Movie Genres Types of Movies List of Genres and Categories Featured

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Ultimate Guide to Movie Genres — 90+ Genre Examples for Film & TV

Y ou’re looking for a movie and TV genre list, maybe for inspiration, but every list you find has categories that are either too broad or so hyper-specific that it becomes overwhelming.

We’ve created the perfect movie and TV genre list that will explain the various categories of film and television with their specific subgenres, and we’ll also include helpful examples for each along the way.

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Action Genre

Animation genre, comedy genre, crime genre, drama genre, experimental genre, fantasy genre, historical genre, horror genre, romance genre, science fiction genre, thriller genre, western genre.

  • Other Genres

Movie & TV Genres Preface

Why should you learn about genre.

There are storytellers and filmmakers who live inside particular genres, and you may even hear some of them say, “I make genre movies.” This seems simple enough on the surface, but being a ‘genre storyteller’ requires you to fully understand what your specific genre means. 

Let’s do a quick refresher on the overall meaning of genre:

Movie Genre Definition

What is a movie genre.

M ovie genres  are stylistic categories where a particular movie can be placed based on the setting, characters, plot, mood, tone, and theme. A film's main genre category will be based on where the majority of the content lands. A sub-genre  is a smaller category that fits inside a particular genre. Often this is a mixture of two separate genres. Genres and sub-genres change over time and are informed by one another. 

How do you determine a movie genre?

  • Has the ability to generate sub-genres
  • Describes the style of a work of entertainment
  • Can be combined with other genres if needed

Genres and sub-genres can be mixed and combined until you go blue in the face (or fingers), so if you don’t see a sub-genre on this list you can combine the meanings of each respective genre to make your own. 

Now that you have a better understanding of genre's definition, let’s go over each category along with their sub-genres. We’ll have popular and accurate examples that will help clear up any confusion.

Action genre

Action movie genres, action movie genre list.

Movies in the action genre are defined by risk and stakes. While many movies may feature an action sequence, to be appropriately categorized inside the action genre, the bulk of the content must be action-oriented, including fight scenes , stunts,  car chases , and general danger.

Action Movie Supercut

Heroic bloodshed.

This action sub-genre is defined by values like duty, brotherhood, honor, redemption, and the protection of the vulnerable. It was initially created in Hong Kong cinema but has since made its way around the world. Ex. The Killer (1989), Hard Boiled (1992).

Military Action

While some movies may incorporate various military characters, settings, themes, and events, this particular sub-genre focuses on their exploits and suggests these events are entertaining rather than tragic. Some of the best Michael Bay movies come to mind. Ex. Commando (1985), G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009).

Espionage action movies are similar to military action movies in that they’re intended for excitement and entertainment rather than focusing on the political and psychological aspects of espionage. James Bond movies might be the most recognizable but there are plenty of others. Ex. Casino Royale (2006) , Mission: Impossible III (2006).

Wuxia Action

This highly specific sub-genre focuses on martial arts as both a form of excitement, but also as a chivalrous act of protection and honor. Ex. Hero (2002), Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000).

"To go is to die."

Disaster movies are defined by a large amount of destruction, specifically from naturally occurring events, where characters try to survive. If an alien force is the force of destruction, the film will be categorized as science fiction rather than a straight disaster movie. Ex. The Day After Tomorrow (2004) , Dante’s Peak (1997).

Movies in the adventure genre are defined by a journey, often including some form of pursuit, and can take place in any setting. Some of Steven Spielberg's best movies capture the essence of what makes this genre so exciting. Ex. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) , Lawrence of Arabia (1962).

The superhero movie is defined by characters not only with supernatural abilities but using those abilities for altruistic purposes. If the film has superpowers that are used for questionable purposes, it would be more of a supernatural thriller versus a “superhero” movie. Marvel movies have been dominating of late but they only occupy a small percentage of the best superhero movies ever made. Ex. Iron Man (2008), X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014).

Animation Movie Genres

Types of animation movies.

The animation genre is defined by inanimate objects being manipulated to appear as though they are living. This can be done in many different ways and can incorporate any other genre and sub-genre on this list. For more info on animation, you can dive deeper on the types of animation or see our list of the best animated movies of all time.

Animation Genre Supercut


Traditional animation is defined by hand-drawn and painted images that are assembled to animate a cartoon that tells a story. Ex. Robin Hood (1973), The Flight of Dragons (1982).

Stop Motion

Stop motion animation is defined by taking real objects and adjusting them frame by frame to simulate motion and emotion. Stop motion refers to the style of photography, while stop motion such as claymation and sometimes puppet animation can fall into multiple sub-genres. Ex. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), The Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) and some of the best stop motion movies of all time.

Claymation is a form of stop motion animation, except the subjects used are built specifically out of clay. Ex. Chicken Run (2000), Early Man (2018) and many of the best Rankin Bass Christmas movies .

This is where shapes are cut out and placed on top of one another to make figures and settings, all used to tell a story. Ex.  South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut  (1999).

Computer Generated Imagery

CGI is the most common form of modern animation, where modeling programs and software are used to animate cartoons. Ex. Shrek (2001), Rango (2011) and Pixar's incredible short films .

Puppetry animation is where puppets, including hand, stick, shadow, ventriloquist, and marionettes are used to tell a story.  Ex.  Team America: World Police  (2004).


Live-action animation is where animation, of any kind, is mixed with real-life subjects to create a single world.  Ex.  Who Framed Roger Rabbit  (1988),  Space Jam (1996).

Comedy genre

Comedy movie genres, list of comedy film genres.

The comedy genre is defined by events that are intended to make someone laugh, no matter if the story is macabre, droll, or zany. Comedy can be found in most movies, but if the majority of the film is intended to be a comedy you may safely place it in this genre. The best comedy movies range throughout this entire spectrum of humor.

Comedy Genre Scene Supercut


The action-comedy sub-genre incorporates humorous actions within the action, using the exciting events in the story for laughs. Ex. Hot Fuzz (2007),   Charlie’s Angels (2000).

Dark Comedy (Black Comedy)

Dark comedy (or Black Comedy) is defined by using attitudes and events that would normally be objectionable to set up humorous situations. Ex. Very Bad Things (1998),   Fargo (1996) and more of the best dark comedy movies ever made.

Romantic Comedy

Romantic comedies (aka Rom-Coms) are defined by comedy derived from relationship frustrations that are intimate in nature. This includes any combination of gender or situation across the sexual spectrum with films that include some of the best romantic quotes ever written. Some of Woody Allen's best movies redefined the genre. Ex. Sleepless in Seattle (1993), How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003).

Buddy Comedy

A buddy comedy is defined by at least two individuals who we follow through a series of humorous events. Often their (platonic) relationship is the main source of comedy in the story. Ex. Rush Hour (1998), Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle (2003).

Road Comedy

Road comedies are defined by humorous situations derived from a journey along a set path, and often feature a set of stops and characters along the way that forces the protagonist(s) further down the road. Ex. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (1987),   Dumb and Dumber (1994).

Road Comedy Meets Slapstick

Slapstick comedy.

Slapstick comedy is defined by humor derived from physical movement, harm, or frustration that requires little to no dialogue. Ex. The Party (1968), Mouse Hunt (1997).

I’ve decided to put parody, spoof, and satire next to one another because they’re often thought to be synonyms, but truthfully they are not. A parody mocks and specifically targets a single piece of art or connected body of work. A parody is more precise, and more limited. Ex. MacGruber (2010),   Spaceballs (1987).

A spoof is broader than a parody because it mocks an entire genre or collection of similar, but separate works. Where parody targets a specific piece of art or entertainment, spoofs target the entire genre. Ex. The Naked Gun ( 1988), Not Another Teen Movie (2001).

Satire movies are the broadest of the three in that it mocks overall ideas, vices, human nature, institutions, or any number of concepts that don’t necessarily have a specific connection to another piece of art.

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Ex. In The Loop (2009),   Idiocracy (2006) or even Dr. Strangelove , just one of Stanley Kubrick's best movies .

A sitcom (situational comedy) is defined by a set group of people who must navigate through humorous situations and misunderstandings. Sitcoms in the past were very often captured using multiple cameras on a soundstage, but it is by no means required. For an inside look at how sitcoms are written, download your own copy of this Seinfeld script or the The Office pilot episode . Ex. Seinfeld (1989), It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (2005).

Sketch Comedy

Sketch comedy is defined by a collection of separate situations, with no inherent connection to each other, and can include the use of parody, satire, spoof, and many other comedy sub-genres. Ex. Chappelle’s Show (2003), The Whitest Kids U’ Know (2006).

"Do you wanna go to war, Blake?"


Mockumentaries use the documentary format for parody, satire, or spoof. They don’t mock the format, but rather use the format to mock. Ex. This is Spinal Tap   (1984), The Office (2004).

The prank genre is defined by a mixture of real-life participants who are lead through a planned event without their knowledge. The orchestrators often have a premeditated intention to coerce foolishness or error from the participant for the sake of humor or surprise. Ex. Borat (2006), Nathan For You (2013).

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Crime Movie Genres

Crime film genre list.

The crime genre deals with both sides of the criminal justice system but does not focus on legislative matters or civil suits and legal actions. The best crime movies often occupy moral gray areas where heroes and villains are much harder to define. Many of Martin Scorsese's best movies or Quentin Tarantino's movies fall within the crime genre.

Heat Gun Battle

The caper sub-genre is defined by a group of criminals, often non-violent, who set out on a heist or job. A caper is often humorous and less serious in nature when compared to the other crime sub-genres. Ex.  Ocean’s Eleven (2001), A Fish Called Wanda (1988). 

The heist sub-genre is defined by a criminal, or group of criminals, who set out to steal something valuable, and have a more serious tone when compared to a caper story. The subjects must navigate a set of obstacles and avoid law enforcement, and often the “getaway” is incorporated. Ex. Heat  (1995), The Score (2001). 

A gangster story follows and explores the world of organized crime. A film may include organized crime, but if the majority of the story doesn't explore organized crime, it wouldn’t fall into this sub-genre. Ex. Goodfellas  (1990), Boyz in the Hood (1991) are just some of the best gangster movies (not to be confused with the best Mafia movies ). 

Cop (Police)

The cop sub-genre follows a street cop (not a detective) who deals with criminals, crime, and the overall lifestyle as an officer of the law. You might find that some lists will have cop movies and detective movies intertwined, but for our list, we’ll focus on the beat-cops. Ex. End of Watch (2012), Beverly Hills Cop (1984).   

"The nerve of some people, huh?"

A detective story follows an investigator or set of investigators, either private or as a representative of a government, and follows the clues and revelations of a particular case, or set of cases. Ex. L.A. Confidential (1997),   Se7en (1995). 

The courtroom sub-genre requires the majority of the story to take place inside, or support the events that are connected to a court case. Ex.   A Time To Kill (1996). 

A procedural is defined by following the established day-to-day events of investigating, solving, and prosecuting crime. Procedurals often end in situations where law enforcement has learned a valuable lesson, but their lives may not be irrevocably changed from each particular case. Ex.  Law & Order (1990), Miami Vice (1984).

Drama Movie Genres

Types of drama movie genres.

The drama genre is defined by conflict and often looks to reality rather than sensationalism. Emotions and intense situations are the focus, but where other genres might use unique or exciting moments to create a feeling, movies in the drama genre focus on common occurrences. Drama is a very broad category and untethered to any era — from movies based on Shakespeare to contemporary narratives.

Drama Genre Scene Supercut

A modern melodrama is defined by the prioritization of dramatic rhetoric and plot over character. The events are intended to elicit an intense emotional response. A melodrama strives for situations used to illustrate a larger moral thesis that acts as an agent of empathy. Ex. Beaches  (1988), The Fault in our Stars (2012). 

The teen drama sub-genre is both simple and redundant. It focuses on the lives of teenagers, group dynamics, and general woes of adolescence. Ex.  The Virgin Suicides (1999), Kids (1995). 

Philosophical Drama

The philosophical sub-genre is defined by an exploration of the human condition, and the drama is derived from the questions that are presented by mere existence and life itself. Ex. The Razor’s Edge (1984), I Heart Huckabees (2004).

"What happens in a meadow at dusk?"

Medical drama.

The medical sub-genre focuses on the inherent drama of health conditions, the inner workings of hospitals, the relationship between doctors and medical staff, and the medical industry. There are medical procedurals that follow the day-to-day life of health care professionals. Ex.  House (2004), Bringing Out The Dead (1999).

Legal Drama

The legal-drama sub-genre is defined by lawyers, judges, and legal complications that may be peripheral but not enveloped by the criminal justice system or matters relating to crime and punishment. While a legal drama may dip into criminal justice matters, the real focus is on characters at a law firm or judges chambers rather than a crime. Ex. The Practice (1997), The Firm (1993).

Political Drama

The political-drama sub-genre focuses on the complications and inherent drama that takes place inside the world of politics. This can range anywhere from local government to national political climates. Ex.  Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), House of Cards (2013).

Anthropological Drama

The anthropological sub-genre focuses on the drama derived from human behavior and society at large, and while the story may feature a central protagonist , the story might focus on a specific culture or a broad representation of society. Ex. City of God (2002) is a great example along with some of Spike Lee's best movies .

"Get that chicken!"

Religious drama.

The religious sub-genre is similar to the previous categories in that it focuses on the questions and inherent drama derived from religious situations and has the ability to incorporate supernatural events. Ex. The Passion of the Christ (2004), Silence (2013).

A docudrama takes real-life accounts and recreates them in a way that attempts to accurately represent events while also realizing the dramatic potential of those events. Docudramas are held to a higher standard of accuracy (not quality) than historical accounts or memoirs . Ex. Captain Phillips (2013), 127 Hours (2010).

Experimental genre

Experimental movie genres, experimental movie genre list.

The experimental genre is often defined by the idea that the work of art and entertainment does not fit into a particular genre or sub-genre, and is intended as such. Experimental art can completely forego a cohesive narrative in exchange for an emotional response or nothing at all. 

Un Chien Andalou — Experimental Cinema Genre

Surrealism cannot be stylistically defined, and this is the point of the sub-genre itself. The intention of surrealist art is to act as an activity to broaden horizons, either of oneself or of others. Surrealist art often uses irrational imagery to activate the subconscious mind. Ex. Eraserhead (1977), 8 ½ (1963).

The absurdist sub-genre focuses on characters who experience situations that suggest there is no central purpose to life. Another way to frame it is a set of experiences that catalyze a descent into nihilism. Ex.  The Exterminating Angel (1962), Brazil (1985).

Fantasy genre

Fantasy movie genres, list of fantasy movie genres.

The fantasy genre is defined by both circumstance and setting inside a fictional universe with an unrealistic set of natural laws. The possibilities of fantasy are nearly endless, but the movies will often be inspired by or incorporate human myths.

The genre often adheres to general human psychology and societal behavior while incorporating non-scientific concepts like magic, mythical creatures, and supernatural elements. 

Fantasy Genre Supercut

Contemporary fantasy.

A contemporary fantasy story introduces elements of fantasy into or around a world that closely resembles the time period when it was conceived. Urban fantasy can serve as contemporary fantasy but must take place in an urban setting whereas contemporary fantasy can be set anywhere that resembles the corresponding time period. Ex. Harry Potter (2001), The Chronicles of Narnia (2005).

Urban Fantasy

An urban fantasy is a story introduces elements of fantasy and is set entirely in an urban environment. The urban environment can be real, fictional, modern, or inspired by history, but the story must take place and deal with concepts and themes related to an urban environment. Ex.  Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV) (1997), Supernatural (TV) (2005).

Dark Fantasy

A dark fantasy is a story where elements of fantasy are introduced into a hostile and frightening world. If a significant portion of the story takes place in a world that has a range of circumstances, mood, and tone it would most likely be categorized as a high fantasy or general fantasy. Ex.  Pan’s Labyrinth (2006), Solomon Kane (2009). 

High Fantasy

High fantasy can also be referred to as epic fantasy, and introduces elements of fantasy in a fictional setting, and will include romance, battles, and mythical creatures. High fantasy is the fantasy genre equivalent of a historical epic or a science fiction space opera. Ex. The Lord of the Rings (2001), Game of Thrones (2011). 

Attack of the Ents

A myth is defined by a story that often plays a fundamental role in the development of a society, which may include the origin story for humanity and existence. Often this will include characters that are gods, demigods, and supernatural humans. As noted by Joseph Campbell theory on The Hero's Journey , myths have similar characteristics despite an apparent lack of influence, which gives a myth the ability to be universally accepted. Ex. Jason and the Argonauts (1963), The Monkey King (2014).


Historical movie genre list.

The historical genre can be split into two sections. One deals with accurate representations of historical accounts which can include biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs. The other section is made up of fictional movies that are placed inside an accurate depiction of a historical setting. 

The accuracy of a historical story is measured against historical accounts, not fact, as there can never be a perfectly factual account of any event without first-hand experience. 

Historical Event

The historical event genre focuses on a story that creates a dramatized depiction of an event that exists in popular accounts of history. This is different from a biography in that it focuses on an event. Ex. Apollo 13 (1995) , Lincoln (2012) 

A biography (or biopic ) is a story that details the life and is told by someone other than the subject. A biography will often span a large portion of the subject's life, but in some rare cases, it may focus on the time period where that person’s life had the greatest effect on history and society. Ex. A Beautiful Mind (2001), Catch Me If You Can (2002) 

Historical Epic

A historical epic is the dramatized account of a large scale event that has an attached historical account. They often feature battles, romance, and journeys, and will commonly revise history or provide assumptions that fill in gaps in the account of the historical event. Ex. Ben-Hur (1959) , Troy (2004) 

Historical Fiction

Historical fiction takes place during a historical time period, and will often take a more liberal approach to representing history for the sake of drama and entertainment. Historical fiction may use real-life events and people to build context, but they’re meant to be accepted as a supposition rather than serve as an accurate historical account.  Ex.  Spartacus  (1960) ,  Titanic  (1997) 

Period Piece

The difference between a period piece and historical fiction is slight, but the main difference is a general omission or a lack of necessity for real-life characters or events to provide context. Period pieces are merely defined by taking place in, and accurately depicting the time period as opposed to specific lives, events, or accounts.  Ex.  The Age of Innocence   (1993) ,  Barry Lyndon  (1975)

Alternate History

Alternate history is defined by the rewriting of historical events for the sake of speculative outcomes. These movies commonly focus on important, highly influential moments that often lead to alternate futures. Some of these movies may even include supernatural elements. Ex.  The Man in the High Castle   (2015),   Inglourious Basterds   (2009)


Horror sub-genres.

The horror genre is centered upon depicting terrifying or macabre events for the sake of entertainment. A thriller might tease the possibility of a terrible event, whereas a horror film will deliver all throughout the film. The best horror movies are designed to get the heart pumping and to show us a glimpse of the unknown. 

A ghost movie uses the spirit or soul of a deceased creature to introduce elements of horror. These movies can take place in any time period and are only required to evoke terror through the use of ghosts. Ex. The Frighteners (1996) , The Others (2001)

A monster movie uses a deformed or supernatural creature or set of creatures, to introduce elements of horror. These movies can also take place in any time period or setting, and their only real requirement is that the antagonist is can be categorized as a monster. Ex. The Babadook   (2014),   Pumpkinhead (1988)

A werewolf movie introduces elements of horror through the use of a human or set of humans that transform into a wolf-like creatures. Sometimes these werewolves have the ability to shape-shift at will, but in other cases, their transformation is dictated by a full moon. The only requirement is the use of the werewolf as the antagonist . Ex. An American Werewolf in London (1981), The Wolfman (1941) are just some of the best werewolf movies ever made.

A vampire movie introduces elements of horror through the use of undead, immortal creatures that drink blood. They can be set in any time and place and must only use vampires as the antagonist. Some vampire movies feature vampires as the protagonist, but this is often used to build sympathy rather than as a device for terror. Ex. Near Dark (1987) is one of the best '80s vampire movies while Nosferatu (1922) is one of the best vampire movies of all time.

Different Movie Genres  •  Near Dark

Occult movies are defined by an extension of pure reason and use paranormal themes to introduce elements of horror. Occult literally translates into “hidden from view” and involves the study of a deeper spiritual reality that extends scientific observation. Ex. Hereditary (2018),   Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

A slasher story introduces elements of horror through an antagonist or set of antagonists who stalk and murder a group of people, most commonly through the use of a blade or a sharp weapon. The slasher movie is so engrained in our movie culture, even non-slasher movies use some of the same techniques and tropes. Ex. Halloween (1978) , The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

A splatter story introduces elements of horror by focusing on the vulnerability of the human body, and an emphasis on gore. Splatter movies often involve torture and attempt to present gore as an art form. Ex. Day of the Dead (1985) , Jigoku (1960)

Found Footage

Found footage can be used for any genre, but it is most commonly used in horror and features footage that appears to be an existing and informal recording of events with the purpose of simulating real-life horrific events. Ex. The Blair Witch Project (1999) , V/H/S (2012)

The zombie movie has roots all the way back to the '30s but it didn't really kick into high gear until the late 1960s. The general plot of the best zombie movies involves a group of characters trying to survive in a world overrun by zombies. The specific cause for the event ranges from infectious disease to experimental drugs gone wrong. Ex. Night of the Living Dead  (1968) and  28 Days Later (2002)

Romance genre

Romance movie genres, types of romance movies.

The romance genre is defined by intimate relationships. Sometimes these movies can have a darker twist, but the idea is to lean on the natural conflict derived from the pursuit of intimacy and love.  

Romance Drama

The romance-drama sub-genre is defined by the conflict generated from a  romantic relationship. What makes a romance-drama different from a romantic-thriller is both the source of the drama but also the intentions and motivations that drive each character’s perspective. Ex.  Revolutionary Road (2008) , Blue Valentine (2010) 

Romance Thriller

The romance-thriller sub-genre is defined by a suspenseful story that includes and is most likely based around a romantic relationship. Some romantic thrillers can divert into psychological thrillers where the relationship is used to manipulate, but most focus on the characters attempting to make it out of events so that they may be together. Ex. The Saint (1997) , Unfaithful (2002) 

The Saint Trailer

Period romance.

A period-romance story is defined by the setting and can include and incorporate other romance sub-genres. The setting must be a historical time period, and often will adhere to the societal norms of the specific time period, though some movies have taken a more revisionist approach. Ex. Pride & Prejudice (2005) , Jane Eyre (2011)

Science fiction Genre

Science fiction movie genres, list of sci-fi genres.

Science fiction movies are defined by a mixture of speculation and science. While fantasy will explain through or make use of magic and mysticism, science fiction will use the changes and trajectory of technology and science. Science fiction will often incorporate space, biology, energy, time, and any other observable science. Most of James Cameron's best movies lean heavily on science fiction.


Post-apocalyptic movies are based around the occurrence, effects, and struggle generated by an apocalyptic event. While a dystopian story may incorporate a large war or apocalyptic event in its narrative history, it will include a centralized government that was formed after the event. Apocalyptic movies will not have a centralized government but may feature smaller societies and tribes as part of the story. Ex. 12 Monkeys (1995) , 28 Days Later (2002) 

The utopian genre is defined by the creator’s view of an idyllic world since each person has a unique view of what they deem to be the absence of struggle and incident, but generally, themes included in the movies are peace, harmony, and a world without hunger or homelessness. In the past, utopian movies have been tied to satire because the nature of a story is often conflict, and a utopian society is viewed as an unrealistic concept. Ex. Gattaca (1997),   Tomorrowland (2015)

A dystopian story is one that features a world or society that serves as a contradiction to an idyllic world. Often there is a centralized and oppressive government or religion that dictates the value of citizens on a dehumanizing level, and may or may not incorporate a destructive event that drove the creation of that centralized institution. Ex.  Children of Men  (2006) , Equilibrium (2002) 

The cyberpunk sub-genre is defined by a mixture of a desperate society oversaturated with the crime that takes place in a high tech world that includes cybernetic organisms, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence. Ex. Blade Runner (1982),   Elysium (2013) are just two of the best cyberpunk movies we've ever seen. 

The steampunk sub-genre is inspired by technology created during the 19th century and the industrial revolution and may be set in a speculative future, alternate universe, or revision of the 1800s. Ex. Howl’s Moving Castle (2004) , Mortal Engines (2018)  

Tech noir is similar to dystopian but defined by technology as the main source behind humanity's struggle and partial downfall. There is no requirement for a centralized government, and the only true aspect that places a story in this category is that technology threatens our reality. Ex. The Terminator   (1984)

Space Opera

A space opera is defined by a mixture of space warfare, adventure, and romance. The genre got its name from similarities to “soap operas” and “horse operas” due to their collective connection to melodrama. The term “space opera” has no connection to the music of any kind. Ex. Star Wars: A New Hope (1977) , The Fifth Element (1997) 


A contemporary science fiction story is set in the actual time period of its conception and introduces some form of a theoretical technology or scientific concept to serve as the story’s main source of conflict. This is different from tech-noir both due to scale and a strict time period. Ex. Ex Machina (2014) , Arrival (2016)

A military science fiction story is defined by a strict focus on the military conflict in a speculative or future setting. While other movies may include space warfare, a military science fiction story will be limited to themes and events directly tied to military service and battle. Ex. Starship Troopers (1997),   Arrival (2016)

Thriller Movie Genres

Thriller movie categories.

A thriller story is mostly about the emotional purpose, which is to elicit strong emotions, mostly dealing with generating suspense and anxiety. No matter what the specific plot, the best thrillers get your heart racing.


A psychological thriller focuses and emphasizes the unstable psychological state of the characters inside the story. Often there is a mysterious set of circumstances, and a paranoia, warranted or otherwise, that catalyzes extreme actions from the characters. Many of Darren Aronofsky's best movies explore the dark depths inside the broken psyche of his protagonists. 

A mystery story can often be connected to the crime genre, but may not involve or use law enforcement or the justice system as the main characters or backdrop for the story. A mystery story is defined by the plot, and both the character’s and the viewer’s relationship with the motivations and reality behind the events that occur. If you've seen any of M. Night Shyamalan's movies , you know how mystery plays a part.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Trailer

The techno-thriller sub-genre is defined by a conflict that takes place for or through Various forms of technology. What makes a techno-thriller different from various action sub-genres is the level of detail paid toward the underlying technical aspects of the technology and its effects. 

Some consider the definition of film noir to more of a style than a genre, because there is no requirement to be connected to a crime. There is, however, a natural overlap between style and genre in the best Film Noir movies . The central theme behind the noir sub-genre is a psychic imbalance that leads to self-hatred, aggression, or sociopathy. Recently, Neo-Noir movies have modified these themes to the modern day. 

Western genre

Western movie genres, western movie sub-genres.

Westerns are defined by their setting and time period. The story needs to take place in the American West, which begins as far east as Missouri and extends to the Pacific ocean. They’re set during the 19th century, and will often feature horse riding, military expansion, violent and non-violent interaction with Native American tribes, the creation of railways, gunfights, and technology created during the industrial revolution. 

Neo-Westerns Explained  •   Subscribe on YouTube

Epic western.

The idea of an epic western is to emphasize and incorporate many if not all of the western genre elements, but on a grand scale, and also use the backdrop of large scale real-life events to frame your story. 

Empire Western

These movies follow a protagonist or a group of protagonists as they forge a large scale business based on natural resources and land. It can also follow the creation of the railroad, or large scale settlement. 

Marshal Western

A marshal western is where we follow a lawman as they attempt to track down, apprehend, and punish a criminal or group of gangsters.

Tombstone Trailer

Outlaw western.

An outlaw western is where we follow a criminal or group of criminals as they attempt crimes and evade the law. Often, these movies will portray the outlaws in a somewhat favorable manner.

Revenge Western

This genre is defined by a singular goal and will incorporate the elements of the western genre while the protagonist seeks revenge. 

Revisionist Western

A revisionist western challenges and often aims to disprove the notions propped up by traditional westerns. Early westerns often had their own agenda, and revisionist westerns attempt to dissolve and cast aside a commonly one-sided genre.

