My Top 10 Favorite Movie Trailers!

Hey everyone, Devin Forbes here, and being a cinematographer at Process Pictures I thought it’d be fun to share my 10 favorite movie trailers that I’ve seen over the years.

Movie trailers are a fickle thing. They have to try and capture the style and energy of the film in a very short amount of time, as well as tease the story line (without giving too much away). Of course, some trailers focus solely on the spectacle (Goldeneye [1995]), while others try so hard to give a rounded picture of the story that they destroy all hint of style and art that the movie contains (Contagion [2011]). Without a doubt, trailer editing is an art form in and of itself.

You’ll see a trend with my choices – I love a mysterious, less-is-more approach to trailers. That’s not to say that I think complex trailers are bad, I just think they are harder to pull off successfully. Now, let’s get on with it!

#10: Locke (2014)


This film is so uniquely constructed, and the trailer nails it. We get a sense of the beautiful cinematography, exciting tidbits of story, and compelling critic testimony, blending together into a trailer that is extremely effective in making you want to see more.

#9: Mad Max – Fury Road (2015)


The trailer is light on story, and honestly, I think everyone was okay with that. Instead, we got a face full of awesome visuals, awesome actors, and unimaginable Australian style.

#8: The Dark Knight Rises (2012)


Juxtaposing the action against the boy singing the national anthem was an excellent choice, especially when you find out the backstory on it. Nolan excels at tension, and I bet that’s why his trailers are so good. Jeez, three trailers in and my Tom Hardy man crush is already showing.

#7: The Short Game (2013)


A fun one, for sure. Really heartwarming, exciting, and emotional. Really makes you want to watch it.

#6: Gravity (2013)


The sound effects added to the destruction can be cringe worthy after seeing the film, but since they are having to appeal to an audience that isn’t used to a highly realistic representation of space, it is understandable that they needed to gradually introduce people to this unique approach.

#5: I Am Legend (2007)


I felt compelled to include this one, even though it is severely flawed. Much like the film, the first 3/4 of the trailer is amazing – it sets the tone, establishes the world, shows off amazing cinematography by Andrew Lesnie…but then the last 1/4 is just awful. Critics literally referred to it as the “third act collapse”. Why? Well, because for whatever reason they departed from the book in a spectacularly meaningless and soul-sucking way (and the zombie/vampire special effects are pretty bad, too). But I still love the first two acts quite a bit, enough to include it in this list. Honestly, I find it humorous that the trailer mimics this third act crash almost verbatim.

#4: The Rover (2014)


Beautiful filmmaking, and a well put together trailer. The pace of the film is pretty darn slow and the dialogue is sparse, so the fact that this trailer is as good as it is surprises me. This can’t have been an easy trailer to cut, and they honestly did a fantastic job. It would have been really easy to destroy the style of the film trying to make sure that the audience got hyped up, and I applaud A24 for maintaining a marketing strategy that doesn’t actively mislead viewers to try and boost box office results at the expense of the art form.

#3: Sleeping Beauty (2011)


A haunting trailer, to match a haunting film.

#2: Contact (1997)


Starting a trailer in silence is bold. But I love it. This film is stunningly constructed, and the trailer does a great job of getting the viewer excited to see it. Jodie Foster is the bomb, too.

#1: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2015)


I was floored by this trailer. Not one word of dialogue, and I already knew I had to see this film. The trailer is entirely focused on the mood, and the beautiful visuals combined with the terrifying cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” by Karen O makes for an unforgettable experience. Not that this necessarily needed to be remade – the Swedish version is amazing as well – but I can’t turn down a David Fincher masterpiece.

Honorable Mentions:

We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)
Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
Samsara (2012)
The Martian (2015)

But of course, when talking about trailers I can’t leave out this gem:


I hope you enjoyed my list! Do you have any favorites I didn’t post? Feel free to comment below!

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Comments 1

  1. Bonnie Forbes

    Just a few of my favorites that I enjoy seeing over and over

    The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

    Independence Day (1996)

    Galaxy Quest

    Twelve O’clock High (1949)

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