An Overview of the Different Film Genres


Film has evolved over time, it has advanced in terms of method, style, and story line. Over the years, the film industry has expanded the genres it delivers to audience. Film genres are divided into specific types, categories, and themes that include elements that have a distinct subject matter, period, and even narrative. They are easily recognizable by audiences, and it does not take hard to differentiate a certain genre to another.

It is also uncommon to see some films tackling on two genres at the same time. These movies are known as “hybrids.” Examples include horror-comedy, epic-adventure, and crime-drama, among others. Another important piece of information to note is that the film genres we are tackling today include a list of its sub genres and a short overview of each.

On this list, you will find the most common film genres that have been popularized through the years and will help you know the movie industry more.

1. Drama

Sub Genres: Crime Drama, Historical Drama, Docudrama, Legal Drama, Psychodrama, Comedy-Drama, Melodrama, Tragedy


Dramas generally have realistic story lines with characters who have emotional problems and involve intense acting scenes. They do not have special effects unless fused with fantasy elements and more serious in tone and cater mostly to adults. Drama has been the most common genre as it has been there ever since the early stages of theater.

Some of the most popular drama films over the years include Schindler’s List, Shawshank Redemption, Amistad, The Danish Girl, and Titanic.

2. Action

Sub Genres: Disaster Film, Martial Arts Film, Spy Film, Action Thriller, Superhero Film


Action films require a bigger budget from studios as they often require a much larger production. They have a plot line of heroes versus villains but can steer away from that by placing an unconventional hero (anti-hero) as the main character. Action films often give way to several sequels or prequels as they are the most popular genre among audiences because of their adrenaline-pumping scenes and thrilling action sequences.

Some of the most popular action films include Avengers franchise, James Bond franchise, and The Bourne Ultimatum.

3. Adventure

Sub Genres: Swashbuckler Film, Epic Fantasy


Adventure films follow a certain story line, such as search for lost cities or artifacts. Most adventure movies fall under swashbuckler films, which involve sword fights and epic war scenes. They sometimes have elements of history or true-to-life mysteries such as lost cities or legendary pirates.

Some popular adventure films shown in cinemas include Pirates of the Caribbean, Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, and Indiana Jones.

4. Horror

Sub Genres: Slasher, Zombie, Paranormal, Torture


Horror calls to ignite the fears of the audiences and illicit a shock factor from them. It is one of the most popular genres to date and can apply to anything from paranormal beings (aliens, demons, etc.) to psychopathic killers. These antagonists are the evil being brought to destroy the balance in the character’s life, and some horror movies often infuse elements such as jump scares or even fantasy to it.

The most popular horror films throughout history include Nosferatu, Frankenstein, Halloween, and Friday the 13th.

5. Comedy

Sub Genres: Slapstick, Parody Film, Black Comedy, Comedy Horror, Romantic Comedy Film, Teen Movie


Comedies do not require deep plots as its motive is to amuse audiences and emphasize in providing humor. Comedies tend to have light-hearted endings where everything goes well for the main characters, unless the film is classified by its sub genre black comedy.

There are numerous comedy films out there, some of the most popular ones include American Pie, Anchorman, Bridesmaids, Hangover series, and Easy A.

6. Musicals

Sub Genres: Concert Film, Comedy-Musical


Musicals insert song and dance routines in the production. Musicals do follow a certain story line with songs that fit in with the plot but can also follow a certain recording artist or musical group in the case of a concert film.

Musical films include High School Musical, Footloose, and One Direction: This is Us.

7. Science Fiction

Sub Genres: Cyberpunk, Superhuman, Dystopian, Space


As the name implies, science fiction film focus on elements of science to create an intricate story line. It is often infused with adventure like the movies Alien, Star Wars, and Jurassic Park. Sci-Fi has gained popularity for its ability to push the boundaries of futuristic technology or even social sciences such as anthropology and social class. Many fans of the sub genre have also banded together to create a community that is focused on analyzing the aspects of a certain sci-fi film.

Here are some of the most popular sci-fi movies: Hunger Games, Maze Runner, Star Trek, Avatar, and Godzilla.

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