Spaghetti Western

The Spaghetti Western genre was named such because the films were initially made in Italy or produced by Italian filmmakers. Because these films are defined by their ‘heritage’ they can also fall into many of the other western genres as long as they are Italian built. Here are our picks for the best Spaghetti Westerns of all time .

Other GenreS

Other movie genres, movie genre list, musical genre.

Musicals originated as stage plays, but they soon became a favorite for many film directors and have even made their way into television. Musicals can incorporate any other genre, but they incorporate characters who sing songs and perform dance numbers.

La La Land  •  Another Day of Sun

War movie genre.

The war genre has a few debatable definitions, but we’re going to try to be as straightforward and impartial as humanly possible. Movies in the war genre center around large scale conflicts between opposing forces inside a universe that shares the same natural laws as our own.

War movies can be historical accounts, fictionalized events, or future speculations that incorporate civilian interaction, political interaction, and espionage that takes place alongside a large scale, violent conflict. Some of the best WWII movies include all of those elements.

Saving Private Ryan Trailer

They are not intended to act strictly as a form of entertainment, but rather to create a deep sense of empathy toward the reality of war. Movies in the war genre may romanticize aspects of military action and camaraderie, but the purpose is to convey the reality that war brings. 

They can be set in any time period or setting, but the central theme and bulk of the content must incorporate war to remain in this genre.

Biopic Movies

Biopics (biographical film).

A movie genre that has been around since the birth of cinema , biopics are a category all their own. Biopics can technically run the gamut of movie genres ( Sports movies , War, Westerns, etc.) but they often find their home in dramas. At their core, biopics dramatize real people and real events with varying degrees of verisimilitude. 

Lately, we've seen a resurgence of the musical biopic (e.g.,  Rocketman ,  Judy ,  The Greatest Showman ), and there isn't a more massive example than  Bohemian Rhapsody .

Bohemian Rhapsody  •  Live Aid

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100+ Movie Genres. The Definitive List, with Examples

Jakob Straub

Movie genres have evolved alongside the movie industry itself. In the early days of Hollywood filmmaking, the limited number of movie genres had distinct and clear definitions. It was easy to categorize releases based on their subject and style into specific movie genres.

Today, movie genres are more numerous and less rigid, with the emergence of hybrid and crossover movies. Filmmakers experiment with genre theory and play with audience expectations to tell stories in innovative ways.

Understanding movie genres is crucial in discussing movie theory and aids in comparing genre elements and the work of filmmakers during critical analysis of movies. We'll provide you with an introduction to movie genres and explain their significance before delving into a comprehensive list of movie genres, including important subgenres.

What are movie genres?

Film genres categorize a film based on content and style. They address what story is being told and how it's being told, impacting several elements:

Movies often blend genres, creating mixed or hybrid styles. The primary genre indicates the movie's main classification, while subgenres provide more specific distinctions or combine elements of different genres, like an action-thriller.

For example, a science-fiction thriller with horror elements in the style of a heist movie suggests a Sci-Fi setting, thriller-like suspense, horror-like shock, and a plot involving a specialized team executing a task. Such classifications help in understanding the movie's narrative style and thematic focus.

Why categorize movies into genres?

While a personal approach to sorting movies might be as simple as those seen and those yet to see, or liked versus disliked, this binary method overlooks many defining aspects of movies. Categorizing movies into genres provides a basic characterization and helps group similar movies together. This organization into basic film genres aids in navigating the vast landscape of cinema, offering a starting point for exploring different styles, themes, and storytelling techniques.

Movie genres aid viewers in discovering new films, particularly through browsing on streaming platforms. Critics utilize genres to compare movies and assess artistic elements like cinematography within genre contexts. Additionally, genres and subgenres enable broader discussions about the history and theory of moviemaking, enriching our understanding and appreciation of films.

Basic movie genres

From Hollywood's inception and the dawn of cinema, certain foundational genres have shaped the film industry. These film genres, originally rooted in live-action filmmaking, set the stage for storytelling through motion pictures. With the advent of advanced special effects and animation technology, new genres like animation emerged, expanding the cinematic landscape.

The big genre list: an overview of movie genres and subgenres

We've organized our movie genre list into a tree structure with major movie genres as branches, from which the subgenres branch off further. We'll walk you through each genre, highlighting their key features, must-watch titles, and standout filmmakers.

The action genre is all about excitement: think edge-of-your-seat chases, explosive stunts, and nail-biting danger. It's a realm where movies are defined by their high-energy scenes, often branching into subgenres like martial arts or military adventures.

Known for their big budgets, action films are where you'll find jaw-dropping explosions and intricate stunts. Directors like James Cameron, known for hits like "Terminator," along with John Woo, Michael Mann, Kathryn Bigelow, and Michael Bay, have mastered this thrilling genre.

In action cinema, there's always more to explore with its various subgenres and hybrids, each offering a unique flavor of adrenaline-pumping excitement. The action genre continues to evolve, consistently captivating audiences with its dynamic blend of spectacle and storytelling.

The action genre comprises several subgenres and hybrid genres:

Animation is a diverse movie genre, where the magic lies in bringing inanimate objects to life through various techniques, each forming a unique subgenre.

CGI (Computer-Generated Imagery): Dominating modern animation, CGI creates vibrant worlds through advanced computer rendering. These films, often significant in production time and cost, include classics like the Toy Story franchise, The Lego Movie , Wall-E , Ratatouille , Shrek , Frozen , Coco , and Luca .

Claymation and Stop Motion: This technique breathes life into objects through frame-by-frame adjustment in still photography. Claymation, a subset, uses clay-crafted characters and settings. Notable films include Chicken Run , Early Man , The Fantastic Mr. Fox , Isle of Dogs , and The Nightmare Before Christmas .

Cutout Animation: Once relying on physical cutouts, this style now often blends with CGI. Its distinct look is showcased in films like South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut and The Beatles - Yellow Submarine .

Traditional Drawn Animation: This classic style features hand-drawn frames and painted backgrounds, exemplified by early Disney films like Fantasia and Beauty and the Beast , as well as Studio Ghibli's My Neighbor Totoro and Persepolis .

Live-Action Hybrid: These films mix real actors with animated elements, creating a unique crossover. Examples include Waltz with Bashir , Space Jam , Who Framed Roger Rabbit? , The Mask , Casper , Looney Tunes: Back in Action , the 1978 animated The Lord of the Rings , Waking Life , and A Scanner Darkly .

Puppet Animation: Utilizing various puppetry forms, from marionettes to shadow puppets, this subgenre includes films like Eraserhead , Labyrinth , Street of Crocodiles , The Muppet Christmas Carol , and Team America: World Police .

The comedy genre, with its wide range of humor, from simple dad jokes to sophisticated satire and dark wit, is one of the most versatile film genres. The comedy genre is a playground for creativity, offering filmmakers the flexibility to blend humor with other themes and styles.

Black or Dark Comedy: This subgenre tackles taboo topics like death or tragedy with humor. Examples of dark comedy movies include Dr. Strangelove , In Bruges , Parasite , and Fargo .

Buddy Comedy: Here, the comedy arises from the dynamics between two or more characters, whether they share a deep friendship or a love-hate relationship. It can blend with action or the Hangout genre, as seen in Dumb and Dumber and The Hangover .

Hangout Movies: These films focus on a group of characters whose interactions bring the laughs. They become almost like friends to the audience Examples include The Big Lebowski , Clerks , and The Breakfast Club .

Parody and Spoof: Parodies mock specific films, like Spaceballs does with Star Wars , while spoofs target entire movie genres, such as The Naked Gun with police movies and Scary Movie with the horror genre.

Prank Movies: These involve putting people in unexpected, often outrageous situations, typically without their knowledge. Borat and the Jackass series are key examples of prank comedy movies.

Satire: Satire humorously criticizes broader concepts or institutions, often through exaggeration. Examples include Natural Born Killers and Monty Python's Life of Brian , with mockumentaries like This is Spinal Tap using a documentary format for humor.

Slapstick Comedy: Originating in vaudeville, slapstick comedy relies on physical humor and gags, demonstrated by classics like Charlie Chaplin and The Three Stooges , and modern films like Ace Ventura and Home Alone .

Screwball Comedy: Evolving from slapstick, this romantic comedy subgenre often features a strong, quirky female lead challenging a male protagonist. Classic examples include It Happened One Night and The Philadelphia Story , with modern takes evident in films like She's Funny That Way .

The crime movie genre delves into the world of criminal activities, legal battles, and moral complexities. It explores themes from the classic good vs. evil to the gray areas of morality, often making heroes out of underdogs or even the 'bad guys' in gangster films.

Cop Movies: These focus on police protagonists, sometimes paired with partners, blending with buddy films. They can be action-packed or comedic, like Beverly Hills Cop and Lethal Weapon .

Crime Drama: This subgenre centers on legal proceedings and courtroom battles, often with a mix of detective work. Key examples include A Few Good Men and Erin Brockovich , where the climax often hinges on a pivotal court decision.

Crime Thriller: Combining crime with the intensity of a thriller, this subgenre can have psychological twists or action-packed revenge plots, as seen in John Wick and The Equalizer .

Detective and Whodunnit: Centered around an investigation, these films often feature an unlikely hero uncovering mysteries. Classics like L.A. Confidential and The Silence of the Lambs fall into this category, offering either a hidden perpetrator or a crime followed by an investigation.

Gangster Films: Focusing on organized crime, these movies showcase the life of gangs or the efforts to bring them down. Examples include GoodFellas and The Departed .

Hardboiled: A specific type of detective film, often set in the film noir era, featuring a cynical detective. Films like The Maltese Falcon and Chinatown exemplify this style.

Heist and Caper: These films revolve around elaborate plans like heists or prison breaks, blending humor and seriousness. They feature masterminds and complex plots, as seen in Ocean's Eleven and The Sting .


Documentaries are the non-fiction storytellers of cinema, educating and informing through real-life events and facts. As a movie genre, they come in various styles and subgenres, each offering a unique perspective on the world.

Expository Documentary: These straightforward documentaries present information directly, often narrated, combining historical footage with modern interviews and expert insights. Notable examples include The Blue Planet , March of the Penguins , and An Inconvenient Truth .

Observational Documentary: Focusing on close, unobtrusive observation, these films offer a firsthand look at their subjects with minimal commentary. Examples are Hoop Dreams and The Monastery: Mr. Vig and the Nun .

Poetic Documentary: More abstract, these films are like visual essays, expressing feelings and ideas through creative compositions. Films like Koyaanisqatsi and Voyage of Time fit this style.

Participatory Documentary: The filmmaker plays a role in the narrative, either through commentary or direct involvement. Michael Moore's works exemplify this style, as do films like Free Solo and Paris Is Burning .

Reflexive Documentary: These are personal investigations, often focusing on the filmmaker's discovery of the subject. Examples include Man with a Movie Camera and Biggie & Tupac .

Performative Documentary: Similar to participatory, these focus on subjective experiences and emotional responses, as seen in Bowling for Columbine and The Thin Blue Line .

Dramas, known for their deep exploration of conflict and emotions, truly shine in the drama genre, offering a vivid reflection of human experiences and complexities. They bring to life pivotal moments with a focus on authenticity and human nature, rather than relying on sensational action.

Docudrama: Merging drama with documentary, these films recreate real events with accuracy, like Sully and 127 Hours , providing a factual yet dramatic portrayal.

Melodrama: Aiming to evoke intense emotions, melodramas often place narrative above character development, and are known for their moral narratives, as seen in The Fault in Our Stars and Life is Beautiful .

Teen Drama: These films focus on the trials and tribulations of teenage life, capturing the essence of growing up, with examples like Virgin Suicides and Mid90s .

Medical Drama: Set in the world of healthcare, these dramas explore the lives, conflicts, and ethical dilemmas of medical professionals, as showcased in Bringing Out The Dead .

Legal Drama: Revolving around the legal arena, these dramas delve into the interactions and challenges within the legal system, with films like The Practice and The Firm .

Religious Drama: Tackling themes and conflicts arising from religion or supernatural events, these films often delve into deeper philosophical and spiritual issues, as seen in Silence and The Passion of the Christ .

Sports Drama: Centered on athletes, coaches, or teams, these films explore the dramatic world of sports and the personal struggles of those involved, with movies like Creed and The Blind Side .

Political Drama: Set against the backdrop of political intrigue, these dramas explore the lives and challenges of politicians, elections, and diplomacy, with films like Primary Colors and Argo .

Anthropological Drama: Focusing on human behavior and societal interactions, these films draw drama from real-life social dynamics, as depicted in City of God and In A Savage Land .

Philosophical Drama: Delving into existential themes and the human condition, these films tackle profound philosophical questions, as seen in The Fountain and Waking Life .

The fantasy genre, with its boundless imagination, stands out in the cinematic world. It brings to life the incredible, featuring fictional universes, magical elements, and mythical beings. This genre is a canvas for the extraordinary, where anything is possible, and the fantasy genre continually captivates audiences with its unique blend of escapism and wonder.

Contemporary and Urban Fantasy: This subgenre blends fantasy with modern settings. Urban fantasy specifically focuses on cities, often with supernatural beings like vampires or werewolves. Films like Meet Joe Black , Interview With The Vampire , and Ghostbusters are prime examples.

Epic Fantasy: Also known as high fantasy, this subgenre immerses viewers in fully-realized worlds, complete with rich lore and fantastical creatures. Examples include Harry Potter , The Lord Of The Rings , and Avatar .

Fairy Tale: These films range from traditional fairy tales to modern adaptations with magical elements and often a 'happily ever after' ending, such as The Princess Bride , Mary Poppins , and Cinderella .

Dark Fantasy: Combining real-world settings with menacing fantasy elements, this subgenre of the fantasy genre includes films like Pan's Labyrinth and A Monster Calls , where reality meets the hauntingly fantastical.

Among movie genres, the historical genre stands out for its blend of truth and fiction, taking viewers back in time to real or accurately depicted settings and eras.

Historical Film: These films can span various styles, from drama to action or romance. They often center around significant historical events, periods, or figures, providing context and storytelling that may not always be entirely factual. Examples include Apollo 13 , Lincoln , Ben-Hur , and Titanic .

Period Film: Similar to historical films but without the reliance on real-life characters, period dramas focus on specific time periods, prioritizing accurate depiction over factual narratives. Films like The Age of Innocence and Little Women are quintessential period films.

Alternate History: This subgenre creatively reimagines historical events, offering speculative twists on crucial moments in history. It can merge elements of fantasy and science fiction, as seen in Inglourious Basterds and Once Upon A Time In Hollywood .

Biography (Biopic): Biopics tell the life story or a significant part of a historical figure, often dramatizing events for cinematic effect. While they aim to be informative, they sometimes take liberties with historical accuracy. Notable biopics include A Beautiful Mind , The Social Network , and Bohemian Rhapsody .

Within the diverse array of movie genres, the horror genre uniquely captivates with its blend of terrifying events, creatures, and stories. Horror films continually evolve, with filmmakers exploring new ways to unsettle and frighten audiences, pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved in this spine-chilling genre.

Ghost: In horror films featuring ghosts, spirits return from the afterlife to haunt, as seen in The Others , The Frighteners , and The Sixth Sense .

Zombie: Horror movies about zombies bring apocalyptic scenarios to life, with classics like Night Of The Living Dead , 28 Days Later , and the humorous take in Zombieland .

Werewolf: The transformation under the moonlight leads to thrilling werewolf tales in The Wolfman , American Werewolf , and Underworld .

Vampire: Long-fanged nocturnal creatures are central in vampire horror films, from the eerie Nosferatu to the comedic What We Do in the Shadows .

Monster: A category of horror movie for all other terrifying creatures, with movies like The Thing , Alien , and Chucky .

Slasher: A horror genre staple, featuring antagonists who terrorize communities, as seen in Psycho , Scream , and Halloween .

Splatter and Gore: Emphasizing the gruesome and bloody, films like Braindead and Hellraiser have defined this subgenre.

Body Horror: This type of horror movie concentrates on the grotesque aspects of the human body, offering unique frights in films like The Fly and The Human Centipede .

Folk Horror: Often set in rural areas, these films explore unknown terrors, with Children Of The Corn and Midsommar as examples.

Occult: Delving into hidden and paranormal horrors, this subgenre of the horror genre includes The Exorcist , Hereditary , and Rosemary's Baby .

Found Footage: Creating an illusion of reality, films like The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity use supposedly 'recovered' footage to enhance their scares.

Outbreak: Exploring global pandemics and diseases, movies like The Stand and Contagion tap into widespread fears of contagion and collapse.

Music Film and Musical

Musicals stand out for their unique blend of storytelling, song, and dance. When characters spontaneously burst into song, often accompanied by a chorus and elaborate dance numbers, you're watching a musical film. This movie genre ranges from adaptations of beloved Broadway shows to original creations filled with dazzling choreography and special effects. The music in these films isn't just for show; it's woven into the narrative, offering deeper insights into the characters, each with their own signature songs.

The genre's diversity is evident in its rich history, with classics like My Fair Lady and The Wizard of Oz , cult favorites like Rocky Horror Picture Show , timeless treasures like The Sound of Music , and modern hits including In The Heights , Mamma Mia! , Grease , Les Miserables , Chicago , and La La Land . Other notable examples span various approaches, such as Moonwalker , 8 Women , Pitch Perfect , The Muppets , and Sing Street .

The romance genre is particularly notable for exploring love, relationships, intimacy, and deep connections. Often intertwining with drama and comedy, romance movies are fundamentally about lovers, passion, and the journey of relationships. This movie genre, with its wide emotional spectrum and universal themes, continues to enchant and resonate with audiences worldwide.

Historical Romance: These films, set in distinct time periods, showcase how historical contexts influence the pursuit of love and relationships. Classics like Gone with the Wind , Titanic , and Doctor Zhivago exemplify this subgenre.

Regency Romance: A subset of historical romance set during the British Regency or the early 19th century, often focusing on the upper class. These films are known for their luxurious settings, elaborate costumes, and eloquent language, as seen in Emma , Persuasion , and Northanger Abbey .

Romantic Drama: Diving deeper into the complexities of relationships, the romantic drama explores themes of loss, separation, and infidelity, with films like Casablanca , The English Patient , and Marriage Story .

Romantic Comedy: Perhaps the most popular subgenre of the romance genre, the romantic comedy blends humor with heartwarming narratives, often leading to a happily ever after. Films like Some Like It Hot , Love Actually , and Notting Hill are beloved examples.

Chick Flick: While often marketed towards women, these romance movies have a broad appeal, characterized by dreamy narratives and emotional depth. Titles like Pretty Woman , Romeo + Juliet , and The Notebook are perfect for a night in with ice cream and tissues.

Fantasy Romance: Combining elements of fantasy with love stories, this subgenre sets epic romances against a backdrop of fantastical worlds, as seen in The Twilight Saga , Warm Bodies , and I Am Dragon .

Science Fiction

Science fiction, often shortened to Sci-Fi, is a film genre that has long fascinated viewers with its explorations of space, the speculative, and the future. Sci-fi movies delve into themes like advanced technology, artificial intelligence, outer space exploration, time travel, and alien life, often examining humanity's role in the universe.

Space Opera or Epic Sci-Fi: This subgenre of science fiction combines elements of comedy, romance, adventure, and space exploration, seen in epic sagas like Star Wars , The Fifth Element , and Dune .

Utopia: These films explore seemingly perfect societies that often hide darker truths or dystopian elements, prompting a need for change or revolution. Utopian sci-fi movies include Gattaca , Tomorrowland , and The Truman Show .

Dystopia: The flip side of utopia, dystopian films depict societies marked by struggle, oppression, and bleak futures, featuring centralized governments or AI dominance. Notable films include Blade Runner , The Matrix , and Mad Max .

Contemporary Sci-Fi: Set in the present or near future, this subgenre introduces a major science fiction element, like a groundbreaking scientific discovery or alien contact, into a familiar setting. Films such as Arrival and Ex Machina are prime examples.

Cyberpunk: This science fiction subgenre paints a picture of a high-tech, often grim future with themes of cybernetics, virtual reality, and AI, seen in Blade Runner 2049 and Minority Report .

Steampunk: A unique twist on cyberpunk, steampunk is set in the world of the 19th century, blending steam-powered technology with futuristic concepts, as seen in Howl's Moving Castle and Mortal Engines .

Thrillers are a diverse and engaging movie genre, captivating audiences with suspense, heightened emotions, and a sense of imminent danger. The thriller genre is all about the thrill of the chase, the tension of the unknown, and characters facing off against formidable opponents, whether they are concrete or abstract. The thriller genre excels in keeping viewers on the edge of their seats, often blending with other genres, leading to exciting hybrids like action-thrillers, adventure-thrillers, or fantasy-thrillers.

Psychological Thriller: Here, the focus is on the mental and emotional states of the characters. These films often involve mysterious circumstances, paranoia, and extreme actions, sometimes leading to murder. Films like Vertigo , Gone Girl , and Shutter Island are exemplary of this subgenre.

Mystery: Often centered around a crime or murder, mystery thrillers engage the audience in a quest for answers, without necessarily involving law enforcement. These films, like Knives Out and Memento , keep viewers on the edge of their seats, eager to unravel the mystery.

Film Noir: Characterized by its style as much as its content, film noir emerged in the 1940s and 1950s. These black-and-white films feature crime, moral ambiguity, stark lighting contrasts, narrative monologues, and femme fatales. Classics include Double Indemnity and Sunset Boulevard . Neo-noir, a modern iteration, maintains the style of film noir but adds complexity and modern elements, as seen in Pulp Fiction and Taxi Driver .

War movies, as a movie genre, are known for their depiction of large-scale conflicts and the realities of war, making the battlefield itself a central character or theme. These films often intersect with other genres like military action, historical drama, science fiction, and even the thriller genre, offering diverse storytelling perspectives and heightened emotional stakes. Action films, in particular, frequently draw inspiration from war movies, incorporating intense battle scenes and high-stakes scenarios.

Movies like 1917 and Dunkirk immerse viewers in the intensity of war, while Platoon and All Quiet On The Western Front explore the deeper aspects of conflict. The Thin Red Line and Pearl Harbor blend historical drama with the raw emotions of war. Films like Full Metal Jacket and Jarhead provide a closer look at the life of soldiers, and 300 showcases a blend of war with fantasy elements. Each of these films contributes to the rich and varied tapestry of the war movie genre, offering insights into the complexities and human experiences within the context of war.

Among the various film genres, the Western genre stands out with its distinct setting and time period, primarily focusing on the American West during the 19th century. This film genre is rich with elements like horse riding, cattle farming, military expansion, encounters with Native Americans, settlers' stories, railway construction, and, of course, the iconic gunfights and duels.

Classic Western movies like The Searchers , Stagecoach , and Red River showcase these elements beautifully. The Western genre often features outlaws and criminals, matched by marshals, lawmen, or bounty hunters, and is ripe with revenge plots and stories highlighting righteous protagonists. Revisionist Westerns aim to reinterpret the traditional narratives of the genre.

Spaghetti Westerns, so named for their Italian filmmaking roots or production in Italy, hold a special place in the Western genre. Some of the most acclaimed Westerns belong to this category, including Django , A Fistful of Dollars , and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly .

Modern Western movies bring fresh perspectives and filmmaking techniques to this historical Hollywood genre, revitalizing it with new storytelling methods while honoring its rich legacy. Films like Unforgiven , Dances with Wolves , and Django Unchained , along with No Country For Old Men and The Hateful Eight , demonstrate how the Western continues to evolve and captivate audiences.

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Home » Filmmaking » A Guide to the Basic Film Genres (and How to Use Them)

A Guide to the Basic Film Genres (and How to Use Them)

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A Guide to the Basic Film Genres (and How to Use Them)

Jourdan Aldredge

Let’s look at genre theory, what it entails, and how to utilize genres with a bit more practicality and creativity in your own projects.

One of the few rare things that one can actually learn in film school is the simple trick of taking a step back to view something you already know—through a new, academic lens. As filmmakers and film fans, we already know about film genres. It wasn’t until one of the first film theory classes I took that I actually learned how to view, deconstruct, and understand something as seemingly innate as genre.

Understanding “genre theory” is both very simple and very complex. In general, we all know the basics. The Hobbit is a fantasy book. Star Trek is a sci-fi television show. When Harry Met Sally is a rom-com. So, what do all those genre names actually mean? And, what exactly are the writers, filmmakers, and storytellers really doing to work within and against these modes?

Here’s a brief introduction into how filmmakers can understand and use “genre theory.”

  • What Are Film Genres?

A Guide to the Basic Film Genres (and How to Use Them) — Forbidden Planet Poster

Taking the word at its definition, genre is the “term for any category of literature or other forms of art or entertainment, e.g. music, whether written or spoken, audio or visual, based on some set of stylistic criteria.”

The term dates back to ancient Greek literature. But, for writers, artists, and filmmakers, it’s usually the simplest, most practical way to categorize different styles of stories and content. We see genres while scrolling through Netflix, giving us a rough idea of what the stories are like.

It’s important to understand, though, that what we consider film genres today are, more often than not, hardly pure film genres, as they were in the early days of film. The majority of content produced in the last several decades often includes genre hybrids, using the rules of genre theory to produce new, unique, and different stories.

  • The Basic Film Genres

A Guide to the Basic Film Genres (and How to Use Them) — Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh in Gone with the Wind

In the early days of cinema, genres were much more uniform and defined. Just as they were in literature and other forms of art and entertainment, people would go to the theater to watch a war film, a musical , or a comedy . The basic genres were well defined and included some of the following:

From there, you could dive a bit deeper. Sub-genres gave names and classifications to certain types of films within each genre. The “thriller” genre, for example, had the following sub-genres:

  • Crime thriller
  • Disaster thriller
  • Psychological thriller
  • Techno thriller

However, before we go over how to mix and match film genres, let’s go over some of the biggest and most notable.

  • The Action Film Genre

A Guide to the Basic Film Genres (and How to Use Them) — Keanu Reeves in John Wick

One of the earliest film genres, the action genre, has close ties to classic strife and struggle narratives that you find across all manner of art and literature. With some of the earliest examples dating back to everything from historical war epics to some basic portrayals of dastardly train robberies, action films have been popular with cinema audiences since the very beginning.

It’s also one of our best examples of the evolution of our cinematic hero’s journey and the classic hero vs. villain narratives, which you’ll find across all genres.

Some of the main sub-genres include the following:

  • War and military action
  • Spy and espionage action
  • Martial arts action
  • Western shoot ‘em up action
  • Action hybrid genres

You can read more about the evolution of the action genre, its many sub-genres and examples, and some tips for creating modern action films in our full action genre breakdown .

  • The Comedy Film Genre

A Guide to the Basic Film Genres (and How to Use Them) — The Three Stooges

A favorite genre of film audiences young and old since the very beginning of cinema, the comedy genre has been a fun-loving, sophisticated, and innovative genre that’s delighted viewers. Some of the biggest names in the history of filmmaking include comedy genre pioneers—like Buster Keaton ,  Charlie Chaplin , and Lucille Ball —who made successful careers out of finding new and unique ways to make audiences laugh.

The comedy genre has also been one of the most flexible, as its roots have made their way into the very fabric of cinema and its many other genres. The art of warming a heart and bringing a smile to a viewer’s face will never get old, nor should we consider it anything but truly powerful.

  • Slapstick comedy
  • Screwball comedy
  • Parody comedy
  • Black comedy

You can explore the comedy genre in-depth in our full comedy genre breakdown .

  • The Horror Film Genre

A Guide to the Basic Film Genres (and How to Use Them) — Halloween

While the horror genre is sometimes considered a younger film genre, elements of horror have long been a bedrock of classic cinema, dating back to some of the earliest—and eeriest—days of filmmaking.

Examples like 1898’s Shinin No Sosei   ( Resurrection of a Corpse ) come to mind, as well as several early horror iterations across the globe that captured the imagination of an audience hungry for creepy, occult fun. Taking cues from classic horror literature, big name horror franchises (of sorts) like Dracula and Frankenstein have existed within cinema for decades.

