1969-1974  |  1975-1979  |  1980-1985 

Lucky Lady
Lucky Lady

1975 The finished poster. This was the first of two posters Amsel created for director Stanley Donen.

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Lucky Lady
Lucky Lady

1975 Watercolor, pencil, acrylic, pen and ink on board 30 x 30 in. Amsel's artwork for Stanley Donen's big-budgeted crime caper was reproduced on a billboard in Times Square, covering two city blocks.

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Nashville
Nashville

1975 Watercolor, colored pencil, acrylic, gouache, pen and ink on board 40 x 30 in. Unused poster concept. Amsel did several posters for Robert Altman, including MCCABE & MRS. MILLER and THE LONG GOODBYE.

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The Shootist
The Shootist

1976 The final poster, for John Wayne's last film -- a fitting and sentimental valedictory western, of a cowboy in his twilight years. Amsel's composition perfectly suits the period, and foreshadows his work to come on Raiders of the Lost Ark.

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The Shootist
The Shootist

1976 Watercolor, acrylic, charcoal, colored pencils, gouache and gold paint on board 30 x 21" What I'd give to see this original with my own eyes! Amsel, I've been told, sometimes used gold paint with his illustrations for dramatic effect, even though it couldn't be accurately reproduced on the final poster due to printing limitations. This portrait must have made The Duke himself proud.

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Voyage of the Damned
Voyage of the Damned

1976 The final poster.

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Voyage of the Damned
Voyage of the Damned

1976 Watercolor, acrylic, colored pastels and pencils on board 34 1/2 x 26 1/2 in. Note how Janet Suzman (the face in the lower right corner) was replaced on the final poster by Katherine Ross. Such changes were often done separately, with the revisions either glued onto the original art, or separately photographed. It was challenging to do before the advent of Photoshop. Amsel's elaborate (and much more dramatic) painting of the ship was also inexplicably removed from the final poster.

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The Last Tycoon
The Last Tycoon

1976 This was the final poster used for the film. Amsel created the illustration used inside the photo blowup of Robert DeNiro.

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The Last Tycoon (unused)
The Last Tycoon (unused)

1976 Watercolor, acrylic, airbrush, colored pencils and ink on board 32 x 23 in. Amsel's design for Elia Kazan's classic Hollywood satire. While it wasn't used for the theatrical release, Intrada Music would later feature it on the soundtrack album.

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The Seven-Per-Cent Solution
The Seven-Per-Cent Solution

1976 Watercolor, acrylic, colored pencils, pen and ink on board 22 x 18 in. Based on Nicholas Meyer's famous story, Herbert Ross' film has Sherlock Holmes meeting Sigmund Freund. Amsel beautifully captures the decorative Art Nouveau style of Alfons Mucha. Note the similarity between this and Drew Struzan's final poster.

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Julia
Julia

1977 The final poster.

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Julia
Julia

1977 Watercolor, acrylic, colored pencils, gouache with applied lettering on board 40 x 30 in. Another delicate work. The text is cut paper adhered to the surface of the painting. Jason Robards, too, was a late addition, painted separately and then glued onto the surface.

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New York, New York
New York, New York

1977 Pen and ink, gouache and pencil on tissue paper laid down on board 13 1/2 x 11 1/4 in. Unusued comprehensive art for Martin Scorsese's controversial, ambitious musical.

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New York, New York
New York, New York

1977 Pen and ink, gouache and pencil on tissue paper laid down on board 13 1/2 x 11 1/4 in. Unusued comprehensive art for Martin Scorsese's controversial, ambitious musical.

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The Late Show
The Late Show

1977 The final poster.

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Between the Lines
Between the Lines

1977 The final poster.

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Between the Lines
Between the Lines

1977 Original art. Gouache, colored pencil, and acrylics. Size unknown.

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The Big Sleep
The Big Sleep

1978. The final poster. David Byrd posed as Bob Mitchum, and his assistant as Candy Clark. Amsel took photo references in Byrd's spacious New York studio.

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Paradise Alley
Paradise Alley

1978 Watercolor, acrylic, colored pencils, pen and ink on board 26 x 20 in. Unused finished art for Sylvester Stallone's little-seen directorial debut. (More people might have bought tickets had Amsel's poster been used!)

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Death on the Nile
Death on the Nile

1978 The final poster. Here Amsel continued the visual motif he employed with his design for Murder on the Orient Express.

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The Muppet Movie
The Muppet Movie

1979 Watercolor, acrylic, colored pencils, pen and ink on board 40 x 30 in. Unused finished art for the classic family film.

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Norma Rae
Norma Rae

1979 Acrylic, airbrush, colored pastels and pencils on board 26 x 24.25 in. As with COAL MINER'S DAUGHTER, perhaps Amsel's unused design was deemed too delicate and intimate by the powers that be. There's a power to these portraits -- particularly those of women -- that even photos could not capture.

