007 Posters / A Top Ten List

This is in my entry way at home. 007 greets you at the front door.

Last year in all the hubbub around the release of Skyfall, I put up several lists of Bond related rankings. The blog-a-thon I participated in includes dozens of other posts that I shared. Many of those ranked the Villains, Title Songs or Bond girls. I don’t know why it never occurred to me that a poster ranking would be a ripe subject for me. My Blogging friend from Long Island, Eric, suggested this to me the other day, and I smacked myself on the forehead wondering why it had never occurred to me. I have two or three books that cover all the Bond posters, and publicity material and I am an avid collector of posters myself. As soon as Eric suggested it, I immediately went to a file on my computer where I have most of the images stored, I’ve used that file for a screensaver a couple of times since I’ve had this current computer. I first chose a poster from each 007 film. Most of them have a teaser poster, which appears in theater lobbies several months before the film arrives. That is usually followed by an advance sheet, sometimes referred to as the “A” sheet, which usually has the main artwork and tag lines for the movie. When a film actually shows up in theaters, there is a “B” sheet that is a slight variation of the “A” but includes contractual credits and refinements of the artwork. Once reviews appear, then the posters get modified with blurbs from critics. Finally, there are character posters that have become a trend in the last twenty years or so, each poster featuring leading characters from the story.

That is a lot of posters to choose from, and I wanted to pick only posters that I liked. So all 24 Bond films will not be represented here. Instead, I will share the cream of the crop. I did choose to limit a film to one appearance on the list, but the poster could come from any of the different lines of posters.I did not include the limited edition print versions of the Bond posters that adorn my family room wall, but I may give you a peek at the end of this post.

10. Die Another Day Teaser

This is the Advance U.S. One Sheet, sometimes known as a teaser. It does not include the star of the film or any images from the movie, given the film itself that was a wise idea. It does let us know the title and that it is a James Bond Film. I like the effect of the gun, hot from recent use, melting into the block of ice. It suggests action without showing any. The ice theme is a big part of the film, both in reference to one of the locations but also to the use of diamonds as a Maguffin.

9. Diamonds are Forever

This is the U.S. one sheet that is the version used when the film makes it’s appearance in theaters. This art work was done by Robert McGinnis, who painted a number of the iconic Bond works of the sixties and seventies. I particularly like the pose of James Bond on the top of the arm of the moon buggy, and the girls holding the diamonds at crotch level, drawing focus to that part of the image. The explosions on the oil rig and the diamond encrusted satellite make the story intriguing. The one thing missing from the poster is any reference to Las Vegas, where the majority of the film takes place. When I saw this poster in the foyer of the Garfield Theater in 1971, I knew I wanted to see Sean Connery as James Bond, back again.

8. Casino Royale Teaser

Daniel Craig is introduced as James Bond in this advance teaser for the film. The lighting of the shot sets an ominous tone for the film. The poker chips combined with the title remind us that it is a gambling theme that will be the focus of our hero’s conflict. The gun laid out on the gaming table tells us that the stakes are more than money. I love the strategic line up of the words in the title to allow the O’s in each word to form the iconic 007 gun logo. I also think it was very effective not to have Bond looking directly at us. The photography was by Greg Williams.

   7. The Spy Who Loved Me

007 and Triple X are featured back to back in evening wear, as they stand above stolen nuclear submarines, and in front of the Egyptian Pyramids that are the location of a major section of the film. In a nod to the era of films before it, the corners feature action beats and settings. All of this using a color palate that screams the seventies. The art is the product of Bob Peak. It’s BOND and BEYOND, a little word play with the name of our hero.

6. Octopussy

This is the second of two teaser posters(a B Style). The first featured a half seen Octopussy from the rear, facing eight mirrored Roger Moore Bonds. The A sheet features this image but adds some additional artistic splashes of action in the foreground and corners. I prefer this version because it emphasizes Bond but keeps the Octo reference on the right character. Like an eight armed Shiva, Octopussy is embracing and threatening to Bond at the same time. The Shiva like reference and the costume hint at the locations for the film, without coming right out and saying India. The artwork is by Dan Goozee.

