Given the rising popularity of online streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hotstar and others, it is obvious that people are finding it easier and cheaper to access the kind of content they like from the comfort of the home (and on their preferred devices). And the most common way to sort content (or browse through audio-visual content as a viewer) is by categorizing films and series according to the genre.
The word genre – derived from the French word genre (meaning “kind”) – means a class, category or style of art, music or literature that is socially agreed upon. Genres aren’t born overnight – it takes years or decades for something to be globally accepted and acknowledged as belonging to a certain genre.
Types of Movie Genres and Examples of Popular Films from Each Genre
In case of films, there are several genres and sub-genres that exist. Here’s a quick round-up of the most popular film genres and different types of movies that one can identify or categorize under each one of them.
A genre that needs no introduction, horror films are meant to scare the living life out of the audience. Films from this genre generally include supernatural thrillers, occult stories, fictional monsters and ghost stories.
The Conjuring, The Grudge, Paranormal Activity and Annabelle are some good examples of successful horror films. In Indian cinema, films like Raat, Bhoot and Ragini MMS are out-and-out horror movies.
Horror filmmakers use techniques like light, darkness, rapid camera movements, lengthy still shots, eerie background music, Foley sound effects and shock to create impact and scare viewers.
Drama films are often driven more by the characters and their struggles or the situations they face. While there are various types of drama films, including melodramas, historical dramas, courtroom dramas and even romantic dramas, the genre sticks to what is mentioned above to a large extent.
12 Angry Men, Citizen Kane and Forrest Gump are good examples of movies from the drama genre. In terms of Indian films, Saaransh, Masoom and Shaurya are serious dramas.
This genre of movies involves a heavy focus on character development, conflict build-up, interpersonal relationship exploration and interaction.
A cinema genre that everybody loves, comedies are meant to make you laugh and feel good. You can find different types of comedy films, including slapstick, satire, spoof, parody and romcom (romantic comedies).
Movies like Four Weddings and a Funeral, Wedding Crashers and There’s Something About Mary are excellent examples of comedy films. Bollywood films like Andaaz Apna Apna, Golmaal, Angoor, Hungama and Garam Masala are rib-tickling laugh riots. And who can forget the evergreen Charlie Chaplin?
Generally, filmmakers use exaggeration, dialogue, costumes, makeup, one-liners, caricature, action and hilarious circumstances and various ways of provoking laughter.
One of the most popular genres, action movies are usually loaded with high-octane action sequences, fights, stunts and chase sequences. These films usually follow a good vs. bad plot and include larger-than-life sequences that include a lot of physical fighting and use of weaponry.
While there are lots of subgenres that fall under this category, action by itself is a much loved and successful genre. Films like Deadpool, Taken, John Wick, Hobbs & Shaw are all examples of out-and-out action flicks. In Hindi cinema, action movies like Dus, Tiger Zinda Hai, Wanted, Dabangg and Mohra are all classic examples of films that fall under this genre.
Massive budgets, props, slick editing and conflicts that result in physical encounters are common elements of modern-day action films.
A genre that has picked up a lot of steam over the last three decades or so, fantasy films have caught the imagination of millions of people around the world. It is no coincidence either – it is the coming together of not only great ideas and imagination, but also the advances in technology that has resulted in visually-stunning masterpieces like the Harry Potter series, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and most recently, the epic Game of Thrones series.
While Bollywood filmmakers have tried their hand at this genre, we are yet to see a film of that magnitude or quality being produced on our shores.
Fantasy films usually involve detailed sets and a whole lot of visual effects, since it is about creating a world that doesn’t exist in real life.
Understanding all different film genres, film history and culture is a massive part of Seamedu’s filmmaking degree and diploma courses. Our faculty members, who have spent a good part of their lives in the film and television industry, bring to the table their personal and professional experiences along with a good mix of theoretical knowledge and the legacy of cinema.
The next part of this article will touch upon film categories like thriller, romance, war, crime and documentaries. Watch this space for more!
And in the meanwhile, tell us your favorite movies from each of the aforementioned film genre classification in the comments section below.