By guest poster Graeme Henderson of Hink Illustrated.

Movies are massive money making machines. Heavily branded, marketed and advertised, they churn out and sell unbelievable amounts of merchandise, from the usual t-shirts and posters to the more obscure lunch boxes and pants!

The following are my favourite movie posters. I don’t expect for a second that everyone will agree with some of the choices and there are probably other posters that deserve to be here instead. Feel free to suggest your choices and reasons for them!

No. 10. The Wrestler

Movie poster The Wrestler

A man on the ropes: the gritty, grainy close up shot gives a sense of the drama of being ringside during a match.

Seeing the character in the centre draws you into his journey. Is this a broken, beaten man, or someone about to fight back? The lights are on him. No other distractions around. It sets you up for what is a great film.

No. 9. Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Movie poster Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Simple and effective, all the key elements of this poster lead to the ‘bright light’ at the centre.

The road lit up by car headlights, the road lines pointing to the horizon, the explanations of close encounters: they all grab your attention and leave you curious as to what those lights could be.

No. 8. The Great Escape

Movie poster The Great Escape

I love this poster! It may not be the greatest work of art or design, but I love the way the various elements come together.

The barbed wire sitting behind the title is a nice touch and I think it would even work well on its own. Then you have the artwork itself: the searchlights pointing to the escapees while they pour out of the picture into the white space towards the viewer, giving a real sense of urgency and energy

No. 7. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Movie poster Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

This is a great poster and in my opinion one of the true classics.

The detail in the iconic portraits of Harrison Ford and Sean Connery are amazing. The father and son line up in the background with Indy on horseback, charging forwards pursued by Nazi forces captures a kind of ‘Western’ feel and reminds me of the old ‘Commando’ comic front covers.

Almost a visual overload, like a lot of posters from the 70’s and 80’s, it throws you into the adventure. The drawing style of Drew Struzan, the artist responsible for this poster and over 150 others (including the Goonies!), gave the perfect look and feel for the Indiana Jones movies, leading to Struzan being hired again for the most recent movie, The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

No. 6. Jurassic Park

Movie poster Jurassic Park

The fictitious park logo is a great piece of work: an iconic design for an iconic film.

The design was created specifically for the film; borrowing the Tyrannosaurus silhouette from the original novel’s cover to create a theme park logo fit for something more extreme than Disney World!

As far as branding goes, this was seriously cool looking, and like all good brands has sold the idea across all manner of memorabilia. Who knows, one day we may have the real thing!

No. 5. The Empire Strikes Back

Movie poster The Empire Strikes Back

When Lucas briefed his art director on the project he was insistent that it should capture the emotion of the famous ‘Gone with the Wind’ poster. With the two main characters locked in an embrace surrounded by the drama and it certainly did that, with the poses matched by Roger Kastel’s arrangement of Han Solo and Princess Leia.

Darth Vader’s head lurks menacingly in the background and the developing romance between Solo and the princess taking centre stage with all the other major characters prominently featured.

It gave you a taste of what was to come and the film more than satisfied!

No. 4. Anatomy Of A Murder

Movie poster Anatomy of a Murder

This poster shows that you don’t need to plaster on every little detail and cram it into a tight space. The design is simple yet far from boring and, unlike many posters which show the actors, focuses on the stark image from the opening title sequence created by one Mr. Saul Bass; a key member in Preminger’s team.

Bass’ title designs were an important factor when pitching the films and getting visuals for marketing drives. The designs for the film were created some time before the film even got a green light and went into production – highlighting how highly valued the design and styling of Bass’ work was as a tool for branding Preminger’s films.

No. 3. Pulp Fiction

Movie poster Pulp Fiction

This poster just oozes cool. It fits the theme of the film perfectly and although has next to nothing to do with the plot, you cant help but recall some of the films memorable quotes.

No. 2. Jaws

Movie Poster Jaws

A poster that still sends a shiver down my spine. I only need to hear the word ‘Jaws’ and the image of this giant shark charging an unknowing swimmer with the creepy music building just moments before they get ripped apart by those rows of razor teeth!

I blame the artist Roger Kastel for robbing me of years of enjoyment swimming in the sea and enjoying the surf. I would only have to be paddling or at most waist deep and then my imagination would run wild! ‘Der dah…Der… dah…’: the music would kick in, followed by the image of the Great White Shark on the poster… Thank you very much Mr Kastel!

No. 1. The Phantom Menace

Movie Poster The Phantom Menace

This poster served as a ‘teaser’ and is, in my opinion, as close to perfect as a teaser poster could be. I don’t even think it needed the ‘StarWars’ logo on it at all. Darth Vader’s Shadow standing ominously behind the young Anakin says it all.

This is how it all began in that galaxy far, far away. Simple and clean, plenty of space and the wit of the image screams out for attention. It’s just a shame that ‘Jar Jar Binks’ came along with it!

Hink Illustrated is owned and run by Graeme Henderson. You can bookmark his site at, like his page on Facebook here or follow his prolific twitter feed here!

Ps. He likes coffee. A lot.

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