What Does a Genre Film Mean?

Do you know what film genre is?

If you are a filmmaker or film lover then you already know about film genre. But, if you are new in this field you may not know the details about it. Firstly, For beginners I will apprise basic knowledge about film genre through this article. On the other hand, For experts I will try to provide some unknown facts about film genre.

Let’s look at genre definition at first.


According to film theory ‘Genre’ is the first and foremost way to classify films. Genre is defined by the context in which the sequence of the film is determined. However, the type of any literary medium can be determined based on the content, perspective, background and location.

Brief History

The term ‘Genre’ is related to ancient Greek literature. The term used to define films by type since the early nineteenth century. In 1950 Andre Bazin first discussed the concept of “genre” using the Western film for an example. Auteur theory vs. genre debated in this era. Meanwhile, In the late 1960 the concept of genre became a significant part of film theory.

However, at present age this is actually the easiest, most effective way for filmmakers to categorize different styles of story and content. Film genre determined in three ways: setting, mood and format.

i) Setting defined by the location of the movie.

ii) Mood defined by the emotions that predominate throughout the film.

iii) In addition to, the film made using certain types of technology or equipment or presented in a certain way, it called format or manner.

Through these three determiners it is decided that which film will go under which genre. But it is also true that a film can’t be explained fully by its genre. It just instructs what kind/type of film it could be. Moreover, a film can again fall into multiple genres. This can be divided into sub-genre. Or else, two/ three genre can combine to form a hybrid genre.

Types of Genre

There are multiple genres are existing in the film history. Therefore, some well-known and popular genres are given below with ideal film example:

Genre Type

Horror/ Noir

Film Example: The Innocents (1961), Carrie (1976), The Babadook (2014), Touch of Evil (1958), Double Indemnity (1944), The Witch (2015), Return of the Living Dead (1985) , The Orphanage (2007), Saw (2004) etc.


Film Example: Casablanca (1942), Titanic (1998), The Notebook (2004), Juno (2007), My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997), Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011), Love Actually (2003), A Star Is Born (2018), Up (2009), The Shape of water (2017)etc.


Film Example: The Gold Rush (1925), The Great Dictator (1940), Way Out West (1936), Mr Hulot’s Holiday (1953), Clueless (1995), In the Loop (2009), The King of Comedy (1982), The Producers (1967), The Naked Gun (1988), Blockers (2018), Good Boys (2019) etc.


Film Example: The Rock (1996), Face/Off (1997),Casino Royale(2006), Mission Impossible: III (2006), Lethal Weapon (1987), Point Break (1991), Bourne Ultimatum (2007), Hard Boiled (1992), Die Hard (1988), Unhinged (2020), Mulan (2020), The Old Guard (2020) , Ava (IV) (2020) etc.


Film Example: North by Northwest (1959), Chinatown (1974), The Third Man (1949), Reservoir Dogs (1992), Touch of Evil (1958) ,The Silence of the Lambs (1991),The 39 Steps (1935), The Fugitive (1993), Vertigo (1958), Taxi Driver (1976), Oldboy (2003), Dressed to Kill (1980), Basic Instinct (1992), Dead Man’s Shoes (2004), Gone Girl (2014), Joker(2019), Uncut Gems (2019) etc.


Film Example: Seven (1995), The Usual Suspects (1995), Scarface (1983), The Green Mile (1999), The Irishman (2019), Pulp Fiction (1994), Goodfellas (1990), The Godfather(1972), The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), The Devil All the Time (2020), Death on the Nile (2020) etc.


Film Example: The matrix (1999), Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), Star Wars series, Alien (1979), Metropolis (1927), Blade Runner(1982), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) etc.


Film Example: It’s a Wonderful Life (1946), The Last Picture Show (1971), Open City (1946), The Grapes of Wrath (1940), Citizen Kane (1941), Life Is Beautiful (1997) The Theory of Everything (2014), Bicycle Thieves (1949), Shoplifters (2018), The Florida Project (2017), Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019), Cuties (2020) etc.

War Epic

Film Example: The Great Escape (1963), Downfall (2004), Come And See (1985), Dunkirk (2017), Das Boot (1981), The Hurt locker (2008), Saving Private Ryan (1998), Apocalypse Now (1979), The Longest Day (1962) etc.


Film Example: The Princess Bride (1987), The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988), Wrath of the Titans (2012), Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (2013), Harry Potter film series, Cinderella (2015) etc.

Sub-Genre/ Hybrid Genre

The films which blend of two genres or more than two, categorized by Sub-genre or hybrid genre films.  Sub-Genre/ Hybrid Genre are: Crime Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Techno Thriller, Rom-Com, Fairy Tales Animation, Black Comedy, Western Action, Musical-Romantic, Melodrama, Biographical Drama, Horror Crime, Romantic Drama, Robot and Monster Films, Historical Epic, Historical Romantic, Action and Adventure, Family and Kids, Classic Western, Contemporary and Neo-Western, Modern Western, Supernatural Thriller as well as Neo-noir Psychological Thriller.

Some Unknown Facts about Genre Film

That is to say, there are some interesting facts about film genre that you may not know. So let’s dive into some facts about the different film genres.

  1. Basically, most theories of film genre borrow from literary-genre criticism.
  2. Genre not only refers to the type of film or its category but also spectator expectations about a film, and institutional discourses that create generic structures.
  3. A Western film may portray the subject like schoolmarm likewise gunfight.
  4. A film’s genre influences the use of filmmaking styles as well as techniques.
  5. In addition, the basic genres include fiction and documentary. From this subgenres have emerged, such as docufiction and docudrama.
  6. Other popular combinations include the romantic comedy, some vampire films similarly the action comedy film.
  7. Genre movies are commercial feature films which, through repetition and variation, tell familiar stories with familiar characters for example familiar situations.
  8. Certainly genre affects how films broadcast on television, advertised, and organized in video-rental stores.
  9. Additional ways of categorizing film genres may involve the target audience (for example: children’s film, teen film or women’s film)
  10. In conclusion, genres are not fixed, they change and evolve over time, and some genres may largely disappear.