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The 50 Most Iconic Movie Posters of the 1980s
The last great decade for movie art.
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Most Iconic Movie Posters of the 80s
Which one of these Movie posters from the decade of the 1980s is your favorite? Discuss Here in the IMDb Community Forums
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1. Airplane! (1980)
PG | 88 min | Comedy
A man afraid to fly must ensure that a plane lands safely after the pilots become sick.
Directors: Jim Abrahams , David Zucker , Jerry Zucker | Stars: Robert Hays , Julie Hagerty , Leslie Nielsen , Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Votes: 245,407 | Gross: $83.40M
2. Friday the 13th (1980)
R | 95 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller
A group of camp counselors trying to reopen a summer camp called Crystal Lake, which has a grim past, are stalked by a mysterious killer.
Director: Sean S. Cunningham | Stars: Betsy Palmer , Adrienne King , Jeannine Taylor , Robbi Morgan
Votes: 144,433 | Gross: $39.75M
3. Raging Bull (1980)
R | 129 min | Biography, Drama, Sport
The life of boxer Jake LaMotta , whose violence and temper that led him to the top in the ring destroyed his life outside of it.
Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: Robert De Niro , Cathy Moriarty , Joe Pesci , Frank Vincent
Votes: 358,985 | Gross: $23.38M
4. The Blues Brothers (1980)
13+ | 133 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy
Jake Blues rejoins with his brother Elwood after being released from prison, but the duo has just days to reunite their old R&B band and save the Catholic home where the two were raised, outrunning the police as they tear through Chicago.
Director: John Landis | Stars: John Belushi , Dan Aykroyd , Cab Calloway , John Candy
Votes: 204,031 | Gross: $57.23M
5. The Elephant Man (1980)
PG | 124 min | Biography, Drama
A Victorian surgeon rescues a heavily disfigured man who is mistreated while scraping a living as a side-show freak. Behind his monstrous façade, there is revealed a person of kindness, intelligence and sophistication.
Director: David Lynch | Stars: Anthony Hopkins , John Hurt , Anne Bancroft , John Gielgud
6. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
PG | 124 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy
After the Rebels are overpowered by the Empire, Luke Skywalker begins Jedi training with Yoda, while his friends are pursued across the galaxy by Darth Vader and bounty hunter Boba Fett.
Director: Irvin Kershner | Stars: Mark Hamill , Harrison Ford , Carrie Fisher , Billy Dee Williams
Votes: 1,306,063 | Gross: $290.48M
7. The Shining (1980)
R | 146 min | Drama, Horror
A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where a sinister presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from both past and future.
Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Jack Nicholson , Shelley Duvall , Danny Lloyd , Scatman Crothers
Votes: 1,035,815 | Gross: $44.02M
8. An American Werewolf in London (1981)
R | 97 min | Comedy, Horror
Two American college students on a walking tour of Britain are attacked by a werewolf that none of the locals will admit exists.
Director: John Landis | Stars: David Naughton , Jenny Agutter , Joe Belcher , Griffin Dunne
Votes: 111,400 | Gross: $30.57M
9. Atlantic City (1980)
R | 104 min | Crime, Drama, Romance
In a corrupt city, a small-time gangster and the estranged wife of a pot dealer find themselves thrown together in an escapade of love, money, drugs and danger.
Director: Louis Malle | Stars: Burt Lancaster , Susan Sarandon , Kate Reid , Michel Piccoli
10. Chariots of Fire (1981)
PG | 125 min | Biography, Drama, Sport
Two British track athletes, one a determined Jew and the other a devout Christian, are driven to win in the 1924 Olympics as they wrestle with issues of pride and conscience.
Director: Hugh Hudson | Stars: Ben Cross , Ian Charleson , Nicholas Farrell , Nigel Havers
Votes: 62,540 | Gross: $58.97M
11. Escape from New York (1981)
R | 99 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
In 1997, when the U.S. president crashes into Manhattan, now a giant maximum security prison, a convicted bank robber is sent in to rescue him.
Director: John Carpenter | Stars: Kurt Russell , Lee Van Cleef , Ernest Borgnine , Donald Pleasence
Votes: 147,019 | Gross: $25.24M
12. Porky's (1981)
R | 94 min | Comedy
In 1954, a group of Florida high-school guys try to help their buddy lose his virginity, which leads them to seek revenge on a sleazy nightclub owner and his redneck sheriff brother for harassing them.
Director: Bob Clark | Stars: Dan Monahan , Mark Herrier , Wyatt Knight , Roger Wilson
Votes: 43,865 | Gross: $111.29M
13. Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
PG | 115 min | Action, Adventure
In 1936, archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones is hired by the U.S. government to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis can obtain its awesome powers.
Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Harrison Ford , Karen Allen , Paul Freeman , John Rhys-Davies
Votes: 976,643 | Gross: $248.16M
14. The Evil Dead (1981)
NC-17 | 85 min | Horror
Five friends travel to a cabin in the woods, where they unknowingly release flesh-possessing demons.
Director: Sam Raimi | Stars: Bruce Campbell , Ellen Sandweiss , Richard DeManincor , Betsy Baker
Votes: 214,890 | Gross: $2.40M
15. Blade Runner (1982)
R | 117 min | Action, Drama, Sci-Fi
A blade runner must pursue and terminate four replicants who stole a ship in space and have returned to Earth to find their creator.
Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Harrison Ford , Rutger Hauer , Sean Young , Edward James Olmos
Votes: 779,663 | Gross: $32.87M
16. Creepshow (1982)
R | 120 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Horror
Five grisly tales from a kid's comic book about a murdered father rising from his grave, a bizarre meteor, a vengeful husband, a mysterious crate's occupant, and a plague of cockroaches.
Director: George A. Romero | Stars: Hal Holbrook , Leslie Nielsen , Adrienne Barbeau , E.G. Marshall
Votes: 49,781 | Gross: $21.03M
17. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
PG | 115 min | Adventure, Family, Sci-Fi
A troubled child summons the courage to help a friendly alien escape from Earth and return to his home planet.
Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Henry Thomas , Drew Barrymore , Peter Coyote , Dee Wallace
Votes: 416,650 | Gross: $435.11M
18. Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)
R | 90 min | Comedy, Drama
A group of Southern California high school students are enjoying their most important subjects: sex, drugs and rock n' roll.
Director: Amy Heckerling | Stars: Sean Penn , Jennifer Jason Leigh , Judge Reinhold , Robert Romanus
Votes: 108,227 | Gross: $27.09M
19. Pink Floyd: The Wall (1982)
R | 95 min | Drama, Fantasy, Music
A confined but troubled rock star descends into madness in the midst of his physical and social isolation from everyone.
