Short Nerd Chief

100 Greatest Movie Posters of All Time

Posted by Fred on June 19, 2008

Via Kottke, one site’s opinion of the 100 greatest movie posters of all time (The Sin of Nora Moran, an obscure 1933 film featuring Zita Johann, better known for her role in the Boris Karloff version of The Mummy, is #1).  These sorts of posts/articles, of course, exist primarily to stir up controversy, but I’d have to agree with Jason that the entries on the poster list are questionable.

Here’s what TC Candler says the criteria are:

A great movie poster is a hard thing to find. Most posters are cut and paste jobs that don’t sell the movie very well at all. A great poster should intrigue, shock, inspire & excite. It should be aesthetically beautiful or original. Above all, it should be so memorable that a single glance will be instantly recognizable.

But is it the movie that makes the image memorable, or the image itself? Most of the iconic movie posters are for movies that are themselves memorable (Alien, Full Metal Jacket, Jaws) – would the images be iconic had the films been forgettable?  Although Hollywood likes to think it is a world unto itself, in the end a movie poster is an advertising vehicle, so the “best” movie poster may instead be the one that best accomplishes its mission.  Thus the teaser poster, become more important of late in service of the summer blockbuster, intended to build the buzz that feeds the blockbuster beast.  Based on that criterion, no single posters have been better at building buzz than these:

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