10 Best Vintage French Movie Posters

Tuesday, April 26 by Ellen Wilson

If you like French movies and art, you’ll definitely be mad about the ten best vintage French movie posters. These posters offer something for everyone, from provocative shots of sexy French actresses to art deco and classical prints. Many of the movies featured in the ten best vintage French movie posters won awards, or were just wildly popular films in their day.

  1. “Belle du Jour.” This poster features Catherine Deneuve from the 1967 film. Deneuve is surrounded by men in the poster, presumably her johns, because the movie is about a woman who decides to become a prostitute while her husband is at work. Her back is to the camera while she seductively peers over her shoulder. The film won a Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 1967.
  2. “Vivre sa Vie. The movie chronicles a young woman who, like Deneuve in "Belle du Jour ,"decides to become a prostitute. The film won a special Jury Prize in Venice in 1962. The black and white poster is of the young woman, Nana (Anna Karina) smoking a cigarette while embracing a man. She is facing the camera in this vintage French movie poster. 
  3. “Mon Oncle. A 1958 comedy poster that was the first of Jacques Tati’s films to be released in color features the Uncle, M. Hulot (Jacques Tati) and his nephew Gérard (Alain Bécourt). The two are sketched cartoonishly in white with a little black dog standing next to them. The movie won a Special Prize at the 1958 Cannes Film Festival
  4. “La Femme Nue. The movie is based on a famous play by Henry Bataille. The title in English means the naked woman and a few topless actresses make an appearance throughout the movie. Although the movie didn’t receive much critical acclaim, the poster is a fabulous work of art; this Egyptian themed art deco poster is a riot of bright color. 
  5. “Le Mépris.” This movie and poster stars the beautiful Bridgette Bardot, a French movie legend. The poster features a painting of Bardot with revealing cleavage and a “come hither” stare. Jean-Luc Godard directed the 1963 film which “Sight and Sound” critic Colin McCabe called, "the greatest work of art produced in post-war Europe.”
  6. “Belle et la Bete. The movie in English is "Beauty and the Beast," a well known fairy tale about a woman falling in love with a beast. As usual, a kiss is bestowed on the wild creature transforming him into a prince. The romantic fantasy film was hailed by critics as sublime and sumptuous. Painted in a classical style, the poster is a wonderful portrayal of the fantasy of Beauty and her beast.
  7. “Fantômas.” "Fantômas" was a trilogy series about a villain with the same name. The film was hugely successful in Europe. The poster features Fantômas, the villain looming above an orange colored Paris wearing a tuxedo, top hat, and mask. He has his chin in his hands and looks like he’s about to step into the Seine River. 
  8. “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie.” This surreal, phantasmagoric movie is about six people who consistently try to have a meal together only to be constantly interrupted. The movie won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language film in 1972. Like the movie, the movie prints come in a variety of Daliesque images: a bird wearing an evening gown in one poster, and a pair of large lips wearing a bowler hat atop a pair of stockinged legs in pumps with bows in the other poster. The avant-garde posters are among the finest of the ten best vintage French movie posters. 
  9. “La Lois de Rues.” The 1956 drama is concerned with its name, “The Law of the Streets.” Mirroring the film, this poster is of a dark street scene at night, lit by a single street lamp – a classic black and white vintage French movie poster.
  10. "Un Homme et une Femme.” This film won many awards, including a Grand Prix at the 1966 Cannes Film Festival. The movie is about two widowers who fall in love. A collage of scenes from the film graces this vintage French movie poster.    

- Ellen Wilson

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COMMENTS

  1. April 26, 2011 12:19 pm

    Anonymous

    Why would  you write this article without showing the poster?