Director: Alan Parker | Stars: Bob Geldof , Christine Hargreaves , James Laurenson , Eleanor David
Votes: 82,343 | Gross: $22.24M
20. Poltergeist (1982)
PG | 114 min | Horror, Thriller
A family's home is haunted by a host of demonic ghosts.
Director: Tobe Hooper | Stars: JoBeth Williams , Heather O'Rourke , Craig T. Nelson , Beatrice Straight
Votes: 168,643 | Gross: $76.61M
21. The Thing (1982)
R | 109 min | Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi
A research team in Antarctica is hunted by a shape-shifting alien that assumes the appearance of its victims.
Director: John Carpenter | Stars: Kurt Russell , Wilford Brimley , Keith David , Richard Masur
Votes: 432,578 | Gross: $13.78M
22. Tron (1982)
PG | 96 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
A computer hacker is abducted into the digital world and forced to participate in gladiatorial games where his only chance of escape is with the help of a heroic security program.
Director: Steven Lisberger | Stars: Jeff Bridges , Bruce Boxleitner , David Warner , Cindy Morgan
Votes: 124,067 | Gross: $33.00M
23. National Lampoon's Vacation (1983)
R | 98 min | Adventure, Comedy
The Griswold family's cross-country drive to the Walley World theme park proves to be much more arduous than they ever anticipated.
Director: Harold Ramis | Stars: Chevy Chase , Beverly D'Angelo , Imogene Coca , Randy Quaid
Votes: 113,122 | Gross: $61.40M
24. Risky Business (1983)
R | 99 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama
A Chicago teenager is looking for fun at home while his parents are away, but the situation quickly gets out of hand.
Director: Paul Brickman | Stars: Tom Cruise , Rebecca De Mornay , Joe Pantoliano , Richard Masur
Votes: 94,159 | Gross: $63.50M
25. Scarface (1983)
R | 170 min | Crime, Drama
In 1980 Miami, a determined Cuban immigrant takes over a drug cartel and succumbs to greed.
Director: Brian De Palma | Stars: Al Pacino , Michelle Pfeiffer , Steven Bauer , Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio
Votes: 854,055 | Gross: $45.60M
26. The Big Chill (1983)
R | 105 min | Comedy, Drama
A group of seven former college friends gather for a weekend reunion at a South Carolina vacation home after the funeral of another of their college friends.
Director: Lawrence Kasdan | Stars: Tom Berenger , Glenn Close , Jeff Goldblum , William Hurt
Votes: 38,917 | Gross: $56.20M
27. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
R | 91 min | Horror
Teenager Nancy Thompson must uncover the dark truth concealed by her parents after she and her friends become targets of the spirit of a serial killer with a bladed glove in their dreams, in which if they die, it kills them in real life.
Director: Wes Craven | Stars: Heather Langenkamp , Johnny Depp , Robert Englund , John Saxon
Votes: 245,312 | Gross: $25.50M
28. Amadeus (1984)
R | 160 min | Biography, Drama, Music
The life, success and troubles of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , as told by Antonio Salieri , the contemporaneous composer who was deeply jealous of Mozart's talent and claimed to have murdered him.
Director: Milos Forman | Stars: F. Murray Abraham , Tom Hulce , Elizabeth Berridge , Roy Dotrice
Votes: 405,829 | Gross: $51.97M
29. Footloose (1984)
PG | 107 min | Drama, Music, Romance
A city teenager moves to a small town where rock music and dancing have been banned, and his rebellious spirit shakes up the populace.
Director: Herbert Ross | Stars: Kevin Bacon , Lori Singer , John Lithgow , Dianne Wiest
Votes: 84,209 | Gross: $80.04M
30. Gremlins (1984)
PG | 106 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Horror
A young man inadvertently breaks three important rules concerning his new pet and unleashes a horde of malevolently mischievous monsters on a small town.
Director: Joe Dante | Stars: Zach Galligan , Phoebe Cates , Hoyt Axton , John Louie
Votes: 231,724 | Gross: $148.17M
31. Back to the Future (1985)
PG | 116 min | Adventure, Comedy, Sci-Fi
Marty McFly, a 17-year-old high school student, is accidentally sent 30 years into the past in a time-traveling DeLorean invented by his close friend, the maverick scientist Doc Brown.
Director: Robert Zemeckis | Stars: Michael J. Fox , Christopher Lloyd , Lea Thompson , Crispin Glover
Votes: 1,221,723 | Gross: $210.61M
32. The Goonies (1985)
PG | 114 min | Adventure, Comedy, Family
A group of young misfits called The Goonies discover an ancient map and set out on an adventure to find a legendary pirate's long-lost treasure.
Director: Richard Donner | Stars: Sean Astin , Josh Brolin , Jeff Cohen , Corey Feldman
Votes: 280,201 | Gross: $61.50M
33. Dirty Dancing (I) (1987)
PG-13 | 100 min | Drama, Music, Romance
Spending the summer at a Catskills resort with her family, Frances "Baby" Houseman falls in love with the camp's dance instructor, Johnny Castle.
Director: Emile Ardolino | Stars: Patrick Swayze , Jennifer Grey , Jerry Orbach , Cynthia Rhodes
Votes: 239,017 | Gross: $0.62M
34. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
R | 116 min | Drama, War
A pragmatic U.S. Marine observes the dehumanizing effects the Vietnam War has on his fellow recruits from their brutal boot camp training to the bloody street fighting in Hue.
Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Matthew Modine , R. Lee Ermey , Vincent D'Onofrio , Adam Baldwin
Votes: 750,904 | Gross: $46.36M
35. Do the Right Thing (1989)
R | 120 min | Comedy, Drama
On the hottest day of the year on a street in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, everyone's hate and bigotry smolders and builds until it explodes into violence.
