100 years, and we applaud them for picking the featured posters from what must have been a daunting pile of contenders.

One initial observation? It’s fascinating to compare the movie posters of today with their more historic counterparts. As you scroll through each year, you can see the evolution undergone by movie posters, a transformation that hints at a greater change in movies themselves, as well as the industry. After all, movies today are typically promoted using budget-busting trailers, viral campaigns and social media sites, leaving the movie poster as almost an after-thought when it comes to a marketing strategy, rather than an artistic centerpiece of film promotion, as you’d find in earlier years.

Top 100 movie posters

Additionally, we noticed that only three animated films made the list—Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Alice in Wonderland and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Each of these is a fantastic poster, although we have a special place in our hearts for the first two. You simply can’t beat the magic captured by some of the first generations of Disney artists whether in the movie poster or the film itself.

Regardless of what type of film is featured, the movie poster is a way to artistically preserve some of the most iconic images in cinematic history—something we’re reminded of as we scroll through this list. For example, a tantalizing glimpse of the stocking-clad leg of Mrs. Robinson; ET and Elliott riding in front of a brilliantly full moon; Rhett clutching Scarlett amid a fiery red background; the Joker’s gory, bloody grin accompanied by the surprisingly unsettling question, “Why so serious?”

We can only hope that movie posters don’t go the way of the dinosaur. Yet if they do, at least we have lists like this to capture some of the best and most memorable in Hollywood design.

Did your favorite movie poster make the list? Which posters would you add that weren’t included?

Images via Paste magazine

  • Guest

    “1933: King Kong
    There are so many great posters of Kong on top of a building snapping a plane. It’s one of the most iconic moments in film history, and this specific poster shows the magnitude of the beast that was killed by Beauty” — I always wondered if having Beast climb the castle tower to reach Belle before getting stabbed by Gaston was a kiss to King Kong.

    • Brenda Chapman

      Oh, that’s a great poster!!
      As far as Beast climbing the tower… maaaaybeeee! 🙂

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