However, it’s in the rise of newer horror genres featuring zombies, slashers, found footage, and haunted dolls that horror has really found its hold, from the 1970s into modern times.

Some of the main sub-genres include:

  • Zombie horror
  • Folk horror
  • Body Horror
  • Found footage Horror

If you’d like to explore a great deal more about the origins and modern portrayals of the horror film genre, check out our full horror genre breakdown .

  • The Sci-Fi Film Genre

A Guide to the Basic Film Genres (and How to Use Them) — Star Wars

Science fiction is one of the most innovative of the cinematic super-genres . As far back as the Renaissance and the Enlightenment period, the development of what we call science today began influencing art and culture. It took it a while to fully integrate, and by the time the cinematic arts rolled around, audiences everywhere were ready to add “science fiction” to the types of genres they wanted to see.

Science fiction films are ostensibly about the future, when we’ve developed the technology to travel between stars, travel back in time, or pull off other technological marvels.

Of course, though, that notion is just an affectation. Science fiction stories take the social, cultural, political, and technological issues that we’re facing today and project them into a fictional future, where we can get a good look at them. Fear, awe, excitement, and hope are all hallmarks of the science fiction genre, which does a great job of showing its audiences what they aren’t noticing about their lives right now .

There are many sub-genres of science fiction, including the following:

  • Science fantasy
  • Space Opera

For a full write-up on the history and development of science fiction films (and how to make one of your own), see our filmmaker’s guide to science fiction .

  • The Western Film Genre

A Guide to the Basic Film Genres (and How to Use Them) — Western film genre

The Western is rich film tradition that has its roots in the American fascination with its Western frontier. These stories have their roots in the period of American expansionism, when fantasies of the “untamed” West thrilled Americans living in ever-expanding cities along the eastern seaboard. Tales of grit, honor, bravery, and “justice” turned this misunderstood territory (already fully inhabited by Native Americans) into a myth of manifest destiny and the idea that Americans should conquer it simply because it’s there .

Full of melodramatic conflicts, simplistic systems of morality, and the idea of taming the wild, the Western introduced film fans to a new type of experience—the terrain itself was a type of character. It could challenge the heroes, boggle the mind, conceal hidden dangers, and otherwise present itself as a force to be reckoned with.

Not surprisingly, the Western film had to evolve in order to keep up with developing ideas about social equity, brutality against native peoples, and the disappearance of “untamed” territory, so there are a number of Western sub-genres, including the following:

  • Spaghetti Westerns
  • Space Westerns
  • Singing cowboy Westerns
  • Comedy Westerns
  • Neo-westerns
  • Acid Westerns
  • Meat Pie Westerns
  • Charro Westerns
  • Dacoit Westerns
  • Documentary Westerns

For a full exploration of the history and development of the Western—and what you need to know to make your own—see our field guide to the Western .

  • The Romance Film Genre

A Guide to the Basic Film Genres (and How to Use Them) — Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in Titanic

Ah, what would the great cinema tradition be if it weren’t for the countless stories of love and courtship. Since the advent of the movie theater experience, cinema has long been a favored pastime for couples looking to escape into a world of romance.

Similar to the action and comedy genres, the romance genre has become a central force in pretty much every other film genre under the sun. (Try to think of the last mainstream blockbuster you went to that didn’t have a love story at its core.) Still, even as early cinema was filled with classic romance examples and many hybridizations like the “rom-com,” the genre has certainly shifted over the years. Nonetheless, it remains a hugely significant genre for filmmakers and film fans alike.

  • Historical Romance
  • Romantic Drama
  • Romantic Comedy
  • Chick Flick
  • Paranormal Romance

For more information into how the romance film genre has shaped the history of cinema, check out our full romance genre breakdown .

  • The Thriller Film Genre

A Guide to the Basic Film Genres (and How to Use Them) — Roger Moore and Barbara Bach in The Spy Who Loved Me

Once a stylized niche genre, the thriller film has gone so mainstream that it might be time to change the genre’s name to Summer Blockbuster Event.

The thriller’s rise coincides with the rise of the spy and detective pulp novels of the 1960s and 1970s. It’s been one of the best cinematic vehicles for exploring the sometimes upsetting and underrepresented truths about our governments and society at large. Owing some of its biggest successes to famous filmmakers like Alfred Hitchcock , and including some of our favorite characters like James Bond, the thriller has become a popular and important part of the cinema tradition.

  • Conspiracy Thriller
  • Crime Thriller
  • Legal Thriller
  • Spy Thriller
  • Supernatural Thriller

If you’d like to look deeper into the thriller genre, its development, and the many ways you can subvert its sub-genres for your own projects, read our full thriller genre breakdown .

  • The Fantasy Film Genre

A Guide to the Basic Film Genres (and How to Use Them) — Fantasy Film Genre

There are a number of ways to define the fantasy film genre, but perhaps the simplest is the inclusion of magic. In a fantasy film, there is usually a system for performing superhuman feats, be it by casting spells, using magic items, or some other means.

Fantasy has been a part of cinematic history since its earliest days, beginning in 1896 with Alice Guy ‘s “ The Cabbage Fairy .” Fantasy stories themselves go back even further than that— The Epic of Gilgamesh is one of humanity’s oldest fantasy stories, dating back roughly 4,000 years.

There are several different sub-genres we can use to classify fantasy films:

  • High fantasy
  • Urban fantasy
  • Sword and sorcery
  • Dark fantasy
  • Magical realism
  • Portal fantasy
  • Superhero fantasy

For a more detailed look at these sub-genres, check out our guide on all things fantasy .

  • The Apocalypse Film Genre

A Guide to the Basic Film Genres (and How to Use Them) — Apocalypse Films

The apocalypse film is another popular genre. On the surface, these movies are simply about the end of the world. Typically, there’s a natural disaster (or several), a looming astronomical threat, a rampaging monster, or a nuclear holocaust taking center stage. Surviving the deluge of special effects is the name of the game, and the budgets for these blockbusters are usually huge.

However, there’s more nuance to this seemingly destructive genre than you might think. The apocalypse is usually a metaphor of some kind. It divides families, it rolls back social progress, it reveals the fragility of human life—there are any number of things the apocalypse can be doing that we usually attribute to something else, like broken marriages, politics, or famine.

The most popular apocalypse films use this metaphor to their advantage, and we get to watch the protagonists overcome not only the pending global threat, but the threats to their home, family, and personal lives that they had been ignoring.

There are several sub-genres of the apocalypse film:

  • Monster apocalypse
  • Zombie apocalypse
  • Invasion apocalypse
  • Natural disaster
  • Nuclear apocalypse

For more on this oft-misunderstood genre (and its sub-genres), check out “ The Filmmaker’s Guide to the Apocalypse .”

  • The Martial Arts Film Genre

A Guide to the Basic Film Genres (and How to Use Them) — Martial Arts Genre

When you think of the martial arts film genre, you think of fights, and these films have left an indelible mark on the cinema. Many genres today rely on heavily choreographed fight scenes developed over months. We can thank the martial arts film, and Bruce’s Lee’s innovation of hiring actual martial artists, for these crowd-favorite fight scenes.

While it’s easy to think the martial arts film as simply about fighting, that would be an oversimplification. The martial arts film folds combat into its narratives, and it uses this conflict to tell stories that we don’t otherwise see in our favorite film genres. Every martial arts fight implies years of training, dedication, and work that the characters went through to prepare for exactly this moment . There is an intersection of lives and traditions that unfolds in a matter of seconds.

The martial arts film genre includes several sub-genres:

  • The Kung Fu film
  • The Wuxia film
  • Karate films
  • Action -comedy

For more on these different traditions and how they have shaped the martial arts film genre, check out “ The Life and Times of the Kung Fu Film .”

  • The Sports Film Genre

If the martial arts film genre captures our fascination with combat, then the sports film captures our fascination with competition. We love a good underdog story, and the best sports films take us on a journey that charts a winner’s unlikely beginnings through the tremendous challenges they must overcome to become the best. Viewers will watch competitions of all kinds, from championship football matches to hot dog eating contests to how long people can stand and maintain contact with an automobile .

The stories in sports movies are often familiar—a champion prevails. But we like watching them over and over because they offer a thrill that we can’t find in any other genre.

Here are just a few of the sub-genres of sports films we all know and love—be sure to read our write-up on each one:

  • Boxing films
  • Hockey films
  • Football films
  • Baseball films
  • Basketball films
  • How to Use Film Genres

A Guide to the Basic Film Genres (and How to Use Them) — John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction

As the art of film evolved, more and more genres developed as filmmakers moved towards finding new and creative ways to subvert and combine them. Concepts like the “rom-com” appeared, combining the traditional genre elements of romance films and comedy films. Newer, more niche genres like the “road movie” and “disaster film” popped up alongside hybrid genres like “buddy cop” and “sci-fi western.”

By examining and mashing up genre theory, filmmakers have unlocked and combined different elements from disparate genres to create legendary results—like George Lucas ’s Star Wars , which combines science fiction, samurai, western, and war genres, to name a few. Some take it further—Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction glides between genres chapter by chapter.

Genre theory is still very much a part of how we view and create films. However, genres are also in the process of being completely radicalized. It’s up to you to not just consume, but also strive to understand what other movies are doing. Then, apply your own research and inclinations toward the genres you choose to work with in your projects.

For more genre theory and filmmaking tips and tricks, check out these articles:

  • 7 Filmmaking Insights from Modern Film and Television
  • Filmmaking Challenge: How to Create Foley for Stock Footage
  • How “The Mandalorian” Got Feature Film Effects on a TV Budget
  • The 2010s: The Biggest Filmmaking Moments of the Decade
  • Roundup: Genre Filmmaking Tips and Tricks from the Filmmakers of Fantastic Fest

Cover image via Twentieth Century Fox .

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1995, Mystery & thriller/Crime, 2h 5m

What to know

Critics Consensus

A brutal, relentlessly grimy shocker with taut performances, slick gore effects, and a haunting finale. Read critic reviews

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Seven videos, seven   photos.

When retiring police Detective William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) tackles a final case with the aid of newly transferred David Mills (Brad Pitt), they discover a number of elaborate and grisly murders. They soon realize they are dealing with a serial killer (Kevin Spacey) who is targeting people he thinks represent one of the seven deadly sins. Somerset also befriends Mills' wife, Tracy (Gwyneth Paltrow), who is pregnant and afraid to raise her child in the crime-riddled city.

Genre: Mystery & thriller, Crime, Drama

Original Language: English

Director: David Fincher

Producer: Arnold Kopelson , Phyllis Carlyle

Writer: Andrew Kevin Walker

Release Date (Theaters): Sep 22, 1995  original

Release Date (Streaming): Jul 6, 2010

Box Office (Gross USA): $100.1M

Runtime: 2h 5m

Distributor: New Line Cinema, Criterion Collection

Production Co: New Line Cinema

Sound Mix: Surround

Cast & Crew

Detective David Mills

Morgan Freeman

Detective Lt. William Somerset

Gwyneth Paltrow

Tracy Mills

R. Lee Ermey

Police Captain

Richard Roundtree

Dist. Atty. Martin Talbot

John C. McGinley

Julie Araskog

Mark Boone Junior

Greasy FBI Man

John Cassini

Officer Davis

Reg E. Cathey

Peter Crombie

Dr. O'Neill

Kevin Spacey

Hawthorne James

Michael Massee

Man in Massage Parlour Booth

Leland Orser

Crazed Man in Massage Parlour

Richard Portnow

Dr. Beardsley

Richard Schiff

Pamala Tyson

Homeless Woman

David Fincher

Andrew Kevin Walker

Dan Kolsrud

Executive Producer

Anne Kopelson

Gianni Nunnari

Arnold Kopelson

Phyllis Carlyle

David Bowie

Original Music

Howard Shore

Trent Reznor

Darius Khondji


Harris Savides

Richard Francis-Bruce

Film Editing

Kerry Barden

Billy Hopkins

Suzanne Smith

Production Design

Gary Wissner

Art Director

Clay A. Griffith

Set Decoration

News & Interviews for Seven

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Critic Reviews for Seven

Audience reviews for seven.

Se7en put David Fincher on the map with this uber-creepy mystery thriller. The crime scenes are so grisly Seven is often ranked with top horror movies. And the ending -- hoo boy. One of the best twists in modern movie history.

7 movie genre

Probably Fincher's best movie, at least among the Fincher movies I've seen, it's also among his darkest. It's themes are pretty in your face, really holding it's message right up to your nose. Not just with the Deadly Sins aspect, but also in the darkness of the world and the old cop style versus new cop. However, the themes are good, and possibly more relevant now than when the film first came out. And I like the themes of the movie, they never feel outright heavy-handed, but appropriate and interesting. I also love the look of the film. It's grimy and gross and you can almost smell it, but it's that disgusting New York crime film that has a distinct vibe and style. It's a thrilling story, and you want to see it solved, and seeing the two cops figure it out and slowly get closer themselves is a definitely a bit tropey but it's still enjoyable. The funny thing with it is I knew some of the spoilers to this movie ("what's in the box?") so I had an idea where it was going, but seeing it get there was still a great ride. That being said, knowing that made me realize one of these characters really gets the shaft here. It's hard to say too much without deliving into spoilers, but there is a character who gets treated more as a plot device than anything else. That being said, I still really liked the film. It's got great tension, acting, and an overall style.

"I'm setting the example. What I've done is going to be puzzled over and studied and followed... forever." Is an interesting line delivered at a major moment of revelation in Seven. I think its an interesting reflection of the movie itself too. I am not sure there is anything terribly sophisticated about Seven. There does not have to be for a good crime thriller to really work. I find when you describe this movie coldly and descriptively it all seems a little banal. There's an odd couple pairing of detectives, played by two pretty wonderful actors. The grizzled cop about to retire, who has spent a little too long in the game. The fresh, young and careless rookie, out to make a name for himself. Morgan Freeman is so perfectly that veteran with a commanding and ominous presence. Brad Pitt also works well as the rookie. This film is also set against the most obvious of thriller settings, a relentlessly dark city, always raining or about to. A color scheme that never managed to lift its brush too far from grey. There's some unique visceral imagery, the "kills" are haunting and troubling. Some are showed more than we want. Others I, frankly, wish I knew more, as the imagination is sometimes so much worse. Then there is the big reveal of our monster. Oh and what a reveal, what a commanding performance. Brief, menacing and psychologically domineering. If you stop to think about this movie it is all a little preposterous, but who would? You are so busy taking it all in. You cannot really stop to pick apart the problems. I wrote through this dry shopping list of descriptors trying to work out what worked about the movie, a standard list of crime cliches it seems. Doing this exercise, I sort of realized what Seven reminded me of. It is a well done painting. If you strip it all down it is really predictable brush strokes and common themes. But it sings. It puzzles, and it draws you in for study. It's a masterful cop buddy piece. It is the right measure of brutality and imagination. The twists work. The reveal works. It works. This movie reminds us why we have a conception of a script or formula for certain movies. Thrillers have things we've come to expect, the same can be said of every genre. Seven reminds you why this is the archetype for these movies. When you put the strokes together just right, it is really something to behold.

David Fincher's sophisticated thriller is filled with daunting symbolism and an open-ended vision of grisly imagery. Se7en is a psychological fabrication of thematic scope and suspenseful sequences that pays off in the mid 90s and is still revered as one of Fincher's best and a cinematic tour de force. 4.5/5

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Movie Genres List: The Definitive Guide

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Movie and TV genres are popular for many reasons. The first is that they provide a way to escape from reality, which can be therapeutic in the face of stress or tragedy.

Another reason is that people have different tastes when it comes to movies and TV shows- some prefer comedies while others enjoy thrillers; there’s something for everyone.


What are movie genres.

A movie genre is simply a category that films belong to based on their subject matter, tone, and other factors.

It’s important to know about different movie genres because they can help you choose which movies are right for you and your friends.

Movie genres are a way to categorize films in order to find the perfect one for you. There is something for everyone out there, including but not limited to: comedy, romance, and action.

We’ve all had that moment of indecision scrolling through a streaming service, trying to pick the perfect movie to match our mood.

That’s where understanding movie genres can be a game-changer.

From the heart-pounding suspense of thrillers to the gut-busting laughter of comedies, each genre offers a unique experience.

The action genre is a staple of the film industry, delivering high-octane excitement and relentless thrills.

Movies in this category often feature a blend of fast-paced sequences, daredevil stunts, and a clear conflict that drives the narrative.

Spectacular chase scenes, explosive battles, and intense hand-to-hand combat set action films apart.

They are meticulously choreographed to create visually compelling and heart-pounding experiences for audiences.

Central to these films is typically a heroic protagonist facing nearly insurmountable odds.

Films like Die Hard and Mad Max: Fury Road exemplify this, showcasing lead characters who embody strength, resilience, and an unyielding will to overcome adversity.

Supporting elements such as advanced technology, high-stakes missions, and world-saving stakes often weave through the plot.

These components amplify excitement and serve to escalate the action to global proportions, as seen in the Mission: Impossible series.

In action movie s, the antagonist is as vital as the hero.

Villains such as those in The Dark Knight or Skyfall provide a formidable force for the protagonist to reckon with, ensuring a gripping story till the very end.

  • Well-crafted fight scene s,
  • Iconic chase sequences,
  • Elaborate stunts.

Films like John Wick and The Bourne Identity have raised the bar for action cinematography with their innovative approach es.

These titles reflect the genre’s evolution, incorporating stylistic influences and technical advancements.

Action films often resonate with audiences due to their clear distinction of right and wrong.

They offer a sense of justice, resolve, and mostly, an entertaining escape from the real world.

Our fascination with these motion pictures shows no signs of waning.

Thrillers are a staple in the realm of cinema, captivating audiences with their gripping storylines and edge-of-your-seat tension.

The hallmark of a thriller is its ability to keep viewers guessing, weaving through suspenseful narratives that often involve crime, espionage, or psychological battles.

Within thrillers, we find a diverse range of sub-genres, each bringing its own set of conventions and tropes to ramp up the suspense:

  • Psychological Thrillers – delving into the minds of characters to unsettle the audience,
  • Crime Thrillers – exploring the intricacies of crime and its investigation – Espionage Thrillers – uncovering covert operations and international intrigue,
  • Supernatural Thrillers – blending suspense with otherworldly elements.

Films like Inception and Se7en illustrate the genre’s knack for complex storytelling and moral ambiguity.

These features work together to engross viewers in a narrative where tension is the main driver rather than action or special effects.

A thriller’s cinematography and editing are crucial in building the intense atmosphere these films are known for.

Quick cuts , shadowy lighting, and an evocative score come together to create a visceral viewing experience.

The characters are often deeply layered, presenting flawed protagonists and antagonists with unclear motives.

This complexity ensures that we’re invested in their journeys, rooting for resolutions that may not always be clear cut.

Embracing themes like betrayal, conspiracy, and paranoia, thrillers reflect our own societal anxieties.

They challenge us to confront the uncertainties of human nature and the gray areas of morality often overlooked in more black-and-white genres.

We recognize thrillers not just for their surface-level excitement but for their profound psychological impact.

They engage us in thought-provoking stories that linger long after the credits roll, urging us to question what we think we know about the characters and perhaps even ourselves.

The beat of a heart in love and the intertwining of fates are the soul of romance films.

These narratives jump deep into the complexities of relationships and emotional connections.

Whether it’s the purity of first love in Call Me By Your Name or the enduring bond challenged by societal constraints in Brokeback Mountain , romance pulls at our heartstrings and reminds us of the power of love.

From light-hearted romantic comedies to intense romantic dramas, each story aims to evoke a spectrum of emotions.

The Notebook captivates with its tale of timeless affection, while La La Land illustrates the bittersweet intersection of ambition and companionship.

The diverse portrayals of love teach us that passion, sacrifice, and vulnerability are at the core of the most profound human connections.

Audiences flock to romance for its aspirational glimpse into the captivating dance of courtship and affection.

The following elements are often central to the appeal of romance movies:

  • Authentically flawed characters that viewers can relate to,
  • A narrative arc that fosters genuine investment in the relationship,
  • Settings or scenarios that amplify the romantic tension.

Filmmakers leverage the powerful tool of cinematography to enhance the emotional depth of romance.

With sweeping panoramic shots in Pride and Prejudice to the intimate close-ups in Blue Valentine , the camera work in romance films is as much an element of storytelling as the script itself.

Exploring the themes of desire, devotion, and often, the obstacles that lovers face, romance stories challenge and comfort audiences simultaneously.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind pushes the boundaries by examining the idea of love in a non-linear fashion, proving that romance can transcend traditional storytelling.

Our fascination with these tales reiterates a universal truth – love, in all its forms, is an essential, enduring part of the human experience.

Comedy: A Genre To Make You Laugh

Comedy is the go-to genre for audiences looking to indulge in humor and laughter.

At its core, a comedy film aims to entertain and amuse, providing a much-needed escape from the daily grind.

The effectiveness of a comedy often hinges on timing, delivery, and situation.

These films work to create scenarios that provoke laughter and often rely on witty dialogue and humorous character interactions.

Elements of slapstick, parodies, and screwball comedy are staples within this genre.

They’re crafted to lighten the mood and provide a universally enjoyable experience.

Successful comedies skillfully blend humor with relatable storylines.

Movies like The Hangover and Bridesmaids have achieved critical and box-office success by striking this delicate balance.

We can’t ignore the importance of the ensemble cast in several iconic comedy films.

A standout performance can elevate the comedic experience, making the characters and their quirks memorable.

Our appreciation for comedy also extends into sub-genres –

  • Romantic comedies,
  • Dark comedies,
  • Action comedies,
  • Sci-fi comedies.

Each sub-genre offers a unique twist, infusing elements of romance, thrill, or other worlds with the primary goal of comedy.

The versatility of the genre proves that humor knows no bounds.

Comedy films have the ability to connect with audiences across cultures and languages.

They tap into the universal language of laughter, breaking barriers and bringing people together.

When we discuss drama in film, we’re diving into a genre that tugs at the heartstrings and delves into the complexities of the human experience.

Drama films are typically serious stories with settings or life situations that portray realistic characters in conflict with either themselves, others, or forces of nature.

A significant aspect of drama is its focus on emotional development over time.

These films prioritize character arc and personal growth, making emotional storytelling their cornerstone.

Dramas are often based on real-life events or social issues, lending them an additional layer of relatability and intensity.

Another key element is the performance of actors which is often more nuanced and layered in dramatic roles.

It’s common for performers in dramas to receive critical acclaim and award nominations.

The Godfather and Schindler’s List are prime examples of dramas where acting has notably elevated the film’s impact.

We also find that drama has several sub-genres that spice up the narrative and add layers to the storytelling.

Some of these sub-genres include:

  • Legal drama – focusing on law-related cases and the justice system,
  • Crime drama – exploring the world of crime and its repercussions,
  • Historical drama – set against the backdrop of a significant period in history,
  • Political drama – centered around the intricacies of political power and strategy,
  • Medical drama – highlighting the personal and professional lives of medical staff.

eventually, dramas tap into the deep well of human emotions and mirror our own truths back at us.

They challenge us to question, empathize, and reflect upon the narratives unfolding on screen.

With a well-crafted drama, we’re not just watching a story; we’re engaging with the deepest parts of what it means to be human.

Science Fiction

In the realm of cinema, science fiction – or sci-fi – stands out as a genre that pushes the boundaries of imagination and technology.

It’s a playground for exploring futuristic scenarios, space exploration, time travel , and extraterrestrial life.

Groundbreaking visual effects often accompany rich storytelling, where filmmakers stretch the limits of our understanding.

Sci-fi films often incorporate themes of advanced science and technology, which may include artificial intelligence, robotics, and cybernetics.

These elements are not just for show; they often serve to question the relationship between humans and technology.

Consider classics like Blade Runner and The Matrix , which jump deeply into the nature of reality and humanity’s place within it.

The genre also provides a mirror for our current society, using speculative fiction to comment on contemporary issues.

Through the lens of sci-fi, we’re able to confront ethical dilemmas and potential futures born from today’s trends.

Themes may range from environmental issues in movies like Interstellar to social commentary as seen in District 9 .

Aside from thought-provoking themes, the scope of world-building in sci-fi films is unparalleled.

Directors and production teams create entire universes that captivate audiences, pulling us into the scale and complexity of their imagined worlds.

This is evident in franchises such as Star Wars and Guardians of the Galaxy .

  • Essential aspects of science fiction films include – Imaginative settings – Advanced technologies – Complex narratives – Philosophical questions Dystopian futures are a recurring theme in many sci-fi movies, reflecting our fears and speculations about the path humanity is taking. Films like Mad Max: Fury Road showcase societies that have collapsed under the weight of their own advancement and corruption. Contrasting these are utopian visions where society has achieved a harmonious balance with technology, though these are less common.

With the continuous advancement in real-world technology, the science fiction genre is in a constant state of evolution.

New stories are conceived, and the complexity of on-screen representation grows, fueled by our own technological progress.

Every year, new sci-fi films challenge our perspectives, make us question our morals, and offer a glimpse into what the future might hold.

As we jump into the shadows of the movie genres list, horror stands out with its chilling embrace, gripping viewers with fear and anticipation.

Horror films tap into our primal fears and draw forth the thrill of the unknown, toying with our emotions in the most profound ways.

Crafting scenes that linger in the imagination, horror filmmakers are experts at building tension and delivering shocks.

They explore the darkest corners of the human psyche, often through supernatural or monstrous entities.

The genre isn’t just about scares; it’s layered with social commentary and psychological depth.

Classics like The Exorcist and Night of the Living Dead have transcended pure horror, offering insights into the human condition.

Each subgenre of horror brings its own flavor to the terrifying banquet – – Slasher film s bring the adrenaline with their iconic masked villains and memorable final girls

  • Paranormal films unsettle with ethereal threats that defy our understanding of reality,
  • Body horror shocks with grotesque transformations and a visceral fear of physical corruption.

The effectiveness of horror lies in its power to evoke a physical response.

Heart rates soar, palms sweat, and viewers find themselves hooked, peering through fingers yet unable to look away.

Staying up to date with technological advancements, horror films have embraced CGI and practical effects to enhance realism.

Yet, they also rely heavily on evocative storytelling and atmospheric tension, proving that a well-delivered story trumps any visual effect.

We understand that horror is a genre that constantly plays with boundaries, whether it’s through experimental storytelling or pushing the limits of what we find unsettling.

It’s a genre that doesn’t just strive to frighten but to leave a lasting impression, often reflecting societal fears and anxieties.

Diving into horror, we recognize that it’s an ever-evolving journey.

The genre continues to innovate and terrify, ensuring that audiences are kept in a state of suspense and wonder with every flickering frame.

Fantasy: A Journey Beyond Reality

From the moment we embark on a fantasy film, we’re catapulted into realms bound only by imagination.

7 movie genre

Adventure films are synonymous with excitement and escapism.

They whisk viewers away to distant lands, wild frontiers, and exotic locales.

These stories often feature quests or explorations, with protagonists facing obstacles that test their bravery and endurance.

Iconic adventure films like Indiana Jones and Pirates of the Caribbean embody this thrilling narrative.

The heart of adventure cinema lies within its ability to mesh other genres, such as:

  • Action – with breathtaking stunts and choreography,
  • Fantasy – integrating supernatural elements,
  • Drama – focusing on character development and relationships.

In crafting adventure films, filmmakers employ an arsenal of techniques to create immersive experiences.

Sweeping camera movement s and stunning vistas are just the starting point.

Sound design plays a pivotal role in adventure films, filling out the world and heightening the sense of danger or discovery.

The rustle of leaves, the roar of the ocean, and the clash of swords become characters themselves in these stories.

Scores are robust and emotive, often becoming as iconic as the films themselves.

Think of The Lord of the Rings , where the music is integral to the sense of journey and spectacle.

At the core of adventure cinema is the universal theme of exploration – both external and internal.

It’s not just the landscapes that are vast and uncharted, but also the characters’ growth as they face challenges and triumphs.

Through these diverse storytelling elements, adventure films continue to captivate and inspire audiences.

