Film is a medium that transports its viewers. Whether you want to experience what it would be like to pilot a starship in outer space, battle fantastical creatures in a medieval kingdom, or simply walk a mile in someone else's shoes, movies are your ticket to discovering unlimited possibilities. The visual storytelling in movies is special because it connects so strongly with an audience, and it's only possible through the artistry, innovation, and imagination of a talented group of extremely creative people.
Movie fans are some of the most diverse people on Earth, whose different backgrounds and origins are immaterial when compared with their shared love of the silver screen. Whether they're film buffs that dissect every frame of a director's vision, value the writing in a particularly taut script, marvel at the depth of an actor's performance, or prefer to just get lost in the set and costumes, they recognize the value of their favorite cinematic stories. Here's the 10 best coffee-table books for movie fans.
10 CRITERION DESIGNS
Since 1984, the Criterion Collection has been committed to releasing the best formats of beloved films from around the world. From the beginning with films on LaserDisc to now releasing films on Blu-ray, the Criterion Collection produces movies in the highest quality, to the greatest technical specifications, from classic to contemporary releases.
9 CINEMAPS: THE ART OF 35 GREAT MOVIES
A unique book for film lovers, Cinemaps: The Art of 35 Great Films combines the art of map-making with the narratives of thirty-five of some of the greatest movies of all time. From cinema landmarks like King Kong to '80s classics like The Princess Bride, traverse the story of your favorite big screen characters as they chart their course through major plot points.
You can follow Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark as he jets from Nepal to Cairo, or follow Jack Torrance through the haunted hallways of the Overlook Hotel in every 9 by 12-inch map. Enjoy bits of trivia, as well as accompanying essays on each film with every page.
8 THE ART OF HORROR MOVIES: AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY
Horror movie fans shriek with joy, for The Art of Horror Movies: An Illustrated History is here to uncover all the dark secrets about the genre. This impressively illustrated coffee table book takes you on a perilous thrill ride exploring the horror movies of the silent era all the way up to modern times.
Within the pages of this tome are over 600 rare and never before seen images such as full-color posters, postcards, advertisements, promotional items, magazine covers, and more! You'll also find out pieces of trivia and film knowledge you never knew about your favorite silver screen screamers. If you want to celebrate the collective genius of the filmmakers, writers, prop artists, and special effects crews behind your favorite horror films, this book is for you.
7 ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD
Fall in love with the Golden Age of Hollywood with this coffee table book dedicated to exploring the almost mythological decadence of that classic era. From examining the details of the Studio System to the manufacturing of Hollywood stars plucked from the obscurity of smalltown America, this book is a comprehensive guide to film history from the silent era to the rise of modern cinema in the '60s.
Aside from page after page of gorgeous photos of handsome stars and beautiful starlets, the book is packed with in-depth interviews with some of Hollywood's biggest names. The written commentaries combined with the luminous art and pictures perfectly capture the dynamism of the time.
6 THE DISNEY BOOK: A CELEBRATION OF THE WORLD OF DISNEY
Disney has been producing some of the world's most beloved films, both animated and live-action, for over eighty years. Now, with its acquisition of Lucasfilm, Marvel Studios, and Fox Pictures, it guarantees that your favorite franchises will be released for years to come in the distinctive Disney format.
Even if you're a huge Disney fan already, you'll learn things you never knew in this large-format visual guide that celebrates the World of Disney. The Disney Book includes fascinating facts and gorgeous stills from its entire catalog, as well as information about its theme parks and attractions.
5 MOMENTS THAT MADE THE MOVIES
Taking moments from 72 distinctly different films, over a period of 100 years, David Thomson presents a visual journey into the wonders of cinema with Moments that Made the Movies. From the romantic scene between Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca to the scene where Jack Nicholson bursts through the door with an ax in The Shining, each glossy page will instantly transport you back to the film.
Great time and care has been taken in selecting the photos and accompanying film essays, documenting each moment in cinematic history and explaining its importance in relation to every other. A must have for movie buffs that want to revisit their favorite films.
4 THE ART OF THE HOLLYWOOD BACKDROP
Prior to CGI and digital technology changing the landscape of cinema so definitively, backdrops in Hollywood were one of the primary ways of turning a simple movie set into a whole different world. From The Wizard of Oz to Star Wars, backdrops were necessary to create the sorts of environments that a location shoot just couldn't replicate.
Backdrops have been used by every major filmmaker and studio since Hollywood began. The heads of Mount Rushmore, the pyramids of Ancient Egypt, and even sets in Interstellar and Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events have been created by their movie magic. The Art of the Hollywood Backdrop preserves it forever.
3 STAR WARS ART: RALPH MCQUARRIE
If you're a fan of film chances are you're a fan of Star Wars. Whether you know much about the universe of George Lucas's space opera or not, you understand the incredible contribution it made not just to the science fiction genre, but to cinema itself.
For the first time ever, this impressive coffee table book features a complete gathering of the art by Ralph McQuarrie, the man responsible for turning Lucas's concepts into real imagery on the page. His drawings influenced everything from Darth Vader's iconic helmet, to the look of Han Solo's ship, the Millennium Falcon.
2 THE ART OF THE MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE
Though the Avengers storyline with Captain America and Tony Stark has come to an end with Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, the MCU is still going strong. What began over ten years ago as a hope and a dream pinned on the first Iron Man film has blossomed into a cinematic juggernaut of over twenty films and counting.
Marvel Studios has some of the greatest artists and concept artists working under its banner, and fans of both comic books and cinema will revel in this highly detailed book The Art of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Witness the transformation of your favorite MCU characters, read commentary by the filmmakers, and appreciate the richness of the franchise.
1 ALIEN: THE ARCHIVE
Hailed as one of the most important contributions to science fiction cinema, as well as regarded as one of the most fascinating film franchises of all time, it began with Ridley Scott's space thriller Alien, continued with James Cameron's pulse-pounding Aliens, and has inspired numerous innovative sequels.
Celebrate the superb craftsmanship of the films with this coffee table book devoted to the Alien franchise. Alien: The Archive, is a guide to the classic films that helped shape the cinema landscape from the '70s to the modern age. Enjoy production notes, commentaries, storyboards, and of course amazing artwork by the one and only H.R. Giger who brought the alien to life.
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