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    

Taste The Blood Of Dracula - Original 1970 Uk Quad Film Poster - Chantrell ArtMarvels Guardians Of The Galaxy Movie Giveaway 27x40 Dbl Sided 1 Sheet PosterThe Texas Chainsaw Massacre One Sheet Movie Poster Marilyn Burns & Ed Neal R-80Spaced Poster Alamo Drafthouse Signed By Tyler Stout Mondo 21/350 Simon PeggSdcc 2014 Exclusive Marvel Avengers 2 Complete Set Posters Signed By Artist Guardians Of The Galaxy Original Movie Double Sided 27x40 Poster 2014Sdcc Comic Con 2014 Marvel Avengers Age Of Ultron HulkOfficial Final Ds 27x40 Guardians Of The Galaxy Movie Poster.-theatrical VersionSdcc 2014 Limted Signed Kevin Eastman Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie PrintRare~1965~james Bond 007~thunderball~huge Drive-in Movie Poster~good ConditionSdcc Comic Con 2014 Marvel Avengers 2 Age Of Ultron PosterFriday The 13th One Sheet Movie Poster Betsy Palmer & Adrienne King 1980The Masque Of The Red Death One Sheet Movie Poster Vincent Price Hazel Court '642014 Sdcc Mike Mitchell Signed Tree Hugger Print From Mondo Get Carter ,original Vintage 1971 Arg Movie Poster - Michael Caine /crimeJames Bond Skyfall Cinema Poster (rare Uk Advance Teaser Quad Daniel Craig)Theatre Sign Cinema Theater Poster Ticket Drive In Neon Look Game Room MobilGuardians Of The Galaxy Movie Poster Marvel Sdcc Comic-con 2014 Hall H ExclusiveRiders Of The Black Hills One Sheet Movie Poster The Three Mesquiteers 1938Guardians Of The Galaxy (final-2014) Orig. N/m Ds Os (marvel/disney Superheroes) Vintage The Fj Holden Movie Poster 1977 Australian Daybill Look Guardians Of The Galaxy Signed Movie Poster Comic Avengers X-men Cgc CoaGuardians Of The Galaxy Poster Double Sided 27x40 Double Sided Marvel One SheetVintage 1978 Attack Of The Killer Tomatos John Debello Rolled! 1sh Movie PosterClint Eastwood - Portait - Mike Mitchell - Mondo - GicleeLot Of 100 Plus 80's-90's Theater Movie Posters 27" X40" Wild In The Country Insert Movie Poster Elvis Presley & Hope Lange 1961Guardians Of The Galaxy Movie Poster Original D/s 27x40 Battle For The Planet Of The Apes One Sheet Movie Poster Roddy Mcdowall 1973Thunderbolt And Lightfoot & Magnum Force One Sheet Movie Posters Clint EastwoodHot Rods To Hell One Sheet Movie Poster Dana Andrews & Jeanne Crain 1967Taxi Driver 1976 1sh Original Movie Poster 27" X 41" Robert De Niro Jodie FosterSdcc 2014 Marvel Avengers Ultron Complete Poster Set W/ 'ant-man' Artist Signed!The Spy Who Loved Me One Sheet Movie Poster Roger Moore As James Bond 1977Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan And The Huntress 1/2 Sht 22x28No Highway In The Sky One Sheet Movie Poster James Stewart Marlene Dietrich 1951Thx 1138 One Sheet Movie Poster Robert Duvall & Donald Pleasence 1971Sdcc 2014 Exclusive: Guardians Of The Galaxy Poster 19" X 13"Cahill: United States Marshal One Sheet Movie Poster John Wayne Gary Grimes 1973Stay Away, Joe One Sheet Movie Poster Elvis Presley & Burgess Meredith 1968Mcfarlane Rocky 3-d Movie Pop Culture Wall ArtBetween Two Women One Sheet Movie Poster Franchot Tone & Maureen O'sullivan 1937Vintage! - Original 1976 Movie Poster - Logan's Run - Farrah Fawcett, Michael YoKelly's Heroes One Sheet Movie Poster Clint Eastwood & Telly Savalas 1970The Story Of Dr. Wassell One Sheet Movie Poster Gary Cooper & Laraine Day 1944Rare 1964 Original Poster For Intimate Strangers Starring Jayne Mansfield!Love And Kisses & South Pacific One Sheet Movie Poster Lot Rick Nelson 1960sSdcc 2014 Marvel’s Avengers: Age Of Ultron Hulk Concept Art 20.5” X 13.5” PosterThe Goonies Movie Poster Print James Flames Mondo Regular EditionVintage Large Super Cycle Peter Fonda Blacklight PosterBig Jake One Sheet Movie Poster John Wayne & Richard Boone 1971Vintage R1947 Gone With The Wind Clark Gable Vivien Leigh Drama 1sh Movie PosterMoney From Home One Sheet Movie Poster 3-d Style Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis 1954Carrie One Sheet & Movie Lobby Card Sissy Spacek & Piper Laurie 1976Videodrome One Sheet Movie Poster James Woods & Sonja Smits 1983Streets Of New York One Sheet Movie Poster Jackie Cooper & Martin Spellman 1939Rooster Cogburn One Sheet Movie Poster John Wayne & Katharine Hepburn 1975Mickey Mouse In The Mail Pilot One Sheet Movie Poster Walt Disney R-1974Titanic Half Sheet Movie Poster Clifton Webb & Barbara Stanwyck 1953Original 1967 Walt Disney The Jungle Book Movie Poster 40" X 27"