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What are the different genres of films?

The action film, adventure, thriller and suspense, you can sometimes get lost with all these kinds of films. Let's try to demystify the different types of the film a bit.

First, we must distinguish two main categories in which all films fall: Drama and comedy. These two categories are then subdivided into several sub-categories. It often happens that very different genres are mixed up. A very popular example is the blending of comedy and drama to make it a dramatic comedy that is found abundantly in cinema. Each movie can obviously be categorized with several genres and sub-genres, for example, a horror-thriller or a sci-fi comedy.


Comedy is a genre of light film, based on funny or recurring situations. The humor in a comedy can be experienced in different ways.

The sitcom is a genre mainly used on television which is based on the interactions between the characters and their daily life. We will, therefore laugh at contextual and recurring situations related to the personality of the characters. 

- American-style comedy (or action-comedy): A story that looks serious but one or more characters have a funny personality or are different from their surroundings. It's not uncommon in this kind of movie for the antagonists (the bad guys) to behave funny too. 

- Dramatic comedy: Incorporating comedy into a drama or vice versa. 


Drama is a type of film in which the narrative centers on tragic facts that are emotionally or psychologically difficult for the characters. For example, bereavement, rape, war, etc. We suffer emphatically with the character.

- The tragedy: Very rare nowadays and largely inspired by Greek literature, a tragedy, in the cinema, is a film constructed like a great fall. A tragedy necessarily ends badly. Example: Think about impossible love in the various adaptations of Romeo and Juliet.

- Melodrama: a more theatrical genre that is seldom used, which consists of manipulating and amplifying the spectator's emotion to make him experience the events of the story more tragically. James Cameron's blockbuster Titanic could be considered a melodrama.

- Adventure film: Often more accessible and less violent than an action film, adventure film is a genre that often develops the pursuit of a mystery or the discovery of missing treasures. We mainly develop the origin and cause of events and their understanding rather than the action itself. The best example of an adventure film would be Indiana Jones.

- The action film: a genre particularly popularized by American cinema. The narrative is oriented on the Action rather than on the characters, and the story is expressed by a series of numerous adventures. We live the action as we go with a fairly rapid pace. We usually live the story at the same time as the protagonist. The action film is not always a drama; it can often be linked to a comedy or a dramatic comedy. Example: Die Hard, Le Flic de Beverly Hills, and others.

- The suspense film: a kind that we owe especially to Alfred Hitchcock, who is called the master of suspense. It's a kind of movie that constantly keeps us going, not with the fast pace and the sheer amount of events happening, like the action movie, but rather with the tension and expectation that precedes each event. The suspense often makes us guess or anticipate the course of the story, just before the protagonist experiences it. Example: Psychosis, The birds.

- The thriller: Often associated with the action movie or the suspense movie. We prefer to distinguish it from these two subgenera. While there is a lot of tension in a thriller, the pace and focus of the film are more on the action than the anticipation. But unlike an outright action movie, the thriller is more about what the protagonist experiences than the action itself. You could say that the thriller is somewhere between an action movie and a suspense movie. Example: Blade Runner 2049, Inception, The Davinci Code.

- The science fiction film: whose story takes place in a futuristic environment or one equipped with technologies that do not yet exist in the real world? Unlike the fantasy film, whether the action takes place on earth, in space or on other planets or universes, where it is accepted, for example, that magic can exist, the science fiction film leaves it to rest on scientifically explicable bases tools, powers or capacities that do not exist (yet). For example, in Star Trek, spaceships can move faster than the speed of light. However, this capacity is explained by the use of anti-matter, energy scientifically proven at the theoretical level. Example: Star Wars, Star Trek, The Stargate, the matrix.

- The Fantastic / Fantasy Film: Often separated into two categories. However, Fantasy and Fantasy Film can be grouped into one genre. The fantasy film is generally a genre that includes mythical or legendary characters or creatures like dragons, elves, etc. At the same time, the fantasy film develops an imaginary universe that does not necessarily respect the laws of physics or current biology. For example, talking animals, magical powers, etc. Ex. Harry Potter, Narnia, The Lord of the Rings, etc.

- The Western movie: Sometimes based on historical events. Very American genre, whose story usually takes place in the 19th century in the United States. There is often a confrontation between bandits, Amerindians and lawyers, numerous duels and shootings, as well as several equestrian elements. Example: The good the bad and the ugly, Django Unchained.

- The Horror Film: Sometimes related to fantasy/fantasy, science fiction, it is a genre that subdivides itself into various categories. Horror movies are built to stimulate the fear of the viewer and startle them many times during the movie. It's a genre that is usually violent (serial murders, blood, zombies, etc.) Example: Evil Dead, The shining, Mother, Prohibited lines.

- Historical drama: As its name suggests, historical drama is a film that relates one or more real events. However, the film does not have to be entirely faithful to the story. We often see films based on an actual story but fictionalized with a love story that was made up or amplified. Example: Dunkirk, Schindler's list. Note that there are also historical comedies.

- Biographical drama: Similar to historical drama, the only major difference is that it relates to the life of a real character rather than an event in itself. Example: Victoria and Abdul, The King's Speech, etc.

- The war drama: sometimes historical, the war drama shows a military environment, armed conflicts, prisoners, survival and sometimes certain political elements, trials, etc. The war film usually has one or more protagonists who will be described as courageous and with a great sense of honor. A genre born out of an era of propaganda, we can see that even today, war films tend to be extremely patriotic. Example: Saving Private Ryan, Apocalypse Now, The Longest Day.

- Psychological drama/thriller: A story centred on the psychological difficulties experienced by the characters. We usually experience the story through the eyes or reactions of the protagonist. Example: The infiltration problem, Black Swan, Memento.

- Trial film: a sub-genre often linked to a real story, we usually show the obstacles and wonders that the protagonists must overcome to win a cause lost in advance. We see lawyers being zealous and using unorthodox methods to turn the scales in their favor. An excellent trial film would be The Sydney Lumet Verdict.

- The sentimental film: it can be a real or fictional love story. Whether it's a sad impossible romance or a happy ending with the long-awaited reunion, crossing paths or fortuitousness, romantic films are very popular, and their target audience is predominantly female. Example: The well digger's daughter, An unforgettable walk.

- The family film: Generally accessible to everyone without age limit. It is a genre that is aimed at both children and adults. The themes developed are generally simple and have a strong moral tenor. The guy can be funny or sad or a mixture of the two, but the ending is always happy or at least satisfying. Example: Mrs Doubtfire, Honey I have reduced the children.

- The Teenage Film: Almost always a comedy, teen films are generally films with a primary audience of 12 to 17-year-olds. We show young people going through life experiences: discovering sexuality, work relationships with others and parents. Example: Scare film, American Pie, etc.

- The animated film: contrary to the idea conveyed, the animated film is not necessarily a genre aimed at children. There are many very violent and dramatic animated films. There is, however, a large pool of animated family films. An animated film consists of drawings or animations made by computer. Each movie can have its own genre from the list of subgenres. Example: The lion king, Inside outFilm, Princess Mononoke. 

Hope you find yourself better in the different genres in the movies. Note that this classification is only one of the many versions that exist.

Author: Vicki Lezama

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