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    

Big Trouble In Little China - Uk Quad Poster 1986 - Kurt RussellThe Shining - Uk Quad Poster 1980 - Jack Nicholson Iconic HorrorHalloween * 1978 Original Movie Poster 1sh John Carpenter's Michael Myers MaskPlanet Of The Apes * 1968 Original Movie Poster 1sh Charlton Heston HalloweenJurassic World 5ft Movie Poster 2015 (read)Mondo Print Ken Taylor Terminator 2 Metal Super Rare Xx/20 Holy Grail StoutDirty Harry * 1971 Original Movie Poster 1sh Clint Eastwood Detective ClassicPrisoner Of The Cannibal God - Uk Quad Poster 1978- Ursula AndressOriginal 're-animator' 1985 28"x41" One Sheet Movie Poster 1980's Horror NiceTo Kill A Mockingbird *1962 Original Movie Poster 1sh Gregory Peck Harper Lee's Iron Man Ds Movie Poster Cast Signed Autograph Robert Downey Jr Avenger PremiereVintage 1937 Woman In Distress Movie Poster Lurid Classic Film Noir Crime Drama1971 Mexican Wrestler Lucha Libre Film Poster Santo Mummy Vintage Cult Horror NrAvengers Age Of Ultron Cast Signed Poster1966 Folded Movie Poster - The Endless Summer - $4.00 S&hThor Ds Movie Poster Cast Signed Autograph Chris Hemsworth Avenger Premiere Young Frankenstein 1974 Original 1 Sheet Movie Poster 41"x27" Style B Rolled"taxi Driver" 1976 Original 1 Sheet Movie Poster 41"x27" Rolled Not FoldedThe Hills Have Eyes - Uk Quad Poster 1977 - Michael Berryman HorrorHalloween Iii 3 * 1982 Original Movie Poster Uk Quad Season Of The Witch Masks The Wild Bunch *1969 Original Movie Poster 1sh Sam Peckinpah Western MasterpieceGremlins - Uk Quad Poster 1984 - Zach Galligan HorrorTarantula Jack Arnold John Agar 14x21 Window Card Poster1953 Gentlemen Prefer Blondes 1 Sheet Movie Poster 27x41 Restored Monroe RussellStar Wars The Force Awakens Original Double-sided 27x40 Theatrical Movie PosterDisney Lone Ranger Movie California Adventure Disneyland Premiere Prop Banner1941 Doomed Caravan 1 Sheet Western Movie Poster 27x41 Unrestored William BoydPirates Of The Caribbean At World's End Movie Disney Promotional Vinyl BannerSilent Scream - Uk Quad Poster 1980 - Barbara Steele HorrorScarface * 1983 Original Movie Poster 1sh Al Pacino Tony Montana Coke AuthenticThe Green Slime - Uk Quad Poster 1967 - Robert HortonThe Texas Chainsaw Massacre * Original Movie Poster 1sh 1980 New Line HalloweenThe Vagabond, Original Charlie Chaplin Silent Movie Poster, Not A Repro. 1916Day Of The Dead *1985 Original Movie Poster Romero Zombie Dawn Of Dead HalloweenGhostbusters 2 - Uk Quad Poster 1989 - Bill MurrayThe Shining - Perkins 2008 - Mondo - KubrickIt Follows Original Movie Poster 27x40 Variant Very Rare!!!The Exorcist *1973 Original Movie Poster 1sh Linda Blair Devil Halloween HorrorOriginal 1961 'scanty Panties' 27x41 Adults Only Movie Poster Virginia Bell SexBantha & Tusken Raider Sdcc 2014 Hallmark Exclusive Star Wars Itty Bittys + MoreThe Dirty Dozen * Original Movie Poster 1sh Lee Marvin Charles Bronson Jim Brown Vtg Horror Sign Texas Chainsaw Massacre Dawn Of The Dead Incredible Melting Man1969 Mexican Wrestler Lucha Libre Horror Film Poster El Santo Dracula VampireA Fistful Of Dynamite Sergio Leone Original Uk Quad Poster 1972 - Rod SteigerChain Gang - Uk Quad Poster 1950 - Douglas Kennedy"rare"!!! Star Wars Pre Release Poster "coming To Your Galaxy This Summer" 1976Original Back To The Future 1985 27"x41" Nss One Sheet Movie Poster AwesomeHalloween 4 * Original Movie Poster Uk Quad Michael Myers Mask Danielle HarrisRare 1929 Clara Bow "saturday Night Kid" Movie Poster...wow!Evil Of Frankenstein Peter Cushing Hammer Horror 14x36 Insert PosterStar Wars The Force Awakens! 2015 27x40 Ds Poster! New! Teaser1945 Earl Carroll Vanities 1 Sh Movie Poster Unrestored Stone Litho No ReserveFurious 7 Ds Movie Poster Cast Signed Premiere Autograph Vin Diesel Fast And Disney Marvel Avengers 2 Age Of Ultron Original Movie Poster Ds 27x40Empire Of The Ants - Uk Quad Poster 1977 - Joan Collins HorrorTomorrowland Ds Movie Poster Cast Signed Premiere Autograph George ClooneyRocky 2-sylvester Stallone-boxe-talia Shire-c.weathers-os Rematch Style (27x41) Raiders Of The Lost Ark 1981 Half Sheet Original Movie Poster Indiana JonesThe Wild One Daybill Film Poster 1954 Marlon Brando Motorbike ClassicPhantasm-michael Baldwin Angus Scrimm--original 1979 One Sheet Movie Poster