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    

Buxom Burlesque Beauty Tempest Storm French Peep Show 1954 Documentary Poster NrThe Thing * No Reserve * Cinemasterpieces Rolled Nm-m Original Movie Poster 1982Limited Edition Shout/scream Factory Halloween Lithograph Free ShippingDark Knight Cinemasterpieces Original Movie Poster Batman Why So Serious ? JokerPulp Fiction * No Reserve * Cinemasterpieces Original Movie Poster C9-c10 UnusedShout Scream Factory Halloween: The Complete Collection Limited LithographThe Marx Brothers A Night At The Opera 1935 Window Card Poster Al Hirschfeld Bullitt Movie Poster-steve Mcqueen/jacqueline Bisset/robert Vaughn One-sheetRobocop * No Reserve * Cinemasterpieces Rolled Original Movie Poster 1987Horror Poster Lot- The Shining, Evil Dead 2, Poltergeist, Halloween! Cult/mondo Halloween: The Complete Collection Limited Lithograph - 1 Of 500 Out Of Print!Creepshow British Quad Poster Uk Horror George Romero Tom Savini Stephen King Back To The Future 1985 Vintage Drew Struzan Art Daybill Movie PosterReturn Of The Jedi No Reserve Cinemasterpieces Movie Poster Star Wars LightsaberReturn Of The Living Dead Large Reprint Poster Vestron Video Uk Image ZombiesAndy Warhol's Dracula One Sheet Movie Poster Joe Dallesandro & Udo Kier 1974Star Wars Revenge Of The Jedi One Sheet No Date Printers ProofMichelangelo Antonioni =blow-up= 1967 Japan Movie Poster Vanessa Redgrave BlowupFriday The 13th Part 2 - Uk Quad 1981 - Betsey Palmer Horror Dpp Video NastyScream And Scream Again & When The Screaming Stops One Sheet Movie Posters 1970sBeyond The Valley Of The Dolls One Sheet Movie Poster Russ Meyer Pam Grier 1970The Silent Scream - Uk Quad 1979 - Cameron Mitchell Horror Tom Chantrell ArtThe Dark Knight *2008 Original Movie Poster 1sh Heath Ledger Joker D/s HalloweenStar Wars Episode Iv 1980's Rare Bootleg Style C Theatrical PosterTron Original 1982 Walt Disney/ Bally Midway Arcade Game 1 Sheet Promo Poster Magnum Force Movie Poster-clint Eastwood-first Dirty Harry Sequel-one Sheet!Endless Summer Movie Surf Bruce Brown Surfing A3 Art Print Poster Yf5175Once Upon A Time In The West *no Resv Cinemasterpieces Movie Poster Western 1969Star Wars Episode 1 One Phantom Menace * No Reserve Original Movie Poster 1999Guardians Of The Galaxy Double-sided Poster ~ 27x40 ~ Chris Pratt Disney MarvelPoster/lobby Card Lot- Escape From New York, James Bond, Lolita! (cult/mondo)Godzilla Ds Movie Poster Cast Signed Premiere Autograph Bryan Cranston FilmCat On A Hot Tin Roof/butterfield 8 Combo One Sheet Movie Poster Drama R-1966Ghostbuster 30th 27x 40" Official Double Sided Movie Poster **see Description**The Haunted Strangler One Sheet Movie Poster Boris Karloff & Jean Kent 1958Battlestar Galactica & Buck Rogers In The 25th Century One Sheet Movie PostersStar Wars Movie Poster 70's One Sheet Artwork 24x36 Poster Art Print - Free ShipBride Of Frankenstein 1-sheet Movie Poster Famous Universal Monsters KarloffRare Horror Movie Poster Lot... Phantasm! Phantom Of The Paradise! (cult/mondo) On Her Majesty's Secret Service One Sheet Movie Poster James Bond Lazenby 1970Octopussy * No Reserve * Cinemasterpieces Rolled James Bond Movie Poster 1983Guardians Of The Galaxy 27x40 PosterDead And Buried - Uk Quad 1981 - James Farentino Horror Dpp Video Nasty1966 Batman Movie Adam West Australian Daybill Movie Poster Hand-litho Near MintMondo Rob Jones & Ken Taylor Battle Not With Monsters Mondo-con Exclusive Le 175Star Wars Poster Lot...the Empire Strikes Back & Return Of The Jedi! Cult/mondo An American Werewolf In London One Sheet Movie Poster David Naughton 1981Ambush Vintage One Sheet Movie Poster Cladys Swarthout & Lloyd Nolan 1939Play Misty For Me & Every Which Way But Loose One Sheet Clint Eastwood Lot 1970sFrozen Ds Movie Poster Cast Signed Premiere Autograph Oscars Disney Let It GoDesert Vigilante One Sheet Movie Poster Charles Starrett Peggy Stewart 1949Authentic Vintage Movie Poster "the Miraculous Blackhawk" Chapter 2 One 1 Sheet Theatre Sign Cinema Theater Poster Ticket Drive In Neon Look Game Room MobilLady Of Burlesque Half Sheet Movie Poster Barbara Stanwyck & Michael O'shea 1943The Flash 4x6 Ft Bus Shelter Poster Wb Gotham Barry Allan 1st Appearance ComicsThe Greatest One Sheet Movie Poster Muhammad Ali & Ernest Borgnine 1977Das Boot Aka The Boat - Uk Quad 1981 - Jurgen Prochnow Rare 1st Release! Alain Resnais =last Year At Marienbad= 1964 Japan Movie PosterHalloween The Complete Collection Limited Editon Lithograph. Oop Only 500 Made!Steven Spielberg Poster Lot - Indiana Jones, E.t., Close Encounters! Cult/mondo