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    

Autographed Banner Poster Size Of Jennifer BrennanSid & Nancy British Quad Movie Poster Gary Oldman Chloe Webb Alex Cox Drama 1986Original One Sheet 27x41 Movie Poster Folded Clint Eastwood Dirty Harry 1971Original One Sheet 27x41 Movie Poster Folded Willy Wonka & The Chocolate FactoryThe Shining Rare 1979 Australian Original Daybill Movie Poster In Mint CondFinnish Film Poster: Kiss Meets The Phantom Of The Park (megarare!)Jaws 1975 One Sheet Movie PosterRape Of The Vampire Huge Jean Rollin Le Viol Du Vampire French Poster France '68Star Wars Sci-fi Original French Movie Poster '77 BackedKen Taylor Poltergeist Mondo Poster Custom Framed Or Unframed - RareThe Beach Girls And The Monster & The Strangler Half Sheet Movie Posters HorrorTexas Chainsaw Massacre Horror Tobe Hooper Original French Movie Poster 1Original One Sheet 27x41 Movie Poster Folded Mel Brooks Blazing Saddles Vg+ 1974Batman: The Silver Age Rare 12"x36" Poster By Dave Perillo Not Mondo Edi. Of 100The Ipcress File Michael Caine Spy Original French Movie Poster '65Batman 13x28 Italy 1966 Adam WestSmokey And The Bandit Original 1977 One Sheet Movie Poster 27" X 41"Tickle Me Elvis Presley Vrare 1965 Aust Orig Daybill Movie Poster In Mint CondMcfarlane Movie Poster Jaws Unopened Nip Mo Reserve Free ShippingOriginal One Sheet 27x41 Movie Poster Folded Foxy Brown W/ Tear1974Jaws 2 Rare 1978 Australian Original Daybill Movie Poster In Mint CondPhantasm-don Coscarelli-horror-killer Ball-sci Fi-os (27x41 Inch)Dick Tracy Vs. Crime Inc. One Sheet Movie Poster "dick Tracy Vs. Phantom Empire"S476. Vintage: Wheaties Lone Ranger Life-sized Promotional 25x75" Poster (1957)Original One Sheet 27x41 Movie Poster Folded American Graffiti 1974Die Hard One Sheet Movie Poster Bruce Willis Alan Rickman Action 1988Johnny Cupcakes Presents Casper Movie Poster #100 + Movie Exclusive Casper PinBrick Bradford Amazing Soldier Of Fortune One Sheet One Sheet Movie Poster 1947Silent Night, Evil Night 30x40 Movie Poster John Saxon Margot Kidder Horror 1974Original 1953 Phantom From Space 1/2 Sheet Movie Poster Science FictionThe Crazies George Romero Horror Original One Sheet PosterThe Girl On A Motorcycle One Sheet Movie Poster Alain Delon Exploitation 1968Halloween Iii 1982 Australian Original Daybill Movie Poster In Mint ConditionThe Day Mars Invaded Earth Insert Movie Poster Kent Taylor Marie Windsor 1963Steve Mcqueen Thomas Crown Affair Original French Movie Poster '68Original Bela Lugosi Poster - Window CardTexas Chainsaw Massacre Horror Tobe Hooper Original French Movie Poster 2The Italian Job Michael Caine Original French Movie Poster '69Support Your Local Gunfighter & Other One Sheet Movie Posters Lot Something BigOriginal One Sheet 27x41 Movie Poster Folded The French Connection 1971The Valley Of Gwangi Ray Harryhausen Dinosaurs Original One Sheet PosterThe Taking Of Pelham One Two Three 30x40 Movie Poster Walter Matthau Crime 1974Superman The Movie Rare 1978 Australian Orig Daybill Movie Poster In Nrmint CondThe Grande Bouffe Ferreri Original French Movie Poster '73Death Rides A Horse & Other One Sheet Movie Posters Lot Gator Moving ViolationIl Gatto A Nove Code 8 X 19x27 Italy Fotobusta 1971 Dario ArgentoBlood On The Lips 39x55 Italy 1971 Delphine SeyrigS475. Vintage: Roy Rogers & Trigger Near Life-size 67.25"x24" Poster (1957)The Wild Blue Yonder Original French Movie Poster '51 Ww2 Plane PlanesMidnight Cowboy John Voight Dustin Hoffman Original One Sheet Poster X RatingVintage Movie Poster 1950 Armored Car Robbery Rko Film Noir CrimeSuspiria Horror Argento Original French Movie Poster '77The Beyond Fulci Horror Original French Movie Poster '81The Thing John Carpenter Horror Sci-fi Original French Movie Poster '82The Dead Eyes Of London Horror Original French Movie Poster '61 LithoThe Interview: Movie Poster Original D/s 72x67 Bus Shelter Poster1977 Original Movie Poster~star Wars~large Subway Poster~italy~vg Cond~rare! Aust Daybill 1985 The Goonies Gold Mine In The Sky Stock One Sheet Movie Poster Gene Autry Western R-1940sWestern All Black Cast Mantan Moreland Come On Cowboy 1 Sht