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Shopping for the right coffee table book isn’t as easy as you might think, namely because there are so many choices out there. To narrow things down a bit, you can find books that align with your personal interests. If you’re a movie fan who wants to incorporate that cinema aesthetic into your living room decor, we rounded up a list of some of the coolest coffee table books to buy right now.
From “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” (not that one!) to “Criterion Designs,” this book list blends captivating photos and illustrations with fascinating stories and fun facts that cover more than 100 years of cinema history. Find the list below, and for more recommendations read our massive roundup of the best gifts for movie lovers.
Not to be confused with Quentin Tarantino’s novel “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” this book by Juliette Michaud examines Tinseltown from every angle, giving readers an insider’s view of the iconic films and actors at the center of unrivaled cinematic glory. The book includes first-hand interviews with the stars, from film pioneers to Hollywood in the 1960s, and epic tales from Hollywood’s golden age, including unpublished and rare interviews with Hollywood legends such as Mickey Rooney, Kirk Douglas, Jane Fonda, and Julie Andrews, alongside excerpts from Richard Burton’s last interview before his death in 1984. From silent films and Westerns to live-action flicks, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” celebrates the creativity at the center of the world’s cinematic hub.
Take a historic trek through the first century of Black film displayed through film poster art in “Separate Cinema: The First 100 Years of Black Film.” This visual celebration recounts the diverse and historic journey of the Black film industry from the early days up to 2014. You’ll also find insightful accompanying text, a foreword penned by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and an afterword by Spike Lee. Some of the movie posters featured in the book include “Princess Tam Tam” (the 1935 French film featuring Josephine Baker) “Porgy & Bess,” “Foxy Brown,” “Beat Street,” “Wild Style,” “The Butler,” and “Do the Right Thing.”
From cult favorites to avant-garde experiments, big-budget blockbusters and classics of world cinema, the lavishly illustrated “Criterion Designs” celebrates 30 years of artwork from the Criterion Collection. “Criterion Designs” features covers, supplemental art, and never-before-seen sketches and concept art along with a gallery of every Criterion cover since 1984.
“Hollywood: Her Story, An Illustrated History of Women and the Movies” features more than 1200 women — from popular movie legends to hundreds of women whose names you might not know including actresses, directors, stuntwomen, screenwriters, composers, producers, editors, animators, and cinematographers. The stunning photographs document women who worked their magic in the movie businesses dating all the way back to the 1890s when Alice Guy-Blaché became the first female movie director all the way up to the 2010s.
This coffee table book is a must-have for anyone who loves horror. Edited by award-winning writer and editor Stephen Jones, with a forward from director/screenwriter John Landis (“An American Werewolf in London”), “The Art to Horror Movies: An Illustrated Guide” traces the history of the horror film genre, from the silent era up to the newer releases and trends.
A definitive guide for all ages, the book is packed with informative chapters and fascinating sidebars chronologically charting the evolution of horror movies for over a century with over 600 rare and unique images, including posters, lobby cards, advertising, promotional items, magazines, and original artwork inspired by classic movies. “The Art to Horror Movies” traces the development of the horror film from its inception, and celebrates the genre’s actors, filmmakers, and artists.
You don’t have to be a “Star Wars” fans to appreciate the beauty of this coffee table book by Ralph McQuarrie (the most iconic artist in “Star Wars” history.) Having worked hand-in-hand with George Lucas to help establish the “Star Wars” visual aesthetic, which includes the distinctive look and feel, in addition to designing Darth Vader, C-3PO, and R2-D2, McQuarrie also produced hundreds of pieces of “Star Wars” artwork, including conceptual paintings, costume designs, storyboards, and matte paintings, as well as posters, book and album covers, and even Lucasfilm’s annual holiday cards — all of which have been rescanned and rephotographed for the book. “Star Wars Art: Ralph McQuarrie” is a comprehensive tribute to one of cinema’s most beloved and influential concept artists. The definitive collection includes hundreds of never-before-seen illustrations, rare unpublished interviews, and recollections from McQuarrie’s colleagues and friends.
The 2019 edition of “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die” covers more than a century of movie history with a selection of film chosen by a team of international film critics. Edited by Steven Jay Schneider and Ian Haydn Smith, each profile is filled with details, plot summaries, production notes, and little-known facts relating to the film’s history giving readers a fresh look at some the greatest films of all time with detailed, full-color images, key movie quotations, a bunch of movies poster, and up-to-date movie facts and trivia about Hollywood’s most memorable musicals, dramas, noteworthy documentaries, screwball comedies, classic westerns, action and adventure films, and lots more. If you’re looking for the most recent copy in the book series, pre-order the 2021 edition of “1001 Movies You Must Watch Before Your Die.”
A delightful gift item for lovers of movie quotes, “All the Best Lines” features a collection of 500 memorable movie quotes, embracing both one-liners (“My name is Pussy Galore”) and pieces of snappy dialogue from films such as “Vertigo,” “The Magnificent Seven,” “Network,” “This Is Spinal Tap,” “Fight Club,” “Superbad,” and “Inglourious Basterds.” Arranged under themes as “dreams,” “friends,” “libido,” and “memories,” the quotes juxtapose films and stars from every era and genre. This collection aims to delight and entertain readers while reacquainting them with their favorite movies, and introducing some forgotten classics.
This edition to the “The Big Ideas Simply” explained series features a detailed guide to 100 seismic films, from “Intolerance” (1916) to “Boyhood” (2014). “The Movie Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained” works as a coffee table book and companion reference with infographics that explains things like “The Godfather’s” complicated web of family and associates, along with providing plot lines to iconic movies such as “Taxi Driver” and “Blade Runner.”
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