Say what you will about science fiction movies, but they usually have cool posters. Sometimes, the poster sets the bar too high and becomes cooler than the movies itself: What story could measure up to the bombastic adventure promised by its glorious one-sheet?
Whether you’re a cinephile, a hardcore sci-fi fan, or just someone who loves eye-catching art, these 10 posters from classic and recent science fiction flicks are perfect for the walls of your media room.
A Trip to the Moon (1902)
The classic short film by Georges Méliès predates movie posters as we think of them today. Even so, its iconic image of a rocket ship, stuck in the eye of the Man in the Moon, has found its way onto countless dorm-room walls over the years.
The great thing about this image is its timelessness. It can decorate anything from a cluttered apartment to a classy kitchen and not feel the least bit out of place. Plus, these days you can buy this image on just about anything you can possibly imagine.
Forbidden Planet (1956)
There’s iconic, and then there’s the poster for Forbidden Planet. Not only is the film a sci-fi classic, but its one-sheet starring Robby the Robot, carrying an unconscious figure who is probably supposed to represent Anne Francis, is one of the most recognizable (and copied) posters of all time.
In fact, several different artists, including classic poster artist Roger Soubie and Spanish painter Carlos Escobar, did variations on the unforgettable image for various international releases of the film.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1969)
While recent years have seen something of a blowback against 2001’s status as one of the most-celebrated science fiction films of all time, there’s no denying how great and iconic the illustrated poster by Bob McCall is. The poster, which showcases a shuttle exiting a space station, captures the grandeur and imagination of the film.
Yog, Monster From Space (1970)
I’ll admit that this one is hanging on the wall of my own media room. It’s one of many bombastic, painted posters from Toho’s numerous giant monster movies. Yog, Monster from Space is usually better known in the States as Space Amoeba.
Under this other, more inexplicable title (there’s more than one monster; it’s never called “Yog”), the film gets its best movie poster. The one-sheet features some truly unforgettable ballyhoo and an incredible illustration of giant monsters battling spaceships astride the globe. (In the film itself, they spend the entire time on a small island in the South Pacific and never battle a single spaceship even once.)
Star Wars (1977)
Look, it’s Star Wars, so of course it’s on here. The Star Wars movies, for all of their ups and downs, have had a number of classic one-sheets over the years, but the original poster for the 1977 release of A New Hope deserves its spot on this list as a contender for your wall-space. With a powerful triangular composition split by lines of light coming off Luke’s lightsaber, the poster combines the style of classic fantasy novel covers with unforgettable sci-fi images like Darth Vader’s helmet and the Death Star.
It’s a perfect blend that lets you know what to expect from a new kind of film.
Blade Runner (1982)
Blade Runner is a classic film, and its poster is one of the most instantly recognizable in the history of cinema. John Alvin (who also did such iconic posters as E.T. and Gremlins) created the original poster for Blade Runner, and his work typifies not only the majesty of the film’s sci-fi setting but also its noir-ish undertones. The smoke wafting up from Sean Young’s cigarette is a particularly nice touch.
The Thing (1982)
Speaking of ominous, sci-fi posters don’t get much more threatening than Drew Struzan’s iconic poster for the 1982 John Carpenter classic. Struzan is one of the greatest poster-painters, having turned in work for everything from Indiana Jones and Back to the Future to the Harry Potter movie franchise, but this relatively simple piece may be his most instantly recognizable image. Plus, it does what only the best movie posters can do: sell you on the movie without revealing too much about what’s coming.
Movie posters don’t come much cooler than the memorable poster for Katsuhiro Otomo’s cyberpunk anime opus (based on his own manga of the same name). The poster may not give you much indication of just how weird the movie is eventually going to get, but that’s okay. Everybody who ever looked at this image of Tetsuo walking toward his bike, with that iconic jacket prominently displayed, wanted to see more.
In many cases, the rise of photo posters marked the end of the golden age, when sci-fi movie posters were works of art. Every now and then, though, a poster comes along with a sufficiently striking image to frame on the wall.
This early Duncan Jones joint from 2009 certainly qualifies. Featuring Sam Rockwell’s astronaut, isolated against an almost stereoscopic display of concentric circles that not only harkens to the eponymous moon but also suggests a maze with no exit, the poster looks sharp while beautifully capturing the themes of the movie.
Alien: Covenant (2017)
While Covenant is a controversial entry in the canon of the Alien franchise, Ridley Scott’s 2017 prequel did at least one thing right. Its moody and imposing poster art was inspired by classical paintings and sculptures and bears a more-than-passing resemblance to Rodin’s Gates of Hell.
The poster showcases not only the horror and grandeur of the film, but also draws attention to its classical influences, and it’s probably not especially controversial to say that it just might be better than the movie itself.