5. The Man With the Golden Gun (Christmas Teaser)

As you can probably tell at this point, I like teaser posters. They hold the allure of the movie out, without revealing too much. They do exactly what they are supposed to do, peak our interest and make us anticipate. The gadgets have always been a draw for Bond films, and here is one featured in the poster. No artist or Art director was listed in my sources, these images appear to be art renderings of photographs. The way the gun comes together is shown in that last image before the title border. The film opened at Christmas time so the idea that the villain has a present for James Bond is used in the tag line. You can buy a replica of the Golden Gun, the last time I looked it was about $450.

4. Goldfinger

The most arresting image on this poster is the nude woman painted gold. That was an iconic image from the 1960s and it is the central focus of this poster. While not as visually striking as some of the other posters on my list, the black background and the gold highlights look great together. This promotion has a terrific play on the idea of the Midas Touch, instead of gold, everything he touches turns to excitement. The layout is attributed to David Chasman and Robert Brownjohn. The “Golden Girl” image was used on most of the promotional material for this film.

3. Thunderball

James Bond in a Jet Pack! 007 in an underwater battle! Our hero surrounded by women in swimsuits! My dreams have come true. The art work from this poster made me want the steel lunchbox that I never got. I love the tag lines building and the use of the logo in the word LOOK, this was very clever branding. Frank McCarthy and Robert McGinnis did the artwork. Special kudos to McCarthy on the Jet Pack painting, it is spectacular work.

2. The World is Not Enough Teaser

Forget “The Hunger Games”, here is the real “Girl on Fire”. The reverse silhouette of the girl in the flames, surrounded by a back background is amazing enough, but then you notice the figure of James Bond, posing in the traditional gun in hand position and it becomes something even more. Bond’s outline and the girls, merge to form one of the few photoshop style designs that have ever been used on a poster that I liked. Again, the golden 007 logo announces the release date for the film and tells us nothing about the story. It uses iconographic symbols to pull us in with desire.  It is like a single frame from a Maurice Binder title sequence. The credit goes to Creative Director Randi Braun, Art Director Diane Reynolds, and choreographer Vincent Patterson.

1. Live and Let Die

Robert McGinnis returns one more time to my list for the fantastic art work he did for this poster. Before I comment on it let’s look at a couple of other elements. This was Roger Moore’s first Bond film, and the graphic designer took advantage of his first and last names, to again utilize the 007 icon. They also used a dagger in the tittle to suggest the danger in the film. This movie may have some dated elements to it, but the whole voodoo tarot card motif was visually exciting and it is integrated into the poster very effectively. The woman representing Solitaire, does not look like or dress like Jane Seymour in the film, but she sits astride the big gun between Bond’s legs and fans the deck of tarot cards toward us alluringly. The larger deck of cards seems to offer 007 up as the main character card, flanked by Baron Samedi and a bevy of beautiful women, representing the Devil, Lovers and Fortune.  In the foreground are explosions, car crashes and a giant alligator vomiting out a speed boat. Bond gazes out calmly in his raised gun pose and takes it all in. The image is colorful, evocative and memorable. Those are all things a movie poster should be, on top of that the artwork is just gorgeous.
I’m sorry to say I have only two of these posters in my own collection. Some day when those lotto numbers come in, I’ll indulge myself and travel around the world in pursuit of a complete collection, like bubble gum cards. Until then, I can admire them from afar, I hope you will as well. 
And her’s a little something for Eric.

12 thoughts on “007 Posters / A Top Ten List

  1. The standard one sheet for MOONRAKER remains my favorite James Bond movie poster and just happens to be the only one that I own. Thanks for honoring my suggestion, Richard!

  2. Gotta have that Casino Royale teaser higher! That's one of the best ones ever…

    I love the “Dr No” poster as well, its the only Bond poster I have hanging. 😀

  3. Great idea for a Bond post, Richard. I'd have to think about this some, what would make my top ten. I mean, looking at it strictly graphically, poster-wise and not letting my feelings toward the film (good or bad) get in the way. Wonderful list.

  4. I have to say, in all honesty, I haven't been too particularly crazy about ANY James Bond movie poster since A VIEW TO A KILL (1985). In fact, once you get past the immediate thrill of those great, sexy, long legs in the FOR YOUR EYES ONLY (1981) poster (because I was just 14 years-old when that film came out and my young male hormones were raging!), the artwork is not all that great. But like I said, long, sexy legs have a way of speaking for themselves! Yowsa!!!

  5. I worked for a Photography Film service doing deliveries in 1981. I saw those Legs being put together (so to speak) on the light tables at Bertco Publishing/Printing when I made my daily drop. I never got to take one, even though I asked politely.

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