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51 Most Iconic Movie Posters of All Time That You Shouldn’t Miss Out

by Anne Carton Tweet - in Poster Design

Movie Posters

Last updated on February 2nd, 2023

Movies are a great source of entertainment, and everyone looks forward to seeing an exciting film. But before we go to a movie, we come across its poster and get a feel of what to expect from the movie. Some movies have set new box office records. Likewise, some movie posters today are labeled as iconic.

A movie poster is not just an announcement of a new release in the cinema halls. More than that, a well-made poster conveys the movie’s theme in a subtle way. Posters that hint at the story and the genre are most likely to draw more viewers to the theatres.

Here Are 51 Of The Most Iconic Movie Posters For Your Inspiration

01. Batman (1989)

Batman was an iconic movie, and so was its poster design. It was an excellent example of using blank space, also known as white space, to convey a message. For example, you can notice a black bat created with the bat’s mouth. If you focus on the prominent golden elements of the mouth, the batman emerges, and you can see it.


02. Lord Of War (2005)

This Oscar winner is about an ethically challenged arms dealer. Its poster depicts a character standing tall against the burning city. The film’s name is in white, and the flames in the background present a contrasting effect.

Lord Of War

03. The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005)

This R-rated comedy film was a smash hit of its time and was a craze. It also started an era of movies of its kind. Looking at its poster, we can see that it successfully conveys the movie’s theme. The use of faded colors in the poster is for a man not interested in women.

The 40-Year-Old Virgin

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04. Mean Streets (1973)

The movie poster design for Martin Scorsese’s movie Mean Street conveys the story of the criminal underworld of Little Italy, New York. Elements such as a dominating pistol in the front, skyscrapers, and dark and brown colors create the gloomy environment of those days of street fighting.

Mean Streets

05. Amadeus (1984)

Amadeus won eight Oscars. Its poster had the tagline – “The man, the music, the madness, the motion picture!” immediately conveyed what the movie was all about. The poster was completely black to depict the darkness of the crime and negativity involved in the societies of the 80s.


06. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

The 1970s was the era of crime movies, and “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’’ was an outstanding film depicting those days of heinous crimes. Its poster designer used red and black colors for those unthinkable crimes. A chainsaw in the hands of the character drives the viewers’ attention and compels them to see the movie.

crime movies

07. Parasite (2017)

The iconic South Korean thriller swept the Oscars. However, its unique poster does not say much about the film directly. Instead, it has elements that create curiosity and compel viewers to watch the movie.

unique poster

08. Back To The Future (1985)

Back to the Future was a comedy blockbuster of its times. Its poster is mainly red because the movie’s theme was about the fiery fire cracks.

poster design

09. Superman: The Movie (1978)

Superman movie had a famous tagline, “You’ll believe a man can fly,” representing the state-of-the-art visual effects of those times. Its poster uses skyscrapers in the background and a taller superman character. This conveys that the character can fly higher than those structures.

Superman: The Movie

10. Star Wars (1977)

The Star Wars poster design represents the movie’s exaggerated styling and adventure. There is the use of unique imagery in the poster to drive viewers’ attention toward the movie.

Star Wars poster design

11. The Rocketeer (1991)

This poster design comes alive with red prominently, which helps the design stand out. Everything on the poster is shaped like a rocket to depict the movie theme.

The Rocketeer

12. Moonlight (2016)

Moonlight is a movie about a young African-American gay man growing up in Miami, and the film depicts his life through childhood, adolescence, and burgeoning days. Its poster depicts a dreamy, neon-hued design that conveys the film’s central theme.


13. Airplane! (1980)

A twisted cartoon of an airplane is the chief feature of this poster of the movie Airplane, one of the greatest comedies of all time.


14. Jaws(1975)

This Jaws poster is intimidating due to its design. The designer created a horrifying whale with big open jaws and a girl swimming just above. With this design, the poster immediately conveys the movie theme.

Jaws poste

15. Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas (1995)

This movie was about drug use and abuse. Its poser uses a Salvador Dali-esque trippy image. The cartoonish figure also is intimidating and fearful.

Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas

16. Halloween (1978)

Halloween was the most successful horror movie of two decades. Its poster design also created horror with the use of Halloween imagery. Red and yellow conveyed the theme to the viewers, and the dark background further strengthened the message.


17. Forbidden Planet (1956)

This transcendent sci-fi movie had a robot named Roby the Robot with the lady draped over his arm. Its poster felt that the events were taking place on another planet that humans should not have visited.

Forbidden Planet

18. Apocalypse Now (1979)

This movie was about Vietnam War, and its poster conveys those traumatic days by using red color overwhelmingly with black as the background. The movie’s name is in white for visibility.

