12 Great Film Company Idents

A few months back, I discussed the evolution of the Universal Pictures ident in some detail. Many incarnations of the intro evoke positive movie memories for me. But they aren’t the only film company whose ident has a positive connotation. Not including Universal, here are twelve more great film company idents. The plan was for eleven but there was one that would get left out, which seems pointless:

The Criterion Collection
It’s simple, it’s clean, it evokes a running film projector, and it serves as the intro to some of the best films in history:

Metro Goldwyn Mayer (M.G.M.)
This one has been around forever and ever, dating back to 1917 (per  the Wikipedia page). MGM currently is on their fifth lion, Leo, who has been used since the 1950’s.

Tri-Star (now TriStar)
As you can guess from the image header, TriStar was bound to make an appearance. If you grew up during the 80’s, then you have a huge amount of nostalgia for Pegasus leaping over the serif font version of “Tri-Star”. The ident has since been updated but I’ll always think of this particular version:

20th Century Fox
Much like MGM’s lion, the fanfare and spotlights on the oversized studio name is as iconic as they come in movie theaters. Here’s one of the older versions, not that it’s changed much:

Columbia Pictures
Here’s another that hasn’t changed much. To my knowledge, it’s always been the robed woman holding the torch. However, they have added some motion and depth to the old gal through the years:

Svensk Filmindustri
Ok, ok… I get it. Most people aren’t real familiar with this one. If you’ve ever seen an Ingmar Bergman film, or really any Swedish film, then you know this intro. Given the intense quality of Swedish films, you’re almost certainly in for a great movie when you see this:

Studio Canal
Similar to Svensk, if you’re seeing this intro, you’re probably watching a foreign film that’s been distributed in the U.S.

Warner Brothers
It’s extraordinarily difficult to associate this with anything other than Bugs Bunny. Somehow, that doesn’t seem like a bad thing for WB. All the same, here’s their non-Looney Tunes version:

Paramount Pictures
Paramount has stayed true to its brand, featuring the mountain peak and the stars seemingly forever. Like Columbia, the only difference is that it’s been polished and updated to add depth and motion:

Disney is one of the few major studios who HAS changed their ident quite a bit, going from a simple white-on-blue vector drawing to this more majestic piece. I have to confess, I preferred the simpler, less over-the-top version:

It should come as no surprise that John Williams, frequently the composer on Steven Spielberg’s films, would compose the music for Spielberg’s film company ident.

Hammer Studios
As my friend Marty has pointed out in the comments section, Hammer Studios’ famous gong is an omission. So I’ve added it. Unfortunately, I can’t find a video of it. But if you’ve ever seen a Hammer Horror, you recognize this image:


Filed under Foreign Film, Movies, Swedish Film

13 responses to “12 Great Film Company Idents

  1. Kelly

    These are great, and I’m sooo glad you didn’t include the United Artists indent from the 80’s. The music really creeped me out as a kid. It started out slow & quiet and then got louder as the three-dimensional UA would rotate towards you. It still makes me shiver whenever I happen to see it. I’d find it on YouTube for everyone to see, but I don’t want to traumatize myself so early in the morning.

  2. martin

    Where the hell is “A Rank Organization”?!?! The gong man from Hammer Horror?!

  3. martin

    i’m also a fan of “Lion’s Gate” and “Lucas Films”.. “Icon” is great too as a logo/intro, but it’s Mel Gibson so it’s kind of been ruined. And I know it’s not a studio but seeing the “Janus Film” logo makes me a happy person.

    • rtm

      Agree, Lion’s Gate is great, one of my faves. I also like the one from Focus Features. As for Disney, for some reason that one always gets me all excited like a little girl every time I see it… especially the magical 3D version, I almost want to rewind that part every time. I dunno, maybe it’s the nostalgia factor as I adore Disney flicks as a kid.

  4. Jonah

    I always get awinge with the circling stars of Orion, sadly no longer around.

    Nor the fella with the gong, was that Rank?

  5. Jonah

    er, that should say ‘twinge’. I don’t moan at it…

  6. Beautiful job on this! It would be great if you could do an evolution post on each one (although that may prove to be a dautnting task). I have so many memories of the old Colombia Pictures logo from the beginning of Ghostbusters

  7. Pingback: Ident ideas « A2 Media

  8. Pingback: 12 Great Film Company Idents | S1-08 Thriller Opening

  9. Pingback: Film Idents | JackMachin FilmFestival SecondaryResearch

  10. Gareth

    The gong is from the Rank Film Organization, not Hammer (although I still love seeing that name at the beginning of a movie, even if I’m not a fan of the new Marvel-inspired version).

  11. Osaheni Arthur

    Hey!You failed to include one of my favs.The one with the church bell in a moving long shot.It’s that company founded by Ivan Reichman.And situated in a town in Santa Barbara,CA.Man I just love it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s