Director: Spike Lee | Stars: Danny Aiello , Ossie Davis , Ruby Dee , Richard Edson
Votes: 104,732 | Gross: $27.55M
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Back to the Future (1985)
“Back to the Future” (1985)
Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
“Beverly Hills Cop” (1984)
Blade Runner (1982)
“Blade Runner” (1982)
The Blues Brothers (1980)
“The Blues Brothers” (1980)
Blood Simple (1984)
“Blood Simple” (1984)
The Breakfast Club (1985)
“The Breakfast Club” (1985)
Conan the Barbarian (1982)
“Conan the Barbarian” (1982)
Die Hard (1988)
“Die Hard” (1988)
Dirty Dancing (1987)
“Dirty Dancing” (1987)
Do the Right Thing (1989)
“Do the Right Thing” (1989)
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
“E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” (1982)
The Elephant Man (1980)
“The Elephant Man” (1980)
The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
“The Empire Strikes Back” (1980)
Escape from New York (1981)
“Escape from New York” (1981)
The Evil Dead (1981)
“The Evil Dead” (1981)
Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)
“Fast Times at Ridgemont High” (1982)
First Blood (1982)
“First Blood” (1982)
Friday the 13th (1980)
“Friday the 13th” (1980)
Full Metal Jacket (1987)
“Full Metal Jacket” (1987)
The Goonies (1985)
“The Goonies” (1985)
The Little Mermaid (1989)
“The Little Mermaid” (1989)
The Lost Boys (1987)
“The Lost Boys” (1987)
National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)
“National Lampoon’s Vacation” (1983)
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
“A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984)
9 to 5 (1980)
“9 to 5” (1980)
Pink Floyd – The Wall (1982)
“Pink Floyd – The Wall” (1982)
Purple Rain (1984)
“Purple Rain” (1984)
Raging Bull (1980)
“Raging Bull” (1980)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
“Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981)
Repo Man (1984)
“Repo Man” (1984)
Risky Business (1983)
“Risky Business” (1983)
The Shining (1980)
“The Shining” (1980)
Stop Making Sense (1984)
“Stop Making Sense” (1984)
The Terminator (1984)
“The Terminator” (1984)
They Live (1988)
“They Live” (1988)
The Thing (1982)
“The Thing” (1982)
Top Gun (1986)
“Top Gun” (1986)
Click here to see The 50 Best 1990’s Movie Posters
Click here to see The 50 Best 1970’s Movie Posters
- Digital Art
Classic 80s Movie Posters: How it Was
Cream of the crop from the world of popular 80s movies, hope to provoke some nice chills in you.
Everyone keep talking about classic 80s movies recently with the freshest trend for this period of our past. Many series shot, illustrations carried out, and songs recorded. But how about the art of 80s movie posters everyone’s surely forgotten about?
All these contemporary movie remakes, second parts 20 years later from the first ones — no wonder sometimes people refer to the modern times as ‘nostalgia generation’, nothing less. I’d love to engage in a discussion of its pros and cons but I guess there’s more sense is just admiring the cultural heritage. So I’m surely alluding to my 80s movie posters compilation.
It’s the topic where the imagination gets the carte blanche for any twisted sci-fi idea . The exuberance of dominant blue color in the majority of these old movie posters, probably, has something to deal with space and mysterious shining. The exception is the novel-based ‘1984’ in very communist-reminding stylistics. ‘ Brazil ’ and ‘ The Blade Runner ’ are classic 80’s movies, having the purple shades in common. And lots, lots of greyish black!
These 80s movie posters, touching upon the people’s life during the most horrible events humanity has faced are packed with military items, gloomy and ‘dirty’ colors.
Epic Biopics and Historical Dramas
So different stories as well as the 80s movie posters themselves. Here’s that enigmatic Elephant Man in ephemeral worn press style, crown of thorns and a spilled blood of saint Jesus, and child’s drawing of John Lennon movie. Oh and minimalistic patriotism of ‘ The right stuff ’! Iconic movie posters for iconic cinema.
Drama and comedy in 1980 movies
More colourful and vivid images to make the audience anticipate the story. I won’t go through all of these old movie posters, I’ll just praise their brilliant idea and concepts instead.
Crazy fonts and tons of comic books romantics. The 80s movie posters so-called ‘with sound’: you look at them and already play the main theme soundtracks in your head.
Brutal Thriller and Crime Plots
Practically, three different 1980 movies having only one thing in common: crimes disclosure and geometric line cuts on their posters. ‘ Scarface ’ as a comics tribute, ‘ The Blues Brothers ’ ridiculing the goofball brothers, and ‘ Jagged Edge ’ where the poster justifies the name of a movie.
Here the above-mentioned blue colors in all their transparency and intensiveness come in these 80s movie posters as reverberations of night (the most scary time of the day), darkness, and ghosts. Not horrific enough for you? Well, some of them have blood in them, so there you have it.
Hope I’ve managed to remind you of some long-forgotten 1980 movies, reveal the iconic movie posters you haven’t seen for some reason and, possibly, enriched your ‘must watch’ movie list.
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15 best movie posters of the 1980s.
'80s movie posters created a collection of splendid and enduring images from some of our favorite flicks. Here are the best of the best.
There was a time when movie posters were considered true works of art that not only generated interest for the film but also crafted stunning imagery. As the film industry has shifted and evolved (or devolved), the importance of the film poster has fallen to the wayside, giving way to Photoshopped monstrosities. Instead of getting well thought-out, beautifully designed film posters, the industry norm is now heavily air-brushed headshots that are passed off as one-sheets.
The 1980s not only gave us unforgettable films, but moviegoers and cinephiles were also exposed to some of the most iconic and eye-catching movie posters of all-time. The decade of decadence that gave us Reaganomics, Schwarzenegger action films, and timeless blockbusters also set the bar in what we should expect when it came to movie posters. These wonderfully creative posters were thought-provoking, introduced us to fantastical worlds, new Hollywood stars and moments in time that perfectly encapsulated the era and the film’s tone.
Even though Hollywood may be happy with the current floating heads craze, we’ve gone through the vast collection of '80s posters and picked out the most powerful and classic pieces that defined the decade. Sticking with the original theatrical one-sheets, here are the 15 Best Movie Posters of the 1980s .
15. BEVERLY HILLS COP
If 48 Hrs . served as Eddie Murphy’s introduction to Hollywood, then the 1984 action-comedy Beverly Hills Cop firmly cemented his place as a box-office leading man, launching him into international stardom. Considered to be one of the best action-comedies ever, it was the third highest grossing film of 1984, just behind Ghostbusters and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom . What makes the poster so memorable is that while the layout design is simplistic, the composition perfectly establishes the fish out of water story.
Eddie is front and center in the poster playing the role of Axel Foley, a street smart Detroit detective investigating a case in Beverly Hills. While the poster’s tag line sells you the storyline, the juxtaposition of Murphy in raggedy clothes, sitting on the hood of a beautiful red Mercedes Benz, works well, giving Eddie a renegade look. The poster is so well designed that if you remove Eddie and the copy, the image could easily be a car ad for Mercedes Benz selling the brand and lifestyle with Beverly Hills in the background.
Sylvester Stallone was originally attached to the role, and had that been the case, the sleek design would have been completely changed to fit Sly’s action persona.
14. LETHAL WEAPON
If Beverly Hills Cop is (arguably) the funniest cop movie ever, then Lethal Weapon is the best buddy cop film of all-time. Directed by Richard Donner off a Shane Black script, the pairing of Mel Gibson and Danny Glover worked so well that it established the model by which all other buddy action movies would follow.
