Big names, big slogans and even bigger heads — ever since the 1920s, that has typically been the make-up of a Hollywood movie poster. In the Soviet states, however, things were a little different.

As the Cold War dragged on throughout the 20th century, some of the most important ideological battles took place in the artistic sphere. Eastern Bloc artists — mostly from Czechoslovakia and Poland — were not merely stamping actors’ grinning faces on a given film’s promotional material, but using the poster to show off their artistic talent and technical precision.

After all, many poster artists hadn’t even seen the film they were tasked with depicting; instead, they created the posters based on an idea, or some abstract association. Their stark, often surreal portrayals of Hollywood’s most beloved films revealed a startling, and intentional, divide between the East and West. See for yourself in the gallery of Oscar-nominated or winning American film posters below:

Jaws Posters
Ghostbusters Posters
Five Easy Pieces Posters
The Conversation Movie
17 Bizarre But Beautiful Communist-Era Posters For Oscar-Worthy Hollywood Movies
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Thanks to Terry Posters for many of the images above.

Liked this? See some amazing Soviet propaganda posters from the post-war period, or check out 80 textless movie posters that don't need a single word.

Mark Pickering
Mark Pickering
Mark Pickering has written for Vice, the Guardian, the Sunday Times, Maxim and more. He lives in Prague, Czech Republic.
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