We see ourselves in the courageous heroes and yearn for the thrill of new horizons and the call to adventure.

Within the realm of adventure filmmaking, we focus on the limitless potential of storytelling.

The genre’s versatility allows for a multi-dimensional viewing experience that can cross into other genres and appeal to a broad audience.

Each adventure film is a testament to the enduring spirit of human curiosity, tapping into our desire to explore the unknown and overcome adversity.

From swashbuckling pirates to intrepid archeologists, adventure films celebrate the extraordinary in the ordinary, the hero in each of us.

By harnessing cutting-edge technology and time-honored cinematic techniques, these films offer more than just a story – they offer an invitation to embark on the journey right alongside the characters.

And in doing so, we continue to push the boundaries of what adventure on the big screen can mean.

Animation in cinema offers a unique form of storytelling that transcends age and culture.

We find it in everything from heartwarming children’s tales to complex adult themes, consistently pushing the boundaries of imagination.

With animation, the only limit is the creators’ creativity as artists bring to life whatever they can conceive.

We see iconic characters, vibrant worlds, and fantastical plots all come to life in a myriad of styles and techniques.

Animated films often Use cutting-edge technology and artistic style s to create diverse viewing experiences.

From traditional hand-drawn animations to CGI wonders, the evolution of this genre is a testament to filmmakers’ innovation.

We recognize the impact of animation not just in its entertainment value but also in its power to communicate.

Complex messages are delivered through simple yet profound narratives that resonate with audiences worldwide.

Some key milestones in the evolution of animation include:

  • The pioneering steamboat antics of Steamboat Willie,
  • The hand-drawn artistry of classics like Beauty and the Beast,
  • The computer-generated revolution sparked by Toy Story.

Animation is not merely a genre for children; it earns critical acclaim and awards for its artistry and storytelling prowess.

Thought-provoking tales and riveting adventures dress in animated form attract viewers who appreciate the craft involved.

To create an animated film, filmmakers engage in a meticulously collaborative process.

Each frame is a canvas for expression, detail, and movement, resulting in a final product that’s as rich in visual splendor as it is in narrative depth.

Our interest in animation lies in its universal appeal and its constant state of evolution.

We’re drawn to the way animated stories encourage us to dream without limits and to look at the world through a different, often more colorful, lens.

We jump into the intricately woven world of crime movies – a genre that captivates with its gripping narratives and complex characters.

Our cinematic journey takes us through dark alleys of moral ambiguity, where every twist and turn leaves audiences on the edge of their seats.

These films often explore the criminal underworld, spotlighting masterminds who rule empires of organized crime.

The Godfather sets the benchmark for this subgenre, illustrating not only the mob’s ruthless operations but also themes of loyalty and family.

Crime cinema is also known for enthralling heist movies .

We watch as meticulous planning and cunning execution unfold in favorites like Ocean’s Eleven and Heat .

These films promise high stakes and high tension, ensuring that adrenaline pulses through the veins of the audience.

Moving beyond the act itself, crime films also jump into the psychological conflict of their protagonists.

Characters in films such as Taxi Driver or A Clockwork Orange challenge us to question the very nature of morality and sanity.

Detective stories offer a captivating blend of intrigue and intelligence.

Sharp minds like those in Se7en guide us through a labyrinth of clues.

We’re engrossed by their deductive prowess and the formidable adversaries they face.

In exploring these stories, several key elements stand out:

  • Dark and moody cinematography that reflects the tone of the narrative,
  • Complex characters whose flawed morals provide a mirror to the darker sides of society,
  • Plot lines that weave through unpredictability, leaving us guessing till the final act.

Crime films excel in depicting the human condition, offering shades of gray rather than clear divides between right and wrong.

Their capacity to engage with social commentary makes them a riveting film experience for all.

These stories resonate because, Even though their often hyperbolic scenarios, the themes at play reflect issues we recognize in our world today.

Mystery films plunge audiences into an enigma, weaving tales that demand our keenest perception and deductive reasoning.

The genre thrives on the unknown, luring us in with questions that beckon answers, and narratives riddled with twists and turns that keep us guessing until the very end.

In these films, clues are currency and red herring s are abundant.

Stories like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Gone Girl showcase the power of a gripping mystery – one that holds our attention, encouraging us to piece together the puzzle alongside the protagonist.

The allure of mystery movies lies in their ability to present a problem that needs solving.

Our fascination is continually piqued by an intricate plot full of misdirection.

Consider Sherlock Holmes or Knives Out , where the satisfaction derives not just from the resolution, but from the journey to uncover the truth.

Mystery films often intersect with other genres, creating a rich and diverse tapestry of cinema:

  • Crime dramas often incorporate mystery elements, adding depth to the story and layers to characters – Psychological thrillers blur the lines between reality and illusion – Supernatural mysteries hook us with the unexplainable, leading us down paths brimming with suspense.

Characters in these films are typically more than they seem.

A detective’s sharp insight or a bystander’s hidden past can turn the tide of a story.

It’s the complexity of these characters that fuels a mystery’s engine, compelling us to watch as layers are peeled back, and secrets are unveiled.

Weaving through the fabric of a well-crafted mystery, our curiosity is consistently stoked.

We’re drawn deeper into the labyrinth, fascinated by the prospect of an ultimate revelation that promises to tie every loose thread together.

Diving into the richness of the past, historical films transport us to bygone eras with authentic period detail and storytelling.

These films bring history to life, from the lavish sets to the intricate costumes, reimagining the times that have shaped our world.

They provide audiences with a visual score of the human past, making historical events accessible and often personal.

It’s like stepping into a time machine, where every frame is a portal to another age.

We observe how historical films serve as a powerful medium for exploring human experiences during different times and cultures.

Not only do they elaborate historical facts, but they also jump into the emotional and psychological landscape of periods as varied as Ancient Rome in Gladiator or medieval Scotland in Braveheart .

Directors and screenwriters often spend considerable time ensuring the authenticity of the narrative, which may involve intricate research and collaboration with historians.

While historical accuracy is a hallmark of the genre, filmmakers sometimes take creative liberties.

These liberties are taken for various reasons – to enhance the narrative, build drama, or for time constraints.

The balance between fact and fiction is delicate, and the best historical films strike a chord with both.

  • Engaging Storytelling – They captivate with drama and conflict.
  • Visual Splendor – The grandeur helps immerse the audience.
  • Character Depth – They provide a window into the lives and motivations of historical figures.

These films often intersect with other genres like war, drama, and even romance.

A compelling aspect of historical films is their potential to shine a light on lesser-known events or figures, providing fresh perspectives on the history we thought we knew.

They inspire curiosity and a greater appreciation of the past, fueling a desire to learn more about the real-life stories behind the plots.

Historical films have garnered critical acclaim and have often swept award ceremonies.

Movies like Schindler’s List and The King’s Speech demonstrate the profound impact the genre can have, shining a spotlight on powerful narratives that resonate with audiences worldwide.

They remind us that while the events are set in the past, the themes of courage, love, and resilience are timeless.

Musicals have always found a special place in the hearts of audiences.

They blend the magic of storytelling with the thrill of song and dance into one seamless genre.

In a musical, the narrative is driven forward through music – every melody tells a part of the story.

These productions are memorable for their catchy tunes that often become timeless classics.

The musical genre isn’t confined to the stage.

It extends to the silver screen where it has produced some of the most iconic films in cinematic history.

Movies like Singin’ in the Rain and The Sound of Music have left indelible marks on the world of film.

Let’s take a look at the key components that make musicals stand out:

  • Choreography – sets the mood and brings energy to the narrative,
  • Songwriting – advances the plot and provides insight into the characters’ minds,
  • Costuming and Set Design – authenticates the setting and enhances the visual narrative.

Film adaptations of musicals have evolved over time.

Modern musicals often incorporate contemporary music and complex characters, paving the way for films such as La La Land and Hamilton .

These adaptations have chiseled a new edge into the genre, combining tradition with innovation.

Audiences seek out musicals not just for entertainment but for an immersive emotional experience.

The power of a musical lies in its ability to convey profound emotions, from the heights of joy to the depths of despair, all whilst enveloping us in a spectacle of sound and movement.

The best musicals leave us humming the tunes long after we’ve left the theater or switched off our screens.


In our exploration of movie genres, we jump into the realm of documentaries.

Documentaries present a factual representation of reality, often with the intent to inform, educate, or maintain a historical record.

They stand out for their commitment to bringing truth to the forefront, Even though the filmmaker’s influence inevitably shaping the narrative.

Documentaries take many forms, each serving a different purpose – some uncover hidden truths, while others celebrate humanity.

The Thin Blue Line unraveled a mistaken murder conviction while March of the Penguins showcased the epic journey of emperor penguins.

As filmmakers, we’re drawn to the raw power of documentary films.

They often spotlight urgent social issues and provide a voice for the voiceless.

Through works like An Inconvenient Truth and 13th , we see how documentaries can spark critical conversations and even lead to societal change.

Documentaries also offer a platform for innovation in filmmaking techniques.

Cinéma vérité and direct cinema broke ground with their unobtrusive cameras and observational style.

We recognize the impact of these techniques on our approach to capturing authentic moments on film.

Our role extends to creating documentaries that resonate with audiences on a personal level.

Human-centric stories such as Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

and Jiro Dreams of Sushi remind us of the diverse tapestry of human experience.

It’s through these narratives that we forge a deep connection with viewers around the world.

Embracing this genre invites us as filmmakers to adopt a mantle of responsibility.

We bear witness to the subjects of our work, and in doing so, we craft a visual legacy that has the potential to inform future generations long after the credits roll.

When we discuss the Western genre, we’re talking about one of the most iconic and quintessential forms of American cinema.

It’s characterized by its setting in the late 19th century American frontier and encapsulates the essence of rugged individualism.

Westerns showcase the clash between civilization and wilderness, often through the eyes of cowboys, settlers, and outlaws.

These narratives frequently revolve around themes such as justice, morality, and the struggle for survival.

The visual style of Westerns is unmistakable – vast open landscapes, desolate plains, and the ubiquitous dusty towns.

Iconic imagery like galloping horses and standoff duels are trademarks that help define this genre’s aesthetic.

Some of the most memorable Westerns have been instrumental in shaping the film industry.

Films like The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and Unforgiven have left indelible marks on cinema history.

They’ve introduced audiences to compelling characters whose stories resonate across generations.

As the genre evolved, it gave rise to various subgenres:

  • Spaghetti Westerns – characterized by their production in Italy and often a more gritty atmosphere,
  • Revisionist Westerns – which challenge and reinterpret traditional genre conventions,
  • Contemporary Westerns – that adjust the settings and themes to modern contexts, sometimes blending with other genres.

Our understanding of the Western genre is also built upon influential directors and actors.

John Wayne , Clint Eastwood, and directors like John Ford and Sergio Leone have become synonymous with Westerns.

Their contributions have not just entertained but also helped craft the archetype of the American hero.

Even though its historical roots, the Western genre remains dynamic, continually reinventing itself.

Newer films and even television series continue to explore and push the boundaries of the classic Western narrative.

This allows Westerns to remain relevant and appealing to today’s audiences.

War films have long captivated audiences with their raw portrayal of human conflict.

They default to narratives set against the backdrop of significant historical battles and political turmoil.

Drawing spectators into the visceral experiences of soldiers and civilians, these films vividly depict the chaos and heroism found on battlefields and home fronts alike.

Saving Private Ryan and Full Metal Jacket remain archetypal exemplars of the war genre’s intense storytelling power.

The genre explores various dimensions of warfare – from strategy and leadership to the grit and suffering of the troops.

They often challenge us to reflect on the morality and impact of war, offering a means to remember and understand past conflicts.

Classics like Apocalypse Now and The Hurt Locker have become influential in shaping our perceptions of the Vietnam War and the conflict in Iraq, respectively.

A war film’s authenticity is crucial.

Detailed research and often consultation with military experts ensure that uniforms, weaponry, and tactics accurately represent the portrayed era.

Filmmakers like Steven Spielberg and Stanley Kubrick meticulously recreated historical settings to provide a believable and immersive viewing experience.

Some Key Elements in War Films Include –

  • Tense battle sequences,
  • Characters grappling with the psychological impacts of war,
  • Deep explorations of themes such as honor, sacrifice, and camaraderie.

War movies offer rich terrain for cinematographers and sound designers to showcase their craft.

They bring viewers into the spherical sound of exploding artillery and the visual spectacle of combat.

The deployment of advanced visual effects has elevated contemporary films like 1917 , which deliver an ever-more immersive experience of what it’s like to be in the throes of war.

While some titles focus on the broader tapestry of war, others provide intimate portraits of individuals whose lives are irreversibly shaped by conflict.

Films like Schindler’s List highlight personal sagas of courage and redemption amid the horrors of World War II.

The genre serves as a perpetual reminder of the costs of war, prompting filmmakers and audiences alike to ponder the human condition and the choices that lead nations into battle.

When we jump into the spy genre, we’re greeted by a world of intrigue and espionage.

These films are a blend of suspense, action, and often complex plotlines, revolving around secret agents and covert operations.

The spy genre tantalizes us with the allure of undercover work, high-stakes missions, and the sophisticated gadgets that come with the territory.

Films like Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and The Bourne Identity have set high standards with their intense, cerebral narratives.

Spy movies often take us on a global adventure, from bustling cities to exotic locales.

We’re thrust into a cat-and-mouse game where the lead characters must outwit adversaries with a mix of intellect and physical prowess.

Casino Royale and Mission Impossible showcase the genre’s signature blend of glamour and danger.

They present a world where the right information can tip the scales of global power, and a single individual, the spy, becomes the linchpin in an intricate web of geopolitical gamesmanship.

The genre’s appeal also lies in its portrayal of unwavering loyalty and moral ambiguity.

Here’s what grabs our attention:

  • The personal sacrifices of the spy,
  • The toll on personal relationships amidst deceit and secrecy,
  • Ethical dilemmas faced in service of a perceived greater good.

On the technical side, spy films are known for their inventive use of technology and surveillance.

The heroes of these narratives maneuver through a world where data and cutting-edge tech play pivotal roles.

Skyfall and The Spy Who Came in from the Cold exemplify the genre’s tech-savvy operatives facing off against equally equipped antagonists, creating a thrilling chess match that keeps us on edge from start to finish.

also, the spy genre continually evolves, reflecting current political climates and technological advancements.

This ensures that each film feels fresh and relevant, compelling us to grapple with the shifting sands of international relations and cyber warfare.

As filmmakers, we appreciate the genre’s adaptability and the opportunities it presents for creative storytelling.

The superhero genre is a cinematic powerhouse, captivating audiences with tales of extraordinary beings and their valiant deeds.

Its roots in comic books translate to visually vibrant and action-packed blockbusters on the big screen.

Superhero films embody the ultimate form of escapism, providing a glimpse into worlds where anything is possible and good often triumphs over evil.

They resonate with viewers by showcasing characters that exhibit resilience, bravery, and a commitment to justice.

Fusing elements of fantasy, science fiction, and drama, superhero movies go beyond mere spectacle to address complex emotional and ethical dilemmas.

Iconic characters like Superman and Batman have become cultural touchstones, symbolizing hope and the relentless fight against adversity.

These films often spotlight the hero’s journey, depicting their internal and external struggles amidst extraordinary circumstances.

For filmmakers, the superhero genre presents unique challenges and opportunities –

  • Balancing visual effects with character development,
  • Crafting stories that appeal to both die-hard fans and new audiences,
  • Navigating the vast lore of superhero universes to create cohesive narratives.

The financial success of franchises such as the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the DC Extended Universe underscores the massive appeal of this genre.

Directors and producers are tasked with weaving intricate plots that connect multiple storylines across films.

Each installment serves as a standalone marvel while contributing to a larger, interconnected saga.

Advancements in CGI have propelled the superhero genre to new heights.

These technological innovations allow for the creation of more convincing superpowers, otherworldly beings, and epic battle sequences.

The seamless integration of practical effects and digital art istry results in immersive experiences that are limited only by the creators’ imaginations.

As this genre evolves, it reflects our societal changes and the universal desire for heroes who embody our aspirations and ideals.

The superhero genre is not just about the spectacle of heroics, but also about the messages it conveys to us about power, responsibility, and humanity.

Movie Genres List – Wrap Up

We’ve explored the dynamic realm of superhero movies, a genre that captivates audiences with its blend of visual spectacle and moral storytelling.

These films not only entertain but also inspire us with characters who rise to face daunting challenges.

As the superhero genre continues to push the boundaries of technology and storytelling, it remains a testament to the enduring power of cinema to reflect our highest hopes and deepest values.

We look forward to witnessing the future innovations that will keep us returning to the theater for more thrilling adventures.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the main focus of superhero films.

Superhero movies captivate audiences with their dynamic visual effects, gripping action, and narratives that delve into complex emotional and ethical issues.

They highlight characters that demonstrate resilience and a commitment to justice.

How Do Superhero Films Balance Visual Effects And Storytelling?

Filmmakers in the superhero genre strive to blend state-of-the-art visual effects with deep character development.

This balance ensures that the films are both visually spectacular and emotionally engaging for audiences.

Why Are Superhero Movies Popular Among Audiences?

Superhero movies appeal to a broad audience due to their adventurous, imaginative plots where good typically prevails over evil.

Additionally, they often address universal themes and showcase heroic ideals that resonate with viewers.

How Have Advancements In Cgi Impacted Superhero Films?

The advancements in Computer-Generated Imagery (CGI) have allowed superhero films to create more realistic superpowers and more grandiose and convincing battle scenes, enhancing the overall cinematic experience.

What Do Superhero Movies Reflect About Society?

Superhero films often mirror societal changes and embody the collective yearning for heroes who represent our highest aspirations and values.

This reflection can manifest in the themes, characters, and narratives of the genre.

7 movie genre

Matt Crawford

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Movie Genres List: A Complete Guide

Just about every movie can fit into some category or genre. But because there are many different kinds of movies, a complete genre guide is helpful.

Almost every movie fits into some category. That category can help to define a film and determine specific attributes. Characters, setting, plot structure and tone can all change or be changed by a movie's category or genre. A movie's genre is a pretty notable characteristic, and sometimes, two features can be in opposite genres and be compared or smushed together in perfect contrast, as seen with this summer's blockbuster event, Barbenheimer .

While relatively subjective, a film's genre is usually determined through factors like tone, plot structure, Mise-en-scène (on-camera set arrangements) and the film styles. Compiling a cohesive list of every possible genre is nearly impossible because there are many different types of movies. Luckily, some basic categories of fiction-based movies cover most subgenres.

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Imagery from movies Prey and Glory

Fast-paced, energetic scenes mainly define the action genre. It's relatively self-explanatory, as an action movie is action-packed. That usually includes fight scenes or intense stunts to execute the plot. There's little emphasis on the story beyond the exciting parts.

The action genre is one of the broadest categories to assign to a movie, as tons of subgenres are associated with action movies. Some of action's subgenres include epics, disaster movies, martial arts movies, superhero movies and video game adaptation movies like Gran Turismo . Some other well-known action movies are Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight , Baby Driver , Twister and John Wick.

Featured image for an article titled

Just about every movie can be funny, with random jokes or outrageous subjects free for different genres to approach differently. However, the specific genre designated to humorous films is comedy. Simply enough, a comedy movie, by definition, intends to humor the audience.

Comedy is a beloved genre with loyal fanbases attached to each subgenre. The branches of comedy include slapstick comedies, rom-coms, action comedies, dark comedies, buddy movies, parodies and separate TV comedy branches like sitcoms. Most Jim Carrey comedy movies are slapstick comedies, while Dumb and Dumber is a buddy movie. The Scary Movie franchise parodies horror movies , and films like Heathers stand tall in the dark comedy subgenre. Barbie is one of the most recent examples of a comedy hit.

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Steel Magnolias, Me Before You, and Green Mile

Drama focuses on humanity, spotlighting human emotions, high-tension situations and compelling main characters. There is a clear emphasis on the plot and how the characters navigate their cases. That's also an extensive description, as the word drama can apply to many things.

There are a few apparent subgenres in drama, like tragedy, romantic drama, biopics, costume dramas, coming-of-age or teen dramas and crime or war dramas. Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet is an adaptation of one of the most famous Shakespearian tragedies, while 10 Things I Hate About You adapts Shakespeare into a coming-of-age drama. Other examples of dramas include the biopic Oppenheimer , Jane Austen's Emma as a costume drama, and The Godfather as a crime drama.

Chucky, IT's Georgie and Poltergeist

By definition, horror intends to scare, startle or repulse its audience. So, a horror movie often evokes a sense of dread or genuine fear by using scary images, themes or uncomfortable situations. Instead of story and characters being the sole focus in the horror genre, mood and atmosphere are just as vital.

Horror is one of the more subjective genres with a seemingly endless stream of subgenres split between TV, movies and literature. Out of the various subgenres, a few are better known or more explored than others. Those include gothic horror, paranormal horror, creature features, body horror, slashers, psychological horror and found footage, to name a few. Gothic horror includes titles like the book-accurate Mary Shelley's Frankenstein or even the Dracula adaptations like The Last Voyage of the Demeter , and the subgenre has deep roots in horror literature that shaped the genre as a whole. The Conjuring , It , The Blob , Jaws , Scream and Terrifier all fit comfortably in the horror genre.

Indiana Jones 5, The Mummy, Jungle Cruise, The Adventures of Tin Tin, National Treasure

Unfortunately, the adventure genre is hardly ever used as a standalone, mainly because adventure movies often border on being action movies. The two genres are so similar that most blend them as action/adventure films. Adventure movies have the same elements as action films, but the setting is a notable marker. Adventure films are usually either set in an unfamiliar and far away location or the main characters have to go to that strange place during the movie.

A few adventure subgenres include survival films, espionage, some military movies, and some disaster films that can fit there as well. The Indiana Jones franchise is likely the most widely-known adventure film, accompanying movies like Stand By Me , Cast Away and The Wizard of Oz , among many others in the adventure genre.

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Jack Sparrow and Will turner from Pirates of the Caribbean, Princess Leia and R2-D2 from Star Wars: A New Hope and silhouettes of the fellowship from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Fantasy is a very imaginative genre with notable and loyal fanbases. It's often mixed in with elements of reality and some form of magic. The genre emphasizes things that aren't necessarily real, like imaginary creatures and worlds with fantastical laws or logic.

High fantasy, low fantasy, magical realism, sword and sorcery, dark fantasy, fables and superhero fantasy are all branches of the fantasy genre. When one thinks of the fantasy genre, one could think about The Lord of the Rings , Harry Potter , Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory , The Little Mermaid or even the various H.P. Lovecraft stories like The Call of Cthulhu . The dark fantasy subgenre can also border with horror, and movies like Coraline , Legend and Pan's Labyrinth can fit into both categories.

Science Fiction

Sections of Saul, Caprice and Timlin's faces stitched together from movie Crimes of the Future and explorers Ezra, Cee and Damon in spacesuits from movie Prospect

While some pair science fiction and fantasy together, sci-fi is more reality and science-based. Science fiction, sometimes called speculative fiction, focuses on alternative living made possible because of technology, whether that change is positive or negative.

Science fiction is a broad genre, with subgenres like disaster movies, dystopian/utopian, space operas, time travel, cyberpunk and alien movies. Titles like Interstellar , Dune and Ad Astra make up the space opera subgenre, as they're more focused on action and drama. Sci-fi also includes The Hunger Games ' dystopian Panem and movies like Asteroid City , WALL-E , Gravity and even the Blumhouse icon, M3GAN .

Danny and Sandy from Grease, Henry and Lucy from 50 First Dates, and Maggie and Ike from Runaway Bride

While every book or movie can feature romance, they can't all be part of the romance genre. A romance follows the relationship of two or more protagonists and focuses on that relationship and the various factors weighing in. It might have a happy ending, but at every romance story's core, there's a central love story and an emotionally satisfying ending, even if it's tear-inducing.

Because romance is so open-ended, many subgenres exist throughout the romance world in books and movies alike. Costume dramas are expanded upon with historical or epic romance, feature different eras and are recognizable by their elaborate costumes and set design. Some of the best-known historical romances are Jane Austen's Emma adaptation , Gone with the Wind , Titanic and Little Women .

There are also subgenres like chick flick -- though the term has some rude origins -- romantic action, romantic drama, rom-com, erotica and fantasy romance. The most notable examples of these subgenres are Dirty Dancing , Mr. and Mrs. Smith , The Notebook , Pretty Woman , 50 Shades of Grey and The Princess Bride .

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Ella and James embrace in Heaven's Gate and John rides with an American flag in Dances With Wolves

Westerns are one of the simpler genres to identify as they have general characteristics. Many Western stories take place in the "Wild West," which describes the areas of Western America between the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. There are usually cowboys, Native Americans, outlaws, saloons, shootouts and other similar vibes. Older Westerns often feature harmful stereotypes and overall racism toward people of color.

Because the Western genre has been around for a while, there are many subgenres like revisionist Westerns, apocalyptic Westerns, epics, outlaw Westerns, neo-westerns, Spaghetti Westerns and acid Westerns. Likely the best-known subgenre, Spaghetti Westerns -- Western films directed by Italian directors and usually filmed in Europe -- include Sergio Leone/Clint Eastwood's film The Good, the Bad and the Ugly . Some other Westerns include the '90s version of Avatar , Dances with Wolves , The Hateful Eight , Wyatt Earp and Cowboys & Aliens .

10 Best Psychological Thrillers Of 2022 Feature Image: the first victim in Smile, Bee and Sophie from Bodies, Bodies, Bodies, and the Grabber from the Black Phone.

The thriller genre sometimes overlaps with horror because some thrillers can be scary. But, the genre is complex as a standalone. Thrillers are notable for the moods they elicit as they give their audiences heightened feelings of suspense, anticipation, excitement and anxiety.

Mystery thriller is its own separate genre, but there are other notable subgenres. The best-known thrillers are likely psychological thrillers. But there are also action thrillers, supernatural thrillers, crime and legal thrillers, political thrillers and spy thrillers. Those include movies like The Silence of the Lambs , The Little Things , The Sixth Sense and the James Bond movies like Casino Royale .

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Bad Singers Musicals - La La Land, Beauty and the Beast, Mamma Mia

The musical genre is arguably one of the most fun genres ever, and the term musical can be applied regardless of the subject. There are only a couple of stipulations for a movie to be considered a musical, and they're pretty simple. Believe it or not, a musical film has to feature music, and the musical elements must be an integral part of the movie's plot. That often includes characters breaking out into song and dance.

Subgenres of the musical genre in the movie world include book musicals, jukebox musicals, concept musicals, autobiographical musicals, rock opera musicals and Disney musicals, among others. These include the book musical Les Misérables , the jukebox musical Rock of Ages , the concept musical Chicago , the autobiographical musical Rent , rock opera's cult classic, The Rocky Horror Picture Show , and the Disney musical The Lion King .

This Classic Comedy Is the Perfect Murder Mystery to Watch After Glass Onion

While there's much overlap in the mystery and thriller genres, they do have some notable differences. A mystery follows an event, like a crime, that remains an unsolvable issue for the whole movie. Most mystery stories focus on the investigation, so the main character is usually the person solving the mystery, and the culprit is almost always a part of the investigation.

Some classic mystery subgenres include whodunits, detective stories, police procedurals and caper cases. Some of the most iconic mystery movies include Sherlock Holmes , Knives Out and Ocean ' s Eleven . The highly anticipated Poirot tale, A Haunting in Venice, is a hybrid detective story that some may consider a cozy mystery, too.

From Screwball Comedy to Erotic Thriller: 7 Movie Genres that Need a Big-screen Comeback

It's time for these seven genres to return as fixtures at your local movie theater.

No movie genre’s ever dead. They can vanish for years, go into prolonged dormancy, but genres that strike a chord with one generation tend to experience some kind of resurrection. Just look at the murder mystery, which was absent from the big screen for years before Murder on the Orient Express and especially Knives Out gave it a significant jolt of life. Don’t forget how the live-action musical appeared to be a relic of the past before Chicago blew up the box office and dominated the Oscars . If you can reimagine how a vintage genre can be relevant for today’s audience, they can be given a whole new lease on life.

