Vintage movie posters are highly collectible, especially those for films released before the 1940s. Few of these early posters survived because theater owners were obliged to send them along to the next theater. A smaller variant of the poster, the lobby card (or window card), is more widely available because theaters were allowed to add their names to the cards and keep them.

Beginning in the 1940s, theaters were able to buy additional copies of the larger sized posters, known as one-sheets, and keep those, too. These later posters are generally marked with the year and edition number.

Movie posters were originally produced purely as advertising, so even the major studios rarely saved posters from their films. Thus, movie posters from the 1920s or earlier are almost nonexistent today. It wasn’t until the release of Star Wars in 1977 that a strong interest in owning original movie posters became widespread.

The movie posters most sought by collectors tend to be from science-fiction films, followed closely by those from horror flicks. Sci-fi posters from the 1950s are especially in demand (The War of the Worlds, The Day the Earth Stood Still), and the most popular era for horror posters tends to be the 1930s (Frankenstein, Dracula).

Posters for genre movies such as film noir, independent films, and B-movies are also especially desirable. In some cases, these posters are more collectible than ones with star-studded casts because the artwork can take center stage. That said, there are exceptions to every rule—the original 1941 Bill Gold poster for Casablanca is not only graphically compelling, it features Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman at its center.

Other categories of vintage movie posters include musicals (An American in Paris, Singin’ In the Rain), Bollywood (Pyaasa, Shree 420), the Beatles (A Hard Day’s Night, Yellow Submarine), James Bond (Dr. No, Goldfinger), and French New Wave (Jules et Jim, Breathless).

Most collectors seek vintage movie posters because of their passion for a particular actor, director, or film, but some collectors like to acquire posters based on the poster’s d...

As for Reynold Brown, his posters for such forgettable films as Attack of the 50 Foot Woman and Love-Slaves of the Amazons were far better than the movies they advertised. On the other hand, sometimes the stars aligned, as was the case in Brown’s posters for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Ben-Hur.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Steve McQueen Film Poster Site

Steve McQueen Film Poster Site

If you're a Steve McQueen fan, this site can't be beat. Roger Harris has put together a definitive collection of Mc… [read review or visit site]

Gallery Of Surf Classics

Gallery Of Surf Classics

Maynard Eshelman's gallery of over 250 classic surf movie posters and lobby cards from the 1960s. The highlight of … [read review or visit site]

London Transport Museum Posters

London Transport Museum Posters

A must-see collection of 5,000 vivid, colorful British posters from the early 1900s onward. Browse by artist (over … [read review or visit site]

Steven Hill's Movie Title Screens Page

Steven Hill's Movie Title Screens Page

If you're the type who likes watching the titles and credits at the beginning of movies, you'll love this site. Ste… [read review or visit site]

Fillmore and Avalon Collection

Fillmore and Avalon Collection

Wish you'd visited San Francisco in the late 1960s? Get a quick hit with this comprehensive collection of psychedel… [read review or visit site]

USSR Posters

USSR Posters

Ben Perry's Flickr photoset showcasing almost 1500 Soviet propaganda, advertising, theatre and movie posters from 1… [read review or visit site]

Cinema Treasures

Cinema Treasures

This user-contributed database of classic movie theaters currently lists over 17,000 theaters worldwide. Browse by … [read review or visit site]

Warner Bros. Title Card Gallery

Warner Bros. Title Card Gallery

Dave Mackey's filmography and title card gallery for 35 years of Warner Bros. cartoons. Browsable by year or alphab… [read review or visit site]

New York Public Library

New York Public Library

The New York Public Library's impressive Digital Gallery offers free access to over 500,000 historical images inclu… [read review or visit site]

The American Memory Project

The American Memory Project

This amazing Library of Congress site includes about a hundred photo and document collections (see complete list) o… [read review or visit site]

Steves Disney Collection

Steves Disney Collection

Steve Lee’s large collection of original Disney art: pencil drawings from animated features produced during W… [read review or visit site]



Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

On The Buses- Original 1971 Quad Film Poster- Rare Vintage Hammer Reg Varney 70s2014 Sdcc Mike Mitchell Tree Hugger Print From Mondo Django Unchained By Tyler Stout Signed Movie Poster Mondo Screen PrintSdcc 2014 San Diego Comic Con Game Of Throne Autographed Poster!!Carry On Loving- Original 1970 Film Poster- 1 Sheet British Comedy Cinema QuadThe Goonies 1985 Original Us One Sheet Movie Poster 27x41 Rolled Vikings Lot (das Horn) San Diego Comic Con 2014Rare Sdcc Guardians Of The Galaxy Cast Signed Movie Poster Comic Cgc AvengersSdcc 2014 San Diego Comic Con Hawkeye Avengers 2 Age Of Ultron Marvel PosterThe Mummy '59 Original 1-sheet Movie Poster 27x41. No Reserve!!!Sdcc 2014 San Diego Comic Con Iron Man Avengers 2 Age Of Ultron Marvel PosterSdcc 2014 Exclusive Marvel Avengers 2 Age Of Ultron 8 Poster Plus Antman5 X Original Film Posters- Job Lot Cinema Quad 1 Sheet Movie British Comedy RareCaptain America Winter Soldier Ds Movie Poster Cast Signed Premiere Chris EvansBlack Widow Poster Marvel Avengers 2 Ultron Sdcc Comic Con Limited ExclusiveSdcc 2014 Comic Con Exclusive Marvel Avengers 2 Age Of Ultron Hulk Promo PosterAvengers Ds Movie Poster Cast Signed Premiere Autograph Ironman Hulk Thor RareRevenge Of The Jedi 1983 Original Us One Sheet Movie Poster 27x41 Star WarsSdcc 2014 Marvel Avengers Age Of Ultron 8 Promo Posters Artist Signed + 3 BonusSdcc 2014 Marvel Avengers 2 Ironman, Captain America, Scarlet Witch, QuicksilverSdcc 2014 Jurassic World Park Movie PosterBates Motel Sdcc 2014 Exclusive Comic Con Litho Poster Laurent Durieux Sdcc 2014 San Diego Comic Con Black Widow Avengers 2 Age Of Ultron Marvel PosterTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Hot New Art 2014 Movie 20"x14" PosterPsycho Screenprint (regular) By Laurent Durieux For Mondo GalleryPlanet Of The Apes Orig 1sh Movie Poster 68/50X-men Days Of Future Past Ds Movie Poster Cast Signed Wolverine Autograph Sdcc 2014 San Diego Comic Con Iron Man Avengers 2 Age Of Ultron Marvel PosterDeep Red Aka Profondo Rosso-d.argento-giallo-thriller-italian 2sh (39x55 Inch)Signed By Cast Ant Man Movie Poster Sdcc San Diego Comic Con 2014 ExclusiveThe Texas Chainsaw Massacre Rare 1974 Aust Orig Daybill Movie Poster Nrmint CondSdcc 2014 Arrow Signed PosterMike Mitchell Guardians Of The Galaxy Groot Rocket Racoon Mondo Tree HuggerThe Incredible Shrinking Man '57 Original Movie Poster 27x41. No Reserve!!!Guardians Of The Galaxy Set Of All 6 Real 3d Glasses Marvel Goonies Movie Poster James Flames Ap Signed / Numbered Mondo Print Artist ProofGuardians Of The Galaxy 4x6 Foot Bus Shelter Poster 6ft Marvel - Rocket GrootGoldfinger James Bond 007 Sean Connery Original Or Reissue? British Poster 20x30Full Set - 8 Exclusive Avengers: Age Of Ultron Sdcc Posters & Agents Of ShieldThe Hustler '64r 'mint' Original 27x41 Paul Newman No Reserve!!!Vintage - High Plains Drifter - Clint Eastwood - Original Movie Poster 1973Guardians Of The Galaxy 4x6 Ft Foot Bus Shelter Poster 6ft Marvel - Gamora ThorSdcc 2014 The Hobbit The Battle Of The Five Armies Lord Of The Rings Poster Vintage Rare Abba The Movie Cult Movie Poster 1977 Australian Daybill Sdcc 2014 San Diego Comic Con The Following Signed Poster!!Return Of The Jedi Style B Rolled Orig Us One Sheet Movie Poster 27x41 Star WarsSdcc 2014 Marvel Captain America Hoodie 250 Exclusive San Diego Comic Con MediumVintage - Rocky - Sylvester Stallone - Original Movie Poster 1977Back To The Future 1985 Fox Drew Struzan Art Daybill Movie PosterJurassic World Sdcc 2014 Comic-con Mondo Mark Englert 11x17 Mini Poster RareThe Wrong Man (1957) Alfred Hitchcock Original One Sheet Poster (27" X 41") Divergent's Shailene Woodley & Theo James Autographed Posters From Comic Con Sdcc 2014 Marvel Guardians Of The Galaxy Poster"teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" 2014 Original Movie Poster Ds 2 Sided 27x40Grease 1978 Original Rolled Teaser Us One Sheet Movie Poster 27x41Pirates Of The Caribbean 2003 Original Us One Sheet Ds Movie Poster 27x40Amazing Spider-man 2 Ds Movie Poster Cast Signed Autograph Andrew GarfieldSdcc 2014 San Diego Comic Con The 100 Signed Poster!!Halloween Ii Vrare 1981 Australian Orig Daybill Movie Poster In Nrmint ConditionShawshank Redemption 1994 Original Us One Sheet Ds Movie Poster 27x40 Disney