Apocalypse Now

19. The Social Network (2010)

Oscar-winning movie, The Social Network, is a Hollywood film of the last decade. Its poster is a text-based design since social media is mostly about texting all the time. The image of a focused and engrossed young man in the background stands for the target audience of most social media platforms.

The Social Network

20. American Beauty (1999)

Few movie posters look as sensual as this one of American Beuty, one of the blockbusters of its times. The poster shows a woman’s naked midriff, further intriguing due to the red rose. In addition, the poster tells a lot about the movie’s plot.

American Beauty

21. Full Metal Jacket (1987)

Many films were made about the Vietnam war. They were all powerful images. Its poster was an excellent example of minimalism in those times as there is just the helmet in the poster. The punch line on the helmet, “Born to Kill,” and the tagline: “In Vietnam, the wind doesn’t blow; it sucks,” said it all to the audience.

Full Metal Jacket

22. Platoon (1986)

This was another great movie on the Vietnam War. The poster conveys the theme by incorporating images of soldiers at the top and a helmet.


23. Breakfast At Tiffany’s (1961)

This Breakfast At Tiffany’s poster is as iconic as the movie. The film was about a paid party girl who fell in love with a writer and the fashionable things of those times. Its poster design hints at that by posing as a stylish girl. There is a lot of white space, which makes the design eye-catching and appealing. However, the design still looks simple despite a lot of text.

Breakfast At Tiffany's poster

24. The Little Mermaid (1989)

The Little Mermaid was another classic movie from Walt Disney. Its poster shows the mermaid character on blue background. The movie’s name is in contrasting yellow.

The Little Mermaid

25. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

This iconic thriller was about the scariest baby carriage, and its poster depicted the carriage in black, giving viewers a hint of the theme. The movie’s name in bold white letters presents an eye-pleasing contrasting effect.

Rosemary's Baby

26. Attack Of The 50 Foot Woman (1958)

The endlessly referenced and spoofed poster for this ’50s B-movie is more memorable than the silly film. This was super racy for 1958. The film is black-and-white, but the one-sheet is painted with warm reds and yellows.

Attack Of The 50 Foot Woman

27. Scream (1996)

The Scream poster design is unique in that it shows the leading character’s face overexposed in front and center, which is the chief design element. In addition, the white sans serif capital letters in the present white contrast give the impression of someone screaming in the dark.

Scream poster design

28. The Evil Dead (1981)

The Evil Dead movie took horror to the next level. Its poster is in a black and white color scheme typically used for mystery films and has the lead character shown predominantly.

Evil Dead Movie Poster

29. A Clockwork Orange (1971)

The pyramid design of the Clockwork Orange was unique, though the film was controversial and banned in many countries. Along with the pyramid shape of the main design element of the poster, the tagline “Being the adventures of a young man whose principal interests are rape, ultra-violence, and Beethoven ‘’ made the viewers curious about the film

Clockwork Orange Film Poster

30. Anatomy Of A Murder (1959)

This is an iconic poster design for the movie Anatomy of a Murder. The designer Saul Bass used bold orange and yellow as the primary colors for the posters to depict the courtroom drama.

iconic poster design

31. The Graduate (1967)

The Graduate is about a young man who can’t decide what he wants to do in life and then meets a bored homemaker. That negatively changes his course of life. Its poster depicts the confused young boy and the housewife in their characters in the movie. The designer used multiple colors to create drama through the design.

The Graduate Poster

32. Gone With The Wind (1939)

Gone With the Wind was an iconic movie and continues to be popular among audiences. This epic romance has this poster designed to convey the movie’s theme or fiery romance.

iconic movie poster

33. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

E.T is a science fiction acclaimed one of the most commercially successful films ever made. Its poster design is in dark colors with the moon in dim white, enhancing the mysterious environment surrounding the extraterritorial.

unique poster design

34. The Thing (1982)

This sci-fi/body horror iconic movie’s poster design has a supernatural image of an unthinkable terror from beyond. The blue and white color scheme with a touch of black expresses the mystery theme of the film.

iconic movie’s poster design

35. Goldfinger (1964)

This poster has pop art iconography, typical of most James Bond films. The color scheme of white and dim yellow drive the attention and conveys the mysterious theme of the movie.


36. Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1981)

This poster design shows the leading character in an aggressive pose with a hunter while the other characters are on both sides. The entire design gives the feeling of some adventure happening in the movie. Its color scheme is dark to make it look mysterious.

poster design

37. Titanic (1997)

Titanic was James Cameron’s romantic drama that became the biggest movie ever. Its poster design depicted the two young leading characters in a romantic pose and the Titanic ship facing the sky.

