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My Favorite Drew Struzan Posters
The VHS covers that video store clerks would face out.
Drew Struzan is the most prolific movie poster artist of all time. He's the man behind the iconic designs for The Shawshank Redemption, Blade Runner, Indiana Jones, Back to the Future, Star Wars, First Blood, and so many more. When you think of those movies, you think of Drew's images. They are the VHS covers that video store clerks would face out. They are the fancy posters you hang in your home office, so you can still be a nerd but look distinguished.
Everyone has their favorites, mine are below - in alphabetical order. When gathering this list, I found it so interesting that I've only seen four of the ten movies. Drew's posters make me want to watch the movie! Isn't that what they're supposed to do? Fortunately, I'm smart enough to know that I should never watch D.C. Cab.
Big Trouble in Little China (1986)
I started watching Big Trouble in Little China for this year's Junesploitation, but had to pause it after about 25 minutes and didn't have the time to come back to it. However, I had a big goofy grin on my face the entire time, so I need to pick it up soon.
I love this Kurt Russell larger-than-life design because he really feels that way, doesn't he? You can tell he's up to no good, but you want to be up to no good with him.
The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course (2002)
Drew was slowing down by the 2000s, largely focusing on tentpoles or work for his old friends George and Steven. So I find it really interesting that he illustrated the poster for the...Crocodile Hunter movie? Big fan? Well, I suppose, weren't we all? Everyone was terribly crushed when Steve Irwin passed away so young, but his iconic adventurous spirit and ridiculous attitude really come across in Drew's image of Steve and Terri nearly being taken out by a croc. Crikey!
Cutthroat Island (1995)
Peanut butter and jelly.
Rum and Coke.
Milk and cookies.
Bread and butter.
Fish and chips.
Drew Struzan and Geena Davis.
This has been a list of delicious pairings.
D.C. Cab (1983)
Roger Ebert called D.C. Cab "paralyzingly boring." Despite being a Joel Schumacher apologist, I don't think I have it in me to be let down by the Mr. T/Gary Busey/Bill Maher taxi movie that should be really fun and anything but paralyzingly boring. However, Drew's poster sure isn't! Look at Mr. T! He's holding what I can only assume is a door that he ripped off a car. If he does that in the movie, maybe I'll watch it.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)
I put this list in alphabetical order so I wouldn't have to fret over the ranking. This is supposed to be an appreciation piece, not one where I compare quality with my extremely limited art knowledge.
With that being said, this one might be my favorite.
For the most part, the most iconic Drew posters are the ones for science fiction and fantasy films. There's something so whimsical about Drew's style, one that feels so similar to our world but isn't picture-perfect. They live in a world that could be ours if ours was more exciting. If it had droids and replicants and aliens and witches and pirates and, of course, wizards.
Sorcerer's Stone will always be my favorite Harry Potter movie. I was four years old when it came out and grew up with the franchise. As the series evolved, it got farther away from stories of childhood wonder and pushed into more stories of teen angst and growing up and maturing. Of course they did. Harry grew up, the movies grew up. Unfortunately, the posters followed suit, becoming standard Hollywood fare. They were never close to this beautiful again.
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
Alright, this one might be my favorite!
Look at Indy's smirk!
Look at Willie's glow!
Look at Short Round's adorable face!
The frightening sequence in the fire!
The sword fight! The skulls! The elephants!
Masters of the Universe (1987)
It's really a shame that Drew had to put this city skyline in the back and couldn't go all Eternia on us because I'm sure his version of that planet would have been dazzling. It's really a shame that Masters of the Universe has to go to Earth at all, but that's Cannon Films for you, always biting off more than they could chew. They want to do the He-Man movie, but they can't actually afford to set it in the inevitably expensive Eternia, so they have to cop out and put a bunch of it on Earth.
How did they get Drew to do so many of their posters? He makes them look like winners! Some were, but Masters of the Universe was not.
Private Tutor (1988)
Everywhere on the internet calls this 1988 film After School, but Drew's website calls it Private Tutor, so I'll call it Private Tutor.
I've never seen After School/Private Tutor, but Drew's poster really makes me want to see After School/Private Tutor. It's very convincing.
Return to Oz (1985)
This is the poster of Drew's that is most burned into my brain. Into my childhood memories.
The Wizard of Oz was, and still is, my favorite movie. I would rent the tape for Return to Oz from Hollywood Video over and over again, unbelievably unsettled, never quite understanding why, but always wanting more.
My only quibble with this poster is that I would have liked to see Drew's rendition of the Wheelers. Maybe that would ruin the reveal in the movie, but maybe that wouldn't be the worst thing for kids like little me.
Cannon producer Menahem Golan, when remarking on this movie said, "Brooke (Shields) is the most beautiful creature on Earth."
There's a lot to be said about the way that Hollywood treated Brooke Shields (and we said a lot of it on The Drew Barrymore-a-thon!), but I can at least be sure that Drew Struzan's depiction of Brooke is the most beautiful poster on Earth.
This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the films behind these posters wouldn't exist.
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