With 2022 shaping up to be the first year when movie theaters are open 365 days and 52 weeks a year, it’s more imperative than ever to consider what other genres need a comeback on the big screen. Reviving these dormant forms of mainstream-appealing storytelling could be a great way to pack movie theaters full of new stories while proving once again that good filmmaking in any genre never goes totally out of style. Seven currently dormant genres seem especially ripe for a revival on the big screen, one that could prove how a good genre of cinematic entertainment is never out of fashion.

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Noir was a beloved staple of Hollywood filmmaking throughout the 1940s and 1950s, with these grim projects being the perfect vehicle to comment on societal injustices in movies within the restrictive framework of the Hays Code. The neo-noir was built by filmmakers who grew up on these noirs and decided to take the core hallmarks of this genre to the next level. Today, the neo-noir hasn’t totally vanished, thanks to the presence of modern films like Nightmare Alley and Reminiscence , but it’s become far scarcer. Part of the problem here is that the tropes of the noir (the hard-boiled male detective protagonist, the cinematography, the narration) have become so familiar that, under the wrong circumstances, they lack impact or identity.

That’s a shame since noir can be a fascinating tool, especially for providing a cinematic reflection of the chaos of the real world. Given all the horrors unfolding in the modern political landscape, a new incarnation of the noir feels like it could be more relevant than ever before. One thing that could help the genre get a new lease on life is by setting more of these titles in the here and now rather than in the distant past or future. Rooting new noirs in the turmoil of the 2020s, rather than just setting them in the era in which noirs originally became popular, could help the genre be as relevant and captivating to modern moviegoers as it was to 1940s cinema fans.

Courtroom dramas


Turn on the TV and you can find any number of courtroom dramas filling up airtime. Competition from these programs led to the courtroom drama becoming an endangered species in movie theaters in the 2010s, with The Lincoln Lawyer and Just Mercy being the rare major new entries in the genre. Though they’re in a current state of decline, it’s hard to imagine a genre responsible for all-time classic movies like Anatomy of a Murder just vanishing entirely from the big screen.

A potential savior for the courtroom drama could be on the horizon thanks to Hollywood’s favorite concept: nostalgia. It takes about 30 years for old pop culture properties to be ripe for nostalgic tributes, hence why the 2010s were dominated by odes to the 1980s. This means the 2020s could be the perfect time for homages to the 1990s, when courtroom dramas, especially ones based on the works of John Grisham , ran rampant at multiplexes. Cashing in on this potential nostalgia could give the courtroom drama a new lease on life and a chance to prove its worth as a big-screen attraction.

Erotic thrillers


It’s no surprise that the erotic thriller died out thanks to 1990s misfires like Striptease . Add in the looming presence of the internet, which made nudity and other erotic content infinitely more accessible, and the erotic thriller got lost in the sands of time. Hollywood’s modern shift away from sex-heavy movies has further compounded problems with getting erotic thrillers off the ground. However, absence makes the heart grow fonder and the erotic thriller seems to be primed for a big comeback.

What could really make the erotic thriller stand out in 2022 is by leaning into new forms of sexuality and sexual expression compared to entries in the genre from the 1980s and 1990s. Let’s see what erotic thrillers look like from the perspective of queer filmmakers of color or perhaps a subversive entry in the genre that provides an empathetic gaze onto sex workers. Just because the way people consume or express sexuality in the modern era doesn’t mean the erotic thriller has to vanish. It just means it’s time for an exciting evolution of the genre, one that can do something special.

Screwball comedy

Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder in 'Blazing Saddles'

What’s old is new again. That adage seems perfect for the screwball comedy, a form of humorous filmmaking that was most popular in the 1930s. These films were all about playing on societal expectations of gender roles, economic stereotypes, and other rigid norms that keep people boxed in. While it may have been at its peak popularity nearly a century ago, the screwball comedy feels like the perfect vehicle for the modern world.

American society circa. 2022 is all about challenging the status quo, particularly in terms of the concept of gender even being a thing. The screwball comedy could garner a new lease on life by embracing non-binary and other creative voices outside the traditional gender binary. These artists could inhabit the kind of freewheeling and subversive roles Katharine Hepburn and Barbra Streisand inhabited in classic entries in the genre. While challenging conventions of society, these films can also provide the sort of over-the-top laughs and sharp dialogue that few genres do as well as the screwball comedy. What’s old is new again and the core details of the screwball comedy could feel perfectly new again in the hands of the proper modern artists.

Political drama


All art is political and the same goes for movies. However, Hollywood hasn’t been quite as active in producing features that occupy the political drama genre in the last decade, partially because of the decreasing presence of the mid-budget movie as well as box office woes for modern entries like The Ides of March . Though it can be understandable to want to go to the movie theater to escape from wall-to-wall political coverage on our TV’s, movies have often been a great way to process the political zeitgeist of the here and now, we shouldn’t lose that experience.

Bringing back the political drama would also be a great way to confront urgently relevant issues facing America today, such as the dwindling presence of unions or hardships faced by immigrants and asylum seekers. Topics usually dominated by documentaries could be great fodder for modern entries in the political drama. Plus, the increase in visible political activism among the general populace in recent years, especially in younger demographics, suggests there’s a desire to confront rather than ignore problems plaguing the world today. Resurrecting the political drama would be a great way to accomplish that task.


Paranormal Activity

For a while after the first three Paranormal Activity installments, the found-footage movie seemed to have cemented itself as a new fixture of Hollywood genre storytelling. However, this style of filmmaking quickly turned into a parody of itself and by the mid-2010s, had all but vanished from movie theaters. It’s easy to see why given how these films grew more famous for nauseous shaky-cam than intriguing storylines, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t possibilities lurking within the found-footage film world.

In the years since found-footage movies went out of style, technology has only gotten more prominent in the lives of everyday people. Surely there are compelling stories to be wrung out of this fact that could only be told through cameras on phones, laptops, and other modern marvels. Heck, the pandemic has only increased people’s reliance on screen-based communication, which would seemingly make films told through amateurish filming techniques all the more relevant. Just because the found-footage movie could be bad doesn’t mean it’s devoid of interesting relevant possibilities.

Body horror


Body horror is a strain of horror storytelling that’s as squirm-inducing as it is fascinating. These movies tap into such specific fears over our bodies, with such concerns rendered through over-the-top imagery that couldn’t exist in any other genre. Famously connected to the likes of David Cronenberg , body horror hasn’t been as prevalent in the modern landscape of horror. 21st-century scary fare has been often more preoccupied with remakes, found-footage titles, and supernatural features rather than gooey chill fests navigating frustrations with the human body.

However, Julia Ducournau , through her works Raw and Titane , has not only kept body horror alive but shown all the possibilities it still carries. Rather than rehash what veterans of the genre have done before, Ducournau’s projects are vividly imaginative and idiosyncratic in delivering body horror imagery that’s as disturbing as it is metaphorically rich. If she can create something new in this genre, surely other artists can too. Bringing back the body horror movie as a staple of scary cinema would unleash so many opportunities for scenes dripping with nightmare fuel. However, it would also usher in more chances for filmmakers to ruminate the fleshy vessels we call our bodies in unforgettable ways.

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This grim death sets the tone for David Fincher's "Seven," one of the darkest and most merciless films ever made in the Hollywood mainstream. It will rain day after day. They will investigate death after death. There are words scrawled at the crime scenes; the fat man's word is on the wall behind his refrigerator: Gluttony. After two of these killings Mills realizes they are dealing with a serial killer, who intends every murder to punish one of the Seven Deadly Sins.

This is as formulaic as an Agatha Christie whodunit. But "Seven" takes place not in the genteel world of country house murders, but in the lives of two cops, one who thinks he has seen it all and the other who has no idea what he is about to see. Nor is the film about detection; the killer turns himself in when the film still has half an hour to go. It's more of a character study, in which the older man becomes a scholar of depravity and the younger experiences it in an pitiable and personal way. A hopeful quote by Hemingway was added as a voice-over after preview audiences found the original ending too horrifying. But the original ending is still there, and the quote plays more like a bleak joke. The film should end with Freeman's "see you around." After the devastating conclusion, the Hemingway line is small consolation.

The enigma of Somerset's character is at the heart of the film, and this is one of Morgan Freeman's best performances. He embodies authority naturally; I can't recall him ever playing a weak man. Here he knows all the lessons a cop might internalize during years spent in what we learn is one of the worst districts of the city. He lives alone, in what looks like a rented apartment, bookshelves on the walls. He puts himself to sleep with a metronome. He never married, although he came close once. He is a lonely man who confronts life with resigned detachment.

When he realizes he's dealing with the Seven Deadly Sins, he does what few people would do, and goes to the library. There he looks into Dante's Inferno , Milton's Paradise Lost and Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. It's not that he reads them so much as that he references them for viewers; it is often effective in a horror film to introduce disturbing elements from literature as atmosphere, and Fincher provides glimpses of Gustav Dore's illustrations for Dante, including the famous depiction of a woman with spider legs. Somerset sounds erudite as he names the deadly sins to Mills, who seems to be hearing of them for the first time.

What's being used here is the same sort of approach William Friedkin employed in " The Exorcist " and Jonathan Demme in " The Silence of the Lambs ." What could become a routine cop movie is elevated by the evocation of dread mythology and symbolism. "Seven" is not really a very deep or profound film, but it provides the convincing illusion of one. Almost all mainstream thrillers seek first to provide entertainment; this one intends to fascinate and appall. By giving the impression of scholarship, Detective Somerset lends a depth and significance to what the killer apparently considers moral statements. To be sure, Somerset lucks out in finding that the killer has a library card, although with this killer, thinking back, you figure he didn't get his ideas in the library, and checked out those books to lure the police.

The five murders investigated by the partners provide variety. The killer has obviously gone to elaborate pains in planning and carrying them out -- in one case, at least a year in advance. His agenda in the film's climactic scene, however, must have been improvised recently. "Seven" draws us relentlessly into its horrors, some of which are all the more effective for being glimpsed in brief shots. We can only be sure of the killing methods after the cops discuss them--although a shot of the contents of a plastic bag after an autopsy hardly requires more explanation. Fincher shows us enough to disgust us, and cuts away.

The killer obviously intends his elaborate murders as moral statement. He suggests as much after we meet him. When he's told his crimes will soon be forgotten in the daily rush of cruelty, he insists they will be remembered forever. They are his masterpiece. What goes unexplained is how, exactly, he is making a statement. His victims, presumably guilty of their sins, have been convicted and executed by his actions. What's the lesson? Let that be a warning to us?

Somerset and Mills represent established fiction formulas. Mills is the fish out of water, they're an Odd Couple, and together they're the old hand and the greenhorn. The actors and the dialogue by Andrew Kevin Walker enrich the formulas with specific details and Freeman's precise, laconic speech. Brad Pitt seems more one-dimensional, or perhaps guarded; he's a hothead, quick to dismiss Freeman's caution and experience. It is his wife Tracy ( Gwyneth Paltrow ) who brings a note of humanity into the picture; we never find out very much about her, but we know she loves her husband and worries about him, and she has good instincts when she invites the never-married Somerset over for dinner. Best to make an ally of the man who her husband needs and can learn from. Watching the film, we assume the Tracy character is simply a place-holder, labeled Protagonist's Wife and denied much dimension. But she is saving her impact until later. Thinking back through the film, our appreciation for its construction grows.

The killer, as I said, turns himself in with 30 minutes to go, and dominates the film from that point forward. When "Seven" was released in 1995 the ads, posters and opening credits didn't mention the name of the actor, and although you may well know it, I don't think I will either. This actor has a big assignment. He embodies Evil. Like Hannibal Lecter, his character must be played by a strong actor who projects not merely villainy but twisted psychological complexities. Observe his face. Smug. Self-satisfied. Listen to his voice. Intelligent. Analytical. Mark his composure and apparent fearlessness. The film essentially depends on him, and would go astray if the actor faltered. He doesn't.

"Seven" (1995) was David Fincher's second feature, after "Alien 3" (1992), filmed when he was only 29. Still to come were such as " Zodiac " (2007) and " The Social Network " (2010). In his work he likes a saturated palate and gravitates toward sombre colors and underlighted interiors. None of his films is darker than this one. Like Spielberg, he infuses the air in his interiors with a fine unseen powder that makes the beams of flashlights visible, emphasizing the surrounding darkness. I don't know why the interior lights in "Seven" so often seem weak or absent, but I'm not complaining. I remember a shot in Murnau's " Faust " (1926) in which Satan wore a black cloak that enveloped a tiny village below. That is the sensation Fincher creates here.

Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert was the film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times from 1967 until his death in 2013. In 1975, he won the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished criticism.

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Film credits.

Seven movie poster

Seven (1995)

127 minutes

Brad Pitt as Mills

Morgan Freeman as Somerset

Gwyneth Paltrow as Tracy

Richard Roundtree as Talbot

Directed by

  • David Fincher
  • Andrew Kevin Walker

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Movie Genres – 120+ Examples of Different Movie Genres

Movie genres or film genres group different movies based on setting, characters, plot, story, tone, styles, syntax, templates, paradigms, motifs, rules, and themes. Sub-genres is a smaller category that may combine different elements from multiple genres. If you want to create your own screenplay , here are 70+ screenplay examples from top Hollywood films.

To see the effect genres have on viewers, watch how Zootopia has been edited in a way to cover 7 different genres:

The word “genre” comes from French, where it means “type” or “kind.” We define a particular genre as a type or kind of category of movie or film that has its own recognizable conventions and character types such as:

  • Horror: Dark places and unexplained things like forests, graveyards, castles, abandoned structures or buildings, locked doors to remove rooms, blood, gore, or killing instruments.
  • Sci-Fi: Outer space or futuristic items like spaceships or laser guns
  • Sports: Sports arenas, teams, athletes, and sports equipment
  • War: Different vehicles such as tanks, planes, or realistic battlefields
  • Westerns: Cattle, stage coaches, saloons, ten-gallon hats, the frontier, or revolvers
  • Comedy: nerds, jocks, token minorities, or friends
  • Crime: Detectives, gangsters, criminals, fugitives, or inmates
  • Horror : Zombies, serial killers, or ghosts
  • Sci-Fi: Aliens, monsters, or superheroes
  • Sports: The underdog
  • Westerns: Cowboys, outlaws, the Sheriff
  • Action : Chase sequences, extended fight scenes, guns, races against time
  • Comedy: Slapstick humor, witty dialogue, rites of passage, gross-out humor, fish-out-of-water, cross-dressing, mistaken identity
  • Crime: whodunnits, capers, rival gangs, robberies
  • Horror: urban legends, ghost stories, the “final girl” survivor, paranormal and occult, survival-horror, ‘found footage’
  • Melodramas: a self-sacrificial maternal figure
  • Musicals: singing and dancing
  • Romance: different stages of “falling in love” with a subsequent break-up and reconciliation, true love, fairy tales, forbidden love
  • Sci-Fi: interstellar travel, “space operas”, doomsday, and apocalyptic tales
  • Camera Angles : low / high angles
  • Shooting style: hand-held, POV, stationary, or “found footage”
  • Lighting : High-key or low/dark lighting
  • Editing style: Length of edit, use of jump cuts
  • Costuming: use of blood, masks, special effects
  • Color Schemes
  • Music and Audio: Using sound to enhance or emphasize different characteristics, plots, or create a mood (danger, laughter, adventure, feature, excitement, sensual, etc.)

Genres provide a simple way for movie-makers to produce within a framework and provide an easily marketable product, but may become cliche-ridden and over-imitated. If a traditional genre has been reinterpreted, it may be called revisionist.

Genres typically go through 5 distinct stages throughout cinematic history:

  • Primitive: Earliest and most pure genre form where iconography, themes, and patterns develop
  • Classical or Traditional: Growth, popularity, and solidification of genre with clear characteristics and prototypes
  • Revisionist: Reinterpretation or questioning of the original genre with greater complexity of themes while keeping many iconographic and characteristic elements
  • Parodic: Mocking or spoofing the genre through over-exaggeration of characters or themes
  • Extended, Mixed, Hybrids: Blending various genre elements together

(Quick note: When talking about genre, we are referring to movie genres within the realm of narrative movies. Thus, documentary and experimental movies do not constitute genres unto themselves, rather, they are almost entirely different styles of moviemaking. In addition, animated movies are not a genre, but just a different way to make a movie in any genre.)

Let’s now jump into the major movie genres, and explain what makes them distinctive.

Action movies involve one or more protagonists overcoming non-stop dangerous challenges and include:

  • Physical feats
  • Extended fights
  • Extensive stunts
  • Frantic car chases
  • Catastrophic disasters – floods, explosions, fires, etc.
  • 2 Dimensional ‘good’ heroes / heroines battling it out with ‘bad’ guys

Story and character development are generally secondary. These movies move quickly and have a clear distinction between good and evil. Also, action movies almost always involve a “ticking clock” element to the plot, where the protagonist has to do something (disarm a bomb, save a VIP, etc.) before time runs out.

Audience Expectations:

  • Clear division of good and evil
  • Lots of fighting and set pieces

Types of Action Movies:

  • Action- Adventure: Movies in this sub-genre are usually described by a journey with a protagonist in pursuit or search of something in an exotic location. Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones franchise is a very good example for this sub-genre. In the movie Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark , Indiana Jones, an archaeologist was in search of religious artifacts. Other examples include pirate movies, serialized movies, treasure hunts, searches or expeditions for lost continents, jungle / desert epics, gold, hidden maps, traps, and exploration to the unknown.
  • Superhero movies: This sub-genre is defined by the heroes having supernatural abilities, and more importantly, using their superpowers for selfless purposes. They battle with villains with similar super-powers. They are usually, but not necessarily, derived from superhero comic books. The Marvel and DC franchises ( Superman , Iron man , etc.) are superhero movies derived from comics but The Incredibles is not from a comic.
  • Martial arts movies: This sub-genre of movies is also called “Wu xia pian”, meaning ‘movies of chivalrous combat’ in Chinese. These movies are defined by values such as duty, brotherhood and honor. A classic example of this movie is Enter the Dragon – starring Bruce Lee, and some Jackie Chan movies like Rumble in the Bronx .
  • Heroic Bloodshed: This sub-genre focuses on values such as brotherhood, honor, redemption, duty, and protecting the vulnerable. Originally this comes from Hong Kong, but it has been spread internationally since then. An example of this sub-genre would be The Killer .
  • Military Action: Here the sub-genre focuses on the exploits of the military as entertaining versus tragic. Examples of this include movies such as Transformers or the G.I. Joe series .
  • Spy movies: A trademark of this sub-genre is that a spy usually finds his/herself on a secret mission, typically in an exotic location, and very often using a variety of sophisticated gadgets and equipment to complete their mission. The James Bond series is a good example of this sub-genre.
  • Disaster movies: This sub-genre of movie is characterized by a large amount of destruction: often from natural-occurring events such as earthquakes, tornadoes, asteroids hitting the earth, etc. The main goal of the protagonist in a disaster movie is to survive. A present-day example is 2012 – starring John Kusack.
  • Video game movies: These movies’ screenplays have been adapted from well- known video games. They can fall under any genre depending on plot and storyline. For example, the Prince of Persia series.

One of the oldest and most popular genres in movie history, comedy emphasizes humor, designed to make people laugh by exaggerating the situation, relationships, characters, action, or language. Most comedies have happy endings (the exception being Dark comedies).

  • Light-hearted and fun
  • Romance stories
  • Ensemble casts

Types of Comedies:

  • Slapstick comedy: The first thing that people connect with this sub-genre of comedy is Charlie Chaplin- one of the pioneers in the silent era. Slapstick goes way back to stage plays and vaudeville, and grew over the years. These movies need little or no conversation and are still popular, with modern-day movies like Jim Carrey’s The Mask and Liar Liar .
  • Romantic comedy: This sub-genre of movies looks at difficulties arising from a person searching for a new relationship, in humorous situations. Humor in these movies is usually verbal or situation-based. This form of comedy evolved from screwball comedies from the 1930s and 1940s. Some well-known examples of this sub-genre are The Philadelphia Story – starring Katharine Hepburn and How to Lose a Guy in 10 days – starring Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson.
  • Action Comedy: This sub-genre blends action sequences with comic consequences. Some examples are Charlie’s Angels (2000), starring Drew Barrymore and many of Jackie Chan’s movies including The Spy Next Door (2010).
  • Dark Comedy: Also called black comedy, this sub-genre makes fun of serious themes such as war and death. It became popular in the 1940’s and 1950’s after the World War 2. This genre is believed to have helped people cope with serious issues. Stanley Kubrick’s Dr Strangelove is one of the best movies made in this sub-genre.
  • Buddy Comedy: This sub-genre is defined by 2 individuals who go through a series of humorous events. Examples of this sub-genre would be Rush Hour or Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle
  • Road Comedy: These movies are defined by humorous situations as the characters go through a journey and meet various other characters along the road. Some examples of this sub-genre are: Dumb and Dumber and Planes, Trains & Automobiles
  • Parody: This sub-genre of movies makes fun or mocks an entire genre of work. A parody mocks a specific piece of entertainment. Filmmakers of this sub-genre assume that audiences understand clichés and use that knowledge to turn conventions on their heads. These types of movies became popular in the 1970s and 1980s. Who framed Roger Rabbit ? is an example of this sub-genre.
  • Spoof: This sub-genre is broader than parody and mocks other genres and typically targets specific pieces of art, entertainment, or collections of movies. Example of movies include The Naked Gun and Not Another Teen Movie .
  • Satire: Satires are even broader than spoofs and mocks human nature, vices, institutions, and other concepts that might not be in connection to a specific piece of art. Examples include Idiocracy and In The Loop .
  • Sitcom: This sub-genre is defined by a group of people that go through various humorous situations and misunderstandings. Examples of this include Seinfeld and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia .
  • Sketch Comedy: This sub-genre is defined by a collection of different situations and can include the use of spoof, satire, parody, and many other types of sub-genres. Examples here include Chappelle’s Show and The Whitest Kids U’ Know .
  • Mockumentary : Mockumentaries use the documentary format for satires, spoofs, and parodies. Instead of mocking the format, the format is used to mock. Examples of this include The Office and This Spinal Tap .
  • Prank: This sub-genre uses a mix of real-life participants who go through a planned event without them knowing. Typically the events are well orchestrated and force foolishness or error from the participant to get a humorous reaction from the audience. Examples include Nathan For You and Borat .
  • Screwball: This sub-genre is a style of comedy popular in the 1930s and 40s combining farce, slapstick, and witty dialogue and typically involved comedies of remarriage. Examples include My Man Godfrey and The Awful Truth .

Here is an an example of Sketch Comedy:

This plot of movies in this genre is centered on a particular crime or string of criminal activities. Criminal activities in these movies are almost always encouraged. Criminals – robbers, gangsters, murderers and serial killers populate this genre, along with cops, detectives and other law enforcement officials.

  • Gunplay, violence, and ruthless tactics
  • Courtroom scenes
  • Law is seen as either good or bad depending on hero / heroine
  • Hays Code spelled out what is acceptable / unacceptable in movies, often showing the bad guys getting punished for their actions

Types of Crime Films:

  • Gangster movies: These movies dive into the world of organized crime. They glorify the activities gangsters engage themselves in. This sub-genre of movies has been popular since the concept of cinema. Goodfellas , The Godfather trilogy , and Scarface are quintessential examples of the gangster movie.
  • Prison movies: This sub-genre of movies delves into the harsh living conditions of prisoners. Some movies may also show hardships faced by ex-convicts adjusting to life outside of prison. The audience is directed to sympathize with the inmate who generally was wrongly convicted. Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile are examples of this sub-genre.
  • Crime-comedy movies: This genre-hybrid sees criminals carry out criminal activities, but the events that transpire are presented humorously. Frequently in these movies, the criminals get away with the loot! But the brains behind the criminal act normally end up in some trouble that they had not anticipated. A Fish called Wanda is an example of this sub-genre.
  • Detective / Hardboiled movies: Commonly called “Whodunnits”, this sub-genre of movies follow detectives and the methodology used to solve crime. Murder on the Orient Express (1974) , based on the book written by Agatha Christie, is a good example of this sub-genre.
  • Caper: This sub-genre focuses on a group of criminals who set out on a heist or job. Typically these movies are less serious and often humorous versus other crime genres. Examples include Ocean’s Eleven or Baby Driver .
  • Heist: Heists are defined by criminals who try to steal something valuable and typically are more serious versus a Caper. Examples include Heat and The Score .
  • Cop (Police): This sub-genre follows a street cop (not a detective) who has to deal with crime and criminals. Examples include End of Watch and Beverly Hills Cop .
  • Courtroom: This genre requires that the majority of the story supports events that are connected to a court case. Examples of this include A Time to Kill and A Few Good Men .

This very popular genre of movies is characterized by the ability to shock or scare the viewer with gruesome or scary visuals for entertainment purposes. The main characteristic of horror is scary visuals appear when the audience least expects it. Sound effects add to the fear factor in these movies. Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining is a very famous movie in this genre.

  • Supernatural beings such as haunted houses, ghosts, vampires, etc.

Types of Horror Films:

  • Natural Horror: This sub-genre of movies deals with animals, insects, and other element of nature who turn into cold-blooded killers. The reason behind this is often human intervention, such as scientific testing gone wrong. Sometimes, fury and revenge can cause them become like this. Cujo and Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds are examples of this sub-genre.
  • Ghost : This sub-genre includes spirits or souls of a deceased person or creator to add elements of horror. Examples include The Others and The Frighteners .
  • Monster: The monster sub-genre uses supernatural creatures to introduce elements of horror as the antagonist. Examples include The Babadook and Pumpkinhead .
  • Werewolf: A werewolf movie uses humans to transform into wolf-like creatures who might shape-shift at will or shape-shift by the full moon. Examples include An American Werewolf in America and The Wolfman .
  • Vampire: Vampire movies incorporate horror using undead, immortal creatures that drink blood. Sometimes the vampires are the protagonist to build sympathy versus terror. Examples include Near Dark and Nosferatu .
  • Occult: Occult movies use paranormal themes and spiritual realities that go beyond scientific observation to add horror elements. Examples include Rosemary’s Baby and Hereditary
  • Slasher: Slasher movies have a set of antagonists that stalk and murder groups of people using blades or sharp weapons. Examples include Halloween and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
  • Splatter: This sub-genre typically involves a lot of gore and can often include torture. Examples of this sub-genre include Day of the Dead and Jigoku .
  • Found Footage: The Found Footage sub-genre uses a format where the footage appears to be an informal recording of events with realistic horrific events. Examples include The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity .
  • Zombie: Zombie movies typically involve a group of characters trying to survive a world that has been taken over by large amounts of zombies. The cause of the zombie event is typically infectious diseases or experimental drugs. Examples include Night of the Living Dead and 28 Days Later .
  • Teen Terror: Teen Terror typically uses a group of teenagers who are going up some horrific force that they must overcome. Examples include Final Destination and I Know What You Did Last Summer .
  • Satanic: This sub-genre uses the Devil as a concept of character and usually includes other themes or characters such as the Antichrist, demonic possession, exorcism, and witchcraft. Examples include Ready or Not and The Ninth Gate .

Thrillers :

At their core, thrillers seek to create suspense and elicit excitement out of the audience. Thrillers seek to induce anxiety in the viewer to keep them on the edge of their seat. Ridley Scott, Alfred Hitchcock and Martin Scorcese are some of the famous directors of this genre. After World War II, these movies became dark. Some iconic examples are: Silence of the Lambs – starring Anthony Hopkins and Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo .

