Film Genres
Origins & Types


Genre Sub-Sections
Film Genres Overview | Main Film Genres | Film Sub-Genres | Film Sub-Genres Types (and Hybrids) | Other Major Film Categories
Best Pictures - Genre Biases | Summary of Top Films by Genre | Top 100 Films by Genre | AFI's Top 10 Film Genres

Film Genres: Film genres are various forms or identifiable types, categories, classifications or groups of films that are recurring and have similar, familiar or instantly-recognizable patterns, syntax, filmic techniques or conventions - that include one or more of the following: settings (and props), content and subject matter, themes, mood, period, plot, central narrative events, motifs, styles, structures, situations, recurring icons (e.g., six-guns and ten-gallon hats in Westerns), stock characters (or characterizations), and stars. Many films are considered hybrids - they straddle several film genres.

Genres History: By the end of the silent era, many of the main genres were established: the melodrama, the western, the horror film, comedies, and action-adventure films (from swashbucklers to war movies). Musicals were inaugurated with the era of the Talkies, and the genre of science-fiction films wasn't generally popularized until the 1950s. One problem with genre films is that they can become stale, cliche-ridden, and over-imitated. A traditional genre that has been reinterpreted, challenged, or subjected to scrutiny may be termed revisionist.

Main Film Genres
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Film Sub-Genres
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Other Major Film Categories
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Action Films
Biographical Films (or "Biopics")
Animated Films
Adventure Films
'Chick' Flicks
British (UK Films)
Comedy Films
Courtroom Dramas
Childrens - Kids - Family-Oriented Films
Crime & Gangster Films
Detective & Mystery Films
Classic Films
Drama Films
Disaster Films
Cult Films
Epics/Historical Films
Fantasy Films
Documentary Films
Horror Films
Film Noir
Serial Films
Musicals (Dance) Films
Guy Films
Sexual - Erotic Films
Science Fiction Films
Melodramas, Women's or "Weeper" Films
Silent Films
War (Anti-War) Films
Road Films  
Romance Films

Sports Films
Superhero Films
Supernatural Films
Thriller-Suspense Films
Zombie Films

Film Sub-Genres Types (and Hybrids)
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There are dozens of other sub-genres types (and hybrids), such as martial-arts action films,
espionage thrillers, black comedies, and more.

The Major Categories or Classifications of Film: Mega-Genres

There are other major types (or mega-genres), classifications, or general categories of films (defined in this site's glossary of film terms), including:

Contrasting Types of Films
Basis in Reality: Non-Fictional (or Documentary), or Biopics; also Reality Films (or Movies) - derived from Reality TV Fictional Film (also called Narrative Film); there are also Docu-Fiction or Docu-Dramas (part fiction, part documentary) or Semi-documentaries
Length: Feature-length films Shorts (or short subjects), anthology films (films with two or more discrete stories), or Serials
Audio: Silents Talkies
Quality and Funding: 'A' (or first-run) pictures; mainstream (big-budget Hollywood) studio films, sometimes blockbusters; professionally-made films 'B' pictures (and lower), also called B-movies, or even Z-movies; independent (aka indie), avant-garde or experimental-underground films (usually low-budget), or art-house films; amateur films or guerrilla-filmmaking
Visual Presentation: Regular 2-D 3-D or Stereoscopic
Color: Black and white or monochrome Color
Viewing Format: Widescreen

'Pan and Scan' formats

Type: Animated films (hand-drawn, CGI, etc.) Live-action (or un-animated) films
Language: Domestic films Foreign-language films (sub-titled or dubbed)
Originality: Original version Prequels, sequels, re-releases and remakes
Rating: Rated films - regarding the degree of violence, profanity, or sexual situations within the film: G, PG, PG-13, R, NC-17, or X Unrated films
Purpose: Message Pictures (usually serious) or Propagandistic Films Purely for Entertainment Pictures

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