You’ve previously read what we consider to be the 10 Most Imaginative Shots on Film, now find out what we consider to be the most iconic still images in film, those pop culture memories that will forever be ingrained in our soul.

Inspired by a recent trip to the National Portrait Gallery to view their exclusive collection of vintage film star photos from the extensive John Kobal collection (get down their pronto guys…it’s a fantastic exhibition that features stunning images of many Golden Era stars from Humphrey Bogart and Gary Cooper to Marilyn Monroe and Joan Crawford…but it ends on October 23rd!), I began to think how iconic still images can be.

With this in mind, read on to discover what we consider to be the ten most iconic of these images!


10. King Kong – KING KONG (1933)

A superb feat of special effects back in 1933, there’s something that remains incredibly impressive about King Kong atop the Empire State Building even to this day. Photographer Robert Coburn’s series of photographs depicting the beast on his New York rampage have become iconic not only to film fans, but to the wider public in general too. Kong merchandise is still readily available, with images on a range of items as well as enormous canvas displays and poster sized photo prints.

The model work of Marcel Delgado is seamlessly captured by Coburn and whilst to the modern eye Kong is obviously not a real creature, the photographs still display a reality that makes the images breathtakingly powerful. Whether viewers have seen the film, these images can instantly be equated to the production and perfectly demonstrate how iconic a still from a film can become.

Who can’t visit The Empire State Building now without checking that King Kong isn’t up there fighting for his life.

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This article was first posted on August 31, 2011