Vote for your five fave posters from Best Picture-winning films

I was going to do my usual weekly poster post, but when I visited my go-to poster site, I noticed that they’ve been running this awesome poll related to the Oscars for the past week. I already forgot about the darn award show but I LOVE posters and this is a pretty neat idea for a poll. The site came up with a list of the best poster designs amongst the 83 Best Picture winners from 1927 – 2010, here’s a sampling below. Did you notice how posters get more darker and more saturated over the years?

All you have to do is pick five of your favorite from the list. Note that the posters they included were used for the film’s initial release, which were displayed in this official Oscar poster from a few years back. Once you hit the ‘cast your vote’ button, your selections then is posted on the results page along with other voters’. You can also check out the tally of the top ten posters that get the most votes at the top of the page.

I’ve already submitted my votes, which you can see in the results page. It’s really tough to pick just five, as there are a lot of good ones out there, but the five I picked are based on effectiveness, as in which one grabs my attention the most if I saw it in passing, or even among a sea of posters here. They may not be the most aesthetically-pleasing, but if they have stopping power, then I think the designer(s) have done the job well. So far, two of the ones I voted made the top ten voters’ faves πŸ™‚

Anyway, here’s my five picks:

  • Schindler’s List (those hands pack such emotional punch)
  • American Beauty (I guess I like hands πŸ™‚ but the blend of innocence and blatant sexuality just kinda pulls you in)
  • Chariots of Fire (very unique composition with one of the most iconic running scenes in movie history at the top, hard to miss)
  • Out of Africa (Soooo pretty and romantic, makes you want to transport yourself over to where they are)
  • Rocky (This might not be the most beautiful design, but it sure grabs my attention because of its simplicity)

Anyway, why not join the fun and pick your own five favorites and let me know which ones get your votes.

42 thoughts on “Vote for your five fave posters from Best Picture-winning films

      1. PrairieGirl

        LOA is another must-see classic. Peter O’Toole gives an amazing performance and it’s based on a real person. Just allow yourself enough time, it’s a LONG movie, but once you start watching you don’t mind at all.

        1. Y’know Becky, I actually rented LoA once but for whatever reason we didn’t get around to watching it. I don’t mind long movies especially for the weekend. So yeah, we’ll re-rent it again one day πŸ™‚

      2. Funk

        Wow, RTM, I can’t believe you have not seen the epic motion picture that is “Lawrence of Arabia”, PraireGirl is absolutely correct that O’Toole puts on one outstandingly amazing performance, and lost out that year to Gregory Peck who won the Oscar for “To Kill a Mockingbird”, LOR picked up best picture and Lean for director, in LOR the the one scene that still is breathtaking today and every time I watch it, is when we are introduced to Omar Sharif as he comes riding out of the desert towards Lawrence, I do think that is one of the longest takes up to that time in filming or possibly after. LOR is just another classic in David Leans cannon of films, with “Bridge Over the River Kwai”, followed by LOR, then “Doctor Zhivago”, and lastly “A Passage to India”. All are long films to be totally lost in or absorbed by on a nice slow weekend.

        1. [Sheepish smile] I’m hoping to rectify that situation soon Funk… I do believe it’s a masterpiece, my mom liked O’Toole in that one, which baffled me more why I haven’t seen it. Haven’t seen ‘Mockingbird’ either but I really should since I have a crush on Peck πŸ™‚

          I did see ‘River Kwai’ though not in its entirety, same with ‘Zhivago’ which I really want to see again. Omar Sharif was sooo hunky! πŸ™‚

          1. Funk

            Ya, I just watched on network TV last weekend, there is a good oldie channel on one of the Korea Tv stations here, and it was “To Kill a Mockingbird”, pretty good film to say the least, and Peck was top notch. If I had to choose between him and O’Toole for that years Oscar, I’d have to say it would be a tie, give them each one.. Course my favorite Peck movie is “On the Beach”. Makes me bleary eyed every time I watch it.

            1. Oh boy, the premise for ‘On the Beach’ sounds heartbreaking. According to IMDb it was filmed on location in Australia as well, might have to check that out soon.

  1. PrairieGirl

    From earliest to latest:
    Casablanca (love the newspaper feel of this one)
    All About Eve (the art on this looks avant garde and WAY before it’s time, that’s why it’s so interesting)
    West Side Story (just amazingly classic)
    In the Heat of the Night (If you’ve seen this film, you know how much the poster evokes the essence of the movie)
    Driving Miss Daisy (just plain old cute and clever!)

    1. What, you didn’t pick Rebecca?? πŸ™‚

      I see that you’re into the classic posters, I agree they’re really cool. I did tell you that my dad was a poster illustrator right? I should bring you a copy of one of his work, well the only one I own actually. Perhaps one day I should scan it and post it here.

      1. PrairieGirl

        Yes, love Art Deco and classics. Rebecca was on my list, but had to kick it off to make only five. I probably should own it though, might need to go to and pick one up. My sis gave me a poster of a 30s fruit crate (dates, actually) that has the Rebecca “brand” on it too. Agree with John above and don’t care for the cluttered ones either.

        I thought your dad was more of a writer and director? Oh, for sure I’d love to see examples of his illustration work posted here.

  2. I’m a big fan of clean and simple design. I went with:

    -American Beauty

    -West Side Story (even though I haven’t seen it… and don’t really care to)

    -Schindler’s List

    -One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

    -Silence of the Lambs

    I also love my Z’s in design and you can see the Z in all of those (although West Side Story is a bit muted… and it’s included because I dig the simplicity of it).