  • Heart pumping action that triggers suspense, surprise, anticipation, and anxiety within the audience

  • Psychological Thrillers: These movies are dark thrillers that are centered on the psyche of people. Generally, these characters have mental health disorders and usually develop these as a result of any form of abuse as a child. A very famous example is Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho – in this movie, Norman Bates is the owner of a motel, who suffers from dissociative identity disorder- it means that he assumes 2 different identities (the other being his mother “Norma”). He was abused as a child, and as a result, developed this illness, and goes on a killing spree when he fell in love with the female lead of the movie.
  • Conspiracy Thrillers: This sub-genre is centered on protagonists investigating issues which lead them to a conspiracy they need to solve. Classic examples are: The Da Vinci Code – starring Tom Hanks, based on the book of the same name by Dan Brown. A branch of this sub-genre is the Legal Thriller sub-genre. An example of a legal thriller is Primal Fear .
  • Crime Thrillers: This is a blend of the traditional elements of the “Crime” and “Thriller” genres. These movies focus on criminal activity like murders and robberies and deal with serial killers too. They also work with action to bring in suspense. An example of this is No Country for Old Men .
  • Supernatural Thrillers: A combination of Sci-Fi and Fantasy, these movies appeal to the audience because they are very much out of the ordinary. Supernatural thrillers draw on elements of the paranormal, such as ghost stories and vampires. M. Night Shyamalan’s movies such as the Sixth Sense are classic examples of this sub-genre of movies.
  • Mystery: Mysteries are often similar to the crime sub-genre, but do not always use law enforcement as main characters. These are typically defined by the plot and the character’s relationship with the motivations and reality behind the occurring events. Examples include Knives Out and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • Techno: This sub-genre takes place often using sophisticated technology as a differentiating format. Examples of movies include The Matrix and Ex Machina .
  • Film Noir : Film Noir is sometimes seen as more of a style versus a genre, however crime typically has a strong presence in the movies. Typically the theme circles around some sort of imbalance in a character that leads to aggression, self-hatred, or sociopath.

Set in a fictional world, this genre of movies is related to fairy tales and supernatural beings like elves, wizards, and gnomes. This genre commonly incorporates magic and magical beings. These movies are most popular among teens and kids. Some famous examples are: The Hobbit series and Spirited Away .

  • Mysticism / Magic / Sorcery
  • Humanoid creatures like: Elves, Orcs, Hobbits

Types of Fantasy:

  • Mythological Fantasy: These movies are set in a world ruled by Greek and Roman gods, with heroes from Greek/Roman mythology. This sub-genre of movies dropped in terms of popularity after the 1970s. A modern day example is Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief .
  • Fairy Tales: These movies are nothing but fairy tales made into screenplays for Hollywood cinema. In the recent past, some of these movies have incorporated a dark plot and subplot. Some famous examples are: Beauty and the Beast and Maleficent .
  • Urban fantasy: This has fantasy elements incorporated in an urban setting and is quite a popular sub-genre. This can be in a real or fictional setting, but the story must focus on what happens in an urban environment. Some examples of this sub-genre are Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Ghostbusters .
  • Contemporary Fantasy: This subgenre introduces fantasy elements, but in the current time period. Examples include the Harry Potter Franchise and The Chronicles of Narnia
  • Dark Fantasy: Dark Fantasy is a sub-genre where elements of fantasy are added into a hostile world. Examples include Solomon Kane and Pan’s Labyrinth .
  • High Fantasy: This sub-genre is also referred to as epic fantasy, adds elements of fantasy to a fictional setting typically including mythical creatures, battles, and romance. Examples include The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and Game of Thrones .
  • Myth: This sub-genre is defined as a story that typically plays a fundamental role in how society developed – such as the origin story for humanity / existence. Characters may include gods, demigods, and supernatural humans and stories are typically using the The Hero’s Journey theory by Joseph Campbell. Examples include The Monkey King and Hercules .
  • Sword and Sorcery Movies: This genre combines elements from other epic and heroic fantasies with a focus on swords and magic. Examples include Conan and the Barbarian and Masters of the Universe .


Also known as Sci-Fi, this genre is very popular and plays well to the ‘Suspension of Disbelief .’ A movie can be categorized into this genre if the plot looks into one or more of these topics: Speculative fiction, technology, space travel and futuristic ideologies.

Science fiction movies have been around since the dawn of the movie industry, with George Méliès A Trip to the Moon being the first true global blockbuster in 1902. With the advent of new computer technology, special effects became of utmost priority in these movies. Steven Spielberg, Christopher Nolan and James Cameron are famous directors of this genre. Some famous examples of movies are ET: The Extra Terrestrial and the Star Wars franchise .

  • Far away planets
  • Impossible quests
  • Fantastic places
  • Futuristic technology
  • Improbable settings
  • Unknown forces
  • Unknowable Forces
  • Extraordinary monsters
  • Mad scientists
  • Nuclear war

Types of Science Fiction:

  • Space travel: This sub-genre of movies deals with adventures, battles and drama that occurs in outer space. It goes back to the silent era with George Méliès’ movie “Le voyage dans la Lune (English: A trip to the Moon) in 1902. A modern-day example of a space travel movie is The Martian (2015 ) .
  • Time travel: A very intriguing aspect of Sci-Fi, this can stand by itself as a separate genre. But nowadays, it is mostly a tool that helps in building plots and sub-plots for movies. As the name suggests, these movies can take you back or forward in time. A good example of a time travel movie is X-Men: Days of Future Past .
  • Tech Noir: This sub-genre combines the practices of Film Noir (dark movies) and Sci-Fi. Film Noir is a technique of movie making that is defined by pessimism and a cynical approach to life. Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner is a good example of a Tech Noir movie.
  • Robot/Monster movies: Robot movies can be put under many sub-genres, but they are categorized, by and large, into Sci-Fi. Ultimately, in the end of each movie in this sub-genre, there is always a show-down between man and robot or man and monster. A good example is Jurassic Park .
  • Sci-Fi Adventure: This sub-genre deals with exciting stories about creatures like aliens, robots and other creatures related to this genre. An example is Wall-E.
  • Military Sci-Fi: This sub-genre is centered on military-related fights but in a futuristic setting. An example is Edge of Tomorrow .
  • Apocalyptic: This sub-genre is based around the effects and struggle from an apocalyptic event. Dystopian stories will typically have some sort of large war or apocalyptic event as well as a centralized government that was formed afterwards. Apocalyptic movies typically do not feature a centralized government. Examples include: 28 Days Later and 12 Monkeys .
  • Utopian: Utopian movies are defined by the creator’s view of an ideal world that is without struggle with peace, harmony, and a world without homelessness or hunger being key themes. Typically utopian movies tend to be satire since stories often involve conflict and utopian societies are seen as an unrealistic ideal. Examples include Gattaca and Tomorrowland .
  • Dystopian: Dystopian stories feature a world that typically have an oppressive government or religion that dehumanizes its citizens. Examples include Equilibrium and Children of Men .
  • Cyberpunk: This sub-genre is defined by a mixture of a high tech world combined with high crime. Examples include Blade Runner and Elysium .
  • Steampunk: Steampunk is inspired by technology created during the 19th century and the industrial revolution and may be set in some alternate universe or revision of the 1800s. Examples include Howl’s Moving Castle and Mortal Engines .
  • Space Opera: This sub-genre mixes space warfare, adventure, and romance. The genre has no connection to music, it is more similar to “soap operas.” Examples here include Star Wars and The Fifth Element .
  • Contemporary: This story is set in the actual time period of its conception and adds some sort of new technology or scientific concept to add to the story’s main source of conflict. Examples include: Ex Machina and Arrival .

A very broad genre, this genre of movies can be clubbed with other genres as well. Also, drama movies are the cheapest to produce, according to a study done by . It was argued that drama cannot exist as a genre, but it exists as a separate genre nowadays.

The concept of drama movies changed considerably in the 1970s. Some drama movies can also trigger an emotional response in the audience. An example of a classic drama movie is A Streetcar Named Desire .

  • Realistic characters, settings, stories, and life situations with strong character development driven by a serious plot or dealing with struggles of everyday life
  • Typically no focus on special effects, comedy, or actions.
  • Settings include a home, office, or a group of characters forced to interact everyday

Types of Dramas:

  • Sports Drama: This sub-genre of movies portrays the conflicts and struggles faced by athlete(s) in their field. The story can be fictional or non-fictional. The Wrestler is fictional while Remember the Titans was based on a true story. There could be a possibility of a romantic sub-plot and/or hurdles faced by them politically or socially. Examples of sports dramas are the Rocky Series and Martin Scorcese’s Raging Bull .
  • Political Drama: This sub-genre focuses on what happens in a political setting, ranging from local governments to national government levels. A good example of this is Bridge of Spies .
  • Teen Dramas: A very simple sub-genre, Teen Dramas focus on lives of teenagers and adolescents and their struggles. A relatable example of this is The Perks of being a Wallflower , based on the book of the same name written by Stephen Chebolowsky.
  • Medical Dramas: This sub-genre of movies deals with the routine of doctors and nurses in a hospital. It can also focus on the life of a particular doctor. Awakenings (1990) is a quintessential example of this particular subgenre.
  • Family Dramas: This sub-genre of movies focuses on issues surrounding families and their inner workings. A classic family drama is Kramer vs. Kramer (1980).
  • Melodrama: Melodrama are defined by prioritizing dramatic rhetoric and plot versus character. The events are designed to cause an intense emotional response within the audience with situations used to illustrate a larger moral thesis. Examples include Beaches and The Fault in Our Stars .
  • Philosophical: This sub-genre is defined by the exploration of the human condition and is derived from questions of existence and life. Examples include The Razor’s Edge and I Heart Huckabees .
  • Legal: The legal sub-genre is defined by lawyers, judges, and legal complications involving the criminal justice system. The focus is typically on characters at a law firm or judges chambers rather than a specific crime. Examples include The Practice and The Firm .
  • Anthropological: This sub-genre focus on the human behavior and society at large while focusing on a specific culture or society. Examples include City of God and Do the Right Thing .
  • Docudrama: A docudrama takes real-life events and recreates in them in a dramatic way. They are typically held to a higher standard of accuracy than a historical account or memoir. Example include 127 Hours and Captain Phillips .

This genre of movies deals with an emotional relationship between two or more characters. The usual pattern of these movies is: 2 people fall in love, break up or get back together in the end; or have to face backlash from society or family. Ghost (1990) is a good example of the Romance genre.

  • Two characters who fall in love, but face conflict

Types of Romance Movies:

  • Historical Romance: These are also called Epic Romances, Period Romances, and Romantic Dramas. This sub-genre goes way back to English literature, tracing themes from authors like Jane Austen. A characteristic of this sub-genre is that they are set in a particular time period. Examples are Gone with the Wind and Doctor Zhivago . Romantic dramas are slightly more complex as they delve deep into emotions- deals with issues like separation and/or death. Examples are Casablanca and James Cameron’s Titanic .
  • Chick Flicks: Typically used as a derogatory term for any romance movie that seems to be aimed at women that became very popular in the 1990’s. It is a blend of comedy, romance and drama. These movies generally make the audience cry. Dirty Dancing – starring Patrick Swayze, and The Notebook – starring Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams are good examples.
  • Supernatural Romance: A mix of Sci-Fi or Fantasy and Romance, these movies became popular in the early 2000’s with new young adult novels that came out. These movies deal with romance with a dark plot between supernatural creatures. An example is the Twilight series.
  • Romance Drama: This sub-genre is defined by a conflict that has been generated from a romance. This is differentiated from a Romance Thriller due to the source of the drama and the motivations and intentions of the characters. Examples include Revolutionary Road and Blue Valentine .
  • Romance Thriller: This sub-genre has a suspenseful story based around a romantic relationship. Some examples include The Saint and Unfaithful .

Western is a unique genre of movie that originated in America. One would associate this genre with. A famous example of this genre is Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid . Some movies are also set in modern times, and they are called Modern Western movies and an example is Brokeback Mountain . The Western Genre, as such, can be mixed into other genres, and these type of movies are Hybrid Western movies.

  • Horse-riding
  • Military expansion
  • Interaction with Native American tribes
  • Technology innovation during the Industrial Revolution

Types of Westerns:

  • Spaghetti Western: This sub-genre of movies was named because they were made in Italy or had Italian moviemakers to produce it. The main difference between Spaghetti Western and Traditional Western is the tone- the lead character (the anti-hero) has a conflict with the opponent (more like a personal vendetta) instead of fighting for a noble cause. A good example of a Spaghetti Western movie is Django (1966). People also come across the term “Euro-western”, but it is independent of the Spaghetti Western movement. The Euro-western movement comprises all Western movies from places like Germany and Yugoslavia.
  • Revisionist Western: This sub-genre questioned the fabled vision of the Old West. Revisionist Western attempted to make realistic presentations of the Old West or to subvert the conventions of classical western. Director John Ford was most famous for bringing about this sub-genre of movies- starting with The Searchers (1956).
  • Musical Western: These movies are musicals in a western setting. Country music is the key feature of this sub-genre. An example is Cowboy Serenade .
  • Epic Western: The epic western emphasizes the western genre elements, but on a grand scale using large scale real-life events to frame the story.
  • Empire Western: This sub-genre follows a character or group of characters as they build a large scale business based on land and natural resources such as railroads or settlements.
  • Marshal Western: The marshal western follows a lawman as they try to apprehend a group of gangsters or criminals.
  • Outlaw Western: This sub-genre follows a criminal or group of criminals as they try to evade the law.
  • Revenge Western: This sub-genre has elements of the western genre, but with the protagonist focusing on revenge.


This genre of movies focuses on historical event(s) and people involved or related to that event. In this genre, a lot of emphasis is placed on reproducing content according to historical facts. An example is Gandhi , starring Ben Kingsley.

Types of Historical Movies:

  • Biopics: A popular sub-genre, these movies are based on the life or lives of famous personalities. The difference between docudramas and biopics is that the emphasis is more on facts rather than drama. A famous modern-day example of this is Bohemian Rhapsody – based on Freddie Mercury, the lead singer in the band “Queen”.
  • War: A separate genre, these movies deal with warfare and situations related to the armed forces. This may include POW tales, stories of military operations, training, horror and heartbreak, and actual combat fighting on land, sea or air. Some famous examples are Saving Private Ryan and Schindler’s list .
  • Historical Event: This sub-genre focuses on a dramatic version of a popular historial event. Examples include Apollo 13 and Lincoln .
  • Biography: A biography details the life told by someone not the subject. Typically this movie will span a large portion of a subject’s life, but may just focus on a specific time periods where the person has had the greatest effect on history. Examples include A Beautiful Mind and Catch Me If You Can .
  • Historical Fiction: Historical fiction takes place during a specific time period with a more dramatic twist for entertainment. These movies typically use real-life events and people, but are generally not incredibly accurate. Examples include Titanic and Spartacus .
  • Period Piece: Period pieces and historical fiction are very similar, but period pieces don’t usually use real-life characters or events. These movies are usually defined by accurately portraying the time period versus specific people. Examples include The Age of Innocence and Barry Lyndon .
  • Alternate History: This sub-genre is defined by rewriting famous and important historical events to create new outcomes. Examples include Inglourious Basterds and The Man in the High Castle .
  • Biblical Movies: Biblical movies typically focus on events described in the bible. Examples include Ben Hur and The Passion of the Christ .
  • Historical Epic: Typically takes a historical or imagined event, myth, legend, or heroic figure and adds an extravagant setting with decorative costumes, grandeur and spectacle with high production values and musical scores.

The main feature of these movies is that singing and dancing is used within the space of the narrative. These movies became popular after stage plays, which incorporated the same mediums of entertainment. They became popular after the silent era. Some greats in this genre of movies are Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly and Shirley Temple. Some movies worth noting are Sound of Music (1965), A Star is Born (2018).

Animation is actually a format, but is sometimes incorrectly categorized as a genre.

The Animation format is characterized by making inanimate objects seem alive and they are usually computer-generated imagery (CGI). This can be done in several ways, and this genre can be manipulated to be included in other genres and sub-genres. The best example is the Oscar winning movie Toy Story 4 . There’s a full cast and crew for these kind of movies including Director, Production Designer , etc.

Types of Animated Films:

  • Traditional: Traditional animation is typically hand-drawn or painted images that assemble to animate a cartoon. Examples include Robin Hood and the Flight of Dragons .
  • Stop Motion: Stop motion takes real objects and adjusts them frame by frame to convey emotion and movement. This is a style of photography that can branch out into claymation and puppetry. Examples include: The Nightmare Before Christmas and The Fantastic Mr. Fox .
  • Puppetry: This format uses puppets including hands, sticks, shadows, marionettes, and ventriloquists to tell a story. Examples include Team America: World Police .
  • Claymation: This format is a form of stop motion animation except the subjects are made out of clay. Examples include Wallace and Gromit and Chicken Run .
  • Cutout: This format uses cut out shapes placed on top of one another to make figures and settings. Examples include South Park .
  • Computer Generated Imagery: This format is the most common form where software is used to animate cartoons. Examples include Wall-E and Inside Out .
  • Live-Action: Live action combines animation with real life subjects. Examples include Space Jam and Who Framed Roger Rabbit .

Congratulations, you made it to the end of the list! You can learn more about movies and how you can improve your skills by applying to the Nashville Film Institute here .


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Part I: Construction

2. What Is Genre and How Is It Determined?

Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language defines genre as “a category of artistic, musical, or literary composition characterized by a particular style, form, or content.” 5

In other words, genre categorizes movies. Categorizing movies makes it easier for the viewer to discover what he or she likes and will want to see. Putting a movie into a particular genre or category does not diminish the quality of the movie by assuming that if it can be put into a genre, the movie is ordinary and lacks originality and creativity.

Genre consists of four elements or parts: character, story, plot and setting. An equation for remembering the genre is: S tory ( A ction) + P lot + C haracter + Se tting = G enre. This becomes an easy way to remember the elements of a genre.

The above elements of story, plot, setting, and character equal a specific category of movie. These elements are discussed regarding how their variations create a different category of movie.

Some genres may be as general as comedy but do not have sub-genres like comedy. The sub-genres of comedy differ from one another based on the fluctuations of the characters and the story.

Other genres are crime, war, Westerns, spy, adventure, science fiction, horror, fantasy, biography, and mystery. This is why this chapter is longer than the others because of the discussion of these variations.

Drama can be considered a genre, even though some critics do not consider it a genre because it is too general. If the movie elements are serious and cannot fit into a more limited genre, then it can be considered a drama.

Categorizing a movie indirectly assists in shaping the characters and the story of the movie. The shaping determines the plot and best setting to use.

Movies often have genres that overlap, such as adventure in a spy movie, or crime in a science fiction movie. But one genre is predominant.

Other movie labels cannot be considered genres. Film noir, thrillers, and action movies are not actually genres but a director’s style, which will be discussed in a later chapter. They are considered director’s style because their characteristics include cinematography and editing, which are not among the four elements that make up a genre. These labels reflect or accentuate the movie genre rather than defining the genre.

Likewise, musicals and animation are not considered genres but rather “treatments” as to how a particular movie genre is told, even though people, over generations, refer to these types of movies as genres.

You have to be very specific in the discussion of movie terminology, sticking within the particular definition of the terms. Some people will say that genres are labels that are given to stock movies, stating that these movies are routine. Being labeled in a genre is not a negative action.

Movies have their own personalities. Each movie is different. Having a movie labeled in a genre assists people to find a particular movie that they may be interested in watching. Many people like a specific genre or two and will only watch movies in those genres.

What People Like the Most about a Movie

People will state that a particular movie had a good plot or an intriguing story. What people are actually referring to is that they enjoyed the characters, the problems/conflict the characters got into, and how the characters got out of the problems and conflict.

People love a movie because they like to watch characters/people. How many people do you know who like to go to the mall, plaza, or beach and state that they like to people watch? How many people are nosey neighbors because they like to watch what is going on with the people around them?

People may like to watch crime movies or Westerns. They like characters within this particular type of story because of the amount of action or the time period setting. People may like Westerns because they wish they lived in the 19th century because it was considered a simpler time.

Let the Genres Begin

We will begin to discuss the different genres, and even the sub-genres, for certain genre types. I will give a hypothetical example of each so you will begin to see how different genres are formed.

Keep in mind with movie genre, it is the characters that make the movie, and this term is obvious enough that no explanation is needed.

The story is the situation that the characters are in and try to get out of, accomplish, conquer, or overcome. The story has a beginning, middle, and end. More discussion about those will be given in Chapter Three.

The plot is the outline or how the story is told. Remember when people state that they did not like the plot? What they are referring to is that they did not like the story. I will be referring to this concept over and over again throughout the book.

There are only a limited number of plots as the plot is a general outline for a story, like revenge. A particular plot describes how a story will begin, develop, and end. This type of story will have a different format than a plot such as man against nature or man versus the government.

In addition, as we progress through genres, we want to examine how the genre elements change.

You will be able to see that the background and actions of the characters change as the type of stories are different. The setting is dependent upon the story, but the plot remains the same.

I want to stress that we are going through the different genres so character and story development can be seen for each of the genres rather than just giving a general overview of the term genre. I want you to see how only certain elements are contained in a genre, and other elements outside of character, story, plot, and setting are not part of determining a genre.

Comedy Genre

We begin by discussing one of the most popular, general, and complicated genres—comedy.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines comedy simply as “a play, movie, television program, novel, etc., that is meant to make people laugh.” 6 We will discuss comedy in a little more detail than that.

Everybody likes a comedy because everybody likes to laugh and feel good. People like to watch a comedy after a bad day, because once the movie has ended, you can deal with the negativity of the day easier. This is why even horrendous comedy movies can end up making a profit.

The characters and story for a comedy hinge on three areas: the unexpected, the unusual, and repetition. These three areas will generally make people laugh. Generally, a comedy will have a happy ending. Even though some people will deny it, everybody likes a happy ending because it makes them feel good. This is why comedies are so popular.

The complicated part of the comedy genre is that there are different types or sub-genres of comedy; depending upon how outrageous and impossible the characters and story are in the movie. Keep in mind that the plot is general, and the setting can be set in any time or any place.

We will discuss the comedy genre in terms of the different sub-genres of comedies and how the characters and story vary per sub-genre.

Comedies run a gamut, ranging from very physical to nonsensical to subtle to dark. We will discuss the sub-genres in that order, using the same hypothetical example but varying it to show how the different comedy sub-genres will change the characters’ personalities and actions and the story.

The sub-genres of comedy are slapstick, farce, satire, and dark. Any other genres are a variation of these four types. Comedy is actually a variation of physical action and ridicule. The only exception is screwball comedy.

Screwball comedy has many different traits that are outside of a genre. Screwball comedy, because it existed during the Great Depression, contains class conflict between the middle and lower classes and the upper class, along with other peculiarities that only existed during that time period.

Finally, “chick flicks” are generally comedy movies that star women. The Urban Dictionary defines chick flicks as “A film that indulges in the hopes and dreams of women and/or girls and has a happy, fuzzy, ridiculously unrealistic ending.” No doubt the concept of chick flicks goes back to what was previously mentioned; people like a particular type of movie because of the characters in the movie.

Slapstick Comedy

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines slapstick as comedy that involves physical action (such as falling down or hitting people). 7 Slapstick comedy, because of the physical action, which becomes extreme at times, has unrealistic characters in an unbelievable story or possibly a story linked together by episodes of the main character’s/protagonist’s life.

The plot is an inner conflict that builds and ends with these various comedic episodes. The setting can be any time or place that best exemplifies the comic antics that the characters go through.

Let’s take a look at an example that demonstrates these elements.

Jack is down on his luck. He helps a girl, Suzie, whose car broke down near where Jack works. He helps her, and then she leaves, but he cannot get her out of his mind.

Then he sees her in one of his classes. He is afraid to talk to her though. Every time he tries to go up to her, he either stumbles and falls or gets involved with helping someone with disastrous consequences. The last time someone asked him to hold onto one of the ropes of the theatre rigging system where the backdrops were attached, too many stage weights attached to the rigging resulted in Jack flying into the air because he did not let go of the rope.

As luck always has it in a slapstick comedy, Suzie is still driving the old broken down car. She breaks down again in almost the same locations as last time. Jack swallowed what little pride he had left, and went to help her. He got her car started, but she did not drive away immediately after getting it fixed but stayed to talk to Jack. They talk, kiss, and accidentally turn the outside sprinkler system on, getting soaking wet in the romantic conclusion.

From this example, you can see that slapstick comedy is all about the characters and the episodic situations that they get into, resulting in physical comedy. The plot is inner conflict where Jack, the protagonist, wants to turn his life around. This then becomes the story. The story has a climax between Jack and Suzie. The setting is a college campus.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines farce as “a funny play or movie about ridiculous situations and events.” 8

Plot has more prominence in farce than in slapstick because there is a satirical story. In other words, the story concerns a topic that is ridiculed in an extreme way. We can adjust the last example quite easily to demonstrate this.

Jack and Suzie are college students, and Alec is a well-known actor coming to the campus to play a role in the theatrical production at the college. This event has been arranged so the college theatre department can make money. Jack takes a dislike to Alec, but Suzie finds him fascinating. Alec finds himself fascinating. Slapstick is shown by the over-the-top acting that Alec does.

Jack has a difficult time wondering why Alec is famous. Suzie soon finds disenchantment with Alec because he is only concerned about himself. Jack and Suzie and the other theatre majors decide to take the actions of the play to the extreme to humiliate and humble Alec.

In a water scene, where Alec is supposed to pantomime having water thrown on him, real water is used. This drives Alec into a hysterical rage, and he chases Jack and Suzie on stage, off the stage, around the theatre, and out the theatre doors. Alec winds up accidently knocking himself unconscious. Jack states that the most natural acting that Alec has done is being knocked out.

Next, Jack develops a hair-brained scheme so the theatre department can make money. Jack and Suzie make a list of the wealthiest men and women in the area. They invite as many of these wealthy people in the area to participate in an auction. There will be five male winners and five female winners. The prize is that they win Jack and Suzie for a day to act as their slaves.

You can see that a farce has more of a story than slapstick comedy. The plot has an inner conflict of the protagonists, Jack and Suzie, needing money. This creates a story where college theatre students try outrageous ways to make money to save the theatre department. The story ridicules colleges, actors, and theatres in general. The actions of the characters are very slapstick with physical comedy throughout the movie.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines satire as “a way of using humor to show that someone or something is foolish, weak, bad, etc.: humor that shows the weaknesses or bad qualities of a person, government, society, etc.” 9

Satire is subtler than farce or slapstick in the actions of the characters. The plot develops an inner conflict, but the story is more realistic and may, at times, not even appear to be a comedy.

In this example, the setting can remain as a college campus.

Jack and Suzie, once again, are college students. Alec, though, is the instructor, who has a drinking problem, and he is directing a class that Jack and Suzie have to take as a requirement of their theatre major. Alec tries to convince the students that there is no right or wrong way to direct, act, or design. In his mind, theatre is all done with emotion. If it feels right, then do it. In order to help them understand and develop their talents as directors, Alec gives the same answer to any question Jack and Suzie ask: “If it feels right, then do it.”

Jack struggles to try and comprehend what Alec’s statement means. He does not understand why he has to go through four years of college if he just has to recognize what feels right. Jack asks Alec for more of a discussion on what feels right. Alec then tells him, “You’ll know.” This frustrates Jack even more because it does not take four years in college to put to use nine words that do not mean anything specific in regard to studying theatre. He questions the college administration as to why they are paying so much for Alec. The college administration retorts that Alec is one of the best in his field. Jack states that Alec teaches absolutely nothing of any value. The administration states, “That shows how good he is; you do not even realize the education you are receiving.”

Defeated, Jack goes to see Suzie, his last hope. Suzie tells him not to be too quick to judge. Suzie states that she believes she understands what Alec is driving at with his ideas. Suzie tries to demonstrate the statements that Alec has mentioned. After a few hours Suzie becomes frustrated and states the both of them must go to see Alec.

After two hours with Alec, Jack and Suzie are delirious. Being delirious, they finally fathom what Alec means. They both run out of Alec’s house and down the street shouting, “We have identified what it is!”

From this discussion of the characters and story, physical actions do not enter as a predominant element that they do in straight slapstick or farce. The satire is an obvious ridicule of theatre as a major and the type of people in theatre.

