Visual imagery has the ability to connect us with something emotionally and that connection can be timeless. Artists that use their talent and the media of illustration to create movie posters also create an emotional connection to the film that can transcend generations.
Gone with the Wind
The artist that created the poster for Gone with the Wind used bold colors to evoke a feeling of passion and allude to the devastating fire in the movie. The intense expressions on the faces of Clark Gable, who played Rhett Butler, and Vivien Leigh, who was the infamous Scarlett O’Hara, still call to mind the passion and turmoil that takes place in the movie.
Artists creating posters for children’s films were tasked with engaging the parent as well as the child. The poster for Finding Nemo shows all of the characters that we come to love in the movie while using depth, facial expressions, and placement of characters to create a sense of suspense as to what might happen next.
ET: The Extraterrestrial
The wonder, the magic, and the intrigue of the movie ET is definitely captured by the poster’s creator. Using a completely dark background broken by the light of the moon, the eye is drawn to the fingers touching in the middle, conveying one of the film’s most lasting themes: connection. The visual of Elliott riding his bike in front of the moon draws you in and has you cheering for them even after you’ve seen the film and know how it ends.
Using a caricature of a ghost with the universal symbol for “not allowed” was a brilliant move on the part of this artist. The minimalistic background with the friendly, impish-looking ghost, communicate the understated humor and lighthearted tone of the movie.
The Sound of Music
The artist’s rendition of The Sound of Music flawlessly represents the beauty of the film. It shows the protagonist, Maria, and the children dancing and singing up the hill as the father stands sternly off to one side. The vivid colors and the joy captured on their faces virtually jump off of the page. The poster leaves you feeling lighthearted and it’s the impression that will stay with you when you reflect on the movie.
Back to the Future
Flames surrounding the protagonist as he emerges from the car, stunned at what his watch is telling him, create a scene of wonder and chaos which engages the viewer instantly. The designer’s use of action fills the poster with emotion, grips the viewer, and leaves them wanting more. This scene is not only visually, but emotionally, tied to this classic film.
Several artists worked to create a series of pictures for the original Star Wars. They created such vivid scenes of another world that it captured the imagination of generations. The use of paint to create light and dark, juxtaposing good and evil, brings the story and characters to life with bold color and character placement.
A white background with Patrick Swayze in black draws the eye to the couple. Their seductive pose entices the audience and creates a mental imprint that will forever link the movie and the poster.
Movies may move us and change our lives, but the task of creating an icon through which their themes can be remembered belongs to the movie poster. These iconic posters adorn the walls of galleries, cinemas and homes, their appeal transcending entertainment and becoming art. Art dealers and entertainment vendors alike offer movie posters for sale for this reason—iconic film artwork is as popular as it is artistic. It makes us to want to share, and express appreciation of, the movie with our family, our children, and our friends.