Sir Ridley Scott's Alien is an undisputed classic movie, but just as importantly, its poster is an undisputed classic poster: The vague imagery that disturbs even though you don't understand it until you've seen the film, the tagline... Everything you need is right there. And that, according to Scott, is very intentional.
Talking to Ain't It Cool's Quint, Scott explained the origin of the poster:
I knew a guy at Y&R (Young & Rubicam) in New York, Steve Frankfurt. Steve was the creative director. And Richard Goldberg… they were partners. Either Goldberg worked for them or Steve had gone freelance, I don’t remember which. But at that moment Steve did the campaign with Goldberg’s company and they not only did the title, which I always think is great…
You know when the title comes up and it’s dashes and you don’t know what the hell it us? It’s like a strange hieroglyphic, especially to Jerry Goldsmith’s music, which I think is one of his best scores. It was wonderfully architectural somehow.
But he came up with whole deal. The title, which then you can use that letterform on the poster and he selected… I said, “There are lots of images, but the one you can not use is the alien.” He said, “I’d love to use the egg.” So he took the egg and from that he blew it open with light coming out of it. I saw it and said, “That’s it. That’s great!”
He came up, also, with the line “In Space No One Can Hear You Scream,” which I thought was pretty good.
Steve Frankfurt: Unrecognized (until now) hero of cinema, I applaud you.