A more subtle satire would be Jack and Suzie acting as a clique and by being prima donnas. They mock a new theatre major, Alec, who wants to do a good job. Alec starts to develop his talent under strenuous and often humorous situations with consequences to the amazement of Jack and Suzie. But then he realizes what he has to give up for it. He quits for his own self-respect.

The above are two demonstrations of satire.

The first example, depending on the treatment, could become either a farce, if Jack’s, Suzie’s, or Alec’s actions become too outrageous, exaggerated, and over-the-top, or it could become a satire. The line of demarcation between farce and satire are, as with anything that is analytical, left up to an individual’s judgment. When does extreme satire become farce? A good way to judge farce or satire is how much unrealistic physical comedy is in the movie.

Dark Comedy or Black Comedy defines dark humor or black comedy as “in literature and drama, combining the morbid and grotesque with humor and farce to give a disturbing effect and convey the absurdity and cruelty of life.” 10 11

Dark humor and black comedy are terms that make fun of or ridicule taboo topics like death. The characters are involved in a story that goes to the point of being grotesque and not being funny.

With this example of a college theatre as the setting, and the plot being the inner conflict of the main character, how can the characters and story become absurd, morbid, and grotesque when discussing the taboo topic of death? Quite easily actually!

Insecure about his acting ability and visibly showing this in public auditions, Jack does not obtain the role on stage that he desires, Henry V or “Hank 5,” which is Jack’s nickname for him. In order to relieve himself of his frustrations, Jack tortures and kills everyone who receives this part in the most brutally visual ways imaginable. He does this in hopes of eventually receiving this specific coveted role. Jack, though, is the only one who believes this role is so desirable and sought after.

Jack kills the first person who is given the role, Alec, by drawing and quartering him before he hangs him.

The second person to be given the role is Suzie, which really angers and infuriates Jack that a woman would get the role before him. This action adds absurdity to the story.

This is a dark humor movie rather than a serious movie because of the reasons, background, and extreme actions in the story. The characters act realistically based on their personalities, which are all unusual. The physical action is real so this scenario cannot be considered slapstick.

Screwball Comedy

This comedy sub-genre is named after a baseball pitch, the screwball, which was perfected by baseball pitcher Carl Hubbell in the 1930s. Screwball comedy only lasted from 1934, when the Great Depression was in full swing, to 1941, when World War II began.

Screwball comedy was based on reverse class snobbery where it is more noble to be poor than rich. The rich were portrayed as eccentric and wasteful fools. Romance is one of the key elements of screwball comedy. With the two classes of upper and lower or middle class working together, screwball comedies can be considered as recommending socialism. The story is a little different, but overall, it can be considered within the realm of satire because the current society was being ridiculed.

Screwball comedy also had the following attributes:

  • The poor and middle class would go to the movies to see the rich get their comeuppance. This is why movies were one of the few industries of the period that made a profit. People felt a passion of hate toward the upper class because of the mess lower classes assumed the upper class made of the economy.
  • Many of the most famous movie stars of the period appeared in screwball comedies.
  • People went to the movies to see the elegant clothes, cars, and furniture, so they could wish they had those items.

Any referral to a movie as a screwball comedy after 1941 is inaccurate, even if it is a re-make of a movie released during the 1934-1941 period. A re-make does not have the same relevancy, power, or passion as the original movie.

A contemporary screwball-type comedy generally is fast paced with an eccentric character, but it does not have the class snobbery. Any class snobbery in the movie does not have the contemptable hatred toward the upper class as it did these movies during the Great Depression. The emotional rage cannot be duplicated.

Romantic Comedy defines romantic comedy as “a light and humorous movie, play, etc., whose central plot is a happy love story.” 12

Romantic comedy is contained in most comedies as a sub-story, such as The Front Page , which has an underlying romantic story of Hildy wanting to marry his fiancée and leave newspaper reporting. However, the overriding story of the movie concerns reporters and editors doing anything in order to get the story.

Comic romance is a big element in screwball comedy also, but other story lines are more dominant. Can you think of a movie that has the primary story line as being a romantic relationship? If you can, how did you like the movie?

Comedy Conclusion

Comedy is varied and complex. You can see how the stories, along with the personalities and actions of the characters, change, developing different sub-genres of the comedy being expressed. All comedy stems from either slapstick or satire.

Let’s move on to a new genre.

Crime Genre

Staying with the letter “C,” let’s move on to the crime genre.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines crime as “an act or the commission of an act that is forbidden or the omission of a duty that is commanded by a public law and that makes the offender liable to punishment by that law” or more simply “a grave offense especially against morality.” 13 The definition gives us a lot to work with, so we will do our best to bring it into focus.

The first point is that every aspect of the crime genre is dramatic, so the elements are quite different than a comedy. The setting for crime genre can be any location in the world and any year, because crime is something that has always existed in society. We will try to narrow this down for our example.

The plot is an inner conflict for the criminal to succeed or for the “good guy” to succeed. The story is a series of developing incidents where the criminal or the “good guy” is the protagonist and a conflict has to be overcome. The characters develop from the story and plot.

Let’s demonstrate two examples with Jack being the protagonist in both situations. In the first situation, Jack is a criminal and the second one Jack is the “good guy.”

First situation: Jack is a nice, helpful individual at the beginning of the movie. He soon finds that he has to help a friend, Suzie, get out of a jam because she owes a lot of money to a gambling boss, Alec. Jack goes and begins to negotiate honestly in regard to paying Suzie’s debt. Alec laughs at him and is going to throw him out. Jack, even though he is a nice guy, has a very bad temper. This often is the situation in the crime genre. Jack becomes extremely angry with Alec laughing at him, and he kills Alec.

Alec’s men come in and Jack tells them he is their new boss. The men don’t like it, but they reserve any action for a later time. Suzie likes the new Jack and wants to be his girl. Suzie is aroused by the violence in Jack and cannot keep her hands off him.

Jack soon becomes more successful than Alec ever was, but he begins to become too egotistical. With his ego getting in the way, Jack makes a mistake when trying to take over a gambling casino. Jack is killed and the men kill Suzie. The most jealous, vindictive, right-hand man in the gang takes over the gambling empire.

Stories in the crime genre are often about people seeking power. Usually, the criminals want control over the city where the story takes place. Generally, they want to be in charge of the drug trade, gambling, liquor (depending upon the year), or they want to rise up in the family or gang. There are always periods of violent action with the protagonist trying to reach his/her goal.

Second situation: Jack is a police detective in a large city like New York City or Los Angeles. Jack is a hardworking, honest detective. He is dedicated to his job and his partner, Alec. Jack spends most of his free time with Alec and Alec’s family. Alec is murdered. Even though he wasn’t put on the case, because they were partners and friends, Jack spends his free time investigating who murdered Alec. During his investigation he meets Suzie. Suzie knew Alec and considered him a friend. Suzie asks if she can help with looking into the murder. Jack, after some convincing, agrees.

Suzie and Jack start to become close during the investigation, and Jack falls in love with her. This is often a foreshadowing as to how the story is going to end. After a few dead ends and blocked paths in the investigation, Jack picks up some information that leads him down an unsuspected path. Jack finds that Suzie was a little more than a friend to Alec, so Suzie has an ulterior motive for assisting Jack. Jack discovers that Suzie murdered Alec and was going to kill Jack, too. Jack arrests Suzie for Alec’s murder.

These are the elements and formats of the crime genre. The crime can be different than murder. Crimes encompass a wide variety of different actions. The main characters do not have to be crime bosses or police detectives, but they generally have a similar background. Very seldom do they lead a life like a factory worker or office employee. This is one reason why the crime genre is so popular. People want to watch characters that lead exciting lives different from theirs.

The stories in the crime genre are similar to the aforementioned two examples where the crime is more than a speeding ticket and provides an interesting and exciting story. The plot can be an inner conflict, once again, of the protagonist, and the setting is usually in the United States or Europe in modern times.

Western Genre

Because of the similarities between the Western and crime genres, I have included back-to-back discussions of the two genres.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines Western simply as “of or relating to the American West.” 14 Keeping this in mind, we will begin by discussing the setting.

The setting provides the major difference between the crime genre and the Western genre. Instead of the characters and story occurring in the 1930s or the 1990s, the time for a Western is in the early to late 19th century or anytime through the 1820s to 1890s. Once the 20th century arrives, except for the beginning years, the feeling of the Old West is gone, which brings up the other aspect of the setting that defines the Western genre. The Western genre takes place in the West. Depending upon the year, the West could be Ohio in the 1820s, Missouri in the 1850s, or Nevada in the 1880s.

The main character or protagonist is an individualist, who rides into town for a specific reason, or he may run into trouble while in town, or he may be hired to do something like blaze a trail West. The characters and the stories are straightforward. The interest is the developing story and the action-filled problems that the protagonist faces as he tries to accomplish what he set out to do.

The plot can still be one of inner conflict as the protagonist tries to accomplish the specific goal, quell the trouble in town, or overcome the obstacles of nature as the main character blazes the trail West.

An example of the Western genre has Jack being the individualist, loner riding into town. He has come to town to avenge the death of his partner. Outside of the setting, the same type of character and story could be used in the crime genre. While Jack begins to ask questions about what happened to his partner, he falls into the middle of a range war; a typical Western story, between two ranches over the grazing rights of land. Alec owns the one ranch, and Suzie (a woman) owns the other, which is a rarity in the West.

Jack gets to know Suzie as his inquiries continue. He begins a relationship with her. During the relationship, Jack gives Suzie a helping hand in the range war. Alec is totally evil, underhanded, and despicable in his actions. Westerns, even more contemporary ones, have an outright bad person like Alec. You can see this in crime genre movies also.

Jack defeats Alec in the range war, and in the process, finds that Alec also killed Jack’s partner. In the Old West, there can only be one climax to the story. Jack and Alec shoot it out; Alec is killed, and Jack and Suzie fall in love.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines war as “a state or period of fighting between countries or groups.” 15 With this definition being direct, we can discuss the genre in the same manner. The war genre is straightforward because the movie is very limited in its parameters.

The setting and the year is very specific regarding the year and the location. If the movie takes place from the United States’ perspective, World War I would be from 1917 to 1918; World War II would be from 1941 to 1945; and the Korean Conflict, Vietnam War, Desert Storm, and other Middle East conflicts follow the same procedure. The locations would be an area where the war occurred or in the United States to concentrate on how the home front was coping.

The plot is the inner conflict with dealing with war. The characters and story are based on a battle, trying to obtain overall victory at some point of the war, dealing with losing, dealing with death, dealing with fighting, being a prisoner, or coping at the home front or a location where the fighting is not taking place.

World War II encompasses the war genre. Jack is a soldier, who is a married teacher with two children. He is drafted by the United States shortly after World War II started late in 1941. Jack was told by his wife, Suzie, not to volunteer for any extra missions so he could come home alive to his family when the war is over. Of course, this is not going to be true because a war movie has to have a daring mission.

After being in Europe for about a year and losing many battles, Jack becomes frustrated because he knows the war is not going to end soon. Suzie dreads each day because of the emptiness in her life without Jack. To her, each day never appears to end. She is stressed because she has a continuous challenge to make ends meet.

Jack and seven other men are given a chance to go on a dangerous mission to blow up a German stronghold and capture a high-ranking German officer. These men are asked to go on this mission because of their intelligence and personalities. If they succeed in this mission, the war will likely be over quicker than expected, because of the information they will receive from this German officer. Jack remembers that his wife told him never to volunteer, but he knows he only has once choice. He volunteers. Suzie gets a feeling of foreboding and is suddenly afraid something bad is going to happen. She starts to become distant to her friends and even her children.

Jack goes on the mission. Everything is timed perfectly. The fortress is blown up and the German officer is captured. However, the trip back to the Allied lines did not go as planned. Half the men are killed, Jack is wounded, and the German officer is killed.

Suzie’s feeling of foreboding becomes so great that, at one point, she passes out with anxiety. The Christmas holidays are near, and Suzie is persuaded to take the children to church. As the service begins, Jack walks into the church and joins Suzie and the children. The story ends happily, but with a cost. In order to give the story a more realistic feel, the protagonist is not totally successful with what he had set out to do.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines spy as “to watch secretly usually for hostile purposes” or “to search or look for intensively.” 16 I want to give two short definitions to emphasize the spy genre because it is a combination of watching and searching, but I do not want it to get confused with the next genre of adventure.

The spy genre sounds like it could cross over to the previous genres already discussed. But only the setting and the plot can be standard. The setting could be the same as the war, Western, or crime genres, but it does not make it a war, Western, or crime genre. You have to remember that the story makes the genre because it controls everything else.

In the spy genre, the main character generally works under an assumed identity in order to find something or destroy something of harm controlled by a nemesis. As in past genres, the plot is the inner conflict of the protagonist. In this situation, he or she has a strong inner conflict to succeed at what he or she is assigned to act upon.

Thus, if the movie has any of the aforementioned characteristics but takes place during World War II, the movie is primarily a spy movie rather than a war movie. Remember, the setting does not determine the genre but the story does. The story is interconnected to the characters and the plot. The setting helps add the must-needed background and specificity to the movie, but it is not as interconnected as the other three genres.

In recent times, a male of the strong virile type plays the protagonist spy. So, we will demonstrate that this does not always have to be that way in a movie. We will take a woman, named Suzie, who is the spy protagonist. We will set the example during World War II. Unlike Jack in the war genre discussion, Suzie is chosen because of her background in languages and her photographic memory, giving her the ability to memorize lists of facts immediately. She is requested to go behind enemy lines as a civilian and obtain data that will debilitate the enemy thus giving the Allies the advantage and shortening the war by possibly years.

In order to be able to do this, and to prepare her mentally for the task, she is set to train for three weeks with an Army officer named Jack. Jack is very skeptical that Suzie will be able to pull the task off. Jack states that it is not because she is a woman, but the movie viewers know that her being a woman is exactly the reason.

Jack begins a rigorous training program just to say that he told her so. However, Suzie really masters everything Jack throws at her. After about a week, Jack sees this and starts to admire her strength and fortitude. Jack makes the training less rigorous because he only trains her to get behind enemy lines, get back to the Allied lines, and how to mentally survive torture. By the end of the three weeks, they begin to fall in love with each other, and Jack feels he should accompany her, but his command says that is impossible.

The time has arrived for Suzie to go. The French underground has managed to get her a clerical job where she can do some travelling including going to Normandy. Rather abruptly, Suzie plans a trip to Normandy. She studies the land and is able to secretly catch a glimpse of German maps showing where their military strength is in and around Normandy. Suzie rushes and gets the information off to the Allies before she is captured by the Germans. The Allies receive Suzie’s information, but they cannot help Suzie. The Germans find her guilty of being a spy and she is executed.

Can you see the difference between this example and the war genre example? Both have the same setting of World War II, but the spy genre example has a non-soldier searching for secret information, while the war genre had a group of soldiers going on a mission that was not secret. The war mission was behind enemy lines and in the war zone where the fighting was occurring. The spy genre does not occur in the war zone where there was fighting.

Do you see the differences in the stories?

The spy story has a lot less emotion and love between the main characters. The spy story has more suspense as Suzie is hunting for information. She is becoming involved in several tight situations where she barely misses getting caught by the Nazis. The war genre story has the one climatic battle that the whole conflict was moving toward.

Most of the time these two genres do not become this similar but these two examples make it easier to see the differences in the two genres.

Adventure Genre

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines adventure as “an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks” that is “an exciting or remarkable experience.” 17 From this definition, you can see that adventure is an action movie that overlaps with the spy genre with danger, risks, and excitement.

Both the adventure and spy genres can have exotic settings. The stories are normally about a person or group of people searching for something. During the journey of searching, dangerous situations are overcome by the main characters. The protagonist may end up getting involved in fighting to overcome social or moral injustices in the exotic location where he or she has journeyed.

The difference between this genre and the spy genre is, once again, the story. The spy genre has a story where something is searched for secretively, and the information itself contains secret information. This story has suspense based on timing and near misses.

The adventure genre’s suspense is found in the action and the chance that the protagonist may get killed without the espionage. The protagonist is an adventurer rather than a government employee.

Being bigger than life, the adventure genre contains a lot of explosive action throughout the movie. Remember that the story treatment, character background, and character development are big differentiations and distinctions that separate genres. The plot and the setting are also different between genres, and are reflective of the story and the types of characters.

Science Fiction Genre

Science fiction is linked to the previous genres of crime, Westerns, war, spy, and adventure by the basic theme. However, the genre elements are totally different.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines science fiction as “fiction dealing principally with the impact of actual or imagined science on society or individuals or having a scientific factor as an essential orienting component.” 18 An example of science fiction is time travel, which has and is a popular topic.

Quite often, science fiction has a setting that takes place in the future. In this way, if the producer wants to comment on a particular problem in current society, the producer can set the problem in the future. The producer appears critical about the problem but not about the current society. The outcome of that problem, if it continues, shows how the future will look.

For science fiction, we can still stay with the plot of inner conflict, which can always be the plot, because a conflict is needed. The characters and the story can be the same as any other genre with variations, as we will demonstrate in the example.

In our example, Jack and Suzie, along with several hundred other people, are fed up with the crime and violence that exists where they live. No specific location is mentioned, so it can be anywhere in the world or universe.

In this movie, many of Jack and Suzies’ group are engineers who work endlessly to build several space ships that to travel to a new galaxy, away from the crime and chaos.  Researchers in this group toil endlessly to find a new galaxy that is livable for humans. Together they all dream of pioneering and developing this new world so there is no violence and everyone can live in harmony.

By seeing the people’s action of building space ships, the audience learns that the time is the future.

The space ships are finally finished and they are sent off. They find and arrive in the new world that is named New Earth. The people set up a colony and draft laws so there is no anarchy. Everything is great for two generations. The people live in harmony and enjoy each day to the utmost.

However, one day, someone is found dead and robbed. Everyone is left shocked. Because so much time has passed without violence, the police are unprepared. But they review the crime scene, and conclude that it was murder.

Since they have never investigated a murder, they  are unsure what should they do to find the murderer and how should they to go about doing it. They arrive at a procedure and find the murderer. The murder was an accident. The murderer was surprised as everyone else. The people realize a murder or accidental death can always happen, so the society has to be prepared and set up to handle it. Even though the story is fantastical in many ways, it can still make comments and raise questions about society and morality.

Science fiction genre, like any genre, can cross over at some point or points to another genre. This example crossed over to the crime genre. However, to determine the main genre, review the story, characters, plot, and setting together. In this situation, these elements are most geared toward the science fiction genre.

Fantasy Genre

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines fantasy as “something that is produced by the imagination: an idea about doing something that is far removed from normal reality.” 19

In other words, a fantasy movie has no limits. The setting could be anywhere at any time with characters who appear and act in any way the script writer wants. The story could be about anything. So let’s stick with one constant, the plot. The plot will be inner conflict.

According to Wikipedia, fantasy stays away from scientific and macabre story aspects, so it does not become a piece of science fiction or horror. You can see how all three genres: science fiction, fantasy, and horror are similar but different.

What would a fantasy example be like?

A group of misfits are given a task by a wizard to find the perfect person. They must do this in order to save their friend, who is terminally ill and will die shortly. The wizard tells them that their friend is not terminally ill but under an evil spell that he can break. The perfect person is the wizard’s fee for breaking the spell. The characters are Jack, Suzie, and Alec, who are misfits because they are the outcasts from their home village, which is in a fictional country. The wizard gives them a clue to look where no one has looked or would think of looking.

Jack, Suzie, and Alec think that the perfect place to find the perfect person is in a graveyard because nobody would think of looking there. But how would the perfect person appear in a graveyard? After searching through several cemeteries, they become frustrated because they find nothing unusual and do not know what the wizard was talking about. They finally find a cemetery where they can enter a new world that is built upon their imaginations. Using their imaginations mean, as they discuss a trait or physical appearance, they can build the person using their minds. What they imagine can become reality.

Using their imaginations, they begin to discuss what the perfect person would look like and act. What would the person’s personality be like? They cannot decide because the traits that they imagined as a perfect person are foreign to them. Finally, they start talking about themselves, and what they like and do not like.

After a lengthy conversation that continues for days, Suzie stands up and yells that she has the answer. She states they should make three lists of their best physical and mental traits. That will be the perfect person. The perfect person is within them as it is within all people. They compile the perfect person using their imaginations and take it to the wizard.

Suzie explains to the wizard with the assistance of Jack and Alec that the perfect person was within them as it is within all people. The wizard states that they found the answer to the clue. As such, they are also able to break the spell over their friend. The spell is broken, and the four leave and live happily ever after.

You are only limited by your imagination. A wonderful theme can come from any genre.

Horror Genre

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines horror as “the quality of something that causes feelings of fear, dread, and shock: the horrible or shocking quality or character of something.” A horror show is “something that is difficult to deal with or watch because it is so bad, unpleasant, etc.” 20

The setting regarding where the movie takes place can be instrumental in a horror movie. Many times, horror movies take place in a historical area with big, old houses that hold many secrets. Secrets provide the basis of a story as the house is supposedly haunted because something gruesome happened there many years ago. However, the setting may not be unusual, but it can be a typical small town or city just like the one where you live.

The plot, once again, is inner conflict. The main character, Suzie, inherits the house, and she is determined—to the point of becoming obsessed—to prove that there is no such thing as a haunted house. However, she takes her boyfriend, Jack, with her to the house. After they become frightened by unearthly occurrences in the house, Jack asks his friend, Alec, to join them at the house to find a solution to what is going on.

Alec states that in order to make it a clean, healthy house again, they have to discover the problem and solve it. In order to do this, Alec recommends doing a séance. The three of them enter a room late in the evening and try to contact a spirit to identify the problem. They find, at one point, that the house was owned by a slave trader or human trafficker. Down in the basement, many bodies were buried.

Suzie cannot stand thinking that a relative was a human trafficker and nothing can really be done to solve this problem. The house was owned by an evil man who is suffering in the spirit world because of his past actions. Jack thinks that the only cure to these past heinous actions is to burn the house down, which would cremate the bodies that were buried in the basement and possibly put them at peace.

Suzie does not agree with that action, but Alec agrees with Jack in order to find a cure for the haunting. Possibly, after the burning, Suzie can build a different house. Suzie starts to act in an irrational manner, like she is becoming her past relative, who was the slaver. Alec and Jack burn the house. Suzie becomes completely enraged and has to be restrained until the house is completely burned down.

Once the house has finished burning, Suzie no longer acts like she is possessed. The whole area becomes quiet. Suzie speculates that they just need drive away from it. The three of them drive away.

The horror genre brings fear, and fear generally brings thrills and suspense. With a suspenseful scene, people like to scare themselves. The theme can always be “search for the truth,” rather than “do not be afraid of the unknown.”

Drama Genre

If a movie does not fit in one of the aforementioned genre categories, then it is a drama.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines drama as “a play, movie, television show, or radio show that is about a serious subject and is not meant to make the audience laugh” and “a composition in verse or prose intended to portray life or character or to tell a story usually involving conflicts and emotions through action and dialogue.” 21

The four elements of the drama genre have to be serious, portray life, tell a story, and the characters have to have an inner conflict that brings out emotions at different times throughout the story. These are all points that we have been discussing with the other genres. The characters and the story are general, like everyday people and situations.

Somebody is dying, something has to be obtained, or something has to be accomplished are the three common stories for dramas. Jack is an accomplished musician, who is going to be playing at Carnegie Hall, and he finds out that he has a fatal illness after passing out during a rehearsal. Or, Jack lived in the slums and a teacher noticed something in him that could be cultivated. Jack becomes a renowned doctor, scientist, or mathematician. The movie covers Jack’s obstacles to achieve what is necessary for him to being on the road toward a renowned career.

Or, Suzie risks everything to find a cure for a disease that is killing many thousands of people on a Caribbean island. The viewer often knows what is going to happen but often the characters and their development is what makes a drama interesting.

The story is relatively simple, the plot is inner conflict, and the setting is inconsequential because the characters make the movie.

Did you find Cyrano de Bergerac to be a drama? Cyrano de Bergerac had a firm foundation in unrequited love, a very romantic element in the story. But Cyrano’s inner conflict of his feelings of inadequacies in his personal appearance, while being overconfident in other areas, present love in a dramatic genre.

Action, Thriller, Suspense Thriller, Biography, Film Noir, Neo Noir, and Mystery

Action, thriller, suspense-thriller, biography, film noir, neo noir, and mystery are terms that are often referred to as different genres. However, none of these are genres. They do not contain just the four basic elements of a genre—no matter how much people insist that they do. They contain the genre elements and other elements, like cinematography, that are not part of a genre.

Writers, educators, critics, historians, and others have stated that the above terms developed into being named a genre and that they can be accepted as a genre over time. How many of you heard or read the terms action genre, film noir genre, or suspense thriller genre? Just because they have been referred to by these terms, over the years, does not make them honorary genres. These terms, by themselves, still have the same meaning even if they have been named genres.

Most of these terms refer to specific cinematography when shooting the movie, or they refer to the way the movie was edited.

Action, thrillers, and suspense thrillers all have similar types of action in them. Adventure, spy, crime, war, and Westerns could all be action movies or thrillers or suspense thrillers. Action, thrillers, and suspense thrillers do not touch upon the four elements that make up a genre.

Film noir and neo noir are predominantly crime movies that have certain cinematography. They overlap both in the construction and production aspects of making a movie.

Film noir means “black film.” Film noir has many scenes occurring at night with many gritty, seedy city shots. The character types in film noir are loners and schemers, but they are reflective of the types of characters in crime movies.

Detour is a good example of film noir regarding the characters like Al and Vera. The voice-over narration of the protagonist describing the forward action, using black and white film, and many scenes occurring at night are examples of film noir. But voice-over narration, being in black and white, and a lot of the movie occurring at night does not determine the genre. The jaded characters, story, and plot of murder defines the movie as a member of the crime genre. The night scenes and voice-over narration are a directorial style. These decisions are characteristics that distinguish it as film noir.

Neo noir is the new noir for the later 20th and 21st centuries when most movies are made in color. The genres could be crime, science fiction, or drama but the cinematography is dark, gritty, and symbolic, similar in many respects to film noir.

Mystery refers to the way the story is shaped. Most mysteries are concerned with who stole something or who murdered someone. Most mysteries belong to the crime genre where the story and the editing keep the audience guessing until the final minutes of the movie.

Biography refers to a nonfiction movie that is about a historical or living person. The background, character, and setting of the movie may determine what other genre a biography might belong to. If the person is a war hero, the movie would be of the war genre; if the person was a criminal or detective, the movie would fit the crime genre, and so forth.


Documentary, according to , refers to movies and television features based on or re-creating an actual event, era, life story, etc., that purports to be factually accurate and contains no fictional elements. 22

Sheila Curran Bernard, 23 author of Documentary Storytelling , defines documentaries as:

Documentaries bring viewers into new worlds and experiences through the presentation of factual information about real people, places, and events, generally — but not always — portrayed through the use of actual images and artifacts. But factuality alone does not define documentary films; it’s what the filmmaker does with those factual elements, weaving them into an overall narrative that strives to be as compelling as it is truthful and is often greater than the sum of its parts.

From these two definitions, documentaries are a separate movie entity that is unto itself.

Final Thought

We covered a lot of area in discussing different genres. Even though genres are only considered labels for movies, the four elements of a genre are the basis of any movie. Besides categorizing, genres indirectly shape the movie’s characters and story.

Character, story, plot, and setting are how a movie is constructed. From this construction, the specific theme that is created by the screenwriter and the director can be realized and understood by the viewer.

The other chapters in the construction of a movie go into more detail and dissect these elements in order for a better understanding of the scope of these elements and how the theme of the movie is realized.

