An Archive of 20,000 Movie Posters from Czechoslovakia (1930-1989)

We couldn’t possibly ignore, here at Open Culture, the glory of movie posters: from the film noir era, from Martin Scorsese’s predictably sizable collection, and even the deeply askew interpretations seen outside the theaters of Ghana. But somehow, the visual art-inclined cinephile’s attention returns again and again to one region of the world: Eastern Europe, especially in the Cold War era. Poland’s movie posters have long since accrued a fandom around the world, but we shouldn’t neglect the equal promotional wonders of its neighboring Czechoslovakia.

Or rather, as the even mildly geographically astute will note, the neighboring Czech Republic and Slovakia. But in this case, we really do mean Czechoslovakia, the movie posters featured here having hung in its movie houses between 1930 and 1989.

Terry Posters offers a collection of more than 20,000 such works of captivating commercial art to browse (with some available to buy), most of them interpreting foreign motion pictures for the presumed sensibilities of the local audience: the films of  auteurs like Alfred Hitchcock, Akira KurosawaAndrei Tarkovsky (then, of course, a fellow Soviet), Federico Fellini, and many more besides.

You can also browse Terry’s Czechoslovakian collection by year, by artist, by genre, by actor, and by the film’s country of origin. However you explore them, these posters offer a reminder of the way that cinema culture used to vary most starkly from region to region, even when dealing with the exact same movies. The “globalization” process in effect over the past thirty years has done much to make serious cinephilia possible everywhere (not least by defeating various once-formidable forms of censorship and suppression) but it may have brought an end to the multiplicity and variety of images on display here, all especially vivid pieces of a faded culture — and of a dismantled country. Enter the digital archive here.

Related Content:

40,000 Film Posters in a Wonderfully Eclectic Archive: Italian Tarkovsky Posters, Japanese Orson Welles, Czech Woody Allen & Much More

10,000 Classic Movie Posters Getting Digitized & Put Online by the Harry Ransom Center at UT-Austin: Free to Browse & Download

50 Film Posters From Poland: From The Empire Strikes Back to Raiders of the Lost Ark

The Strange and Wonderful Movie Posters from Ghana: The Matrix, Alien & More

Designer Reimagines Iconic Movie Posters With Minimalist Designs: Reservoir Dogs, The Matrix & More

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

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