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August 31, 2022 4 min read

The Sixties… swinging, flamboyant, expressive. An era of counterculture and social revolution. And one area that this counterculture movement had a dramatic effect was film, where social taboos such as sex, drugs and violence were dissected and put up on the big screen for all to see. Naturally this spilled over into the poster art of the decade as well, and probably explains why it is our favourite for poster art!

Here are some of our choice picks from the decade. In chronological order…

Dr No 1963 French Petite Film Poster

Dr No 1963 French Petite Film Poster

The 60s was the decade that saw the start of one of the most successful film franchises ever, James Bond. One of the best Bond film posters for the decade is the Dr. No French petite poster featuring stunning artwork by Boris Grinsson. An exceptionally rare and highly collectible poster.

Le Mépris 1963 Frencg Grande Film Poster

Fabulous, country of origin, poster of French 60s classic Le Mépris. Stunning artwork of Brigitte Bardot by Georges Allard.

A Fistful of Dollars 1967 US 1 Sheet Advance Style B Film Poster

Fistful of Dollars 1967 US 1 Sheet Advance Style B poster

The Dollars Triology - A Fistful of Dollars (1964), For a Few Dollars More (1965) and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) - the best westerns ever made? Possibly. The 1967 US 1 Sheet Advance Style B is certainly one of the best posters.

Blow-Up 1967 Italian 4 Foglio Film Poster

A sexually explicit (for its time) and explosive film – one of the finest examples of the relaxing of sexual taboos of the era. In fact it has been cited as a contributing factor in the eventual demise of the Production Code (which had refused to approve it). All of the Blow-Up poster versions are great but our fav would have to be the Italian 4 Foglio, which at a massive 55 x 78 inches deserves to only ever be hung in a cool loft conversion.

Cool Hand Luke 1967 US 1 Sheet Film Poster

The poster that does not fail to communicate. The US one sheet has some great pop art visuals and sums up effectively the film’s essence and style perfectly.

My Fair Lady 1967 Czech A1 Film Poster

My Fair Lady 1967 Czech A1 Film Poster

Another favourite from the decade. The US poster for My Fair Lady with artwork by Bob Peak is well celebrated, however Orson & Welles think the Czech poster with art by Zdenek Kaplan is the fairest of them all! It features artwork far more contemporary, edgy and cool than its US counterpart.

The Dirty Dozen 1967 US 1 Sheet Film Poster

“Train them! Excite them! Arm them! ..Then turn them loose on the Nazis!”. Another taboo. Robert Aldrich’s ultra violent and controversial WWII flick reaped rewards as it netted the biggest takings for the year. The film and this US one sheet are obvious influences on Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds.

Point Blank 1967 Italian 2 Foglio Film Poster

This crime thriller did not fare well at the box office when it was released but it is now firmly a cult favourite. The US artwork has a fabulous pop art feel, however we prefer the artwork on the Italian 2 Fogli with its lovely rich colours.

Barbarella 1968 Argentinian Film Poster

Barbarella 1968 Argentinian Film Poster

Like Blow-up another fine example of the relaxing of sexual taboos of the time. This sexually explicit  (by contemporary standards) sci-fi is well represented in the film’s poster with Jane Fonda clad in one of her provocative get-ups. Some great alternative artwork was done for Barbarella, one of our favs is this wonderfully psychedelic Argentinian film poster (the same design also featured on teh US advance 40x60 poster).

Bullitt 1968 Italian 4 Foglio Film Poster

Bullitt 1968 Italian 4 Foglio Film Poster

Another iconic film. McQueen was reluctant to do this film as he thought playing a cop didn’t fit in with his cool image. However we think he still looks pretty cool in the Italian 4 Foglio movie poster, our favourite version. At approx 55x77 inches it delivers maximum impact in terms of design.

The Thomas Crown Affair 1968 US 1 Sheet Film Poster

The Thomas Crown Affair 1968 US 1 Sheet

Another McQueen classic and a truly excellent film, far superior to its reasonable remake. The US poster is fittingly one of the best posters of the decade, the two tone simplicity of it is very powerful and portrays the romantic nature of the film perfectly.

Easy Rider 1969 Japanese B2 Film Poster

Another film that was significant in the counterculture movement of the era. Focusing on the drug culture of the time summed up nicely in the legendary phrase “The 60s, if you remember it man you weren’t there”. My preferred version of the poster, Japanese B2 (in blue), really does credit to this seminal road movie.

The Italian Job 1969 US 3 Sheet Film Poster

The Italian Job 1969 US 3 Sheet Film Poster

It tends to follow that the most iconic films are accompanied by the most iconic poster art. Popularity of the film will fuel the appreciation of the poster art, and vice versa. However in the case of The Italian Job the US poster was not well received on release and it has been blamed for the poor performance of the film on initial release. Ironically the understated charm of the poster has made it more popular than ever and, with the fortunes of both film and poster having fared better in recent decades, it illustrates how poster art can make sound investment.