Tag lines aren’t used as much by studios nowadays, but back in the 80s, virtually all movie posters had them, including 1987’s Lethal Weapon, which read: “ Two cops. Glover carries a weapon…Gibson is one. He’s the only L.A. cop registered as a LETHAL WEAPON. ” With the photo by Aaron Rapoport and art direction & design by Jeffrey Bacon and David Rene, the poster banked on its leading men, as Gibson and Glover faces took up most of the image. Using three key colors of black, white and red, the poster instantly pulled you in, selling the pair as cops.
Some could argue that the poster served as a precursor for the head posters of today, but this image sold the intensity and hard-edge of the story. Looking at the photo alone, people instantly recognize the film and characters, which were career defining for both Gibson and Glover and a game-changer for the action genre.
The unnecessary 2014 remake only reminded us all of how much we loved the innovative and fun 1987 original, Robocop . In the 1980s, science fiction movies would merge man and machine with stories taking on the hyper-violent tone and look of the decade. Perhaps no other film personified this bleak look into our lawless future than Robocop . This sci-fi action classic takes us to the near future, telling the story of police officer Alex Murphy, who after being critically shot and given an artificial body, is transformed into the crime-fighting android, Robocop.
The execution of this fan favorite poster is also a good pairing of technology and human skill. At first glance, the poster looks like a photograph, but upon closer inspection you can see it’s an illustration. Based on the photo by Deana Newcomb, with art direction and design by Brian D. Fox and Robert Biro, illustrator Mike Byron was able to create a highly detailed drawing of the title character. The photo/drawing combination is oozing '80s style through the use of colors and lighting, while still capturing Robocop’s strength and highlighting his cool design!
This Robocop image has been highly influential with new designers, having been used in many underground film posters, including the main image for Gallery 1988’s Crazy4Cult 2012 NYC show .
12. A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET
The horror industry -- more than any other genre -- is highly dependent on the marketing campaign and one-sheets. Regardless if a movie’s good or not, audiences will often watch it just solely based on the poster/key art. While most horror posters today lack creativity, recycling elements and color palates from past fright flicks, that certainly wasn’t the case back in 1984 with A Nightmare on Elm Street .
Wes Craven was blessed to have an extremely talented artist by the name of Matthew Joseph Peak do illustrations for the low-budget horror film. While Nightmare was his first film poster, Matthew wasn’t a stranger to the art-form. as his father was legendary movie poster designer, Bob Peak ( Star Trek, Superman, Apocalypse Now ).
Going off the script and some movie stills, Matthew created one of the most terrifying and iconic posters in all of horror. His illustration has the young heroine Nancy Thompson lying in bed in utter terror as the visage of Freddy Krueger and his bladed glove hover over her. Rich in color and emotion, Peak captured everything about the movie in just one image. The film’s massive success sparked a franchise, leading Craven and New Line Cinema to wisely bring back Matthew to create the posters of the four sequels. The collection of all five posters is likely the strongest collection of movie art in the horror genre.
11. DO THE RIGHT THING
Regarded as Spike Lee’s greatest cinematic offering, Do The Right Thing was, and still is, a controversial film that examines America’s social and economic issues, set in the backdrop of a Brooklyn neighborhood. Looking at the film’s poster, however, you wouldn’t necessarily pick up on the anger and raw emotion found in the film. The black asphalt is replaced by a vibrant blue color, giving the film a lighter playground feel, one highlighted by the young girl drawing on the floor with chalk.
While the poster seems benign, its themes and political messages are present but subdued. The overhead shot taken by Tony Barboza has characters Sal and Mookie -- played by Danny Aiello and Spike Lee, respectively -- standing on opposite sides, signifying their place and views in the world. The poster’s creative direction was done by David Sameth, while Art Simms and Tom Martin were in charge of the art direction and design. The inclusion of the child’s drawing of a cop firing a gun also foreshadows the tension with law enforcement found in the film.
With the current “Black Lives Matter” movement and police issues across the country, sadly, the movie and poster are just as powerful and relevant today.
Iconic, simple, and imposing are the three best words to describe the poster for 1983’s Scarface . With nothing but Al Pacino as Tony Montana in the monochrome image, this poster more than any other spurred a merchandising blitz of t-shirts, baseball caps, toys, and parody posters. More importantly than that, the character and poster has been embraced by pop culture, specifically in the hip hop world. If you’ve caught past episodes of MTV’s Cribs , you've seen artists like Snoop Dogg and 50 Cent proudly proclaim their love for the OG gangsta. Tony Montana rise from nothing to a position of power is relatable one, to be sure.
Breaking down the poster, Pacino and the film’s title boldly standout in red at the top, selling the acclaimed actor. Next to his role of Michael Corleone in The Godfather films, Tony Montana is the character most movie fans associate with him. The dissecting planes split the various sides of the character, the good v. bad, and black v. white of his world. The copy for the design included a synopsis, which was a trademark with many '80s posters. The tag line of “ He loved the American Dream. With a vengeance. ” is as direct and sinister as the man himself.
9. THE GOONIES
Legendary artist Drew Struzan is the man responsible for sparking the imaginations of countless kids from the '80s with his unforgettable movie poster illustrations. From the Stars Wars films to Indiana Jones and Back to the Future , the man helped shape the special bond moviegoers would have with these fantastical films. His relationship with Steven Spielberg led to him coming onboard the 1985 children’s adventure, The Goonies . Directed by Richard Donner, the film follows a group of kids who embark on a pirate treasure hunt in order to save their homes from demolition. What started out as a cult hit has now become a full-fledged 1980s staple, one that has spawned generations of fans.
The magic Drew brings to film posters is on full display with The Goonies , as we find the young group of heroes precariously hanging on for their lives. His uncanny ability to capture the spirit of a film is what puts him on another level. The image design and composition for the poster perfectly sells the idea of adventure, with the Goonies in peril and the pirate treasure map almost appearing to be sucking them into its world. Any kid seeing this image in a theater or in a newspaper ad would instantly be sold on wanting to be one of the Goonies.
8. THE BREAKFAST CLUB
During the 1980s, director John Hughes had a knack for creating films that perfectly captured what it was like to be a teenager growing up in America. All of the angst, humor, and self-absorption oozed out of the characters and films he wrote, with The Breakfast Club being the zenith of high school and teenage movies.
With a simple layout, the poster had all 5 characters of the breakfast club on display, serving as a microcosm of high school life with the brain, the beauty, the jock, the rebel, and the recluse. While the copy on top tells the story of the five characters, the image itself consisting of the actors -- that would come to be known as the “Brat Pack” -- became synonymous with the decade. Photographed by the infamous Annie Leibovitz, the poster became influential in pop culture and the marketing field, becoming one of the most parodied and spoofed images in all of cinema. Many films, TV shows and publications did their version of what’s become known as “The Breakfast Club pose”, with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 poster being the most notable one.
