Film Genres: List & Brief Description of Film Genres

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Film Genres

Film genres are classifications of films based on their themes, styles, characterizations, techniques, and settings. Films with noticeable patterns based on those characteristics are grouped together in these classifications. There are major film genres that are popular and well known while there are others that are not as familiar to the general viewing public. Here is a collected description of film genres for the major ones. We’ll go through this film genres list in alphabetical order.


Films in this genre often involve car chases, gun fights and hand-to-hand combats. Violence is the key characteristic of this film genre. These films include kung fu movies, spy movies and disaster movies.


This genre also involves some action, but the main aspects of the movies in this category are exotic locales, historical settings, epic expeditions and anything that brings thrills to the audience.


Initially, films in this genre only consisted of movies done in 2D animation. As technology progresses and more and more computer generated movies are coming out, the animation film genre is expanding its reach to clay animation, paper animation, stop motion animation and computer generated animation.


Humor is the main driving force of comedy films. Anything with slapstick moments, witty dialogue and satirical elements are included in this genre. Parodies and spoofs are the most obvious types of comedy movies while some involve a mix of action, adventure and romance.


Documentary movies involve putting together real life events and people to tell a particular story. Movie in this genre often involve a narrator, interviews and real footages of real events. They are done to execute social commentaries or to simply put historical events into a new light.


Dramatic movies with serious themes and intense character development make up films in this genre. They often portray realistic situations with realistic people, but they sometimes involve more fantastical elements.


Movies in the horror genre involve blood, gore, the supernatural and things that go bump in the night. It includes ghost stories, alien invasions, zombie flicks, slasher movies and everything that makes one afraid of going to sleep at night.


Musicals are often lighthearted stories with comedy and drama going hand in hand. These movies involve a lot of singing and dancing to complement the storytelling.

Science Fiction

This genre involves movies that feature futuristic technology, interstellar travel, strange monsters and anything that is very imaginative that does not fit in the real world. Films in this genre may often intersect in action, adventure and horror categorizations.


Whether it is an ancient battle or World War II, war movies always involve combat and tales of life in the battlefield. Action and drama are two key components in war movies. This film genre includes space epics, historical war stories and futuristic battles between good and evil.


To cap off this film genres list, we have the Western film genre. It started out as a film genre that only relied on horses, guns, dusty towns, bar fights and cowboys for categorization. However, the themes of showdowns, revenge and being outlaws are also being applied to stories not set in the Old West. The description of film genres for some may stay the same for decades, but in others, it can be revised and even redefined.