Back to the Future. The Thing. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Coming to America.
What do these movies have in common, apart from the fact that they’re treasured classics?
Answer – all their posters were created by the greatest of movie artists: Drew Struzan.
Born in Oregon in 1947, Struzan began his career designing album covers for bands like The Beach Boys, Bee Gees and Black Sabbath. For the rather paltry sum of $250 per cover, he was designing artwork for some seminal records. Many of them would go on sell millions, such as Alice Cooper’s Welcome to my Nightmare.
But it wasn’t until 1978 that Struzan made his first big step into the field he would come to dominate. Working with airbrush artist Charles White III, he helped design a new film poster for Star Wars’ re-release. The result was a groundbreaking piece of work: a print made to look like a circus poster that had been pasted on hoarding.
This wouldn’t be the last time Struzan painted a film poster for George Lucas. Over the next decade, he could become one of the most highly-sought creators of movie artwork.
Here are just a few you might recognise from the bedroom walls and VHS box-covers of your past:
The Muppet Movie (1979)
Adventures in Babysitting (1987)
The Muppets Christmas Carol (1992)
Back to the Future (1985)
Back to the Future Part II (1989)
Back to the Future Part III (1990)
The Goonies (1985)
Coming to America (1988)
First Blood (1982)
Blade Runner: Director’s/Final Cut (1992/2002)
The Thing (1982)
Police Academy (1984)
An American Tale (1986)
Return of the Jedi (1984)
This poster made its way into cinema lobbies with the title ‘Revenge of the Jedi’. George Lucas later changed his mind and altered it to be more family-friendly.
Note the title change for the American release. UK audiences didn’t get to see the Struzan poster, sadly.