United Artists (Movies)

Compiled by Jason Jones, Matt Williams and James Fabiano

1st Logo
(Mid '30s-1967)

Nickname: "The Hexagon"

Logo: We see over a grainy-looking background the words "United Artists" appearing inside a 3-layer hexagon shape.

SFX: None, it's a still logo

Music: Probably the intro of any UA movie playing throughout.

Availability: Near Extinction.

Scare Factor: None

2nd Logo

Nicknames: "The UA-Transamerica Circle," "The UA Ovoid"

Logo: We see the words "United Artists" appearing inside a circular field. The words "A Transamerica Corporation" is seen in small letters underneath. The U and the A are somewhat taller than the rest of the company name, and they overlap each other.

Versions: There were a few color scheme variations used for this logo.

  • A standard blue BG version
  • BG/white circle/black lettering/Transamerica logo byline
  • White-on-Black UA-Transamerica Circle (seen on most trailers and B/W films)
  • Black circle on a red background, UNITED ARTISTS in white

SFX: None, it's a still logo

Music: A ten-note fanfare. The first seven notes sounded like a solo cornet; the final three were a brass trio.

Availability: This logo has been updated with later United Artists logos, due to Transamerica information on the logo.

Scare Factor: None

3rd Logo A

Nickname: "The Transamerica T"

Logo: It starts with two sets of blue lines going into place, one by one. One line turns to the left, another turns to the right, and so on. There are six lines altogether, revealing the logo of Transamerica Corporation, United Artists' former owner. The stylized blue T design zooms out to the right side to make room for the company name "United Artists", which appears in a futuristic white font. A small byline pops in afterward, inscribed "Entertainment from Transamerica Corporation" and appears under the UA name.

SFX/Cheesy Factor: The stacking of the lines.

Music: A majestic fanfare going up the musical scale, followed by a stinger of horns and drums.

Availability: Generally replaced with a later logo, because of the Transamerica logo and information on the logo (which is, of course, outdated). This is presumably done because Transamerica still exists as a company. However, the Transamerica T logo, especially the second variation, DOES pop up from time to time on cable and Pay TV broadcasts of Lorimar-produced films that UA distributed.

Scare Factor: Low, even with the theme, it doesn't seem harmful.

3rd Logo B

Nickname: "Transamerica T '75"

Logo: We see the words "United Artists" in a futuristic white font on a black background. A few seconds later, the blue T design fades in on the left side of the company name. Like the previous logo variant, the T is made up of 6 blue lines, with three stacked on top of each other on both sides. At the same time, blue text that says "A Transamerica Company" appears underneath the United Artists name.

SFX: The blue stacked T and Transamerica byline fading into view.

Music: None

Availability: Very rare. Most UA films of the time have had this logo edited over, but it occasionally appears on some prints.

Scare Factor: None

4th Logo

Nicknames: "Turning UA," "The Sad/Happy Music"

Logo: It starts with a whitish line against a black screen. The line then reveals itself to be a silvery stylized "UA" as it turns around. The logo is in the shape of a "U" with a bigger left side, and a diagonal line protruding from the shorter right side to form the "A." When the symbol finishes turning around, the words "United Artists" appear under it in a font similar to that used in the "Transamerica" logo.

SFX: "Turning UA"

Music: When the logo turns around, there is a slow, somewhat somber five-note piano tune. Then when it is totally revealed and the words "United Artists" appears, an uplifting orchestra piece is played.

Availability: Was prolific on video and cable during the 1980s, but it's scarce now, as its primary use was to update the older logos. Most 1980s UA releases were released with the MGM/UA lion logo (which still survives on video prints). However, it can still be found on some 90s MGM/UA Home Video releases such as the early 1990s MGM/UA release of "The Secret of NIMH".

Scare Factor: This logo could give some people the creeps, considering its dark and ominous nature. Also, the surprising orchestra at the end might catch some off guard. Still, this logo is also a favorite of many.

5th Logo

Nickname: "UA Swoosh"

Logo: Over a black BG, we see a giant pattern of blue crystallized "UAs", styled like the previous logo. The pattern smoothly merges together to form one minimum-sized UA as it zooms out. A streak of light glides by to slash the A, consisted of spikes going across. When it gets to a certain distance, "United Artists" is seen underneath.

Variant: In its early years, the MGM/UA Communications logo preceded this logo. In its later years, the logo would be by itself, starting from the point where the UA logo has already merged from the giant pattern, and the phrase "An MGM/UA Communications Company" appears underneath.

SFX: The merging and zooming out of the logo and the slashing of the A.

Cheesy Factor: Median; the merging, zooming-out, and slashing looks kinda cheesy.

Music: A low bass sound, followed by a "swoosh"

Availability: Still common on some broadcasts of UA-produced movies, and can be seen on UA-produced movies of the period. This logo was often paired off with the popular MGM/UA Communications logo, and both logos are thus regarded as favorites. The MGM-UA Communications/UA Swoosh Mixture is still seen on current VHS and DVD prints of several James Bond movies and movies from the Pink Panther series.

Scare Factor: Median

6th Logo

Nickname: "UA Shining Light"

Logo: It starts with a couple-dozen bright stars showering over. The backdrop is a dark-colored marble wall. The glittering stars glide over the screen to reveal the company name, then one big star shines against the U.

Byline: The name appears as "United Artists Pictures, Inc." for the first few years. It was later referred to as "United Artists, An MGM Company" starting in 1997.

SFX: The glittering stars and the bright shining star.

Music: A contemporary intro, followed by a high tingling sound.

Availability: The current logo, or at least the most recent, as the UA website features a new variation of Logo 4, while this still appears on video releases. This logo chiefly updates the Transamerica UA logos on video, while used on EVERY UA release on cable.

Scare Factor: None.

7th Logo A

Nickname: "UA 2000"

Logo: On a black screen, white streaks appear, streaking to form a new UA logo, that looks similar to the 1987-94 logo, except the logo is a little narrower and there are no streaks. The words UNITED ARTISTS come from both sides of the lower part of the screen and converge. The words "AN MGM COMPANY" soon fade in afterwards.

Variant: This logo is usually preceded by the current MGM Lion, on older United Artists releases.

SFX: The streaks, the appearance of the logo, the convergence of the United Artists.

Music: A short instrumental bed consisting of a drum beat and sounds of wind. A short piano stinger at the end.

Availability: Can be seen on new United Artists movies (UA is now an art-house movie studio for MGM). This logo has also been seen on the ABC-TV airings of James Bond Movies since January 2002. As new prints of older movies are made, this logo will replace the older logos.

7th Logo B (2001)

Nickname: "UA Spikes 2000"