frank mccarthy and the art of the movie poster

Es­ti­mated reading time is 3 minutes.

I STUM­BLED AROUND the In­ternet looking for the name of the artist who did the poster for the 1968 movie The Green Berets. I found the Dan­gerous Minds web­site which not only iden­ti­fied the artist as Frank Mc­Carthy, but had an en­tire page de­voted to his art: “The Kick-Ass Poster Art Of Frank Mc­Carthy” by Paul Gal­lagher in­cludes four dozen pieces of art by McCarthy!

And I re­al­ized that I knew Mc­Carthy’s work from other places. Readers who grew up going to the movies in the 1960s or ’70s are prob­ably fa­miliar with Mc­Carthy’s work, as he did the poster art for sev­eral of the most pop­ular James Bond movies with fellow artist Robert McGinnis:

1965  Thun­der­ball
1965  You Only Live Twice
1969  On Her Majesty’s Se­cret Service

There are many ar­ti­cles on the In­ternet de­voted to Mc­Carthy’s art, and I can’t look through them all. One ar­ticle that gives de­tailed in­for­ma­tion on the Bond posters is “The Movie Art of Frank Mc­Carthy” by Stephen Rebello.


Frank Mc­Carthy did the poster art for sev­eral of the most pop­ular movies of the ’60s, in­cluding James Bond.


As an in­tro­duc­tion to Mc­Carthy’s art, I chose six ex­am­ples from the Dan­gerous Minds site and made this page. My in­ten­tion here is to drive you over to the Dan­gerous Minds ar­ticle so that you can feast your eyes on the other art!

The pieces I se­lected em­pha­sized white space. Mc­Carthy was a master with that as­pect of art, an as­pect that es­capes many artists. The work that I se­lected for the fea­tured image re­quires no white space.

Fi­nally, I left a com­ment on the Dan­gerous Minds site and opined that if Mc­Carthy had been a comic book artist in the ’60s, the pub­lishers would have had him doing lots of covers as his art on a cover would sell a title re­gard­less of the quality of the art on the in­te­rior pages. Marvel and DC uti­lized Jack Kirby, Jim Ster­anko, and Neal Adams in this manner.


FrankMcCarthy poster GreatEscape 1963 500

The Great Es­cape (1963) was di­rected by John Sturges from a screen­play by James Clavell and W.R. Burnet. It fea­tured Steve Mc­Queen, James Garner, Richard At­ten­bor­ough, James Donald, Charles Bronson, Donald Pleasence, James Coburn, and Hannes Messemer. 


FrankMcCarthy poster FlightFromAshiya 1964

Fight From Ashiya (1964) was di­rected by Frank Cordell and fea­tured Yul Brynner, Richard Wid­mark, George Chakiris, Suzy Parker, Shirley Knight, and Daniele Gauber.


FrankMcCarthy poster TheDefector 1966

The De­fector (1966) was di­rected by Raoul Lévy and fea­tured Mont­gomery Clift, Roddy Mc­Dowall, and Macha Meril.


FrankMcCarthy poster TheDirtyDozen 1967

The Dirty Dozen (1967) was di­rected by Robert Aldrich and fea­tured Lee Marvin, Ernest Borg­nine, Charles Bronson, Jim Brown, John Cas­savetes, Richard Jaeckel, George Kennedy, Trini Lopez, Ralph Meeker, Robert Ryan, Telly Savalas, Clint Walker, and Robert Webber.


FrankMcCarthy poster AttackOnTheIronCoast 1968

At­tack On The Iron Coast (1968) was di­rected by Paul Wendkos and fea­tured Lloyd Bridges, An­drew Keir, Sue Lloyd, and Mau­rice Denham.



GreenBerets movie poster France 500 1

This is the poster for The Green Berets that had me searching the In­ternet for the artist and even­tu­ally finding Frank Mc­Carthy. This is the French poster, which I chose over the Amer­ican ver­sion be­cause it so neatly in­cor­po­rates the image of John Wayne with Mc­Carthy’s art.


FrankMcCarthy poster DayOfAnger 1969

Day Of Anger (1969) was di­rected by Tonino Va­lerii and fea­tured Lee Van Cleef, Giu­liano Gemma, Walter Rilla, and Christa Linder.

The Lord of the Beret trilogy

This is the second of three ar­ti­cles pur­port­edly re­lating to Barry Sadler and his 1966 hit single The Ballad Of The Green Berets. The three make the most sense if read in this order:

1.  SSgt Barry Sadler And The Ballad Of The Green Berets
2.  John Wayne And The Green Berets
3.  Frank Mc­Carthy And The Art Of The Movie Poster

Readers who went to the movies in the ’60s know Mc­Carthy’s art for James Bond movies. Share on X

FrankMcCarthy poster ValleyOfTheGwangi 1970 1000

FEA­TURED IMAGE: The art­work at the top of this page is, of course, by Frank Mc­Carthy for the 1970 movie The Valley Of The Gwangi. It was di­rected by Jim O’­Con­nolly and fea­tured James Fran­ciscus, Gila Golan, Richard Carlson, Lau­rence Nai­smith, Freda Jackson, and Gus­tavo Rojo. It’s a rather tame take on The Lost World but with cow­boys in­stead of sci­en­tists finding a lost-land-where-time-stood-still.

What is mem­o­rable about this movie is that its spe­cial ef­fects were the work of stop-motion an­i­ma­tion master Ray Har­ry­hausen. This was his last dinosaur-themed film—after this, he only lent his skills to fan­tasy movies, and un­for­tu­nately, those skills were no­tice­ably de­clining by the ’70s.




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