8 Classic Movies with Shitty Posters

Some movie posters are as renowned as the movies that originated them: ET biking through the moon in ET. Jodie Foster eating a moth in Silence of the Lambs. Jean-Claude Van Damme flexing his right arm in every movie he's been in. You know a poster has done its job when just hearing the name of the movie makes you think of it.

But sometimes, the opposite happens: we hail a film as a classic for the ages, completely forgetting that the original poster looked like butt. Not even a good butt. The butt of someone created by people who have no idea how to design posters. I don't know how the following movies ever became famous when the first thing most people saw about them looked like this:

#8. Groundhog Day -- Bill Murray Lives Inside a Clock

Columbia Pictures

The Classic Movie:

The epic, 10,000 year-long story of a man stuck in time who must cope with immortality and his own dickishness. Although it wasn't appreciated at first (our brains weren't fully evolved back in 1993, as evidenced by The Nanny's inexplicable popularity), Groundhog Day is now seen as the turning point in Bill Murray's ascension from funny actor to mythological figure. This movie is one of the greatest accomplishments of our culture.

The Shitty Poster:

And that poster is one of the worst. I want to send a squad of Terminators back in time to the meeting where that poster was decided. It must have gone something like this:

"So, what's the movie about?"

"Bill Murray is stuck in time and ..."

"Stuck in time. OK. Put him inside a clock."

"Literally inside the clock?"

"Yes, and obviously the clock has to be unrealistically oversized in order to fit him. But not all of him. Just his head. Meanwhile, Andie MacDowell is also there and doesn't give a shit that Bill is clearly pleading to be let out."

Columbia Pictures
"Fuck 'im."

"I, uh, was thinking maybe something with the groundhog would make se-"

"Do this, or I will put a turd in your mouth. I swear to God."

The worst part? Like Murray himself in the movie, they had a chance to repeat this moment and fix their mistake. When the anniversary DVD came out, that was the perfect opportunity to pick a non-terrible cover. Instead, they went with this monstrosity featuring a dead-eyed Bill Murray doppelganger holding up the clock/prison that the real Bill is trapped in, and pointing at it as if saying, "This will be you soon."

Columbia Pictures
Andie MacDowell's indifference is the real monster here.

#7. Fight Club -- Brad Pitt Really Wants You to Get Clean

20th Century Fox

The Classic Movie:

A movie about punching and explosions and subliminal genitalia, with a twist ending so great that it ruined twist endings forever.

The Shitty Poster:

And soap. It's also about soap, as the poster would like you to know above all else. Some higher up saw this movie, an experience akin to overdosing on testosterone, and said, "You know what I liked about it? The part where they talk about soap. Let's make the whole marketing campaign about that." As a result, it looks like Brad Pitt is telling you to wash your ears, because Brad Pitt heard you can get an infection for not doing that, and Brad Pitt is super worried about your personal hygiene. Edward Norton, on the other hand, just likes being smug.

20th Century Fox
This face gets repeatedly punched in the movie -- how is the marketing campaign not about that?

And it wasn't just that one poster: most of them featured soap prominently ...

20th Century Fox
Now, I'm not sure if Pitt is advertising that soap or about to deep throat it.

... or, in some cases, that's all they showed. No explanation. Just soap.

20th Century Fox
How many people went in expecting to see a remake of a '70s sitcom?

Now, soap is a key element of the movie's plot (they use it to make explosions), but it's only mentioned in a handful of scenes, so it's weird that it's been given more promotional importance than, say, the ubiquitous cups of coffee, or Helena Bonham Carter. Also, once again, they use it to make explosions. There's another thing they could have used in the posters instead, right there.

#6. The French Connection -- Gene Hackman, a Hobbit, Witnesses a Religious Experience

20th Century Fox

The Classic Movie:

A cop thriller so badass that, for the chase scene, they just shot Gene Hackman driving against traffic in a real street and put that in the movie. Yes, they broke the law to film a movie about a cop, who would undoubtedly pump some lead into your ass for doing just that.

The Shitty Poster:

If you ignore Hackman shooting at the guy, which is easy to do because from that perspective he looks like a leprechaun that wandered into the set, this is clearly a photo of a man dropping to his knees as he experiences some sort of religious conversion. He was just running some errands one day, when it suddenly hit him that God is grand.

20th Century Fox
"Hope the Buttplug Palace is still open, I- OH WORTHY IS THE LAMB! SITTING ON THE THRONE!"

Seriously, why would you put the focus of your poster on some random jackass getting offed instead of the mofo doing the offing? "Gene Hackman shooting guns" is the biggest selling point here. I think the expression on Hackman's face in this photo (which they had to awkwardly insert into the title to let you know he appears in this movie) says it all:

20th Century Fox
You can tell he's looking at the poster because he's squinting to see himself.

#5. MASH -- A Giant Hand with Legs, For Some Unfathomable Reason

20th Century Fox

The Classic Movie:

This is a movie about the Korean War, starring army doctors who deal with death every day, with a theme song about suicide ... and, against all odds, it's fucking hilarious. So hilarious, in fact, that a movie alone couldn't contain the hilarity, and it spawned a TV show that lasted more than twice longer than the war the characters were supposed to be serving in. Yes, they kept a war going for a decade because it was so funny.

The Shitty Poster:

There's literally only one conversation that could have led to this visual mindfuck:

"Alright, we have to make a poster for this movie, but they didn't send us the plot synopsis. Let's start!"

"Sure thing. What's it called?"

"MASH. Oh, and Donald Sutherland is in it. That's all we know."

"Sutherland? Wasn't he in Invasion of the Body Snatchers? It's probably a horror movie."

"No, this is 1970, that hasn't happened yet."

"Well, it's probably a horror movie anyway. I'm guessing it's about a mad scientist who 'mashes' together different things into hideous monsters."

"What things, for example? Let's use our creativity."

"Uh, how about ..."

Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

"... hands?"

"Great. And what else?"


"Something that isn't hands."


"Perfect. We'll draw a hands/legs mashup monster. They'll love it."

20th Century Fox
You know there's a vagina on the other side, because this thing had to give birth to Dickbutt somehow.

Half an hour later: "Hey, guys? It turns out they did send us the plot synopsis: it's a movie about the army. What do we do now?"

20th Century Fox

"Problem solved."

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Maxwell Yezpitelok

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