Rare and Beautiful Film Posters of Oscar-Winning Movies

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Movie posters, particularly from long ago, were designed to be striking but disposable - pasted up for a short period of time to promote a particular film, only to be pasted over with a new one soon after. So those that have survived are rare by definition. As well as the movie itself, they represent the moment in time, becoming both pieces of art, and historical artifacts. Sotheby’s Original Film Posters Online auction has a number of these rare and unique posters, including many for movies that went on to be household names - and Academy Award winners. Click above to take a closer look at the artwork for these historic films, and discover what they won their Oscars for.

Rare and Beautiful Film Posters of Oscar-Winning Movies

  • CITIZEN KANE/EN SENSATION (1941) POSTER, SWEDISH
    Estimate £8,000- 12,000
    Winner: Best Original Screenplay - Orson Welles

    Orson Welles directed, produced, co-wrote and starred in this remarkable film when he was just 25, and it’s consistently topped the American Film Institute's top 100 American films. This atmospheric Swedish poster, which brilliantly captures Orson Welles in the title role as Citizen Kane, is exceptionally rare. To date, no other example of this poster has surfaced.
  • MARY POPPINS (1964) POSTER, US
    Estimate: £800-1,200
    Winner: Four awards including Best Actress - Julie Andrews & Best Original Score - Richard M. Sherman


    In 1964 Mary Poppins first appeared on the silver screen, and was an instant hit with public and critics, (in spite of Dick Van Dyke's famously comical English accent). Julie Andrews’ feature film debut, the musical was phenomenally successful. Produced by Walt Disney and directed by Robert Stevenson, it received a total of 13 Academy Award nominations, and won five. It’s rare to find a signed poster like this item on this title, and as well as being signed by Julie Andrews this piece is also signed by two of the film's animators.
  • THE GRADUATE (1967) POSTER, US
    Estimate £800-1,200
    Winner: Best director - Mike Nichols

    This classic Dustin Hoffman film, with its memorable soundtrack performed by Simon and Garfunkel, was directed by Mike Nichols, who won an Academy Award for Best Director. This poster was produced as a tie-in with VISTA, who are an anti-poverty program in the USA, created by Lyndon Johnson's Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 as the domestic version of the Peace Corps. In the film's opening party scene Mr. Maguire, a friend of the Robinsons, says to Benjamin 'I've got one word for you, Benjamin: plastics'. On the bottom of the poster above the word 'VISTA' it says 'You can put off plastics for a year'. This is a clever wording for the VISTA tie-in.
  • CABARET/KABARET (1972) POSTER, RUSSIAN
    Estimate £400-600
    Winner: Eight Awards including Best Actress - Liza Minnelli; Best Supporting Actor - Joel Grey & Best Director - Bob Fosse

    This musical drama, set against the backdrop of 1931 Berlin and the shadow of the growing Nazi party, was directed by Bob Fosse, and stars Liza Minnelli as Sally Bowles, a flamboyant cabaret performer; Michael York, a Cambridge University student; and Joel Grey, the fantastic Master of Ceremonies at the Kit Kat Klub. This is one of the most stylish posters from this multi award winning film.
  • THE APARTMENT (1960) LOBBY CARD, US
    Estimate £700 - 1,000
    Winner: 5 Awards including Best Picture, Best Director & Best Original Screenplay – Billy Wilder

    This 1960 romantic comedy was produced and directed by Billy Wilder. It stars Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine and Fred MacMurray. This film was nominated for ten Academy Award awards and won five, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay. This lobby card once belonged to a gentleman who frequently travelled to Los Angeles, and had appointments in the same office block where Billy Wilder worked. He would visit Mr. Wilder when he could and have pieces from his collection signed. It is very rare to find signed lobby cards.
  • THE GODFATHER (1972) POSTER, BRITISH
    Estimate £800-1,200
    Winner: Best Director - Albert S. Ruddy; Best Actor - Marlon Brando & Best Adapted Screenplay - Francis Ford Coppola


    This is the original British poster for Francis Ford Coppola's gangster masterpiece starring Marlon Brando, Al Pacino and Robert Duvall, considered one of the greatest films of the 20th century. It picked up seven Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Brando. This poster includes the puppet artwork underneath Brando's face, and was used for display throughout the Commonwealth.
  • LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (1962) POSTER, US
    Estimate £4,000-6,000
    Winner: Seven Awards including Best Picture; Best Director - David Lean & Best Cinematography - Freddie Young

    This epic British film is based on the life of T. E. Lawrence. It was directed by David Lean and produced by Sam Spiegel. The film stars Peter O'Toole in the title role, together with Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn and Omar Sharif. It is widely considered one of the greatest and most influential films in the history of cinema. The dramatic score by Maurice Jarre and the Super Panavision 70 cinematography by Freddie Young are also highly acclaimed. It was nominated for 10 Academy Awards and won seven. It won four BAFTA awards and five Golden Globes. In 1990, the year before David Lean died, he was awarded the American Film Institute Life Achievement Award.
  • PINOCCHIO (1940) POSTER, SPANISH
    Estimate £3,000 - 5,000
    Winner: Best Original Score & Best Original Song

    Walt Disney's second animated feature film was made after the success of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs(1937). Pinocchio, the world’s most famous wooden puppet, is originally the creation of the Italian writer and social commentator Carlo Collodi. Entitled The Adventures of Pinocchio, the story was initially serialized in the children’s section of a Roman newspaper and, following its popularity, became a book in 1883. When Walt Disney decided to adapt the story to film, Pinocchio had already climbed to widespread fame, but it was as an animated character that the naughty wooden boy truly became embedded in the popular imagination. Ramon has here created a very sweet and colourful poster, with beautiful typography in a carved wood style. Exceptionally rare, and has surfaced only a few times.
  • BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S/COLAZIONE DA TIFFANY (1961) POSTER, ITALIAN
    Estimate £8,000-12,000
    Winner: Best Original Movie Score - Henry Mancini

    Breakfast at Tiffany’s, based on Truman Capote's 1958 novella of the same name, was directed by Blake Edwards and starred Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in her most famous and iconic role. Breakfast at Tiffany’s won two Academy Awards and was nominated for a further three, including Best Actress for Hepburn though she lost out to Sophia Loren. Lorenzo Nistri's beautiful artwork captures the stunning Audrey Hepburn on this Italian poster.
  • SOME LIKE IT HOT (1959) POSTER, JAPANESE
    Estimate £1,200-1,800
    Winner: Best Costume Design (in black-and-white)

    This classic quirky film, starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, is consistently voted the best comedy of all time. This unusual Japanese poster for the film seldom surfaces.
  • 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968) POSTER, JAPANESE
    Estimate £1,400-2,600
    Winner: Best Visual Effects: Stanley Kubrick

    Stanley Kubrick's landmark science fiction film is still considered one of the most influential sci-fi films of all time. Printed for one cinema in Tokyo, for the film’s 1995 re-release, with metallic foil printing, this poster is exceptionally rare with only a few having ever surfaced.
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