Choosing the Right Genre for Your Film

Film genre is to categorize your film in a specific tone so producers, distributors and most of all the audience knows what to expect. Here is the full list of genre and sub-genre with examples to define your film.
How to Choose Film Genre with Examples

Types of Film Genre with Examples

Action

Associated with explosions, chases, combat

  • Sub Genre: superhero, martial, heroic, military, spy, swashbuckler
  • Example: Spy Action (James Bond Films)

Adventure

Associated with journeys, quests, pursuit

  • Sub Genre: pirate, jungle, desert, treasure hunt
  • Example: Pirate Adventure (Pirates of the Caribbean)

Animation

Associated with computer or hand generated movement, voiced over by actors

  • Sub Genre: traditional, stop motion, puppet, claymation, cutout, CGI, live action, rotoscoping
  • Example: Live Action CGI Animation (Shrek)

Comedy

Intent to make the audience laugh

  • Sub-Genre: slapstick, romantic, farce, musical, buddy, sports, action, parody, mockumentary, light-hearted, screwball, road
  • Example: Romantic Comedy (The Wedding Date)

Crime

Invokes crime and detection

  • Sub Genre: courtroom, gangster, prison, detective, heist, cop, caper
  • Example: Heist Film (Oceans 11)

Drama

Focused on real emotions with conflict in the story arc

  • Sub Genre: family, biographical, costume, coming-of-age, sports, teen, medical, legal, philosophical, anthropological
  • Example: Political Drama (Wag the Dog)

Fantasy

Set in fantastic worlds with elements of dream and wonder

  • Sub Genre: time travel, fairy tale, cyber, disaster, dystopian, mythological, urban, children, heroic, high, magical, contemporary
  • Example: Magical Fantasy (Lord of the Rings)

Historical

Past events or set in a specific time period

  • Sub Genre: biopic, war, period, biblical, epic, fiction, alternate fiction
  • Example: Historical Biopic (Amadeus)

Horror

Create fear in the audience

  • Sub Genre: natural, ghost, monster, vampire, zombie, occult, slasher, splatter, body, creepy, extreme, psychological, quiet
  • Example: Monster Horror (Dracula)

Musical

Songs are used as a means to tell the story

  • Sub Genre: rock, broadway, bollywood, punk, rock jazz, reggae, etc
  • Example: Broadway Musical (Cats)

Mystery

Piecing together clues to unravel a solution

  • Sub Genre: sleuth, detective, caper, cozy, hardboiled, whodunit, legal, locked room, medical
  • Example: Detective Mystery (Sherlock Holmes)

Romance

Journey that involves a love story

  • Sub Genre: historical, chick-flick, rom-com, period, thriller, comedy
  • Example: Romantic Thriller (Phantom of the Opera)

Sci-Fi

Fictional worlds with futuristic elements

  • Sub Genre: space travel, time travel, robot, tech, military, apocalyptic, utopian, contemporary, cyberpunk, space opera
  • Example: Space Travel Sc-Fi (Star Wars)

Slice of Life

Generally used for documentaries, news and investigative projects

  • Sub Genre: poetic, expository, investigative, observational, participatory, reflexive, performative
  • Example: Participatory Slice of Live (Paris is Burning)

Thriller

Creates suspense and tension in the audience

  • Sub Genre: psychological, suspense, conspiracy, crime, supernatural, mystery
  • Example: Psychological Thriller (Psycho)

Western

Styled on nomadic cowboys or gun fighters

  • Sub Genre: Spaghetti, epic, outlaw, marshal, revenge
  • Example: Spaghetti Western  (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly)