In the poster of 1997 movie Good Will Hunting Robin Williams' character Sean Maguire has a dark beard compared with the movie itself:

Good Will Hunting


Why is there this difference?

  • 12
    Movie posters are not renowned for their truthfulness; tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/CoversAlwaysLie/LiveActionFilms
    – Valorum
    Sep 27, 2023 at 23:04
  • @Valorum First of all, I don't think covers always lie! Second, what is the purpose of lying in movie posters then? Just to surprise the audience when they watch the movie itself? The lies are usually about the details. Sep 27, 2023 at 23:47
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    Probably because they tested various versions of the poster with their target audience and found that this version appealed to them more, making him look younger or more dynamic in some way. The goal is to get bums on seats, don't forget. Once they're in the cinema, as long as they don't literally come out and demand their money back, you've basically won.
    – Valorum
    Sep 27, 2023 at 23:52
  • 3
    It's not just the beard, the clothing has been colored as well.
    – rtaft
    Sep 28, 2023 at 12:24
  • 3
    Movie posters typically present an idealized image of the film. This has always seemed to be accepted by audiences who realize that it is not necessarily an exact depiction of what will be seen in a two-hour movie. That being said, movie distributors certainly take advantage of this at times with extreme exaggerations, or in some cases outright falsehoods. A common device is to show women wearing clingy or revealing outfits not representative of the actual costumes. And the female's figures are often "enhanced" in the artwork. Probably the same is done for men but I'm less likely to notice. Sep 28, 2023 at 13:35

1 Answer 1


As you can see from the publicity shot below, his beard, at the time the photo was taken, is very much the same colour as you see in the rest of the film.

It's not uncommon for images to be altered for effect for movie posters, in this case presumably to make Sean look slightly younger, and hence more attractive to their target audience.

enter image description here

  • So, they even asked the actors to pose differently for the poster. Matt Damon is smiling and looking at a corner in the poster, but he is looking at Sean without a smile in the movie itself. Also, Sean's mouth is closed in the movie while it's semi-opened in the poster. Sep 28, 2023 at 14:41
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    @EtackSxchange - I would imagine they took a series of photos, of which this is one and the poster is another. This scene doesn't appear in the film, so it's not clear whether this is from a deleted scene or just some shots they took in between takes. Most big productions hire a stills photographer for precisely this reason, to capture unguarded 'candid' shots for magazines and editorials
    – Valorum
    Sep 28, 2023 at 14:45
  • It looks to me like they took the image of Robin Williams from the photo/still in this answer, and composited it with a different one of Matt Damon. Sep 29, 2023 at 12:04
  • @JaapScherphuis - If you compare the two pictures you can see that Williams has moved very marginally. His mouth is open, his head has moved back slightly and his eyes are closing. I'm assuming the picture above was taken a few seconds before the one used on the movie jacket.
    – Valorum
    Sep 29, 2023 at 12:07

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