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    

Dawn Of The Dead - Uk Quad Poster 1978- Halloween Horror AuctionLaurent Durieux The Iron Giant Mondo Print (drafthouse Event Release)The Shining - Uk Quad Poster 1980 - Halloween Horror AuctionOne Million Years B.c / She - Uk Quad 1966 - Raquel Welch Hammer Horror Halloween * 1978 Original Movie Poster 1sh Michael Myers Mask Vintage Near MintTyler Stout Monster Squad Variant Mondo Drafthouse Screening PrintThe Searchers Insert Movie Poster John Wayne & Jeffrey Hunter 1956 Western Dracula Has Risen From The Grave - Uk Quad 1968 - Christopher Lee Hammer Horror Batman 1966 Regular Martin Ansin Mondo PosterThe Lost Patrol One Sheet Movie Poster Victor Mclaglen & Boris Karloff R-1949Interstellar Original Movie Poster Huge 4' X 6' Bus Shelter Poster D/sBlade Runner Rare 1982 Australian Orig Daybill Movie Poster In Nr Mint ConditionSuper Fly One Sheet Movie Poster Ron O'neal & Sheila Frazier 1972Night Of The Living Dead 1968 Original Poster George Romero In Time 4 HalloweenChristopher Nolan Interstellar Original Bus Shelter Movie Poster 4x6 Imax 70mmThe Goonies 1985 Original Us One Sheet Movie Poster 27 X 41 RolledMad Max - Us 1 Sheet Original Movie Poster - One SheetThe Silence Of The Lambs - Uk Quad Poster 1991 - Halloween Horror AuctionJaws - 14 X 36 Insert Original Movie Poster - Well Preserved Vintage Rare Kiss Attack Of The Phantoms Movie Poster 1978 Australian Daybill Alien Wbyk We Buy Your Kids Mondo Poster Sold Out Rare Movie StoutThe Burning - Uk Quad Poster 1981 - Halloween Horror AuctionHalloween Ii 2 * 1981 Original Movie Poster 1sh Michael Myers Mask Pumpkin SkullThe Brood / Dawn Of The Dead- Uk Quad Poster 1979 - Halloween Horror AuctionClint Eastwood In The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly*orig 1ssh Poster 68/41Autographed Jeff Gordon Transformers Revenge Of The Fallen HatBold Silkscreen Vintage Cuban Movie Poster Soviet Space Missile Sputnik Op ArtBlood Lust/blood Mania Combo, Tender Flesh & More One Sheet Movie Posters HorrorThe Breakfast Club One Sheet Movie Poster Emilio Estevez & Judd Nelson 1985First Blood-rambo-s.stallone-british Quad Unfolded (40x30 Inch)Theatre Sign Cinema Theater Poster Ticket Drive In Neon Look Game Room MobilGrave Of The Vampire - Uk Quad Poster 1972 - Halloween Horror Auction Two-lane Blacktop Australian Daybill Movie Poster James Taylor Warren Oates 1971Mondo Poster Beautiful Red Predator Variant By Ken Taylor, No Reserve Of 175Authentic Vintage Movie Poster "santa Claus Conquers The Martians" One 1 Sheet Jock Halloween Variant Print From Mondo And Thoughtbubble (john Carpenter)Return Of The Jedi - 14 X 36 Insert Original Movie Poster - Star WarsKen Taylor Creature From The Black Lagoon (mondo Universal Monsters Gallery)Mad Max 2 Ii Original Movie Film Poster '81 Australian Action Apocalyptic GibsonTaxi Driver - Original One Sheet Movie Poster 1976 - Robert De NiroThe Omen 2 - Uk Quad Poster 1978 - Ultra Rare Mahler Haley VersionBeneath The Planet Of The Apes Rare 1970 Aust Orig Daybill Movieposter Good CondThe Exorcist - Uk Quad Poster 1973 - Halloween Horror AuctionThe Bounty Hunter One Sheet Movie Poster Randolph Scott & Dolores Dorn 1954Silent Running Australian Daybill Movie Poster Autographed By Bruce Dern 1972Gi Blues Original 1sh Movie Poster 1960 Elvis Presley Juliet ProwseEcstasy Trimmed Independent Regional One Sheet Movie Poster Hedy Lamarr 1930sMoonraker-sci Fi-james Bond-r. Moore-r.kiel-space-art By Gouzee-6sh Int‘l (81x81The Man With The Golden Gun One Sheet Movie Poster Roger Moore James Bond 1974Sin City A Dame To Kill For Eva Green Original 27x40 Ds Double Sided Poster NewDirty Harry/magnum Force Combo One Sheet Movie Poster Clint Eastwood 1975The Girl Can't Help It Insert Movie Poster Tom Ewell & Jayne Mansfield 1956Authentic Vintage Movie Poster "the Blues Brothers" One 1 Sh, 7 Lobby Cards Vintage Rare Halloween Cult Horror Movie Poster 1978 Australian Daybill Killers Moon - Uk Quad Poster 1980 - Halloween Horror AuctionBing Crosby Vintage Stock One Sheet Movie Poster R-1939 Atlantic PicturesStar Wars Episode Iv 1980's Rare Bootleg Style C Theatrical PosterPretty Things Float Poster - Mondo - Jc Richard - Frankenstein - Limited To 375Exorcist Double Bill - Uk Quad Poster 1977 - Halloween Horror AuctionThe Brides Of Dracula 6 X 19x27 Italy Fotobusta 1960 Peter Cushing