Top 10 Most Iconic Movie Posters

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Some movie posters are completely unforgettable. These are the posters that stick in your mind. The ones that you envision whenever people mention the title or you know exactly what movie from the poster. I’m here to count down my own subjective list of the most iconic movie posters of all time.

10) Back to the Future:

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This 1985 classic Si-Fi movie starring Michael J Fox is possibly the most iconic time travel movie of all time. It features the story of Marty McFly. He travels back thirty years to 1955 in a time travelling DeLorean and must get back to the future of 1985. The poster, drawn by Drew Struzan, features Marty McFly looking at his watch and standing beside the DeLorean with the flaming tire tracks. The Poster was not taken from any particular scene of the film, but rather contained a few elements of the movie in and artistic way.

9) The Usual Suspects:

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The Usual Suspects is a 1995 American crime thriller directed by Bryan Singer. It stars Stephen Baldwin, Gabriel Byrne, Benicio del Toro, Chazz Palminteri, Kevin Pollak, Pete Postlethwaite, and Kevin Space. The plot consists of a sole survivor telling the twisted events leading up to a shoot out on a boat. The story begins with a seemingly random line up. The poster features that very line up. This is a great example of a scene being directly used in the poster and turning out to be iconic.

8) Full Metal Jacket:

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Stanley Kubrick’s 1987 Vietnam film is definitely one of the most renowned war movies of all time. With great acting, explicit violence, and some great drill scenes from R Lee Ermey, this film follows a platoon of US marines from their training at boot camp to their effort in the war itself. The poster features a camouflage helmet with “Born to Kill” written on it beside a peace symbol. The helmet, worn by Private “Joker” Davis, makes a statement about the duality of man.

7) Pulp Fiction:

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Quinten Tarantino’s 1994 crime film revolving around three story arcs told in non-linear fashion has easily one of the biggest cult followings in history. With an abundance of quotable dialogue, interesting plot and great characters, this is no surprise. The poster contains Uma Thurman, who plays character Mia Wallace in the film. The poster itself was not featured in any scene in the movie, but it was created rather to parody a pulp fiction novel.

6) The Silence of the Lambs

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This 1991 psychological thriller starring Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins was based off of a Thomas Harris novel of the same name. It follows the story of detective Clarice Starling as she has to track down a serial killer named Buffalo Bill, who skins his female victims. In order to catch him, Starling has to get a psychological profile from another killer who is in custody, Dr. Hannibal Lecter. The poster shows Jodie Foster with a Death-Head moth covering her mouth. The moth appears to have a human skull on its back. This is an example of a poster artistically combining elements of the movie without actually using a specific event or scene directly from the film. The skull on the moth is a Salvador Dali drawing that was later photographed by Philippe Halsman. The skull itself is made out of naked female bodies.

5) Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

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This cult classic film based from a Hunter S. Thompson novel follows the story of an oddball journalist and his psychopathic lawyer as they travel to Las Vegas for a series of psychedelic escapades. Starring Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro. This poster shows a distorted image of Johnny Depp’s character with the desert behind him and Las Vegas in the reflection of his sunglasses. The poster truly captures the trippy vibe to the movie and is one of the most recognisable posters of all time.

4) Scarface

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This Al Pachino crime film set in 1980’s Miami follows the story of Tony Montana, a Cuban immigrant who takes over the drug cartel. Written by Oliver stone and directed by Brian De Paulma. This movie was originally supposed to be a direct remake of a 1930’s film of the same name, but could not be set in 1930’s Chicago due to budget constraints. The poster shows a black and white Pachino holding a hand gun. This is a very artistic and minimalistic poster showing noting but the title character and his pistol. It gives the feel the Tony is truly alone and can’t trust anyone.

3) Rocky

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This is a classic underdog film. Written by, directed by and starring Sylvester Stallone. The story follows Rocky Balboa, a small time boxer who gets a chance at fighting a heavyweight champion, Apollo Creed. The poster showcases an actual scene from the film where Rocky climbs the steps in front of the Philadelphia Museum of art. This scene and poster are so iconic that a statue of Rocky has been erected in that very spot

2) E.T.

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A classic Spielberg film about an extra-terrestrial that is left behind on Earth and is befriends a young boy and his siblings. The government catches wind of an alien living among us and attempts to capture E.T. for experimentation. The poster features the scene in which E.T. and Elliot escape government officials by flying across a chasm on a bicycle. The poster captures the wonderful, magical feel the scene holds perfectly.

1) Jaws

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Based off a novel by Peter Benchley, this Spielberg film follows the story of a Great White shark as it terrorizes a small island by regularly attacking its residents at the beach. A police chief, a marine scientist and grizzled fisherman set out to stop it. The poster is an artist’s rendition on elements of the movie. It shows the massive Great White about to attack a swimmer in the water. A poster that truly strikes fear, this has grown to be one of the most universally acclaimed and most iconic movie poster of all time.

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