3x3: your favorite movie posters

The greatest movie poster of all time is, of course, the poster for Jaws. But beyond that, what are your favorite movie posters? We start the discussion at the 44-minute mark of our Django Unchained podcast. Here are our picks:

Dingus
#3

#2

#1

Kellywand
#3

#2

#1

Tom
#3

#2

#1

Okay, your turn. What are your favorite movie posters? DON’T JUST POST IMAGES. I can pretty much guarantee we’ve seen what you’re going to post. Be sure to also tell us what make them your favorite!

Our listeners submitted the following picks:

Paul Weimer
#3

Yeah, I know you are rolling your eyes, but this poster shows the two male leads, the fact that it;s a western, but Daniel Craig has some weird alien tech on his arm. The movie may not have lived up to this poster, but it did help prepare me for what we were going to get.

#2

I was brought to mind by this by it being mentioned on the last 3x3. It’s an incredibly detailed cover with lots of elements that evoke what the movie is going to be about and what its trying to be.

#1

The poster gives a visual representation for the classic scene with the biplane, and gives a sense of motion and action for the character indicative of the film’s plot.

Mike Oberly

First off, a movie I don’t really like by a director who I love: A Clockwork Orange. Even though I don’t like the movie, the poster is eerie and creepy, and lets the prospective viewer know what he’s in for.


My 2nd selection is another movie that I don’t care for called The Exorcist. Even though I don’t like this movie, the poster is iconic. I remember seeing this as a kid and wondering what it was about. The picture of a sort of conservative looking guy with a suitcase walking toward an unknown destination, along with the sinister reputation of the movie just creeped me out.


My 3rd selection is for anther creepy movie that is one of my favorites – Rosemary’s Baby. I don’t think any other horror movie has as creepy a poster as this, with the baby carriage sitting on the rock outcroppoing, and Rosemary’s face looking at the sky.

Jeff Sweet
I decided to go with three films that I managed to go into without knowing anything about them, other than having seen the poster. I found all three to be simple but striking, and managed to pique my curiosity without actually telling me what they were about.

#3

#2

#1

I dunno because this blog has ruined any possibility of narrowing it down.

#3.

#2.

#1.

Evil Dead 2. Just always loved this poster, I actually remember seeing it before I had ever seen either of the Evil Dead films, while looking through the posters at the Mall movie stores or Newbury Comics.

Another I feel iconic poster was The Thing

Dang, big size for the Raiders one, but since it has lots of detail from Richard Amsel’s illustration, it’s fun to explore.

I sent my picks in, but I guess the email got lost, so I’ll post them here. (PS - am I sending these to the right place? I’ve been sending things in and they haven’t been making it. 3x3 at quartertothree.com?)

So I also went for The Thing and Rosemary’s baby, both of which I love. I particularly love how the baby carriage is super imposed to appear inside Mia Farrow’s head … definitely not an accident there.

Since those have been picked, I’ll go to the runners up!

  1. The Dark Knight

There was a whole series of posters they released for The Dark Knight, but this one is my favourite. I lover the cleverness of the graphic design, plus the frosted glass, the lipstick that looks like blood. Really great.

  1. Planet Terror

Sometimes all you need is a sexy girl with a machine gun for a leg. I like this one even more than the Pulp Fiction poster, which is in a similar style.

  1. The Rocketeer

I love the Art Deco style, the great comic book helmet, and the stylized lines suggesting blasting away from earth at great speed.

Oh man, fantastic pick with The Rocketeer. I love that one.

The Star Wars & Empire picks from above are already my two favorites, but this is rather evocative. Edit: And yes, I think the way in which it is evocative & the reason why that’s appealing are both self-evident. I love the way it tells you everything you need to know about the tone.

What is that SW poster from anyways in the summary? It’s like a bad copy of the original.

Sinnick, so sorry about that. It turns out your submission and another got caught in the spam filter, probably because they included links. :( As far as I can tell, that’s never happened before and I know for sure we’ve included your picks in a couple of 3x3s over the last few months.

And while I love that Planet Terror poster, just as you suggested I would in your email, it’s just another example of how weird I am about movie posters and spoilers. I had the immense pleasure of seeing Planet Terror not realizing what was going to happen to Rose McGowan. Seeing that poster would have spoiled it for me! Yeah, I’m that weird about the whole spoiler thing.

Also, pretty much everyone in this thread suxxorz for not reading the original post:

-Tom

Apologies to Randall (a.k.a. Randroid), whose emailed submission also got caught in the spam filter. He had some great comments we would have liked to have read on the podcast. :(

Okay, two comments, Randall. First, please turn in your Blade Runner nerd card. That wasn’t Daryl Hannah as Pris in the see-through raincoat. Joanna Cassidy and her stuntwoman would be mortified to hear you say that.

Second, I love that poster for The Thing, but what’s up with the tagline? Was “Man is the warmest place to hide” only added later? “The ultimate in alien terror” just sounds so, well, I dunno, Roger Corman.

-Tom

My apologies. I read it, but did my usual great job of following directions. As to why I picked my three posters:

#3. Chinatown. Although it’s, of course, now taboo, cigarette smoke was as much a part of noir films as darkness around the edge of the frame. Faye Dunaway’s image in the smoke captures the Nicholson character perfectly.

#2. 2001. A perfect image of what space exploration in the 21st Century was going to look like from a 1960s perspective. Compare the actual International Space Station with the giant double wheel in the poster. And that Pan Am shuttle! What happened to the future?

#1. Young Frankenstein. I love the play on the classic epic movie poster, with the film’s title in giant stone letters. But most of all I love the way it captures Gene Wilder’s “It’s Alive!” expression.

I never noticed before, but in The Graduate poster, the candelabrum is throwing a shadow that looks suspiciously like a penis.

Saul Bass did a million posters, but I like his West Side Story poster best. Great use of vertical space and the fire escape to suggest New York city.

Apocalypse Now: dreamlike, shadowy faces, no tag line.

There were a lot of posters for the various releases and rereleases of the 1933 King Kong, but this one always feels like the best. Also a great use of vertical space, with the city curved round the bottom emphasizing the great height of the Empire State Building.

Whoa, so it does. That can’t have been an accident. And is anyone surprised that Tim Elhajj found it first?

-Tom

Where are our space stewardesses?

One thing I just noticed about that 2001 poster – and that’s as iconic a movie poster image as any – is how they added an exhaust trail or something to suggest a sense of speed from the Pan Am Flyer.

It’s as if the poster didn’t trust the actual movie’s sense of near stillness and quiet with its spaceship sequences.

-Tom

Pfft. Image provider wiped two of mine. Here they are again:

It illustrates (so to speak) the problems that face an illustrator for something that has inherent movement. It doesn’t quite illustrate a true scene from the movie - the shuttle arrives in the movie, not exits. The arrival is lyrical and deliberately paced rather than a high-adrenaline action sequence - it is also something that is difficult to capture in a still picture. Since the real purpose of a movie poster is to get you to go see the movie rather than necessarily accurately depict any given scene, this has the ship exiting. It doesn’t strictly capture the ambiance of the space sequences, but it does present that the space station is the start of the adventure, rather than the end point.