Further Viewing

With the completion of this chapter, the movies to watch that that are excellent examples of different genres are:

  • It Happened One Night , 1934, directed by Frank Capra, starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert. This is an excellent example of screwball comedy. It is considered the first screwball comedy, and it won five Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay.
  • They Were Expendable , 1945, directed by John Ford, starring Robert Montgomery and John Wayne. This is a good example of the war genre. It is set during the beginning of World War II and demonstrates how the United States lost the war with dignity.
  • All About Eve , 1950, directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, starring Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, and George Sanders. This is an excellent example of the drama genre.
  • Goldfinger , 1964, directed by Guy Hamilton, starring Sean Connery, Gert Fröbe, and Honor Blackman. This is an excellent example of the spy genre that became popular as well as the gadgets that came along with it.
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark , 1981, directed by Steven Spielberg, starring Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones. This is a good example of the adventure genre.

Jack is a school teacher, which is a job he loves. He wants to be the best teacher possible and serve his students well. Because of his desire to serve his students, he has a disdain for the school administration when they want to cut back on the education process while serving themselves with excessive raises. In addition, Jack had a bad family life when growing up. He is rather cold to his mother because of his upbringing. His mother was domineering to him and his father died at an early age. Jack’s bad family life is a big reason why he became a teacher. He wanted to make sure his students were treated better in school than he was at home.

Based on the above introduction, what genre or genres could this movie idea be developed into?

5 Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary, 591.

6 “Comedy,” Merriam-Webster Dictionary,

7 “Slapstick,” Merriam-Webster Dictionary,

8 “Farce,” Merriam-Webster Dictionary,

9 “Satire,” Merriam-Webster Dictionary,

10 “Dark Humor,”,

11 “Black Comedy,,

12 “Romantic Comedy,”,

13 “Crime,” Merriam-Webster Dictionary,

14 “Western,” Merriam-Webster Dictionary,

15 “War,” Merriam-Webster Dictionary,

16 “Spy,” Merriam-Webster Dictionary,

17 “Adventure,” Merriam-Webster Dictionary,

18 “Science Fiction,” Merriam-Webster Dictionary, %20fiction.

19 “Fantasy,” Merriam-Webster Dictionary,

20 “Horror,” Merriam-Webster Dictionary,

21 “Drama,” Merriam-Webster Dictionary,

22 “Movies,”,

23 Sheila Curran Bernard, “Documentary Storytelling: Creative Nonfiction on Screen,” 3rd ed., (Burlington: Taylor & Francis, 2011).

Exploring Movie Construction and Production Copyright © 2017 by John Reich is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.


Every Movie Genre Ranked By Its Greatest Movie

O ver the more than century-long history of Hollywood, countless visionary directors, actors, and writers have created some of the industry's most important movies. Everything from Wild West adventures to imaginative science fiction stories has helped make Hollywood the go-to powerhouse of entertainment that it is. The film business has shown a command over each genre, such as drama, war, and horror, with some films standing out as the definitive entry in their respective genre.

The genres all represent very different visions for entertainment, with some striving for thought-provoking stories while others prioritize action and adventure. Some actors and directors have defined their careers through association with these genres, and for good reason. Every genre has the potential to produce near-perfect stories, and some films prove this to be true.

2001: A Space Odyssey Remains Cinema's Most Mind-Bending Movie

2001: a space odyssey.

After uncovering a mysterious artifact buried beneath the Lunar surface, a spacecraft is sent to Jupiter to find its origins: a spacecraft manned by two men and the supercomputer HAL 9000.

Release Date 1968-05-12

Director Stanley Kubrick

Cast William Sylvester, Gary Lockwood, Keir Dullea

Runtime 2 hours 29 minutes

Main Genre Science Fiction

Genres Science Fiction, Adventure

Writers Arthur C. Clarke, Stanley Kubrick

Production Company Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Stanley Kubrick Productions

The power and appeal of science fiction have always been to test the limits of imagination and possibility, exploring ideas of what the future and the mystery of space might hold. In Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey , audiences had their imaginations pushed in a way few films before or since have been able to accomplish. Set on a spaceship bound for Jupiter to investigate the discovery of an unexplained monolith, the film primarily revolves around human astronauts Dave and Frank, and their sentient AI supercomputer, HAL. When HAL begins acting strangely, the two men try to get to the bottom of his change, as well as their mission, before HAL can sabotage them.

2001: A Space Odyssey stands out as one of the strangest films ever made, in large part due to its finale when Dave comes into contact with unseen alien beings who manipulate space and time around him. With great effects for its time and a compelling mystery, the film remains the peak of Kubrick's career and a great demonstration of how well mystery goes with science fiction.

Raging Bull Is A Gritty Boxing Movie

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Raging Bull tells the biographical story of American boxer Jake LaMotta, a middleweight eyeing a shot for the championship. The film is as much a dramatic biopic as it is a sports story, but LaMotta's fights and attempts at the championship take center stage throughout, showing both sides of the legendary boxer.

Raging Bull follows LaMotta throughout his boxing career as he goes toe to toe with fighters like Sugar Ray Robinson and Billy Fox, eventually winning the championship from Marcel Cerdan. The film showcased the acting talents of Robert de Niro while standing as a testament to Martin Scorsese's skills as a drama director.

Raiders Of The Lost Ark Gave Harrison Ford His Best Role

Indiana jones and the raiders of the lost ark.

In 1936, archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones is hired by the U.S. government to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis can obtain its awesome powers.

Release Date 1981-06-12

Director Steven Spielberg

Cast Ronald Lacey, Denholm Elliott, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, Harrison Ford, John Rhys-Davies

Runtime 1 hour 55 minutes

Main Genre Adventure

Genres Action, Adventure

Writers Lawrence Kasdan, George Lucas, Philip Kaufman

Production Company Paramount Pictures, Lucasfilm

A collaboration between George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, Raiders of the Lost Ark introduced the world to Indiana Jones, a world-traveling archaeologist. Set during the ascension of Nazi Germany in the lead-up to World War II, the movie follows Indiana as he and his old flame, Marion Ravenwood, head to Egypt in a bid to prevent the Nazis from discovering the Ark of the Covenant.

Raiders of the Lost Ark breathed new life into its genre, and combined elements of action, war, romance, history, and mythology to create the perfect adventure. As a character, Indiana was the perfect mixture of cocky and knowledgeable. Each supporting character only served to enrich the world and further added to the viewer experience. Finally, the mixture of mythology and history together made a story that was believable and fantastical all at the same time. The formula established by the movie became the norm for the genre, and, when combined with its sequels, formed one of cinema's greatest trilogies of all time.

The Dark Knight Raised The Bar For Superhero Movies

The dark knight.

When the menace known as the Joker wreaks havoc and chaos on the people of Gotham, Batman must accept one of the greatest psychological and physical tests of his ability to fight injustice.

Release Date 2008-07-18

Director Christopher Nolan

Cast Heath Ledger, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Christian Bale, Aaron Eckhart

Rating PG-13

Runtime 2 hours 32 minutes

Main Genre superheroes

Genres Drama, Action, Crime

Writers Jonathan Nolan, David S. Goyer, Christopher Nolan

Production Company Warner Bros Pictures; DC Comics, Legendary Entertainment, Syncopy

Superhero movies have slowly but surely emerged as a powerhouse on the blockbuster side of cinema, thanks to the love shared by children and adults for the worlds of Marvel and DC. Since the 1980s, the genre has seen particular success with Batman, the genre's greatest superhero detective. In 2005, Christopher Nolan took the reins of a Batman trilogy, which began with Batman Begins . However, it was 2008's The Dark Knight that raised the bar for superhero cinema, as Nolan merged gangster cinema, detective thrillers, and traditional superhero action.

With Christian Bale in the role of Bruce Wayne, The Dark Knight follows the arrival of Joker to Gotham, where he slowly conquers the criminal underworld and wages a war on the soul of the city. The movie added a touch of ethical commentary to the Batman mythos, one that explored the moral philosophy behind the hero's existence, and what he represents for his city. With Heath Ledger stealing the show as Joker, the movie earned the respect of even some of the superhero genre's staunchest critics as a deep, well-acted grounded take on the genre.

Die Hard Redefined Action Cinema

A New York City police officer tries to save his estranged wife and several others taken hostage by terrorists during a Christmas party at the Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles.

Release Date 1988-07-20

Director John McTiernan

Cast Bruce Willis, Paul Gleason, William Atherton, Bonnie Bedelia, Reginald VelJohnson, Alan Rickman

Runtime 2 Hours 12 Minutes

Main Genre Action

Genres Thriller

Writers Steven E. de Souza, Roderick Thorp, Jeb Stuart

Studio 20th Century Fox

Production Company Twentieth Century Fox, Gordon Company, Silver Pictures

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Die Hard tells the story of New York cop, John McClane, who, after visiting his wife for her office Christmas party, gets trapped in a high-rise office building after armed robbers take everyone hostage. Led by the intelligent but ruthless Hans Gruber, the thieves bide time as they try to open the building's vault — all while McClane is killing them off, one by one.

The effect Die Hard had on action movies is hard to overstate, as most subsequent movies effectively became variations and duplicates of the film's premise. The movie stands out for many reasons, from perfecting the one-man army trope to a brilliant dynamic between its hero and villain.

The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers Is Everything Fantasy Should Be

The lord of the rings: the two towers.

While Frodo and Sam edge closer to Mordor with the help of the shifty Gollum, the divided fellowship makes a stand against Sauron's new ally, Saruman, and his hordes of Isengard.

Release Date 2002-12-18

Director Peter Jackson

Cast Bruce Allpress, Sean Astin, Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen, Orlando Bloom

Runtime 2 hours 59 minutes

Main Genre Fantasy

Writers Stephen Sinclair, Philippa Boyens, Fran Walsh, Peter Jackson, J.R.R. Tolkien

Production Company New Line Cinema, WingNut Films, The Saul Zaentz Company

J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings has, since it was written, been the standard-bearer of the fantasy and adventure genres , and Peter Jackson's trilogy was no different. Set during the Third Age of Middle-Earth, the story follows the Fellowship of the Ring, an assembly of heroes from various races of the land who are forced apart, each of them taking a different path to defeat Sauron and his armies.

The second entry, The Two Towers , follows the heroes in the aftermath of the breaking of the Fellowship and includes pivotal events, such as the Battle of Helms Deep and the return of Gandalf. From Howard Shore's music to the brilliant, character-defining moments for heroes like Aragorn and Theoden, the film is the best the genre has to offer.

Psycho Birthed The Slasher Genre Of Horror

A Phoenix secretary embezzles $40,000 from her employer's client, goes on the run and checks into a remote motel run by a young man under the domination of his mother.

Release Date 1960-09-08

Director Alfred Hitchcock

Cast Janet Leigh, John Gavin, Martin Balsam, Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles

Runtime 1 hour 49 minutes

Main Genre Horror

Genres Mystery, Thriller, Horror

Writers Robert Bloch, Joseph Stefano

Production Company Shamley Productions

Alfred Hitchcock's mastery of cinematic suspense turned him into one of the most prolific directors of the Golden Age of Hollywood. In 1960, he challenged the conventional norms and censorship of Hollywood with Psycho , a movie that revolves around the serial killer motel owner, Norman Bates, and his victims.

When Psycho was released, the slasher genre was practically non-existent, and the film earned a reputation for terrifying audiences around the world. Quickly becoming a classic piece of cinema, the movie is often seen as the perfect, quintessential horror movie, one that laid the foundation for iconic franchises like Scream through its establishment of slasher tropes. The film was so prevalent in pop culture that it even inspired a modern-day TV series called Bates Motel.

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly Is The Definitive Spaghetti Western

The good, the bad and the ugly.

Ennis and Jack are two shepherds who develop a sexual and emotional relationship. Their relationship becomes complicated when both of them get married to their respective girlfriends.

Release Date 1967-12-29

Director Sergio Leone

Cast Lee Van Cleef, Eli Wallach, Clint Eastwood

Rating Approved

Runtime 2 hours 58 minutes

Main Genre Western

Genres Adventure, Western

Writers Agenore Incrocci, Luciano Vincenzoni, Sergio Leone

Production Company Produzioni Europee Associate (PEA), Arturo Gonzlez Producciones Cinematogrficas, Constantin Film

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Sergio Leone's Dollars Trilogy follows a nameless gunslinger in the Old West as he finds himself cast in the role of hero, despite his own morally grey character. In the final film, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly , the Man With No Name joins his unscrupulous partner-in-crime, Tuco, on a dangerous journey across Texas to find some buried gold. However, with the two at each other's throats, as well as the Civil War raging around them, the duo find danger at every turn, including being pursued by a corrupt Union Army captain, "Angel Eyes."

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly remain unrivaled in bringing epic storytelling to the Old West and balancing comedy, action, war, and adventure in one brilliant treasure hunt. As a defining role for Clint Eastwood, the film is an updated odyssey of the Old West, one that follows its three titular characters in their quest for gold, culminating in a brilliant showdown.

North By Northwest Is An Epic Spy Thriller

North by northwest.

A New York City advertising executive goes on the run after being mistaken for a government agent by a group of foreign spies, and falls for a woman whose loyalties he begins to doubt.

Release Date 1959-07-01

Cast Jessie Royce Landis, James Mason, Eva Marie Saint, Cary Grant

Runtime 2 hours 16 minutes

Main Genre Mystery

Writers Ernest Lehman

Alfred Hitchcock made a name for himself through his thrillers , with stories like Vertigo and Rear Window bringing audiences some great mystery stories. However, it was North By Northwest that became one of the director's greatest works, in a cross-country tale of espionage, mistaken identity, and murder. The movie follows Cary Grant in the role of Roger Thornhill, an advertising executive who, after a simple misunderstanding, is pulled into an international spy conspiracy, with the villain Phillip Vandamm at its heart.

North By Northwest remains one of the thriller genre's most ambitious films, with iconic sequences such as the showdown at Mount Rushmore. The movie is as much adventure as it is a mystery as Thornhill travels across America to figure out what he's gotten himself mixed up in. Despite the movie's age, its plot is one of cinema's most compelling and can hold the attention of audiences of any generation.

The Wizard Of Oz Began A New Era Of Cinema

The wizard of oz.

Young Dorothy Gale and her dog Toto are swept away by a tornado from their Kansas farm to the magical Land of Oz, and embark on a quest with three new friends to see the Wizard, who can return her to her home and fulfill the others' wishes.

Release Date 1939-08-25

Director King Vidor, Victor Fleming

Cast Bert Lahr, Ray Bolger, Frank Morgan, Judy Garland

Runtime 1 hour 42 minutes

Genres Family, Musical, Adventure, Fantasy

Writers Edgar Allan Woolf, Florence Ryerson, Noel Langley

Production Company Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Based on the classic Oz novels, The Wizard of Oz tells the story of Dorothy, a young girl from Kansas who, after being swept away by a tornado, finds herself in the fantastical land of Oz. After her house accidentally kills the Wicked Witch of the East, her sister appears and threatens Dorothy, with the kind-hearted witch Gilda sending her on a quest to the Emerald City to find the Great Wizard of Oz. Along the way, Dorothy meets and befriends a group of companions: Scarecrow, Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion.

The Wizard of Oz is a fantasy adventure but, at its heart, is a great musical, with Judy Garland alone being responsible for brilliant songs, such as Somewhere Over the Rainbow . With each of Dorothy's companions having their songs that encapsulate their motivations and personalities, the movie has stood the test of time and remains one of the few films from the 1930s still beloved by audiences. The film was a hit on the screen and the stage and it helped to cement Judy Garland as a household name.

Apocalypse Now Delved Into The Futility Of War

Apocalypse now.

A U.S. Army officer serving in Vietnam is tasked with assassinating a renegade Special Forces Colonel who sees himself as a god.

Release Date 1979-08-15

Director Francis Ford Coppola

Cast Marlon Brando, Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall

Runtime 2 hours 27 minutes

Genres Drama, Mystery, War

Writers Michael Herr, John Milius, Francis Ford Coppola

Studio Zoetrope Studios

Production Company American Zoetrope, Zoetrope Studios

Apocalypse Now takes place during the Vietnam War , where the US special forces colonel, Kurtz, is waging a covert war against communist forces, with a force of Americans and various local militia forces. After learning of this secret war, the US command sends a small force of operatives, led by Captain Willard, to terminate Kurtz. The small group takes a boat upriver, where they hope to quietly move through Vietnam and locate Kurtz.

Apocalypse Now is constructed like a Vietnam War odyssey, as Willard encounters a range of threats and characters along the way, each one distracting him from his mission. The movie is a great insight into the Vietnam War and explores the psychology of war in a way no movie has since. The instantly iconic movie is competitive with The Godfather as the crowning achievement of Francis Ford Coppola.

Dr Strangelove Is Perfect Satire And Comedy

Dr. strangelove.

An insane American general orders a bombing attack on the Soviet Union, triggering a path to nuclear holocaust that a war room full of politicians and generals frantically tries to stop.

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Dr Strangelove: Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb honored the comedy genre's long-standing mastery of satire and commentary. The film follows an assortment of characters all pulled into the main plot of an unstable US military commander who orders a nuclear strike against Russia. However, after the military takes control of the situation, one of the bombers is unable to receive the signal to return and continues on its journey.

Dr Strangelove satirizes and, at times, outright parodies the nature of warfare, foreign policy, and paranoia through its ironic comedy. With actors such as Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, and Slim Pickens turning in some career-defining performances, the movie is a must-watch for anyone who wants to see the power of great satire.

Casablanca Is The Pinnacle Of Drama

A cynical expatriate American cafe owner struggles to decide whether or not to help his former lover and her fugitive husband escape the Nazis in French Morocco.

Release Date 1942-01-23

Director Michael Curtiz

Cast Sydney Greenstreet, Claude Rains, Paul Henreid, Peter Lorre, Ingrid Bergman, Humphrey Bogart

Runtime 1 hour 43 minutes

Main Genre Drama

Genres Drama, Romance, War

Production Company Warner Bros.

Drama is typically seen as the most respected genre in cinema, thanks to its fixation on realism, character studies, and in-depth story-telling that always appeals to critics. The genre has tackled pivotal moments in world history, with the Second World War serving as a backdrop to a romantic drama, and 1942's Casablanca is a testament to this.

The film revolves around Rick Blaine, a club owner in Casablanca whose old love, Ilsa, shows up unexpectedly, looking to acquire some travel papers Blaine was given. Accompanied by her Czech Resistance husband, Victor Laszlo, Ilsa tries to persuade Blaine to do the right thing. Casablanca is cited by many critics and fans alike as the greatest film in the history of cinema, especially thanks to its quotable script and ending.

Toy Story Is The Quintessential Family Movie

Woody, the brave pull-string cowboy, Buzz Lightyear, the space ranger with a delusional ego, and the rest of Andy's toy box aren't just inanimate figures. They're a vibrant community, facing their own anxieties, dreams, and hilarious hijinks when the coast is clear. Witness their rivalries and alliances, their existential crises and epic adventures, all from the perspective of a child's imagination.

Created by Joe Ranft, Andrew Stanton, John Lasseter, Pete Docter

First Film Toy Story

Latest Film Toy Story 4

Cast Tim Allen, Jodi Benson, Joan Cusack, Don Rickles, Wallace Shawn, Tom Hanks, John Ratzenberger

TV Show(s) Toy Story Toons

Toy Story revolves around a group of toys who are sentient , and live their own lives behind the back of their young owner, Andy. When Andy gets the latest and greatest toy on the market, Buzz Lightyear, his presence disrupts the unity of the toys, with Sheriff Woody feeling especially jealous — causing him to try and get Buzz out. However, when Woody's plan goes awry, he and Buzz are forced together to survive the world outside Andy's house and try to make it back before the family moves house.

Toy Story , both the first movie and the franchise as a whole, has more than proved its worth as the quintessential family movie, uniting both adults and kids in their love for the characters. The films have a talented line-up of voice actors behind their characters, with Tom Hanks and Tim Allen leading as Woody and Buzz.

Every Movie Genre Ranked By Its Greatest Movie

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Movie genres Top 7 : Answers

This is where I thought interesting to compile all the links that may help your navigation through the game. You Will find in this topic the answers of Top 7 for the following solved theme : Movie genres .

Top 7 Movie genres Answers :

For the same game, I would also like to add additional and more info here: NBA team names Top 7 I try to take care of every tiny detail to ensure that eveybody find its needs here, and love to be a part of it. I tried to cover as much as I could but if you still have a question in your mind feel free to give a comment before to go to sleep.

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The Top 7... Movie genres games should try next

Westerns are just the beginning

There are two kinds of good game. There are the good games that come out, get fine reviews, sell adequately, and then fade into well-regarded obscurity: your Vortex, your Space Station Silicon Valley, your Land Stalker (a perplexed, blank stare is the correct response here). And then there are the good games that have a lasting impact on the medium. These games aren't necessarily any better, but they get talked about more often because they defied – and redefined – our expectations. Red Dead Redemption may be such a title. It's the first time a cowboy-themed game has transcended the resolute OK-ness of Sunset Riders, Mad Dog McCree and their ilk, capturing audiences without compromising its sand-and-saddles chops to prove that Westerns were a viable game genre all along.

But now that that point's finally been made, there are plenty of other film genres for games to try adapting next. Some haven't been touched since valiantly failed lo-fi efforts; others have never really been given a day in court. Maybe it's time to put the next Space Marines In Space title on the back-burner and try plugging a controller into one of these under-represented movie styles...

The genre: Not to be confused with serial-killer thrillers or horror in general (both well-represented in games), slasher movies like Friday the 13th, Halloween and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre combine the homicidal psychopaths of the former with the jolting scares and gratuitous bloodletting of the latter. It seems like a prohibitively narrow formula, but for periods in the early ‘80s/late ‘90s, it was hard to find a horror pic cut from any other cloth.

Above: Almost, but not quite

Why hasn't it been done? Generally speaking, action games work best when there's one heavily armed “you” and plenty of enemies: the exact opposite of the slasher formula.

Above: The pre-Redemption cowboy game, in a typical state of sucking

For the most part, horror games like F.E.A.R. stick to this ratio, pitting one gat-strapped meathead against an endless host of bullet-hungry bad'ns; even slasher pastiches like the Splatterhouse and Manhunt series still shoehorn the genre's surface elements into a rote “buff chunkhead murders many faceless schmucks” template.

Should happen because: Just look at the phenomenally unsettling Fatal Frame for a great game built largely around fleeing in terror. And while titles like the original Clock Tower, or the NES Elm Street and Friday the 13th licenses, failed to carry off the “multiple characters, one terrifying antagonist” gambit, that's not because it's a bad idea for a game: it's just because they were crap games. Get designers who know their way around horror working on a serial-killer slasher and the result could be as compelling as it was terrifying.

Above: The rock genre, represented by those guys from The Simpsons

The genre: Rock movies like The Commitments, Almost Famous and This Is Spınal Tap never fail to deliver outsized characters and a horns-throwing soundtrack. But while games are as enamored of the milieu as anyone else – witness Brütal Legend, the Guitar Hero phenomenon and the bizarre early-‘90s flurry of videogames based on pinball games based on rockstars – they're pretty shallow affairs. We've not yet had a game that recreates the genre's rousing rags-to-leathers narratives or alluringly hedonistic heroes. And where's our TV-out-the-hotel-window minigame?

Above: A fine game about rock, but not a rock game per se

Why hasn't it been done? There are plenty of gameplay tropes that wouldn't fit into a rock game: unless your title focuses on Mayhem or Phil Spector , there's not much scope for kill-frenzies or wanton lawless recklessness. Putting that aside, games traditionally haven't excelled at recreating the joys of playing kickass music for adoring crowds, which is traditionally the central pleasure of rock movies. Hang on...

Above: Now we're getting somewhere

Should happen because: One of the biggest shake-ups in recent years has been the discovery that, actually, games are stonking great at recreating the joys of playing kickass music for adoring crowds. A rock game could combine the rhythm challenges of Guitar Hero and Rock Band with Sid Meier-style strategy elements, a music-biz version of Peter Molyneux's The Movies. Cultivate your band's look, style and music; strong-arm your way into lucrative gigs; pick up the tacky plastic instruments and make good on the deal. It'd be the deepest “[Blank] Hero” title yet – and potentially the best.

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Screen Rant

Christopher nolan explains why he wants to make a horror movie (& what he thinks is key to the genre).

Auteur director Christopher Nolan explains why he would want to direct a film in the horror genre, discussing the many merits of the form.

  • Christopher Nolan, known for his high-concept films like Interstellar and Inception , expresses his desire to make a horror movie because the genre allows for cinematic devices and has qualities that Hollywood typically resists.
  • Nolan believes a good horror film requires an exceptional idea and hasn't found a story that lends itself to the genre yet.
  • Nolan's work has multiple qualities that could lend themselves to the horror genre.

Auteur director Christopher Nolan explains why he would like to make a horror movie . Working in the industry for over two decades, Nolan is the mastermind behind a number of high-concept films including Inception , Dunkirk , Interstellar , and Tenet . Last year, Nolan directed the acclaimed biopic Oppenheimer , which is up for multiple Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.

Speaking at an event with the British Film Institute (via Variety ), the director says that he would “ love to make a horror film ” because the genre “ depend[s] on very cinematic devices .” Nolan elaborated that it is “ one of the few genres where the studios make a lot of these films, and they are films that have a lot of bleakness, a lot of abstraction ,” which is liberating within an otherwise constricting Hollywood. Check out the full quote from Nolan below:

‘Oppenheimer‘ has elements of horror in it definitely, as I think is appropriate to the subject matter. I think horror films are very interesting because they depend on very cinematic devices, it really is about a visceral response to things and so, at some point, I’d love to make a horror film. But I think a really good horror film requires a really exceptional idea. And those are few and far between. So I haven’t found a story that lends itself to that. But I think it’s a very interesting genre from a cinematic point of view. It’s also one of the few genres where the studios make a lot of these films, and they are films that have a lot of bleakness, a lot of abstraction. They have a lot of the qualities that Hollywood is generally very resistant to putting in films, but that’s a genre where it’s allowable.

Why A Christopher Nolan Horror Film Would Work So Well

Guy watching the Trinity nuclear test explosion in Oppenheimer

With a slightly different spin, it does not take much for Interstellar ’s warped and discordant aging to turn into something like M. Night Shyamalan’s Old .

As Nolan alludes to, Oppenheimer contains elements that could cross over into the horror genre. These qualities are exemplified in the press conference scene following the dropping of the bombs. As onlookers chatter and snap photos of Oppenheimer, the sound suddenly cuts, and the protagonist is left to witness a phantasmagoria of intense visions of victims and dead bodies . This scene lends itself to horror not only in the grotesque imagery but also in its visceral catapult into a character’s psyche, something a psychological horror film could take advantage of.

If Nolan were to combine his psychological horror tendencies with a subversive portrayal of time, however, it could make for a fascinating horror film.

There is another major element of Nolan’s filmography that could be transferable to the horror genre: his obsession with time. As it stands, Nolan uses time as a sort of sci-fi device, as witnessed in films like Inception and Tenet . If Nolan were to combine his psychological horror tendencies with a subversive portrayal of time, however, it could make for a fascinating horror film. With a slightly different spin, it does not take much for Interstellar ’s warped and discordant aging to turn into something like M. Night Shyamalan’s Old .

Christopher nolan the prestige christian bale cobb inception

The Best 60 Seconds From Each Of Christopher Nolan’s Movies

While Nolan has not announced the full details of his next film yet, his acknowledgment that he hasn’t “ found a story that lends itself to ” horror implies that it will not be a genre film. With Nolan ’s clout and sway in Hollywood, however, he can make just about anything he wants. Hopefully, that will someday manifest in a horror film once the auteur finds the right narrative to craft in the genre.

Source: Variety

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Ready, Set, Love

Ready, Set, Love (2024)

Set in a surrealistic world where men are vastly outnumbered, women must compete for the perfect gentlemen in a government-sponsored game show. Set in a surrealistic world where men are vastly outnumbered, women must compete for the perfect gentlemen in a government-sponsored game show. Set in a surrealistic world where men are vastly outnumbered, women must compete for the perfect gentlemen in a government-sponsored game show.

  • Pongtiwat Tangwancharoen
  • Kemisara Paladesh
  • Man Trisanu Soranun
  • 3 User reviews
  • 9 Critic reviews

Official Trailer

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  • 'Day' Darika Chokwithee

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