Origins & Types
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.
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:
|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|
|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|
'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|