7. THE TERMINATOR
This film poster did everything right in selling both Arnold Schwarzenegger and the story of an unstoppable killing machine to the public. The 1984 sci-fi action classic was the calling card for both Schwarzenegger and director James Cameron, who would go on to build a strong partnership in this series and other films.
As we saw with Robocop , science fiction films in the '80s were dark and hard R’s with graphic violence and nudity. The Terminator continued the trend with a take on how machines will bring about the destruction of mankind after turning on their creators. With its bleak look at the future and packed with edge of your seat action, Schwarzenegger became an emotionless killing machine that many consider one of the most feared movie villains ever.
With art direction by George Costello, having Schwarzenegger’s name in big red letters at the top was a big gamble at the time, considering Arnold hadn’t yet become the mega action hero we all know. Sporting a black leather jacket, a cool pair of shades, and a pretty large gun, Arnold was imposing and mysterious, but he and his unique muscular look are what really sell the poster. From the hair to the cybernetic sunglasses and scowl, Schwarzenegger made you believe that underneath his skin was the grim reaper robot of the T-800.
6. FULL METAL JACKET
Film auteur Stanley Kubrick was notorious for his meticulous attention to detail in all of his productions. That also extended to his movie posters, which were the front lines of what he wanted to share with audiences. Almost all of Stanley’s movie posters turned out to be iconic works of art, namely 1987’s Full Metal Jacket . Turning to British illustrator Philip Castle, who had worked with Stanley on A Clockwork Orange , it was up to Castle to come up with a poster that conveyed Kubrick’s brutal story about the Vietnam War.
Stressing the significance of the poster working on a black and white plane, Kubrick made a couple of notes and sketches with the helmet prominently on display. Using that as a starting point, Castle’s artwork of the camouflage helmet worked beautifully with “ Born to Kill ” written on it, juxtaposed with the peace badge. That simple image of the helmet, along with the tag line of “ In Vietnam, the wind doesn’t blow, it sucks ”, helped established the ferocity of war and a soldier’s fighting spirit. Many artists since have parodied the posters design, using it to incorporate other famous helmets of superheroes, villains and Star Wars characters. Speaking of...
5. STAR WARS: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK
The Star Wars universe has an impressive collection of one-sheets, considering all the sequels, prequels, special editions and rereleases the franchise has had. At the top of that list, however, has to be the poster for the 1980 The Empire Strikes Back . While Tom Jung and Tom William Chantrell created iconic posters for 1977’s Star Wars , George Lucas and 20 th Century Fox tapped renowned artist Roger Kastel to create the one-sheet for the much anticipated sequel to the original space opera blockbuster.
Prior to taking on the challenge, Kastel was famous for having illustrated the iconic poster for Steven Spielberg’s Jaws . This one was dubbed the Gone with the Wind - style poster, with Han's embracing and near-kissing Princess Leia reminiscent of the pose between Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara. The poster places our heroes in a cold, frosty setting with Darth Vader looming over them. The rich visuals and blending of colors gives the icy Hoth environment a watercolor texture, that really makes the characters standout.
Even though it’s the American style-A poster, it had a short theatrical life, as it was eventually replaced because the image foolishly omitted Lando Calrissian himself, Billy Dee Williams . Tom Jung returned to create the replacement B-version.
4. BLADE RUNNER
John Alvin, the man who designed and illustrated the movie poster for 1982’s Blade Runner , is a true poster artist, renowned for his work in fantasy, horror and sci-fi. While many studios at the time had entire publicity and art departments working on one-sheet campaigns, Alvin was a one-man shop that did it all. With his traditional style, he designed more than 120 film posters, including E.T ., Batman Returns , Beauty and the Beast, and Gremlins .
With Blade Runner , Alvin was tasked to bring a modern film noir thriller to life. Based on Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? , director Ridley Scott created one of the most influential (and arguably greatest) pieces of science fiction to ever grace the silver screen. Hand-painting the illustration, Alvin created a feast for the eyes as he split the poster into two distinct styles. The top half is very much inspired by pulp dime novels, with gun-for-hire Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) next to his femme fatale Rachel (Sean Young). The lower portion of the image is all about the cyberpunk style, flying cars, and stunning architectural cityscape found in the dystopian future of Los Angeles.
3. BACK TO THE FUTURE
If Blade Runner is dark, sophisticated science fiction, then Back to the Future is the fun, mom-and-pop-accessible entry to geekdom. Universal Studios and producer Steven Spielberg went back to a trusted friend in Drew Struzan to create the film poster for the 1985 classic. Struzan, known for his photorealistic style, was able to capture Michael J. Fox’s frantic look as Marty McFly trying to figure out his time travel quandary .
When fans today recall this amazing movie, the poster’s imagery instantly comes to mind, causing people to reenact Marty’s pose next to the car. In pitching the image concept to the studio, Struzan offered up various comps, with the initial one having Marty McFly coming out of a pocket watch with his parent’s faces on the front. The only elements that survived into the final poster was Marty and him lifting up his sunglasses. Additionally, the typeface used for the logo is just as famous as anything connected with the film, as it more than helped build the franchise brand.
The film’s mega success and the poster’s popularity brought Drew back to create the posters for the two sequels. Using the same concept and layout, those posters would have Marty stepping out of the DeLorean, with a new character joining him each time.
2. RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK
Treasure hunter and archaeologist Indiana Jones was first introduced to the world in 1981’s Raiders of the Lost Ark . The dream pairing of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg brought to life one of the greatest movie characters of all-time, as moviegoers embarked on Indy’s larger than life adventures all across the world. But prior to being whisked away into this fantastical story, people became aware of Indiana and the movie courtesy of artist Richard Amsel’s timeless and swashbuckling posters.
In selling Raiders of the Lost Ark , Amsel utilized the tone and style of matinee serials of the 1940s and 1950s, as well as the pulp magazines and comics that inspired Indiana’s creation. Having risen to prominence in the 1970s with poster for films like The Sting , Chinatown and The Muppet Movie , Amsel certainly had a trademark style perfectly suited for “event’ films such as Raiders . He ended up creating two key posters for the film. The first (used for the initial campaign) features a serious Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones with his trusty whip slung over his shoulder. The second poster (used for the larger rerelease) was more fun and grand, playing up the pulp feel of the movie, with Indiana about to snap his whip surrounded by the ark and mysterious characters.