    So many of the more recent ones get cluttered. Crash, Braveheart, Slumdog, No Country… there’s too much going on in those (purely from a design point of view). My two cents, anyway.

    1. Totally agree John, I share two from your list. I think the simpler ones w/ interesting composition grabs my attention more. Oh, that’s right about the Z, very astute of you John!

  3. That was amazing! It looks like Silence of the Lambs will be the winner so far! Everyone loves that poster. I actually chose: A Beautiful Mind, Ben Hur, The Hurt Locker, LOTR: Return of the King, and Crash.

    1. Yeah, that one is pretty striking, kinda eerie looking but beautiful. Yay for Ben Hur! It’s one of my fave movies of all time. In fact, I’m inspired by this to create a top ten list and Ben Hur will surely be in the top 5.

  4. Ted S.

    Here are my favorite posters, although I don’t think some of them deserved the best picture nod:

    – Lawrence of Arabia (totally deserved the best picture nod, a masterpiece of a film.)

    – Silence of the Lambs (not sure if it deserved the best picture of 1991 but I don’t remember which other films were nominated that year.)

    – Braveheart (pretty weak year in films so I guess it deserved the best picture.)

    – The Godfather Part 2 (it’s my favorite film of all time so yeah it deserved the best picture.)

    – Dances with Wolves (Goodfellas was robbed, it should have won that year instead of this so so western film.)

    1. Awesome Ted, cool that you give your reasoning whether each merit a Best Picture win.

      Btw, do you have Lawrence of Arabia on BD? If so, may I borrow? πŸ™‚

      1. Ted S.

        Unfortunately Lawrence of Arabia isn’t available on Blu-ray yet. Hopefully it’ll come out soon, I assume they’re working hard restoring it for Blu-ray to make sure it looks as great as when it came out in theater years ago.

  5. Nice choices…I like the schinder’s list too..very dramatic. Will check on the site later (I have to use my PC to see it) and get back here again to tell you.
    I’m pretty sure Silence on the lamb will be in my top 5

      1. I have seen it last night…I didn’t know that the really old posters were so norak (I don’t the English word for this), too many words or too many illustration.

        My picks are (in no particular order)
        Silence of The Lamb
        Schindler’s List
        Forest Gump
        The King’s Speech
        Ben Hur

        I like simple posters, simple but still eye catching

        1. Ahah, haven’t heard the word ‘norak’ for a while. I guess that’s just the style back then Nov.

          Hey, I agree with a lot of your list. Sounds like Silence of the Lambs was the crowd’s favorite. I like the Ben Hur one, too, I guess that 3D typography style was a bit unusual for that time.

  6. I picked:

    – ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’. Beautiful painted illustration, the kind you don’t see anymore.

    – ‘Tom Jones’. Simple, yet direct.

    – ‘Lawrence of Arabia’. Kick-ass image. How can you not want to see the movie after looking at that poster?

    – ‘The Hurt Locker.’ Sums up the movie perfectly.

    – ‘Silence of the Lambs.’ Iconic image that’s mysterious and a bit unsettling.

    1. Oh I missed that LoA poster in the lineup, yeah that’s a good one, very energetic and definitely the kind of movie that appeals to me.

      You’re right about SotL, very unsettling indeed.

  7. OK, Mine in NO and i mean NO particular order are

    Silence of the Lambs
    All Quiet on the western front
    One flew over the cuckoo’s nest
    No Country for old Men

    And mainly because the images please me.


  8. Awesome post! Hard to say what it is about these posters I did, but the simpler the better I guess. Wish I could put Unforgiven on there, but alas, it’s not the poster of just Clint with his back turned and revolver in hand. Had to throw in all those floating heads for some reason. Sigh…

    – American Beauty
    – Schindler’s List
    – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
    – The French Connection
    – All Quiet on the Western Front

    Honorable Mention: Ordinary People

    1. Thanks Aiden, glad you dug it. Yeah it’s funny that they had a completely different version than the posters I’m more familiar with. I didn’t like the Gone with the Wind one either, as I much prefer the later version with Rhett holding Scarlet in his arm displayed prominently with Tara beneath them.

      Nice choices, I also had the first two on your list.

  9. Now this is a fun post Ruth and tons to chose from:)

    For me, it’d be:

    Annie Hall

    Its amazing how posters have evolved over the years and how some formulas (e.g. floating heads, large almost obnoxious text) work for some but not for others).

      1. “Floating head posters”! That made me smile/laugh. It’s soooo true. There are a ton of those.

        Anyway, I’m off to Florida later today, but this entry inspired something I’ve got publishing while I’m away on vacation. I’m sure you’ll recognize it when you see it.

  10. Pingback: Movie Posters, Graphic Design, and the Art of the ‘Z’ |

  11. Irina

    ‘Schindler’s List’ poster is very powerful. The best in my opinion. I am reading The diary of a young girl (Anne Frank) at the minute. It’s so sad.
    ‘Apocalypse Now’ is good, so is ‘Metropolis’.
    ‘Descent’ poster is very clever, but then it’s not original. It looks just like Dali Skull portrait.
    A very interesting post, Ruth.

    1. Hi Irina, yes indeed, that’s one of my picks too. I haven’t read Anne’s memoir, but boy it’s got to be heart breaking.

      Thanks for your comment!

  12. I went for:

    Silence of the Lambs
    The Godfather
    Return of the King
    American Beauty
    All Quiet on the Western Front

    It’s funny. There are very few great posters in that list.

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