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Cuba
Cuba

1979 Watercolor, acrylic, colored pencils, and airbrush on board 40 x 40 in. Unused poster design.

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The Champ
The Champ

1979 Amsel created two poster designs for the Franco Zeffirelli remake. This one was used in several European markets, including Germany (pictured) and Italy.

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The Champ
The Champ

1979 Watercolor, colored pastels and pencils on board 29 3/4 x 21 1/4 in. I dare anyone to get through the ending of this film with dry eyes.

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The Champ (variant)
The Champ (variant)

1979 Watercolor, colored pastels and pencils on board 29 1/4 x 20 1/4 in. Unused poster design.

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Old Boyfriends
Old Boyfriends

1979 The final illustration, used here for a production press release. Finding a decent color image has been a challenge. The final poster for the film's theatrical release was not done by Amsel, and was far less interesting.

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Old Boyfriends
Old Boyfriends

1979 Watercolor, acrylic, pencil, pen & ink on board. 24 x 20 in. A somewhat cleaner, sharper B&W image.

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The Rose
The Rose

1979 Watercolor, acrylic, and colored pencils on board 30 x 23 1/4 in. Unused poster.

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1975:
  • Lucky Lady
  • Funny Lady (unused)
  • Nashville (unused)
  •  
1976:
  • The Shootist
  • Voyage of the Damned
  • The Last Tycoon (used for soundtrack album)
  • The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (unused)
1977:
  • Julia
  • New York, New York (2 images, both unused)
  • The Late Show
  • Between the Lines
  • Papillon (snippets in 1977 rerelease; see 1969-74 page)
1978:
  • The Big Sleep (2 images; 1 used)
  • Paradise Alley (unused)
  • Death on the Nile
1979:
  • The Muppet Movie (unused)
  • Norma Rae (unused)
  • Cuba (unused)
  • The Champ (2 images; 1 used in Europe, the other unused)
  • Old Boyfriends
  • The Rose (unused)
 
 
Titles in red are unpublished posters or sketches I'm still trying to locate.

...and more images below.

BEHIND THE POSTERS: 1975-1979

Behind the scenes of select concept sketches, final illustrations, and triva regarding Richard Amsel's

movie poster work. They're listed below in chronological order.

THE SHOOTIST (1976)

The Shootist
The Shootist

1976 The final poster, for John Wayne's last film -- a fitting and sentimental valedictory western, of a cowboy in his twilight years. Amsel's composition perfectly suits the period, and foreshadows his work to come on Raiders of the Lost Ark.

press to zoom
The Shootist
The Shootist

1976 Watercolor, acrylic, charcoal, colored pencils, gouache and gold paint on board 30 x 21" What I'd give to see this original with my own eyes! Amsel, I've been told, sometimes used gold paint with his illustrations for dramatic effect, even though it couldn't be accurately reproduced on the final poster due to printing limitations. This portrait must have made The Duke himself proud.

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The Shootist (detail)
The Shootist (detail)

1976 Detail of the artist's signature. Note how John Wayne's hand looks as though it's been cut out -- it's possible that Amsel did this separately, and then glued it onto the original artwork. It's also possible James Stewart's portrait was redone.

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The Shootist
The Shootist

1976 Conte pencil on glassine 11.5 x 18 in. This comprehensive sketch for John Wayne's final film gives us a rare glimpse into Amsel's artistic process. For every polished, final one-sheet there are many, many studies and sketches; yet regrettably, most are not yet available to the public. I saw this original sketch back in 2000 when it was put up for auction; whether or not the ghostly "shadow" of the horserider at the bottom was something erased, or deliberately faded, I could not tell.

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The Shootist
The Shootist

30 x 21" (framed 41 x 32") In January 2015, Brian Lebel's OLD WEST EVENTS auctioned Richard Amsel's original illustration. It sold at auction on the floor for $19,360.00.

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The Shootist
The Shootist

Details on the January 2015 auction page.

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VOYAGE OF THE DAMNED (1976)

Voyage of the Damned
Voyage of the Damned

1976 The final poster.

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Voyage of the Damned
Voyage of the Damned

1976 Watercolor, acrylic, colored pastels and pencils on board 34 1/2 x 26 1/2 in. Note how Janet Suzman (the face in the lower right corner) was replaced on the final poster by Katherine Ross. Such changes were often done separately, with the revisions either glued onto the original art, or separately photographed. It was challenging to do before the advent of Photoshop. Amsel's elaborate (and much more dramatic) painting of the ship was also inexplicably removed from the final poster.

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Voyage of the Damned
Voyage of the Damned

In 2006, the original art sold for $3,900 through an online auction.

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Voyage of the Damned
Voyage of the Damned

1976 Watercolor, acrylic, colored pastels and pencils on board 34 1/2 x 26 1/2 in.

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Voyage of the Damned (detail)
Voyage of the Damned (detail)

Detail of Faye Dunaway.

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Voyage of the Damned (detail)
Voyage of the Damned (detail)

Detail of Amsel's signature.

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Voyage of the Damned (back)
Voyage of the Damned (back)

Amsel often wrote on the back of his works.

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THE LAST TYCOON (1976)

The Last Tycoon (unused)
The Last Tycoon (unused)

1976 Watercolor, acrylic, airbrush, colored pencils and ink on board 32 x 23 in. Amsel's design for Elia Kazan's classic Hollywood satire. While it wasn't used for the theatrical release, Intrada Music would later feature it on the soundtrack album.

press to zoom
The Last Tycoon
The Last Tycoon

1976 Watercolor, acrylic, airbrush, colored pencils and ink on board 32 x 23 in. B&W photo of Amsel's unused design for Elia Kazan's classic Hollywood satire.

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The Last Tycoon
The Last Tycoon

1976 While it wasn't used for the film's theatrical release, Amsel's poster was used decades later for Intrada Music's release of the soundtrack album.

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The Last Tycoon
The Last Tycoon

1976 This was the final poster used for the film. Amsel created the illustration used inside the photo blowup of Robert DeNiro.

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The Last Tycoon (detail)
The Last Tycoon (detail)

1976 Acrylic on artists’ board tipped to backing board. 16.25 x 20 in. This image was used as a component of the final theatrical 1-sheet poster as well as the cover of the Bantam Books mass market paperback film tie-in edition of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel. It was sold in 2016 for $2000 at a profiles in history auction.

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THE LATE SHOW (1977)

The Late Show
The Late Show

1977 The final poster.

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The Late Show
The Late Show

1977 Watercolor, acrylic, airbrush, colored pencils on board 21 x 19 in. Amsel, who was very keen with graphic design and typography, sometimes incorporated the film's title within the poster art itself -- a practice that's unheard of now.

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The Late Show (sketch)
The Late Show (sketch)

1977 Colored pencil on tracing paper. 19 3/4 x 16 5/8"

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THE BIG SLEEP (1978)

The Big Sleep
The Big Sleep

1978. The final poster. David Byrd posed as Bob Mitchum, and his assistant as Candy Clark. Amsel took photo references in Byrd's spacious New York studio.

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The Big Sleep (paperback book)
The Big Sleep (paperback book)

1978 A modified version of the poster was used for the paperback book release, which omits the lion doorknocker.

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The Big Sleep
The Big Sleep

1978 Watercolor, acrylic, gouache, colored pencils, airbrush on board 22 1/2 x 16 in. Amsel's preliminary design for the final one-sheet. Note the difference in Candy Clark's pose, and the absence of a smoking gun.

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The Big Sleep
The Big Sleep

1978. Preliminary pencil on paper.comp. Approx. 13" x 19" Image found on eBay, from an auction of the James Cushing / Maureen O'Sullivan estate.

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The Big Sleep (signature detail)
The Big Sleep (signature detail)

1978. Preliminary pencil on paper.comp. Approx. 13" x 19" Image found on eBay, from an auction of the James Cushing / Maureen O'Sullivan estate.

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DEATH ON THE NILE (1978)

Death on the Nile
Death on the Nile

1978 The final poster. Here Amsel continued the visual motif he employed with his design for Murder on the Orient Express.

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Death on the Nile
Death on the Nile

1978 Watercolor, acrylic, colored pencils, pen and ink on board 40 x 30 in.

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Death on the Nile
Death on the Nile

1978 Preliminary sketch, courtesy of David Edward Byrd.

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Death on the Nile
Death on the Nile

1978 Preliminary sketch, courtesy of David Edward Byrd. This was Amsel's original design before incorporating the pyramid motif.

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Death on the Nile
Death on the Nile

1978 Very early preliminary sketch, courtesy of David Edward Byrd. Note how even in the simplest lines, Amsel can capture different personalities. (Bettie Davis is a hoot!)

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CUBA (1979)

Cuba
Cuba

1979 Watercolor, acrylic, colored pencils, and airbrush on board. 40 x 40 in. Amsel's unused artwork for the Sean Connery thriller. This image was taken from a small B&W photo within a catalog.

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Cuba (Polaroid image)
Cuba (Polaroid image)

I've tried for years to find a good quality color image of Amsel's artwork. This image was provided by Amsel's friend Judy Goldman -- which she took at a tribute art show to the artist after he passed away. It is the only color image I've been able to find.

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Cuba
Cuba

I tried my best to edit the source photo Judy took and match the original B&W image.

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Cuba
Cuba

This is the final "best effort" I could do, overlaying the source B&W scan onto the color image, with some minor tweaks and adjustments. If anyone has a better image, please let me know.

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