'That is a very beautiful image.'

(Victoria & Abdul)

Almost everyone immediately recognizes a movie poster when they see one. The presentation of the title, the use of colors and the images of the actors that star in it; it instantly tells you are looking at a movie poster. Sometimes it also tells you where the story is set by showing one or several locations.

A movie poster that immediately stands out when looking for posters with locations on it, is the one Bill Gold made for Ryan's Daughter in 1970. Gold is without doubt a master. He designed posters for classics like Casablanca, Escape from Alcatraz and Platoon.

What makes the poster for the movie by legendary director David Lean so special is that it's hand painted - like most posters from the early days - and that it is one of the few examples that portrays the location so much larger than its characters. As if to emphasize how beautiful the movie is thanks to that remarkable location. By the way, if you want to know: it's Barrow Beach on the west coast of Ireland.

Manhattan, A River Runs Through it and Taxi Driver.

It is not often that locations are shown so overwhelmingly. Although, in the 70s there suddenly was a trend of striking black and white movie posters starring these amazing locations. Taxi Driver, Rocky and Manhattan are all true movie poster classics. For movie buffs who love fun facts: the poster of that iconic Woody Allen movie - starring the Queensboro Bridge in New York - was made by the man who also designed the world famous 007 logo: Joseph Caroff.

In 1992 director Robert Redford also dared to give the location of his new movie the lead role on the poster. We are talking about A River Runs Through It. It is a lovely example because none other than Brad Pitt played one of the leading roles in that movie. Only when it turned out that Pitt had true star appeal, they made a new poster featuring him in the center of it. The wonderful Gallatin River in Montana had to settle for a smaller role. Too bad because the original is not only a powerful invitation to watch the movie, but also to visit the location.

Once Upon a time in America, Joker and The Last Emperor

A completely different type of movie that often highlights locations is the apocalyptic movie. Extraordinary examples are I Am Legend, Oblivian and Independence Day where we see how the Brooklyn Bridge, the Manhattan Bridge and the Empire State Building are almost completely destroyed. All thanks to ... well, Photoshop.

Personally, I prefer posters that use one key image from the movie and let it speak for itself. The posters of The Piano, Joker and let's not forget The Last Emperor are all examples of how powerful one image can be. That's why I think it's a shame they made such a mess of the original poster for Once Upon a Time in America. All they needed to do was use the classic image of the friends crossing the street and the title of the movie. Don't you agree?

Lupin, The Trial of the Chicago 7 and The Two Popes

Fortunately, the design department of Netflix hired someone who knows how to use locations to promote a new movie or series. The designer that created the poster for The Two Popes, The Trial of Chicago 7 and the television series Lupin could have easily chosen to use the faces of the main actors. They are all important actors. Everyone would have understood. Instead, he chose to use these impressive locations to get the message across. You don't hear me complain...

Eric of SCEEN IT

August 6, 2021