1. E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL
We’ve already gone over the prolific career of John Alvin with his work on Blade Runner , but the most iconic movie poster he’s ever created was his work for 1982’s E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial . The famous poster shows the cute alien’s finger touching the finger of his human friend, Elliott. The image is an obvious reference to Michelangelo’s fresco painting “The Creation of Adam”, which director Steven Spielberg himself had suggested using. Adding a personal touch to the piece, Alvin used his daughter Farah’s hand to illustrate the child’s hand in the poster.
For a sci-fi blockbuster of this size, Alvin was able to infuse the illustration with heart and childhood wonder that instantaneously grabbed the interest of audiences of all ages. Along with Alvin’s masterful work, the other key image people connect with the film is that of Elliot and E.T. flying in front of a full moon on a BMX bike . That image was also made into a poster by Drew Struzan but it was never used. As much as Spielberg loved the shot, he didn’t want to reveal it in a poster, preferring audiences experience that enduring scene in theaters. Of course, E.T. and Elliott on the bike ended up being used as the logo for Spielberg’s company, Amblin Entertainment, so it didn't exactly go to waste.
What's your favorite movie poster from the '80s? Let us know in the comments.
10 Most Iconic Movie Posters Of The 1980s, Ranked
Like the films they were based on, movie posters in that decade were born from the brains of highly creative and imaginative people.
Movie posters are something we take for granted in our current age. Digital photography and technology have come a long way, making it easier than ever for designers to come up with something fast, and without much work. Artwork designs in the 1980s however, took a lot of time, patience, and effort. The results were extraordinary.
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Like the films they were based on, movie posters in that decade were born from the brains of highly creative and imaginative people. These are ten of the most iconic of the 1980s, ranked by their pop culture impact, as well as their creativity. Each one is a fitting tribute to an unparalleled decade.
10 Purple Rain Wasn't Just A Movie, But A Phenomenon
Prince decided to jump from music into acting during the 1980s with the classic film Purple Rain, and it took both worlds by storm. He brought his signature talent for music-making to the big screen and melded two worlds together in a way that only figures like Elvis Presley had succeeded in doing.
The result was a pop culture phenomenon that reshaped the music scene overnight. Purple Rain became a cult classic, and its signature title tune became one of the most iconic Prince songs ever created, while the album sold like gangbusters. It's a testament to the impact Prince had on the music world.
9 Airplane Made Crazy So Much Fun
David and Jerry Zucker kicked the 1980s off with the madcap Airplane!, a movie that made no sense, but had audiences rolling with laughter in the aisles. So ridiculous was the premise that it threw conventional wisdom out the door in favor of goofy jokes and set pieces. Not once did it take itself seriously, thank goodness.
The film is notable for bringing together an eclectic cast of otherwise fine actors to make total fools of themselves, just for the fun of it. It worked, and the Zucker brothers would go on to court success with similar films through the '80s and '90s. The poster design sums up the tone of the film better than any caption could ever hope for.
8 Gremlins Mixed Horror With Humor To Create A Timeless Christmas Flick
Creativity was at an all-time high during the 1980s, and nothing was off the table. That's how Gremlins came to be; a tale about a strange creature known as a Mogwai that just so happened to sport some unfortunate physiology. The result was a dark comedy of epic proportions as the small town of Kingston Falls was overrun by creatures straight out of a nightmare.
The film was notorious for its graphic violence and gore, which later led to the creation of the PG-13 rating. Still, for all its bleakness, Gremlins is still a hilarious, yet twisted Christmas film with a lot of laughs. This iconic poster design is a hint of what's to come, and it was enough to spark audience intrigue leading up to its release.
7 A Nightmare On Elm Street Introduced A New Brand Of Horror For 80s' Audiences
The 1980s was the decade of teen horror, and A Nightmare On Elm Street led the charge. The brainchild of director Wes Craven, this franchise started out on a high note by introducing a killer character that would go on to become the face of horror movies until this very day.
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The poster is every bit as ominous and frightening as it needs to be, with Freddy's bladed glove hovering over the head of a female victim laying in her bed. The look of sheer terror in her eyes, mixed with the malevolence of a faceless Krueger is the perfect mix of symbolism for a poster.
6 E.T. Is One Of The Most Endearing Movies About Friendship Ever Made
Steven Spielberg was on a hot streak in the 1980s, and this incredible poster for E.T. was proof that he had a lot to deliver in terms of creativity. It's a simple poster that reveals just enough to tantalize audiences without giving away too much of the alien visitor premise , or the creature in question.
E.T. would go on to become one of Spielberg's signature classics, thanks to its blend of heartwarming drama, nail-biting tension and hilarious laughs. Few films can match the wonder, the spectacle and the imagination of E.T., though they should try.
5 Blade Runner Was A Cult Classic Way Ahead Of Its Time
Ridley Scott had already made a name for himself with a string of excellent works that culminated with 1979's sci-fi horror classic Alien. With his pedigree as a director firmly established, Scott decided to tackle another ambitious project that only his keen eye could possibly develop to full fruition -- Blade Runner.
Audiences weren't prepared for what they saw, and it would take a few more years before Blade Runner became accepted as an influential phenomenon in sci-fi filmmaking. This poster captures only a snippet of the grandiosity and sheer weight of the movie's astonishing future-noir visuals, and it's one of the best of the 1980s.
4 Escape From New York Was Bleak, Nihilistic, & Fun To Watch
John Carpenter introduced audiences to the character of Snake Plissken in this classic action thriller that predicted New York becoming a lawless wasteland prison. It's a mixture of bleak future sci-fi, mixed with traditional 1980s action stereotypes that defined the decade.
The poster design is incredible, summing up the film's premise without giving too much away. The prominent use of the decapitated Statue of Liberty is the single-best representation of the American icon since Planet of the Apes, and it works perfectly here.
3 Indiana Jones Was A New Kind Of Hero For An Entirely New Generation
Raiders of the Lost Ark made history cool again, and it did so by putting a University professor at the forefront of all the action. Hot off Star Wars, actor Harrison Ford was given another iconic role as the swashbuckling Doctor Henry Jones, a guy who spends his off-hours raiding ancient tombs for secret artifacts, whilst dodging deadly traps.
In this first film, he runs afoul of the Third Reich which is in search of the famed Ark of the Covenant. Though it takes extreme liberties when it comes to historical accuracy, that's not the point. Raiders of the Lost Ark is all about fun and adventure, and this poster was designed to attract audiences by putting Indiana Jones at the forefront.
2 Back To The Future Helped Define An Entire Decade
During the 1980s, nobody was cooler than Michael J. Fox, who played the fun and relatable Marty McFly in Back to the Future. This was a movie that took the concept of time travel into wild new territory and solidified the DeLorean as the defacto cool car of the 1980s, next to the Lamborghini Countach.
