10 Great Film Posters from Critic James King

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Launch Slideshow

Film critic and presenter James King has just published his latest book Fast Times and Excellent Adventures, which looks at the history of the ‘80s teen movie. We asked him to select his favourites from the upcoming Original Film Posters Online sale and to tell us what makes a film poster great. Click ahead to see his choices.

Original Film Posters Online
13-22 March | Online

10 Great Film Posters from Critic James King

  • The Ladykillers (1955), British.
    Estimate £5,000–8,000.
    Ghoulish yet comical, bright yet macabre, this is the magic of Ealing comedies in a nutshell - somehow both cosy and unconventional at the same time. There’s been nothing like them since.

    Original Film Posters Online
    13-22 March | Online
  • Back to the Future (1985), US.
    Estimate £500–800.
    Punchy logo, punchy tagline and a picture that pretty much tells you the whole story in a single image. How could you not want to watch this movie? Struzan’s dynamic eighties work is much imitated, but never equalled.

    Original Film Posters Online
    13-22 March | Online
  • Barbarella (1968), British.
    Estimate £1,000–1,500.
    Where 60s counterculture meets sci-fi ‘B’movie. This is - like the film itself - a swirling, childlike extravaganza that’s now as representative of the ‘free love’ era as artwork for The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper or the Woodstock Festival.

    Original Film Posters Online
    13-22 March | Online
  • For Your Eyes Only (1981), British.
    Estimate £400–600.
    Roger Moore’s James Bond films weren’t for those seeking subtlety and neither were the posters. Spoofed a hundred times since, this is a bold and brassy piece of design, even if it’s probably now best filed under ‘Guilty Pleasure’.

    Original Film Posters Online
    13-22 March | Online
  • Big Wednesday (1978), US.
    Estimate £500–800.
    Understated and pensive, this perfectly captures the mood of a seventies cult hit which turned retro surfing into something metaphysical. I love the blend of orange and black and white - like sunshine mixing with memory.

    Original Film Posters Online
    13-22 March | Online
  • Taxi Driver (1976), US.
    Estimate £2,000–3,000.
    Where the 1970s meet American realist painter Edward Hopper. Night time loneliness and desolation, captured with the precision of the Scorsese film itself, has never looked more beautiful.

    Original Film Posters Online
    13-22 March | Online
  • Star Wars (1977), US.
    Estimate £1,500–2,500.
    A poster so well-known it’s easy to miss its serious style, surprisingly dark in colour and mood. The way that Vader hangs in the background, overseeing all, subtly blending into the desert landscape of Luke’s home planet Tatooine, is spine-tingling.

    Original Film Posters Online

    13-22 March | Online

  • Jaws (1975), British.
    Estimate £1,500–2,500.
    Sometimes less is more. A deadly animal approaches a beautiful girl and it's job done. Like the famously sparse John Williams score, nothing else is needed. Spielberg might be a master of spectacle but, crucially, he also knows exactly when to stop.

    Original Film Posters Online

    13-22 March | Online

  • Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986), British.
    Estimate £2,000–3,000.
    It’s not a specific moment from the film yet this image captures the entire mood of the much-loved John Hughes teen movie. Ferris was bold, colourful and swam against the tide - and it’s all here in one shot.

    Original Film Posters Online

    13-22 March | Online

  • Vertigo (1958), US.
    Estimate £5,000–8,000
    A legendary poster from a legendary artist. Fragmented and angular, this hints at modernist   anguish and breakdown; the key themes of both Vertigo and many more of Hitchcock’s psychological thrillers. It’s enticing, alarming and hugely influential. Mad Men lasted seven series because of posters like this.

    Original Film Posters Online

    13-22 March | Online

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