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The Best Movie Posters of 2009

By Bert Ehrmann
December 18, 2009

This is the third year in a row that I've picked my favorite movie posters of the year. And though the posters below are examples of some of the best posters I've ever seen, overall I'd have to say that there weren't too many other posters this year that really got me excited about seeing the movies those posters were advertising. If there was a theme to movie posters in '09 that theme would be not one or two posters promoting a given film, but a whole slew of posters promoting multiple characters of the film. And though this concept sometimes works (see below), lately I've been getting the sense that this style is getting so overused that it's getting hard to tell one poster campaign from the next.

Click on any of the posters below for a larger view.

In the Loop In the Loop In the Loop

The best movie poster of 2009 was really the entire campaign of posters for the film In the Loop. The audacity of these posters is quite striking. By taking one of the most iconic images of the early 21st century, the Obama "Hope" poster, and bending the hope message into something more twisted and in line with the theme of In the Loop, namely that politicians are really only interested in their own agendas, no matter the opinions of others or what the facts might say, is sheer brilliance.

The rest:


Moon: Just as striking as the posters to In the Loop are, is the only poster to the film Moon. The image here is deceptively simple, with a photo of actor Sam Rockwell presented over a series of white concentric circles that are over a black field. Other than a bit of text at the top and bottom of the poster, that's about it. What's great about this design is that it accurately reflects the film Moon as a whole, with Rockwell as astronaut Sam Bell all alone on the dark surface of our Moon. And when you add the concentric circles and the visual noise they generate – that too is a nice reflection of the confusion Bell suffers throughout the film.

Inglourious Basterds Inglourious Basterds Inglourious Basterds

Inglourious Basterds: From the moment I saw the teaser posters to the film Basterds I knew there was no way I was going to miss this movie. The sheer brutality of the images; from a bloodied baseball bat to a knife piercing a Nazi flag, left little doubt as to the tone of the movie or what Basterds was about. After seeing this movie, I spent several weeks unsuccessfully trying to purchase this poster set online. Everytime I'd find a deal on the posters some other collector would come along and snatch them out from under me. I guess I'm not the only one who liked them.


Watchmen Watchmen Watchmen
Watchmen Watchmen Watchmen

Watchmen: I have to admit that if you're not a fan of the Watchmen comic then you might not agree with my pick of the Watchmen posters here. But having said that, these posters so closely resemble the old advertisements for the comic when it first came out that it really got my hopes up that director Zach Snyder might have done the impossible. That he might have somehow distilled a nearly 300-page comic into a two and a half hour movie. The attention to detail on these posters is quite remarkable, just look at the clock face on each character's poster and on which character's poster the time is closest to midnight.


Terminator Salvation Terminator Salvation

Terminator Salvation: I can't say that I cared all that much for the actual Terminator Salvation film, but what I CAN say is that the posters to the movie got me excited enough Star Trekto go see the movie, negative reviews and all. 

An honorable mention goes the posters to the film Public Enemies and the poster to Drag Me to Hell. A dishonorable mention goes out to the poster to Star Trek. Really, poster designers, the best you could come up with was an blurry inverted image of the Enterprise on white? I've seen photos of the Loch Ness Monster that were more clear/interesting than this.