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This poster is about as perfect a representation of the film as possible, and it helped draw huge crowds to the premiere. The clever use of scorching tire tracks, mixed with McFly glancing at his watch were elements that summed up the film, without giving away too much of the plot. It still has a place in the rec room of every movie buff, even today.
1 The Empire Strikes Back Turned Star Wars Into A Sci-Fi Linchpin
Yes, the original Star Wars did spark a worldwide phenomenon, but The Empire Strikes Back is what made it stick for the long haul. Bigger, better and more notorious than its predecessor, this second film swapped the swashbuckling adventure motifs of the original film, in favor of a darker and more mature storyline.
All this, without sacrificing a bit of fun. The Empire Strikes Back is perfect, from top to bottom. Audiences rave about it to this day, and it's widely regarded as the best Star Wars film ever made . The incredibly detailed and amazing poster design was a perfect fit for the film and one that still stands the test of time today.
NEXT: 10 Marvel Movie Clichés That Need To Go
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4 classic movie poster designs making a comeback
Including 80s neon and Saul Bass-style spirals.
Movie posters have come a long way over the years, with classic movie poster designs providing some of the most recognisable imagery of our popular culture. Think ET against the moon, Mrs. Robinson’s leg, Audrey Hepburn’s cigarette-slim black dress, Jaws spearing up through the water, an Alien egg glowing MacGuffin green.
- The top 25 movie posters of all time
Today, movie poster designs are more computer-enabled. The modern movie poster’s imagery is frequently the focus rather than the text, images are photographic more often than illustrated, and digital tools mean designers’ hands are untied from the restrictions of just the drawing board.
But some designers are looking back to styles popularised by classic film poster designs, and drawing from masters such as Saul Bass and Drew Struzan. Some are going even further back to the earliest movie poster looks, reinvigorating throwback styles by adding fresh elements.
Here are four classic design trends we’ve noticed are making a cool comeback in big screen posters.
01. Glossy composites
Drew Struzan's glossy composite style has returned. Even if you don't recognise the name, you'll have seen his work: Struzan was a hugely popular choice for film artwork in the 1980s. He designed over 150 movie posters, including all of the films in the Indiana Jones, Back to the Future, and Star Wars film series.
Struzan achieved his signature look by using a heavily gessoed illustration board, layering it over with airbrushed acrylic paint, touching up the details with coloured pencils on high- and low-lights, and then re-layering with the airbrush. (He used the gesso base layer to accommodate changes to the poster requested by the studio or client.)
It's easy to see why these glossy character composites have maintained their popularity. On its surface, it's a relatively easy strategy for movie poster designs: just make sure you have direct lines emanating from a centre point, and sock in as many important characters as you can around them.
Not much engagement with theme is needed when you can just print the well-known face of Harrison Ford front-and-centre.
This might be why we’re seeing this mode used again lately, especially in star-studded movies whose main selling point is explosions plus cast list. Struzan's style seems to appear in every superhero movie, and is also still used within the Star Wars franchise .
Although when done without care, the composite look can appear lazy and confusing, there are those reviving it with grace. In other star-studded films, we’re seeing the character composite come back strong.
The poster for Inherent Vice mirrors the gessoed gauzy nature of Struzan , but adds a rainbow gradient as a nod to the psychedelic world that the film's characters inhabit. Suicide Squad also features a fun spin on the genre: the poster takes the character-composite-meets-explosion theme, and camps it up (if only the movie had been as inventive).
The poster for recent hit Baby Driver (opens in new tab) combines cast illustrations with a composite layout to create a fresh look. Finally, Thor: Ragnarok showed the other superheroes how posters should be done with its acid-toned, symmetrical design (opens in new tab) .
02. 80s pop neon
The wheel of design keeps on turning, and bringing back styles that we thought were long buried. Lately, the over-the-top colours and bright neon lights of the 80s are making a resurgence. It seem a lot of filmmakers must have been trendy preteens 30 years ago.
The movies of writer/director Nicolas Winding Refn are at the forefront of this trend, with movie posters that whole-heartedly embrace the 80s aesthetic. His brand is insistently rooted in the style.
He’s not the only one. Many recent movie poster designs have called back to the heyday of legwarmers and neon.
2016 techno-thriller Nerve was a blinding, flashing cacophony of neon, and the artwork for Stranger Things (not a movie, we know) is perhaps the ideal throwback, pitch perfect in its nostalgic tone, with just enough newness to bring the genre into the modern day.
Saul Bass is a massive name in movie graphic design. Known for his blocky colours and silhouetted figures, he was a master of communicating theme through stark imagery.
One of his most iconic posters is for Hitchcock’s classic, Vertigo, wherein Jimmy Stewart begins to spin out of control, literally and figuratively.
This useful visual mechanism has been reemerging in recent years to represent central figures losing themselves. The style is characterised by that central figure struggling, running or seeking, surrounded by spinning or obscuring lines and blockages.
Designers everywhere are taking Bass’s trippy motif and adapting it to fit new genres. The poster for Maze Runner sequel The Scorch Trials features a literal maze trapping the main character, while Allegiant shows off a graphic, monochrome take.
Tom Hanks sits atop the spiral as his silhouette runs for its life in the poster for Bridge or Spies, and the poster for Saw VI places the film's characters around the edge of a whirlpool-like spiral.
It’s a strong visual theme, and can be tweaked and adjusted to a film’s content with just a little creativity. No wonder we’re seeing designers pick the style back up and apply it with all sorts of fun twists and film-specific touches.
04. Big, blocky text
In classic movie posters, the name of the film typically took centre stage, often in the form of a blocky sans-serif title.
But in more modern times we saw a shift in approach, where designers started putting greater focus on the imagery, playing down, obscuring or even hiding the film name altogether.
One of the reasons for this might be that with the advent of digital, designers can trust that the title will probably be included as a caption or linked to on a web page.
However, there's a new trend for harkening back to classic styles and putting the movie name front-and-centre again – more often than not in big, thick, sans-serif red text.
The poster for Always Chasing love looks like it came directly form the 1940s, for example, with illustration surrounding the chunky title. Detroit freshens things up by running the blocky title vertically down the design, and the poster for 2017 comedy Wilson is wilfully retro.
Coming back to big text-centric designs is interesting, since it’s more of a choice than a requirement, and designers are using these heavy, often red, slab texts very straightforwardly, as in the early movie announcement posters.
Focusing on text is an easy trend to follow, and a go-to when you don’t want to give too much of the film's plot away, or engage with the theme beyond announcing its existence.
- Have we entered the era of bad graphic design?
