From Sketch to Spectacle: Famous movie storyboards

Alex Bigman

When emerging designers ask us for advice about how to improve the strength of their concepts, we always begin with one simple answer: sketch it. As in, doodles. By hand. On paper. You’d be surprised by how much working outside the parameters of digital software will free your mind.

If you don’t believe us, ask some of Hollywood’s biggest directors, like Alfred Hitchcock, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, George Lukas and Christopher Nolan. All of these heavy hitters, in particular Hitchcock and Scorsese, are known for their emphasis upon storyboards – basically comic book-like hand drawings that sketch out the movie, frame by frame. Scorsese has gone so far as to say that, beyond serving as a guide, “storyboards are the point where I begin.” He sometimes even draws them himself (though, as you’ll see below, his skill as a draftsman does not quite match his prowess as a director).

Here are the storyboards for seventeen famous films. Can you figure out what they are? You’ll find the answers at the bottom of the page.

1. Alfred Hitchcock (director), Saul Bass (artist)

storyboard - 1

2. Christopher Nolan (director), Gabriel Hardman (artist)


3. Steven Spielberg (director), Joe Alves (artist)


4. Roger Spottiswoode (director), Martin Asbury (artist)


5. Francis Ford Coppola (director), Dean Tavoularis (artist)


6. Sam Raimi (director), Chris Buchinsky (artist)


7. Alfred Hitchcock (director), Harold Michelson (artist)


8. Zack Snyder (director and artist)


9. Martin Scorsese (director and artist)


10. Joel and Ethan Coen (directors), J. Todd Anderson (artist)


11. Robert Wise (director), Maurice Zuberano (artist)


12. Robert Zemeckis (director), Chris Bonura (artist)


13. Martin Scorsese (director) Karl Shelfelman (artist)


14. Victor Fleming (director), William Cameron Menzies (artist)


15. Ridley Scott (director), Sylvain Despretz (artist)


16. Christopher Nolan (director), Gabriel Hardman (artist)


17. Steven Spielberg (director), David Lowery (artist)




1 – Psycho
2 – Inception
3 – Jaws
4 – 007: Tomorrow Never Dies
5 – Apocalypse Now
6 – Spiderman 2
7 – The Birds
8 – Watchmen
9 – Taxi Driver
10 – No Country for Old Men
11 – The Sound of Music
12 – Forres Gump
13 – Shutter Island
14 – Gone with the Wind
15 – Gladiator
16 – The Dark Knight Rises
17 – Jurassic Park

How did you do? Tell us in the comments!

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