Film Genres


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

Main Film Genres

Main Film Genres

The main film genres are the most common and identifiable film genre categories. Each of these main categories are fully described in this section.

Action Films
Horror Films
Adventure Films
Musicals (Dance) Films
Comedy (& Black Comedy) Films
Science Fiction Films
Crime & Gangster Films
War (Anti-War) Films
Drama Films
Epics/Historical/Period Films
Film Sub-Genres

Film Sub-Genres

Sub-Genres are more specific sub-classes of the larger category of main film genres (above), with their own distinctive subject matter, style, formulas, and iconography. Some of them are very prominent and are on the verge of being considered main genres.

Biographical Films ("Biopics") - or Historical
Melodramas, Women's or "Weeper" Films, Tearjerkers
'Chick' Flicks
Road Films
Courtroom Dramas
Romance Films
Detective & Mystery Films
Sports Films
Disaster Films
Superhero Films
Fantasy Films
Supernatural Films
Film Noir

Thriller-Suspense Films
Guy Films
Zombie Films
Other Major Film Categories

Other Major Film Categories

There are many other (non-genre) film categories that cross-over many traditional genre film types, such as: animated films, UK films, classic films, family-oriented children's films, cult films, documentary films, serial films, sexual/erotic films, and silent films.

Animated Films
Documentary Films
British (UK Films)
Serial Films
Childrens - Kids - Family-Oriented Films
Sexual - Erotic Films
Classic Films
Silent Films
Cult Films
Film Sub-Genres Types (and Hybrids)

Film Sub-Genres Types (and Hybrids)

There are dozens and dozens of film sub-genres types (and hybrids), that include films that combine different film elements or types together: e.g., action-comedies, zombie-disaster-thrillers, martial arts/kung-fu or video-game action films, musical dramas, espionage thrillers, black comedies, etc.).

Best Picture Genre Biases

Best Pictures - Genre Biases

There are obvious biases in the selection of Best Picture winners by the Academy. Serious dramas or social-problem films with weighty inspirational themes, biopics (inspired by real-life individuals or events), or films with literary pretensions are much more likely to be nominated (and win). Glossy, large-scale epic historical productions with big budgets (of various genres) have often taken the Best Picture prize. Likewise for studio pictures with big stars - they are much preferred over quirky independent films, although that trend has begun to change in recent years.

Summary of Top Films by Genre

Summary of Top Films by Genre

This section provides examples of all the top films (through history) of the main film genre categories. It presents an overview of the rankings of films in those genre categories that have been regarded as 'greatest' by other critics and film-makers' polls, box-office totals, awards organizations, and other tallies.

Top 100 Films by Genre

Top 100 Films by Genre Type

Filmsite has selected a Top 100+ Films comprised of the top 5 films for each of 20 different genres (including some sub-genres and other categories). The unranked 100+ film selections, presented in chronological order in each category, were based upon popularity, critical reviews and awards, box-office appeal, memorable films with the best screenplays (characters and stories), and classic status in the genre (or sub-genre) category.
AFI's Top 10 Film Genres

AFI's Top 10 Film Genres

The American Film Institute in Los Angeles, California, in 2008 honored America’s 10 greatest films in 10 classic film genres. The jury was asked to choose up to 10 movies per genre from a comprehensive list. Ten genres were ultimately selected from 500 nominated films (50 from each genre): Animated, Fantasy, Gangster, Science Fiction, Western, Sports, Mystery, Romantic Drama, Courtroom Drama, and Epic.

Highest-Grossing Films by Genre

Highest-Grossing Films By Genre Type

These are the top, highest-grossing (domestic) films in all the various sub-categories or genres (types of films).

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

'Pan and Scan' formats

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