- 7 key typographic trends in Marvel movie logos
- How iconic fantasy film posters were made
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7 80s Horror Movie Posters That Stand The Test of Time
The 80s gave us many good things, awesome horror movie posters being one of them.
What's the obsession with the 80s? is the question on most people's lips as TV shows like Stranger Things dominate Netflix, and movies like IT rake in hundreds of millions at the box office . It really is the never-ending decade, and for good reason, might we add. The 80s gave us many good things: music, fashion, and movies to name a few. And of the latter, the horror movies of that time particularly stand out.
Movies like The Evil Dead , Poltergeist , and A Nightmare on Elm Street continue to be remade and talked about today simply because they're awesome. But in addition to that, they have truly awesome posters, too; posters that any horror fan would recognize, and some would have hung in their bedroom. Here we look at those posters, and others of their kind, for fun-filled, retrotastic viewing .
RELATED: 8 Forgotten Horror Games That Have Terrifying Cover Art
The Evil Dead (1981)
The Evil Dead is a cult-classic horror movie with a classic poster to match. Directed by Sam Raimi, it stars Bruce Campbell, Ellen Sandweiss, Richard DeManincor, Betsy Baker, and Theresa Tilly as five friends who travel to a remote cabin in the woods where they find The Book of the Dead. Messing around with the ancient artifact, they unwittingly unleash a demonic entity and spend the rest of their trip fighting for survival.
The Evil Dead is a video nasty: one of 72 horror movies criticised for their violent content, and the US poster for The Evil Dead does a good job of preparing viewers for just how nasty it is. In it, a woman cries for help as a zombified hand shoots up from the earth and throttles her. And if that wasn't gripping enough (excuse the pun), the poster even includes an endorsement from the king of horror, Stephen King .
Tobe Hooper's Poltergeist is a horror movie with a real-life horror story of its own. Pictured in the poster is Heather O'Rourke, one of the victims of the alleged Poltergeist curse who plays Carol Anne Freeling in the movie. Carol Anne is the youngest Freeling, targeted by the ghosts which haunt her family's new dream home. Conversing with the spirits through the TV, Carol Anne eventually goes missing, and a frantic search ensues.
Nothing says eerie quite like the Poltergeist movie poster. Its chilling composition, paired with the ominous, immortal words , "They're here," is enough to scare the crap out of viewers before they've even seen the movie. And for added measure, the poster also employs not one but two classic horror tropes: evil children and haunted technology.
The Mutilator (1984)
Buddy Cooper's The Mutilator is as violent and cheesy as its poster suggests. Originally titled Fall Break , it follows a group of college students who travel to a beachfront property for a fun-filled vacation and are hunted down by a murderous madman. But this madman isn't any old lunatic; he's student Ed's (Matt Mitler) father (Jack Chatham), avenging the death of his late wife.
The Mutilator might've been a bit of a flop, but its poster is undeniably a work of art. It's super retro, super 80s , and laughably corny. Whoever coined the tagline, "By sword, By Pick, By axe, Bye bye" is a comedy genius, and this wit is missing in the new Mutilator poster. That's right, almost 40 years later, the slasher is getting a sequel. Buddy Cooper returns to direct Mutilator 2 , which finished filming this year.
A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)
Wes Craven's cult classic A Nightmare on Elm Street has an iconic 80s poster that many horror fans will recognize. In it, final girl Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp) clutches her bedsheet as Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) flashes his bladed glove at her. A Nightmare on Elm Street is the inaugural movie in the Elm Street franchise and introduces Krueger as the disfigured killer who preys on a group of Midwestern teens in their sleep.
Artist Matthew Joseph Peak was fresh out of art school when he was approached to design the original A Nightmare on Elm Street poster. It was hand-painted, and Peak told Bloody Disgusting he had no direction from anyone. He had an idea, rolled with it, and they liked it so much that they asked him to create the posters for the next four sequels. All of these posters would be integral to the franchise's success.
Fright Night (1985)
Fright Night is an awesome movie with an awesome poster. Directed by Tom Holland, it follows a teenager named Charley Brewster (William Ragsdale) who is convinced his new neighbor Jerry Dandrige (Chris Sarandon) is a vampire. Of course, nobody believes him, and with his life and relationship on the line, Charley enlists ex-TV vampire hunter Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall) to help solve his unique crisis.
The Fright Night poster is fun and spooky, featuring the Dandrige residence front and center. A man stands at the window, silently watching, whilst a ghoulish cloud looms overhead. Fangs protrude from the title, adding to the frightening atmosphere , and Charley Brewster is nowhere to be seen — probably making a garlic necklace as we speak.
Dario Argento movies have cool posters, clearly. His 1977 hit Suspiria had a cool poster, and so does his 1985 release Phenomena, which was a departure from the former, more artful movie, but a success nonetheless. Phenomena stars Jennifer Connelly as an American girl at a Swiss boarding school who discovers an ability to speak to insects. She then uses this ability to solve a string of murders.
There are several eye-catching posters for Phenomena , but the one above might be the best. It's gorgeous and epic, with just enough details to intrigue viewers without giving away any spoilers. Plus, its futuristic artwork resembles other 80s releases like E.T. and Back to the Future , which are both iconic movies in their own right.
April Fool's Day (1986)
April Fool's Day is a polarising slasher, but nobody can deny its poster is brilliant. Directed by Fred Walton, it has a lot in common with the more recent Bodies Bodies Bodies : a wealthy student, Muffy St. John (Deborah Foreman), invites her group of friends to her remote mansion for a weekend of partying and practical jokes to celebrate their final year of school; soon enough, however, lies are unveiled, and a brutal killer threatens the fun.
The poster for April Fool's Day shows Muffy toasting her friends whilst holding a knife behind her back (pretty on the nose for a movie about backstabbing). The tagline is equally punny, reading, "Guess who's going to be the life of the party," and underneath the title, "A cut above the rest." But the best bit about the artwork is how sinister it is : how little the guests know and how much more we want to know.
MORE: 80s Horror Movies That Remain Timeless
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The 1980s not only gave us unforgettable films, but moviegoers and cinephiles were also exposed to some of the most iconic and eye-catching movie posters of all-time. The decade of decadence that gave us Reaganomics, Schwarzenegger action films, and timeless blockbusters also set the bar in what we should expect when it came to movie posters.
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Here are four classic design trends we've noticed are making a cool comeback in big screen posters. 01. Glossy composites. Drew Struzan's composite style dominated 80s movie posters. Drew Struzan's glossy composite style has returned. Even if you don't recognise the name, you'll have seen his work: Struzan was a hugely popular choice for film ...
Wes Craven's cult classic A Nightmare on Elm Street has an iconic 80s poster that many horror fans will recognize. In it, final girl Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp) clutches her bedsheet as...