The Definition, Classification And Importance Of Film Genre, Explained

The film genre is one of the things that is sometimes difficult to understand. In other words, based on the narrative elements of the film, a genre is created. Now, why is the film genre so important? Well, for starters, as a filmmaker, you have to know the genre of your film specifically. There are times when asked about the genre, aspiring filmmakers put their films in a category that are not even the genre of their film. Classifying a film or a series or any work into a genre is more about sending the right message to the audience who are going to or planning to watch it. Today we are going to discuss the genres and why they are so important in filmmaking.


So, What Exactly Is The Film Genre?

We always like to categorize things, don’t we? Genre is like one of such things. Categorizing a movie helps the audience mentally and emotionally prepare themselves before watching the movie. If you want to find out the exact definition of the genre, then it goes like this: a category of artistic or literary composition characterized by a definitive style or form. Well, in other words, the genre is the sum total of the story, plot, character, and setting or mood of a film.

What Are The Types Of The Film Genre?

There are more or less 13 types of film genres. Discussing them in-depth can take hours altogether, and it might become tedious. So, we are giving you an overview of the genres that will help you explore more with your understanding. This is a good process nonetheless. Anyway, let’s go!


Comedy: This is by far the most exciting genre of all. In comedy, there are specific sections like slapstick comedy, farce, satire, dark comedy, screwball comedy, romantic comedy, etc. First, let’s understand the comedy genre as a whole. Comedy basically generates the three regions of the character and the story: the unexpected, the unusual, and repetition. These sections particularly help people laugh. In general terms, comedies do have a happy ending, and that is why people mostly like this genre. Now, what exactly is slapstick comedy? Well, slapstick comedy involves mostly physical comedy. This sort of comedy gets more intense with what the character is going through in his or her life. In physical comedy like this, actors have more room for improvisation which helps to build the character and narrative further. For farce, the plot is more important than physical comedy. Farce contains a satirical vibe in it, which is one of the reasons why plots are important in this. This type of comedy deals mostly with the inner conflicts of the characters and does not require a happy ending. Satire is different from the previous sectors of comedy. While farce deals with the inner conflict, satire develops the conflict in the character, which leads to various dilemmas and pain. In satire, the plots get so intense at times that the audience often ignores them, believing it to be a comedy. Dark comedy is basically making fun of the taboo. This sort of comedy deals with the abnormalities and absurdities of society. The characters, as well, are represented in a grotesque manner. The humor level of dark comedies is higher than any other sort of comedy. Screwball comedies don’t exist anymore. Although, at the beginning of 1934, this type of comedy mostly had a distinct message. The main goal of such comedies was to establish the idea that it was better to be poor than rich. Rich people were shown as foolish clowns in these comedies. In a romantic comedy, romance is the underlined section of the story. While the audience laughs at the plot, the romance grows further until it reaches a beautiful ending.

Action: Remember Hitchcock’s “bomb theory”? Well, the action genre is for fast-paced films that contain fight sequences, chase sequences, and exciting slow-motion shots. This genre is known for the spectacle it offers. The audience is often thrilled whenever an action sequence takes place.


Adventure: Films that contain a quest, a map, or an unfamiliar locale can be placed in this genre. This genre can also contain action, but as long as the adventure is taking place, the movie is adventure genre specific.

Drama: This genre mainly focuses on the inner conflicts of the characters and deals with their emotional perspectives.


Fantasy: Where there is magic, there is fantasy. This genre goes beyond the barrier of natural laws and deals with the power of wizards and more.

Horror: This genre also deals with something beyond the natural, but here ghosts play a significant role. Unlike in fantasy, in horror, there can be antagonists that are ghosts from the past.


Musicals: Just like lyrics, if the whole narrative style of a movie is based on musicals, then the genre will be musicals. These movies involve a stage, and the drama progresses on it.

Mystery: Stories like detective sorts, serial killing, and murders can be considered a mystery genre. Here the protagonist is searching for something.


Romance: Romance films are basically love stories. This involves two protagonists and the happenings of their lives. 

Sci-Fi: Science Fiction deals with some concepts that don’t exist in the real world, like time travel or creating a civilization in a different galaxy.


Sports: Movies that deal with a particular sport or an individual player or a team.

Thriller: When mystery, tension, and action are mixed up, then it belongs to a thriller genre. It intensifies the drama and the action at the same time.


Western: Stories of cowboys or gunslingers are the specialty of this genre. Face-off is the most interesting portion of this genre.

Why Is The Genre Important For A Film?

Genre is one of the defining points of a film. The audience has different reactions to different genres. Some lean towards comedy, some prefer romance, and others might prefer action or thrillers. If you are making a genre-specific movie, you must indulge in enough subtlety. There are a few reasons to specify the film genre:

  • If we know the genre beforehand, our minds can conceive more from the story than ever. If we are expecting a thriller, we can prepare ourselves for some chills. If we are here to see comedy, then our mind expects to laugh, and when the comedy takes place, it won’t take much time to respond to it. 
  • At times, not knowing about the genre of the film can be confusing. There is the intellectual audience, but there is also the audience who watches the film just for fun. It can be pretty hard for them.
  • It can be very disappointing to expect one genre and then have the film deliver a different one. Like, while watching a comedy, you are expecting it to have a happy ending, but as it turns out, it delivers a satire at the end.

So, these are the few reasons why the genre is too vital a task for a filmmaker. This is an overview of things. Next time, we will discuss why screenwriters put so much effort into crafting a genre-specific movie!

See More: Smartphone Filmmaking, Explained: How To Make A Film With Your Smartphone?

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Shovan Roy
Shovan Roy
Shovan Roy is a creative content writer. Formerly he used to write film reviews on an international film festival website named Beyond the Curve International Film Festival. He also interviewed global directors. He also interviewed one of the characters from the show 'Trailer Park Boys', Mr. Bernard Robichaud, platformed in Netflix. Shovan tends to write through the third person narrative and he loves to do psychoanalysis. He can't say that he has mastered it but that is some sort of hobby of his. Film is a platform where he loves to spend most of his time learning.

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