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]

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]

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]



Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Vintage Original James Bond "goldfinger" Poster - Sean O'conneryExtremely Rare Original Teaserama One Sheet Poster 1955 Betty Page VtgAlien,original Vintage 1979 Arg Movie Poster - Sci-fi / Sigourney WeaverOriginal 1977 Star Wars Poster One Sheet Style A 77/21 No Hair! First PrintingBonjour Tristesse 1957 Kerr Niven Movie Poster 27x41 Saul Bass Art *authentic*Roadracers 1959 Movie Poster 27x41 American International *authentic*Angry Red Planet 1960 Sci-fi Movie Poster 27x41 Aip Sid Pink *authentic*Jurassic World 2015 Original Screen-used Blue Scanband PropBack To The Future Original Daybill Movie Poster Michael J.foxFuture-kill Autographed & Numbered Lithograph Movie Poster Hr Giger 1985 RareThe Black Vampire, Original Vtg 1953 Arg Movie Poster, Nathan Pinzon/horror/rareSuspiria - Uk Quad Poster 1977 - Rare Horror Dario Argento1950 Movie Poster Son Of Hijo De Tarzan Art Deco Argentina Film Spanish LanguageAvengers: Age Of Ultron Original Double Sided Movie Poster 27 X 40 The Man Who Fell To Earth,original 1976 Movie Poster - David Bowie/ Nicolas RoegSpider-man ,original Vintage 1977 Arg Movie Poster, Marvel/ Nicholas HammondMan Who Shot Liberty Valance 1962 Wayne / Stewart Movie Poster 27x41 *authentic*Silent Night, Evil Night 1-sheet Black Christmas Slasher Horror Bob Clark Vintage Original James Bond "diamonds Are Forever" Poster - Sean O'conneryKing Kong,original Vintage 1976 Arg Movie Poster - Jeff Bridges /horrorSix Million Dollar Man: The Secret Of Bigfoot,orig 1975 Movie Poster -lee MajorsPiranha - Uk Quad Poster 1978 - Rare Horror Barbara SteeleLes Diaboliques Aka The Fiends-h.-g. Clouzot-s.signoret-french (24x31 Inch)⭐️ Lili-ledy Mexico Unused Factory Overstock Darth Vader Vintage Star WarsFred Astaire/ginger Rogers Poster Swedish Original 1936 I Walked With A Zombie Val Lewton Horror R52 Original Folded 22x28 PosterInterstellar Movie Poster Original Double Sided 27" X 40" Rare Theatrical Imax Tron,original Vintage 1983 Arg Movie Poster - Jeff Bridges /sci-fi /nice ArtworkSpider-man Strikes Back, Original Vintage 1978 Arg Movie Poster. MarvelDead End Insert Movie Poster Sylvia Sidney Joel Mccrea Humphrey Bogart R-1944Kissin Cousins Elvis Presley 1964 Aust Orig Daybill Movie Poster In Nrmint CondHuge Lot Of 87 Movie & Music Posters Dark Knight, Matrix, Lotr, Zeppelin & More!1926 Orig Movie Poster Nize Monkey A Sunkist Comedy ShortThe Vampire 1957  original Movie Poster 27x41 *authentic*Horror / Cult / Lot Of 8 Original Movie Posters! Werewolf, The Omen, More! The Fastest Guitar Alive One Sheet Movie Poster Roy Orbison Western 1967The Sting Original One Sheet Movie Poster 27x41 1974 NrmtUn Carnet De Bal,original Vtg 1937 Arg Movie Poster -julien Duvivier/ Marie BellElvis Presley King Creole Movie Poster 1959 Insert Re-issue Worldwide Shipping!!Rock All Night 1957 Movie Poster 27x41 Roger Corman Aip The Platters *authentic*Blichmann Floor Burner With 24" Leg ExtensionsVintage 1971 Vanishing Point Barry Newman Cleavon Little Action 1sh Movie PosterThe Fog,original Vintage 1980 Arg Movie Poster - John Carpenter / HorrorVintage Original James Bond "live And Let Die" Poster - Roger MooreVintage Original Poster For Movie "where Eagles Dare" - Clint Eastwood Gimme Shelter, Original Vtg 1970 Movie Poster - The Rolling Stones / Mick Jagger50 Shades Of Grey Movie Poster 40x27 Fifty Shades FirstCarrie One Sheet Movie Poster Sissy Spacek John Travolta Piper Laurie HorrorThe Omen / Damien Omen 2 - Uk Quad Poster 1978 - Rare Horror Gregory PeckLot Of 6 Original One Sheet 1970's Movie Poster 27x41 SexploitationLot Of 6 Original One Sheet 1970's Movie Posters 27x41 DisneyIndiscreet One Sheet Movie Poster Cary Grant Ingrid Bergman Romance 1958Jaws 3d Poster W/glasses Attached Rare 1983 Vintage One Sheet Movie1955 Original Universal Sci-fi "this Island Earth" Insert Poster Fine+!!Head One Sheet Movie Poster The Monkees Victor Mature Rock And Roll 1968Phantasm 1979 Original 1-sheet Horror Movie Poster Gore Angus Scrimm Joe Louis Jersey Joe Walcott 1947 Boxing Original Day Bill Linen Mint ConditionVampire Circus, Original Vintage 1972 Arg Movie Poster - Horror/ Robert YoungCamelot - Uk Quad Poster 1967 - Richard HarrisThe Naked Vampire 13x28 Italy 1970 Jean Rollin