Iconic Poster

38. Chinatown (1974)

Chinatown was a detective movie about Chinese people located outside China. It is considered one of the finest mystery films. You can notice that its poster has some Chinese elements, such as letters in the shape of Chinese letters or some curly elements at the top.


39. The Godfather (1972)

This iconic poster design for The Godfather is as effective and memorable as the film itself was. Bold typography in white against a black background and a hand are the only elements that make this simple poster unique. It successfully conveys the film’s message right away and leaves the viewers with imagination.

iconic poster design

40. Jurassic Park (1993)

Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park is known for its groundbreaking special effects. Its poster design had a skeleton of a dinosaur in a circle against the red background. The design is such that it fires the viewers’ imagination, and they want to see the movie.

Jurassic Park Poster

41. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

The poster for Terminator 2 has Schwarzenegger’s name at the top in the red since he was a superstar in those days and a familiar public figure. But, then, his figure dominates the poster, again because of his iconic stature as a film actor. So, when film actors are that big, their whole personality is usually on the posters as part of their design.

Movie Poster

42. The Silence Of The Lambs (1991)

This poster for The Silence of the Lambs depicts a face with a dead head hawkmoth over it, making the poster design incredibly hunting. The movie’s name in red evokes aggression and horror in this case.

poster design

43. Metropolis (1927)

Metropolis was an iconic movie with many futuristic images, and it influenced many more artistic works, such as Blade Runner, Star Wars, and Madonna’s “Express Yourself” video. It was a German science fiction drama released in 1927. The movie was about the Future of Germany. Its poster design had towering buildings, a saddened man, and dark colors all around, conveying the Future for humanity.

iconic movie poster

44. Pulp Fiction (1994)

The Pulp Fiction poster does not tell us anything about the movie. Instead, it simply expresses the meaning of the movie title by incorporating the lead character with a cheap pulp novel.

Pulp Fiction poster

45. The Exorcist (1973)

This poster design for The Exorcist is in all black and yellow. The color combination gives us a horrific image and tells what you should expect from the film.

The Exorcist

46. Vertigo (1958)

Vertigo poster uses the movie’s central plot as a device to convey its message and depicts the theme of cyclical obsession. The overuse of red represents the obsession and the aggression of human behavior.

Vertigo poster

47. Scarface (1983)

This gangster picture was made when hip-hop music was the day’s trend. Its iconic poster is fully capable of reflecting the culture and music of those days. There is a lot of text; still, the leading character drives our attention due to the space in black and white.


48. Blade Runner (1982)

Blade Runner is among the 20th century’s most influential pictures. The film is about the replicants who are created as enslaved people but look like humans. This fictional character is the theme of the film. Its poster is in black and yellow, primarily used to express a mysterious environment of a movie.

Blade Runner

49. Ghostbusters (1984)

The Ghostbuster poster shows the movie’s main characters in fighting attire and aggression. There is a lot of text at the bottom and some at the top. Still, the post does not look cluttered. That is because there is a lot of space left in the image and the text.

Ghostbuster poster

50. Alien (1979)

Alien is a horror and science fiction movie set on a spaceship. The poster of this Oscar-winning runaway box-office hit is all black since the space is dark. There is just the alien head and one line in white that says, “In space, no one can hear you scream.”

Alien movie poster

51. The Shining (1980)

Graphic designer Saul Bass created this poster design for The Shining. The poster has a threatening face that stares at you. It conveys the sense of madness and dread, which is the theme of this horror masterpiece. Yellow is the color of pessimism and negativity, so the designer used it for this poster. Black is a powerful color that evokes fear in the viewers.

poster design

These are the iconic movie posters that are inspirational for their unique way of typeface, colors, and other elements. But you can take inspiration from these posters even when not designing for movies.

If you are looking forward to creating posters for your brand marketing, you can source the design job for talented graphic designers at Designhill. This leading marketplace has thousands of designers who are looking for work.

Just as you launch your poster design contest, many designers from across the globe will create unique posters according to your design brief. You can then pick the winning design that you find best to promote your brand.

Are You Looking for a New Graphic Designer?If Yes, Call Us on +1-855-699-2851 [times for calling 9am to 6pm EST (US)] or Register for a Free Design Consultation

Wrapping Up

These famous movie posters are also known for their art of poster design. The graphic designers used minimalistic and other design principles to convey a movie theme with minimum effort. So, these are inspirational posters that designers can keep in mind when creating a poster for brand promotion.

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Anne Carton is a small business consultant, designer and an enthusiast blogger working with Designhill, one of the fastest-growing custom design marketplace. She has authored several blogs, articles and editorials on various topics related to interactive content, concerning design, social media strategies, growth hack strategies, digital marketing and e-commerce. Facebook | Twitter

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