The Movie Classics of 1984

by Cass Art

The latest blockbuster films are peddled by multi-million pound Hollywood publicity machines - fuelled by social media, sneak-peek previews, official trailers, soundtracks and more. 

But one eye-catching poster can say a thousand words, and this was as true 30 years ago as it is today. 1984 was a year that brought us some real gems of the film world - the horror villian Freddy Kreugar, Kevin Bacon dancing in a warehouse, and the forever famous quote, "I'll be back."  

That's right. It was the year that brought us The Terminator, Starman, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, The Never-Ending Story, Footloose, A Nightmare on Elm Street and Beverly Hills Cop - some much-loved classics that still repeat on our televisions today. 

Here's our pick of the much-loved classics, remembering the collectible posters that accompanied them:


So in terms of intricate detail, this poster is no Michaelangelo. But its very simplicity helped to sell millions of tickets. It depicts a spectre stuck in an iconic red “prohibited” crossed-through circle. The effect has been mimicked for other themes by several organisations and creatives since, but has since never held as much impact.


This spicy David Lynch-directed film based on Frank Herbert's book had mixed reviews. Some called it art. Others - at a running time of 137 minutes (though to many it seemed much longer) - called it the perfect antidote to insomnia. Who can forget, however, Sting's big acting breakthrough, or the spectacular planetscapes, which were stunningly recreated in the publicity posters?



This was initially dismissed by some critics as nothing more than a fun, all-action romp. But the franchise has since developed into a thought-provoking work of art which questions what happens when machines threaten mankind's supremacy on the planet. The theme has grown resonance since computers, robots and automated systems have vastly tightened their grip in the intervening three decades. The poster shows a strikingly life-like portrait of Arnie Schwarzenegger's cyborg gun in hand, revealing glimpses of the android underneath.


Few 1984 movies came more arthouse than this. Perhaps this was unsurprising, given the celebrated ensemble of art cinema luminaries, such as Om Puri and Vijaya Mehta. The publicity poster is also deemed arthouse and groundbreaking for its time. Its title was overlaid on the main sepia-like picture with another photo within the capital letters. A trailblazing Photoshop technique then, but old hat now.

Conan the Destroyer

Schwarzenegger was a busy boy in 1984, this time in tandem with the sublime Grace Jones. The Conan franchise's savage sorcery, rippling muscles and spectacular otherworldly backdrops spawned an early video game and a lot of fantasy art. Ironic, since Conan was based on comic books, which themselves prompted Frank Frazetta's fabulous 1971 painting Conan the Destroyer. It shows Conan wielding an axe surrounded by slain warriors.

Woman in Red 

The Woman in Red

The classical poster embodies unashamed sexuality with Kelly LeBrock in Marilyn Monroe-style billowing dress pose, except, as the title suggests, it's red. Ms LeBrock continued to hold her army of teenage boy fans in thrall a year later in Weird Science.

And I think you knew this was coming…



This re-imagining of George Orwell's dystopian, totalitarian allegory saw Richard Burton's last acting role and one of John Hurt's most stunning performances. The publicity poster did the film total justice and still hangs framed on many a movie lover's wall. It depicts the two lovers in the foreground overlooked by two menacing all-seeing eyes: Big Brother is watching them.

Feeling inspired?

We've arranged lots of things so you can celebrate 30 years of Cass Art in style.

Enter our Prize Draw and win £5000 worth of prizes - there are 30 prizes for 30 years, so enter here with a chance to win. 

Get yourself a Limited Edition 30th Anniversary Art in Bag - find out more and read about the history of the Cass Art bags on our blog.

Every weekend throughout June and July there will be a Back To 1984 Prices offer - sign up to our newsletter here to receive the different discounts. 

Shop online
 to stock up on your art materials and take advantage of our 30th Anniversary sale, or shop the sale at all six of our London shops in IslingtonCharing CrossSohoHigh Street KensingtonHampstead and Kingston.

Image Credits:


Back to blog