1. Star Wars
Director: George Lucas
Cast: Harrison Ford, Mark Hammill, Carrie Fisher
Poster Artist: The Brothers Hildebrandt
The Star Wars franchise has given us an assortment of poster delights and they have, to varying degrees of success, been parodied, lampooned and homaged throughout popular culture ever since.
However, it’s The Brothers Hildebrandt’s original painting that stands out the most. A beautifully crafted tapestry with intricate attention to detail, it comprises the film’s many elements, including a mythical Luke, a rather sexualised Leia as well as R2, C-3PO and TIE fighters, all set against the backdrop of Darth Vader. It truly captures the operatic space-age action and the sheer otherworldliness of the film.
2. Blade Runner
Director Ridley Scott
Cast: Harrison Ford, Sean Young, Rutger Hauer
Poster Artist: John Alvin
Award-winning artist John Alvin’s iconic poster for Ridley Scott’s genre staple is a truly mesmerising creation. Capturing the noir aesthetics of the film and the skyscraping production design perfectly, photoreal paintings of Harrison Ford’s Deckard and Sean Young’s Rachael sit atop a view of the sprawling metropolis of Los Angeles 2019.
Action packed and yet wholly atmospheric, it recreates the chaos of Scott’s visionary dystopia while maintaining a classical appearance and, of course, it introduces the signature logo too.
Director: Richard Donner
Cast: Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, Gene Hackman
Poster Artist: Bob Peak
Bob Peak’s subtle yet powerful design for Donner’s 1978 film is a classic example of how less can be more. The logo itself takes up only a fraction of the image but its impact is one of bewitching wonder.
The stark tagline, ‘You’ll believe a man can fly’, focuses attention on the draw of the then-ground-breaking special effects, but it’s the implication that Superman is somewhere up in the clouds that gives the poster both its immediacy and longevity.
4. Forbidden Planet
Director: Fred M Wilcox
Cast: Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis, Leslie Nielsen
The quite menacing- looking Robby the Robot with the arbitrators of political correctness, the MPAA, in a tizz these days. However, despite this misdirection, it is the beautiful use of colour in the depiction of Robby and the magnificent background that makes this a treasure.
The comic strip influences are the source of its eternal appeal and the self-explanatory tagline, ‘Amazing!’, completes the near-perfect package.
5. Indiana Jones and Raiders Of The Lost Ark
Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman
Poster Artist: Richard Amsel
Illustrator and graphic designer Richard Amsel produced two designs for the Raiders poster, one for the film’s initial 1981 release and this poster for its re-release a year later.
Playing on the character’s familiarity, the frenetic and action-packed design combines all of the film’s elements, as well as most of its characters, into this sleek and perfectly honed one-sheet.
All the characteristics that would become the series’ trademarks are present and Amsel perfectly captures the film’s matinee origins. To be honest, the magnificent title design alone secures its classic status. In a word: class.