The Worst (and Best) Taglines Of All Time…

April 3, 2010 by  
Filed under - Home, Features

bond300It’s the kind of lazy logic that would have given us the taglines “Three men. One baby”, “The Lost Ark gets raided”, “Gump, Forrest” and “His face, is scarred”.

Clash Of The Titans is unlikely to win any awards come Oscar time, but if the film is due one accolade it’s that of Worst Tagline In Movie History for, wait for it – ‘Titans Will Clash’.

You would hope there would be some titan clashing in a film with that title. Do we really need it rephrased to draw us in? What makes it worse is that some weasel in Warner Bros marketing probably spent weeks ‘brainstorming’ that one with a fat paycheck for the effort.

As an ode to the steaming pile of a slogan that Titans Will Clash truly is we rounded up some more shoddy taglines from cinema past. But we haven’t forgotten what an art-form that handful of words at the bottom of the billboard can be though. Scroll down for the very best…

First, the worst…

goldfingerJames Bond is back in action! Everything he touches turns to excitement! – Goldfinger (1964)

First off, if you have to finish the tagline with an exclamation mark it can’t be a great one. Needing two means you’re definitely in trouble.

But seriously, how exactly do things ‘turn to excitement’? What the hell does that even mean? Maybe 007 needs to cancel his playboy channel subscription…

empireThe adventure continues – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

A competitor to Titans Will Clash for complete lack of effort, the tagline for Star Wars’ second instalment is without imagination or appeal. It might as well have been “The next Star Wars movie” or “More Star Wars”. In fact it’s an effort to think of an alternative that displays less effort.

Rubbish.

t2This time there’s two – Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

There’s a thin line between genius and utter crap and this one falls flat-faced into the latter category. Simple can be effective but this boneheaded effort lets down an otherwise awesome sequel.

But this is an excellent example of why a movie’s leading star should never be allowed to write the tagline…

NOTTINGCan the most famous film star in the world fall for just an ordinary guy? – Notting Hill (1999)

Well since it’s on the movie poster you’d have to assume so. I mean, there’d be no point mentioning it otherwise.

Giving away the plot is never a good move on a tagline. Imagine if The Usual Suspects had “Could the guy they’re interviewing be faking his limp?” – give it away why don’t ya?!

SUPERMANYou’ll believe a man can fly! – Superman (1978)

No I won’t. I’ve no trouble leaving my faith in physics at the popcorn stand to enjoy a movie but that doesn’t mean I take everything I see on screen as fact. I don’t believe people can come back from the dead like in Dawn Of The Dead. I don’t believe machines will ever attack a city like in Transformers. I don’t believe a plastic faced cretin will ever terrorise a suburb like in Nightmare On Elm Street – hang on a minute…

And now the best…

FLYBe afraid, be very afraid – The Fly (1968)

It’s become such a well-used phrase it’s easy to forget it comes from a tagline. Simplicity is key here. It’s a warning that tells you to be scared, what better instruction for a scary film?

Amazingly it didn’t go out on all the marketing material – some posters carried the limp and lazy – “Half man. Half insect. Total terror.”

ALIENIn space no-one can hear you scream – Alien (1979)

Even people who have never seen Alien know this one – it’s almost as iconic as the movie itself. As well as being seven words full of foreboding and intrigue it’s also educational. It’s to do with the lack of air particles out there or something.

Whoever wrote the tagline for sequel Aliens was always going to have a tough job on their hands. The best they could come up with was “This Time There’s More”. For Alien 3 they butchered the classic with “On Earth EVERYONE can hear you scream”. Which is also true. Kind of. Only if you can scream really, really loud and don’t include deaf people.

GRAILMakes Ben Hur look like an Epic – Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

If you’ve made a cracking comedy you can’t let the tagline let you down. A dud gag on the billboards could spell disaster for the film, no matter how funny it is.

The Monty Python crew don’t disappoint on this one though and it still raises a chuckle decades later. A close runner for the comedy tagline crown was This Is Spinal Tap with “Does for rock and roll what The Sound of Music did for hills”.

gonewithyouThe most magnificent picture ever! – Gone With The Wind (1939)

A film would never get away with such a brazen claim today, but back in the thirties when the only rival for such an honour would have been Charlie Chaplin and the Marx brothers, this tagline would not have been such a bold statement of arrogance. Someone had to get it first and why not one of the most loved films of all time. Wit or wordplay just wouldn’t suit this classic love story from Hollywood’s golden era. It plays on curiosity – how could you not buy a ticket with a tagline like that?

jawsJust when you thought it was safe to go back in the water… – Jaws 2 (1978)

It’s not often that sequels top the original and the same goes for taglines. The return of Amity Island’s shark problem spurned a slogan that breaks the rule however, and it has become one of the most famous of all time. The first Jaws’ was less inspired – “ The Nation’s No.1 Best-Selling Book now the Screen’s Super-Thriller”, oh dear.

Any we’ve missed? Let us know your favourites, good or bad, below…

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