North Dallas Forty / one sheet / USA


North Dallas Forty
Year of Film
Ted Kotcheff
Nick Nolte, Mac Davis, Charles Durning, Dayle Haddon, Bo Svenson, John Matuszak, Steve Forrest, G.D. Spradlin, Dabney Coleman, Savannah Smith Boucher
Origin of Film
Genre(s) of Film
Comedy | Drama | Sport
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Origin of Poster
Year of Poster
Spiros Angelikas
Morgan Kane
Size (inches)
27" x 41"
SS or DS
"Wait till you see the weird part."

An illustration by the American artist Morgan Kane features on this US one sheet for the release of the 1979 American Football themed North Dallas Forty. Based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Peter Gent, the film is a semi-fictional tale set around a Texan team, here called the North Dallas Cowboys but clearly based on the world-famous Dallas Cowboys. The film was directed by Ted Kotcheff, the Canadian director probably best known for First Blood (Rambo) and Weekend at Bernie’s. The two lead characters depicted on this poster are played by Nick Nolte and the Texan singer-songwriter Mac Davis, here making his debut turn as an actor (with multiple roles to follow).

The plot focuses on the antics of the team’s players both on and off the field, with all the infamous sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll shenanigans of that period of the NFL. Nolte plays Elliot, an ageing superstar player who, along with Davis’ quarterback Seth, get up to all manner of hijinks, much to the club owner’s consternation. The film looks at how the excesses off the pitch affect the sport on it in a similar (slightly more comical) fashion to Oliver Stone’s 1999 film Any Given Sunday.

Morgan Kane was born in 1916 and graduated from the Cleveland Art Institute in 1942. During WWII he worked in Washington for the US Air Force, illustrating flying manuals and safety posters. When the war was over he moved to Chicago where he worked on commerical artwork for the likes of Coca Cola. Wanting to try his hand at magazine and book artwork, Kane then moved to Connecticut with his family and completed illustrations for a variety of magazines, including Cosmopolitan and Esquire, as well as on book covers for several publishers.

In 1963 he opened a photographic studio and worked on advertisements and more book covers, plus he took the celebrated photograph of the long pair of legs with Roger Moore underneath that featured on the poster for the Bond film ‘For Your Eyes Only‘. He would also illustrate tens of movie posters for the likes of Paramount Pictures, Universal and Warner Brothers. Other notable film posters he worked on include Meatballs, Coast to Coast and Sunburn (check out the archive for images of them).

The poster was designed by Spiros Angelikas who was a prolific designer and artist of film posters during the 1970s and 1980s. He owned a design agency called Spiros Associates. Some of his most famous work includes the poster he designed for Friday the 13th, with artist Alex Ebel, his work on the Indiana Jones series, and for his collaborations with the legendary artist Richard Amsel. They worked on Raiders of the Lost Ark and Nijinsky together and there’s a great article on the late artist’s website about their efforts. He also worked on several of the posters for the original Star Trek films, including the gorgeous Bob Peak original. There’s an interesting article by Angelikas’ son Harry on the Trek Core website which has photographs of concepts for the posters by Spiros that never made it to the print stage.

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