Drew Struzan - Legends of Movie Poster Art vol.3

Blade Runner (1982) art by Drew Struzan
Blade Runner (1982) art by Drew Struzan
Dreamscape (1984) art by Drew Struzan
Dreamscape (1984) art by Drew Struzan
The Name of the Rose (1986) art by Drew Struzan
The Name of the Rose (1986) art by Drew Struzan
Masters of the Universe (1987) art by Drew Struzan
Masters of the Universe (1987) art by Drew Struzan

A tribute to one of the great movie poster artists.

Drew Struzan was born in 1947 in Oregon City, Oregon. He studied illustration at the Art Center College of Design in California, he graduated with honors and a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Struzan started working on movie poster art in the mid-70’s, but it was his poster design for the re-release of Star Wars in 1978 (working with fellow artist Charles White III) that really gave his career a boost. Dubbed “the circus poster”, after they discovered that there wasn’t enough room on the original poster for the actors and crew names, they expanded it by making it look like the original artwork was an old torn poster stuck to a wall.

Continuing his association with George Lucas, Struzan designed a logo for the effects studio ILM, he worked on the posters for both the Star Wars saga and Indiana Jones movies.

He also produced new poster artwork for the Special Editions of the original Star Wars trilogy, he later created the movie posters for Star Wars prequels The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.

By the late 90’s traditional poster art was on the decline and digitally composed photo montages on posters were popular with studios. Struzan started looking elsewhere for work such as comic books,

His work has appeared on US Postage stamps, on board games and Franklin Mint collectible plates.

He retired in 2008

In 2010 a documentary was produced on his life and work: Drew: The Man Behind the Poster, it includes interviews with George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Guillermo del Toro and was directed by Erik Sharkey.

There have been various books on his work including The Movie Posters of Drew Struzan (2004), The Art of Drew Struzan (2010) and Drew Struzan: Oeuvre (2011).

Star Wars Special Editions art by Drew Struzan
Star Wars Special Editions art by Drew Struzan
The Thing (1982) art by Drew Struzan
The Thing (1982) art by Drew Struzan
ET the Extraterrestrial (1982) art by Drew Struzan
ET the Extraterrestrial (1982) art by Drew Struzan

Selected Filmography –

1976 – Food of the Gods
1977 – Empire of the Ants
1977 – Star Wars (1978 re-issue)
1981 – The Cannonball Run
1981 – Raiders of the Lost Ark
1982 – ET the Extraterrestrial
1982 - I the Jury
1982 – Blade Runner
1982 – The Thing
1983 – Risky Business
1983 – To Be or Not to Be
1983 - Under Fire
1984 - Dreamscape
1984 - Johnny Dangerously
1984 – Police Academy
1984 – Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
1985 – The Goonies
1985 – Back to the Future
1985 – Return to Oz
1985 - Ladyhawke
1986 – Big Trouble in Little China
1986 - The Name of the Rose
1986 – An American Tail
1987 – Adventures in Babysitting
1987 – Batteries Not Included
1988 – Coming to America
1988 - Sunset
1989 – Harlem Nights
1989 – Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
1989 – Back to the Future II
1990 – Back to the Future III
1991 – Hook
1995 - Cutthroat Island
1999 – Star Wars I The Phantom Menace
2001 – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (US poster)
2002 - Star Wars II Attack of the Clones
2004 - Hellboy
2005 - Star Wars III Revenge of the Sith

Star Wars (1977) art by Drew Struzan
Star Wars (1977) art by Drew Struzan
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) art by Drew Struzan
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) art by Drew Struzan
Back to the Future (1985) art by Drew Struzan
Back to the Future (1985) art by Drew Struzan
Star Wars II Attack of the Clones (2002) art by Drew Struzan
Star Wars II Attack of the Clones (2002) art by Drew Struzan
Adventures in Babysitting (1987) art by Drew Struzan
Adventures in Babysitting (1987) art by Drew Struzan
The Goonies (1985) art by Drew Struzan
The Goonies (1985) art by Drew Struzan
Batteries Not Included (1987) art by Drew Struzan
Batteries Not Included (1987) art by Drew Struzan
First Blood (1982) art by Drew Struzan
First Blood (1982) art by Drew Struzan
The Spielberg / Williams Collaboration CD art by Drew Struzan
The Spielberg / Williams Collaboration CD art by Drew Struzan
Star Wars 10th Anniversary art by Drew Struzan
Star Wars 10th Anniversary art by Drew Struzan

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Comments 5 comments

FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 5 years ago

I have to admit that most of the movies for which you provided the posters I have not seen. Just the type of movies, I guess, as well as the era are the reasons. my favourite movie of them is Back to the Future. As I bit of bias being a fan of Fox, I would probably say this even if I had seen more of these movies. Regarding the list of movie titles you list by name, with or without a poster shown, I have seen 10 of them-and 3 of these star Fox. I'm not surprised Struzan had to movie to comic books. I know digital art allows you to do things never possible before, but it many ways I think it just decreases the amount of creative inginuity by individual artists. I have always seen, to go back to movies, a higher degree of art in the hand drawn images of Disney films of old in the 2D form, than in the Pixar type of animation which can do it faster and more efficiently.


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 5 years ago from London, England Author

Hi Flora, I much prefer the hand painted movie posters of yesteryear to the photo montages of today, which mostly consist of head shots of the actors. I'm not surprised many of those old posters sell for thousands of dollars at auction.

That Back to the Future poster is a favourite, I remember wondering what that thing was behind Michael J. Fox until I saw the film and realised it was the door of the car. :)


Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 5 years ago from Virginia

Very nicely done...I feel that I have been seeing his work most of my life, and now I know who the man behind the curtain is...thanks for sharing this information.

My favorites of the poster you showed would be Gold-BladeRunner Silver- Indiana Jones and Temple of Doom...Bronze-Back to the Future.

It is a shame that computer poster art pretty much ran him out of business....these things go in cycles so I am sure his type of poster will be back....and at 64...he could still have a few masterpieces left in him

Voted up and awesome.


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 5 years ago from London, England Author

Hi Cogerson, good to see you've survived nature's fury, thanks for posting.

For a while I thought Drew wasn't going to make it into my artists hub collection. A big problem here when the only bit of bio you can find sends out warning signals.


FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 5 years ago

Hooray, Cogerson: you are safe and have power!

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