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Cinephiles know that movie magic is real. What other medium can transport us to different worlds, bring characters to life and wow us with special effects? From galactic adventures to emotional biopics to going back in time, movies show us things that are only possible on the silver screen. They allow our imaginations to run wild and are an exhilarating escape from the every day.
A movie doesn’t have to end when you walk out of the theater or turn off your TV. The best coffee table books on movies keep the story going. They can share more of that famous visual storytelling and spill the secrets of the innovations and artistry that went on behind the scenes. The best coffee table books on film allow you to enjoy your favorite films in another dimension while doubling as conversation starters. These are the 10 best coffee table books on movies to bring into your home. If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, Variety may receive an affiliate commission.
1. The Art of Pixar: The Complete Color Scripts and Select Art from 25 Years of Animation
A must for any fan of animation, this book explores the world of Pixar over the last 25 years, taking a deep dive into both shorts and feature films. From classics like “Toy Story” and “A Bug’s Life” to newer releases like “Up” and “Cars 2,” it delves into the directors, writers and team of artists behind the scenes. Sharing the complete scripts in color and development art, it offers a glimpse at rare artwork and insider info. $26.99, amazon.com
2. 50 Greatest James Bond Cars
We dare you to think of a movie character with cars that rival James Bond’s. Who hasn’t spent too much time wondering which car of his you’d most like to get behind the wheel of? This brand new book looks at 50 incredible cars from 25 films, including the newest, “No Time to Die,” starring Daniel Craig and Rami Malek. All the cars in the book were either driven by or chased by everyone’s favorite international spy. Displayed in full color, they show the gadgets and features that make them out of this world alongside fun facts and details on the scenes and stunts they appeared in. Every page brings you along for a wild ride. $19.95, amazon.com
3. The Art of Horror Movies: An Illustrated History
Don’t read this one before bed! A must for horror movie lovers, this illustrated tome captures the thrill of suspense on every page, making it one of the best coffee table books on movies for horror fans. Chronologically spanning the entire history of horror films, from the silent to the present, it contains over 600 rare images from a range of sources, including posters, lobby cards, advertising, promotional items, tie-in books and magazines, and original artwork. Director and screenwriter John Landis, of “An American Werewolf in London,” wrote the foreword and there’s insight from top experts of the genre. $26.49, amazon.com
4. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Take a trip back in time to the Golden Age of Hollywood and see the incredible era for yourself. Covering everything from the silent years to the rise of modern film in the 1960s, it includes rare and previously unpublished interviews with some of the biggest stars, including Mickey Rooney, Kirk Douglas, Jane Fonda, Julie Andrews and an excerpt from Richard Burton’s final interview. It examines the studio system, Hollywood stars plucked from obscurity and every side of old glamour. There are rare archival photographs from on set and behind the scenes, ranging from musicals to Westerns. The Golden Hollywood era is almost mythological, but this book makes it all very real. $35.68, amazon.com
5. Moments That Made the Movies
Every great movie has that scene that just sticks in your head forever. This book captures 72 of them from films over a period of 100 years. Each one will instantly bring you back to that scene, such as the romantic moment between Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in “Casablanca” and when Jack Nicholson bursts through the door with an ax in “The Shining,” as well as scenes from “Citizen Kane,” “Sunset Boulevard,” “The Red Shoes,” “The Piano Teacher” and “Burn After Reading.” Each is accompanied by a thoughtful essay, explaining its significance and role in film history, deftly written by David Thomson. $24.81, amazon.com
6. Cinemaps: An Atlas of 35 Great Movies
Who knew that cartography and cinema made such a fascinating combination? This creative book applies mapmaking to 35 of the best movies of all time, so you can follow your favorite characters along on their iconic journeys. Join Indiana Jones in his adventures in “Raiders of the Lost Ark” from Nepal to Cairo, Marty McFly through the Hill Valley of 1955 and 1985 in “Back to the Future” and Jack Torrance through the hallways of the Overlook Hotel in “The Shining.” You can also navigate through “King Kong,” “The Princess Bride,” “North by Northwest,” “Fargo,” “Pulp Fiction” and “The Breakfast Club.” Each film has a hand-painted 9-inch-by-12-inch map in great detail accompanied by essays and trivia from each movie. $21.50, amazon.com
7. The Wes Anderson Collection
Wes Anderson doesn’t just make movies — he creates entire universes on the sets of his films. From the super saturated colors to the incredible costumes to the whimsical set decorations, every single detail is unique and intricately planned. The essence of a few of his beloved films — “Bottle Rocket,” “Rushmore,” “The Royal Tenenbaums,” “The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou,” “The Darjeeling Limited,” “Fantastic Mr. Fox” and “Moonrise Kingdom” — is captured in this New York Times bestselling overview. There’s previously unpublished behind-the-scenes photos, artwork and ephemera, as well as original illustrations and production images. The book is written by film and television critic Matt Zoller Seitz with an introduction by Michael Chabon. $26.99, amazon.com
8. Now Playing: A Seek-and-Find Book for Film Buffs
Essentially hide and seek in book form for movie buffs, you’ll have a blast searching for iconic film characters and elements from the minds of 12 legendary directors in beautifully illustrated set-piece spreads. Keep an eye out for Edward Scissorhands, Steve Zissou, Mrs. Bates and seven gremlins, to name a few. The featured directors include Tim Burton, Stanley Kubrick, Wes Anderson, Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg and Quentin Tarantino. In case you get really stumped, there are answers keys following every spread. $14.99, amazon.com
9. ‘Star Wars’ Art: Ralph McQuarrie
The galaxy far, far away will seem a lot closer once you have this collection on your coffee table. “Star Wars” forever changed the way moves are made and that goes beyond just science fiction films. George Lucas brought incredible innovation to the entire film industry. These books showcase the complete artwork of Ralph McQuarrie, the artist who turned the ideas of Lucas into tangible imagery, ranging from C-3PO and R2-D2 to the Millennium Falcon to Darth Vader’s helmet. McQuarrie is undoubtedly the most influential artist in the history of “Star Wars” and these volumes showcase his conceptual paintings, costume designs, storyboards, matte paintings, posters, book covers, album covers and even Lucasfilm’s annual holiday cards. There are also rare unpublished interviews and tidbits from McQuarrie’s colleagues on the art. $139.39, amazon.com
10. Marvel Encyclopedia
Given how many heroes and villains there are in the Marvel Universe, it makes sense that it has earned its very own encyclopedia. This book digs into them all, including Captain America, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thanos, Loki and Kingpin. Legendary comic-book writer, editor, publisher and producer Stan Lee wrote the introduction. The newest edition of the best-selling Marvel Encyclopedia is updated with the latest on the always expanding Marvel Universe, sharing all the details and secret histories on more than 1,200 Marvel characters, teams and recent events, such as Civil War 2, Secret Empire and Infinity Countdown. Comic artwork illustrates each entry, making it an essential for every Marvel fan. $21.99, amazon.com