Vintage Polish Movie Posters: When Hollywood Met The Hammer And Sickle

Published September 27, 2014
Updated January 21, 2018

American "publicity materials" were forbidden in the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War. These Polish movie posters show how the country adapted to these ideological constraints.

Vintage Polish Movie Posters

1972: In possibly one of the most bizarre movie posters ever, this work by Wiktor Gorka for the film Cabaret is probably only a little weirder than the actual story line of the movie, if you stopped to think about it. Source: Blogspot

American-made movies are shown—and increasingly made for viewing—around the world, so it makes sense that their advertising would change with the country – if for no other reason than to accommodate language difference. Sometimes these changes are barely noticeable, and merely highlight the nuance of a “foreign” perspective. Other times, Rocky ends up looking like a chick flick.

Poland stands out in the international film advertising mix, and rightfully so. From 1945 to 1989, Poland was under the clutches of the Soviet bloc, where U.S. “propaganda” material was strictly banned. Working around the constraints of the ban, Polish artists produced colorful and quirky film posters that often have very little to do with the movie they portray.

These often contrasting, sometimes mind-boggling depictions of American cinema have to be seen to be believed.

Polish Poster For King Kong

1968: Rivaling Godzilla, this poster for “King Kong Escapes” leaves you muttering, “Escape from whom or what, exactly?” or maybe “Tell me why is he’s purple again?” Source: Botch The Crab

Polish Movie Posters Tora Tora Tora

1970: A delightfully dreadful poster by Maciej Hibner for the World War II film “Tora! Tora! Tora!” Source: Tumblr

Eastern Bloc Movie Posters For Working Girl

1988: Polish art legend Andrzej Pagowski’s poster for Mike Nichols’ “Working Girl”. This one looks more like a Hitchcock film than the posters for any other Hitchcock film. Source: Projector Magazine

Rocky Poster

1976: This re-imagining of “Rocky” will make you swoon. What they don’t tell you is because it’s from a sudden blow to the face. Source: Gallery Hip

Soviet Bloc Movie Posters

1968: You may remember “Rosemary’s Baby” as a creepy and controversial film by Roman Polanski about a young mother who gives birth to a demon baby. Maybe you should have seen this movie instead.
Source: Blogspot

Starman

1984: Daft Punk’s new album with cover art by Shel Silverstein? Nope! That’s John Carpenter’s “Starman” poster. Thanks for playing!
Source: iPhoto Scrap

Star Wars New Hope Vintage Polish Movie Posters

1978: This Polish/Russian poster for “Star Wars: A New Hope” makes you wonder if the giant space-panther named Darth Vader could double as a demented party clown for your next party and terrorize your children, your friends’ children, and most likely the entire world.
Source: Mean Sheets

Polish Godzilla

1957: An ad for “Godzilla” – the cute, cuddly, turquoise-colored destroyer of Japan. Maybe he snuggles everyone to death? Source: Pinterest

Tootsie

1982: The Polish poster for “Tootsie” dares to ask: “How exactly do you think you’re going to pull off a cross-gender ruse with all that facial hair?” Source: Poster Wire

Communist Movie Posters

1958: Polish artist Roman Cieślewicz thinks Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” is about a kind of dizziness encountered when a person inappropriately experiences the perception of motion. And then maybe all their skin falls off. Source: Blogspot

Vintage Polish Movie Posters Blues Brothers

1980: This poster for The Blues Brothers feels like it could have easily been a 1960s concert flyer. Or advertising the remake of Pulp Fiction enacted only by marionettes. Source: WordPress

Barbarella

1968: Not sure what Jane Fonda thinks of this Polish film poster for “Barbarella”. It is strange (to say the least) and certainly not very flattering to Ms. Fonda.
Source: Poster Art Movies

Polish Poster For Alien

1979: This poster by Jakub Erol definitely brings across the feeling of outright terror from the film Alien, but not much else that actually has to do with the plot. Source: Reddit

Polish Movie Posters Bladerunner

1982: Michal Ksiazek took the old adage that “sex sells” and ran with it in this “Blade Runner” poster. Source: Reddit

Casablanca Cold War Poster

1947: “Casablanca” – another film considered by many to be one of the great ones. This ad by Eryk Lipinski swaps the film’s vast complexity for an incredibly simplistic, not completely relevant design. Source: Blogspot

Dumbo

1961: This cute poster for the beloved Disney film “Dumbo” looks more French than Polish, but at least it has a fairly good likeness of the title character. This poster was made 20 years after the 1941 US release. Source: Blogspot

Empire Strikes Back Poster From Eastern Europe

1980: By the time “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” was released, someone had decided it was a good idea to use imagery that corresponded with the film. Well done! Now the burning question: does the space-panther have a recurring role?< Source: Redditian

Polish Movie Posters Citizen Kane

1948: Henryk Tomaszewski’s ode to Orson Welles’ “Citizen Kane”; a film that many consider to be the greatest ever made. This seems a lackluster attempt to embody a movie that is so well-loved. Source: Blogspot

Raiders Of The Lost Ark Poster From Poland

1981: To give credit where credit is due, someone’s skin DID actually fall off in Raiders of the Lost Ark. This poster by Jakub Erol transforms this classic adventure film about a charming archeologist into a work of unmitigated horror. Source: Pinterest

Erin Kelly
Erin Kelly is a freelance writer, artist and video editor that splits her time between the humid Midwest and the dusty corners of her mind.
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