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Listed below are some of the most common and identifiable film sub-genre categories, with descriptions of each type or category. Sub-Genres are more specific sub-classes of the larger category of main film genres , with their own distinctive subject matter, style, formulas, and iconography. Some of them are prominent sub-genres, such as: See also film sub-genres types and hybrids - films that combine many different film elements i. If you're interested in the chronological history of film by decade - visit the section on Film History or the multi-part section on Milestones in Film History. Film Sub-Genres represented by icons Sub-Genre Descriptions Select an icon or sub-genre category below, read about the development and history of the sub-genre, and view chronological lists of selected, representative greatest films for each one with links to detailed descriptions of individual films. These films depict the life of an important historical personage or group from the past or present era. Biopics cross many genre types, since these films might showcase a western outlaw, a criminal, a musical composer, a religious figure, a war-time hero, an entertainer, an artist, an inventor or doctor, a politician or President, or an adventurer. Often considered an all-encompassing sub-genre, 'chick' flicks or gal films slightly derisive terms mostly include formulated romantic comedies with mis-matched lovers or female relationships , melodramatic tearjerkers and gal-pal films, movies about family crises and emotional carthasis, some traditional 'weepies' and fantasy-action adventures, sometimes with foul-mouthed and empowered females, and female bonding situations involving families, mothers, daughters, children, women, and women's issues. These films are often told from the female P-O-V, and star a female protagonist or heroine. This type of film became very prominent in the mids and into the 90s. Their counterpart films for males are termed 'guy' films see below. One of the best subject areas for dramatic films or sometimes crime films are suspenseful, law-related courtroom trials, which pit lawyers against each other, and set up a tense one-on-one conflict between a prosecutor and a defendant. Sometimes, the protagonists are a "little" guy an individual against a "big" guy or corporation , or the more abstract "good" vs. And of course, courtroom dramas usually contain some of the most fascinating thematic elements in film -- murder, betrayal, deception, perjury and sex. They often feature unexpected twists and surprise testimony, unusual motives, moral dilemmas, crusading lawyers and wrongly-accused victims. AFI defined the courtroom drama as "a genre of film in which a system of justice plays a critical role in the film's narrative. Disaster films, a sub-genre of action films , hit their peak in the decade of the s. Big-budget disaster films provided all-star casts and interlocking, Grand Hotel-type stories, with suspenseful action and impending crises man-made or natural in locales such as aboard imperiled airliners, trains, dirigibles, sinking or wrecked ocean-liners, or in towering burning skyscrapers, crowded stadiums or earthquake zones. Often noted for their visual and special effects, but not their acting performances. See Greatest Disaster Film Scenes also. Fantasy films, usually considered a sub-genre, are most likely to overlap with the film genres of science fiction and horror , although they are distinct. Fantasies take the audience to dark netherworld places or another dimension with mythical creatures, where events are unlikely to occur in real life - they transcend the bounds of human possibility and physical laws. They sometimes take the form of fairy tales that often have elements of magic, myth, wonder, folklore and the extraordinary. Fantasy films can assume epic proportions multi-episodic , usually when based on ancient Greek writings or more contemporary works. Heroic fantasies follow a hero-character who overcomes various obstacles on a quest. Sword-and sorcery fantasies are another sub-type. One of the major categories of fantasy-action films are the super-hero movies, based quite often on an original comic-strip or comic book character. They may appeal to both children and adults, depending upon the particular film. Strictly speaking, film noir is not a genre, but rather the mood, style or tone of various American films that evolved in the s, and lasted in a classic period until about However, film noir has not been exclusively confined to this era, and has re-occurred in cyclical form in other years in various neo-noirs. Noirs are usually black and white films with primary moods of melancholy, alienation, bleakness, disillusionment, disenchantment, pessimism, ambiguity, moral corruption, evil, guilt and paranoia. And they often feature a cynical, loner hero anti-hero and femme fatale, in a seedy big city. Composed of macho films that are often packed with sophomoric humor, action, cartoon violence, competition, mean-spirited putdowns and gratuitous nudity and sex. Gal films or 'chick' flicks are their counterpart for females. This category of film is highly subject to opinion, although there are many classic, testosterone-laden 'guy' films that most viewers would agree upon, as shown in this site's Greatest 'Guy' Movies of All-Time illustrated. Melodramas are a sub-type of drama films, characterized by a plot to appeal to the emotions of the audience. Often, film studies criticism used the term 'melodrama' pejoratively to connote an unrealistic, pathos-filled tales of romance or domestic situations with stereotypical characters that would directly appeal to feminine audiences "weepies" or "woman's films". See the post-modern version of the "woman's film" - gal films or 'chick' flicks. See also this site's extensive compilation illustrated of Greatest Tearjerker Films, Moments and Scenes. One thing they all have in common: These are love stories, or affairs of the heart that center on passion, emotion, and the romantic, affectionate involvement of the main characters usually a leading man and lady , and the journey that their love takes through courtship or marriage. Romance films make the love story the main plot focus. Films that have a sports setting football or baseball stadium, arena, or the Olympics, etc. Sports films may be fictional or non-fictional; and they are a hybrid sub-genre category, although they are often dramas or comedy films, and occasionally documentaries or biopics. This category is an off-shoot of fantasy-action films, based quite often on an original comic-strip or comic book character. Fictional super-heroes with extraordinary powers, derived from ss comic books and other more recent sources, have been the subjects of numerous fantasy and sci-fi films both live-action and animated, and serialized and feature-length with action-oriented heroes and heroines. Superheroes are repeatedly chosen to be the subjects of big-budget blockbuster films, with glossy production values, expensive CGI special effects and sets, make-up and costuming. Usually, a simplistic plot line involves the superhero's struggle against an arch-nemesis or super-villain usually interested in world domination, the acquisition of riches, or the wreaking of vengeance. Supernatural films, a sub-genre category, may be combined with other genres, including comedy , sci-fi , fantasy or horror. They have themes including gods or goddesses, ghosts, apparitions, spirits, miracles, and other similar ideas or depictions of extraordinary phenomena. Interestingly however, until recently, supernatural films were usually presented in a comical, whimsical, or a romantic fashion, and were not designed to frighten the audience. There are also many hybrids that have combinations of fear, fantasy, horror, romance, and comedy. Thrillers are often hybrids with other genres - there are action -thrillers, crime-caper thrillers, western -thrillers, film-noir thrillers, even romantic comedy-thrillers. Another closely-related genre is the horror film genre. Thriller and suspense films are virtually synonymous and interchangeable categorizations. They are types of films known to promote intense excitement, suspense, a high level of anticipation, ultra-heightened expectation, uncertainty, anxiety, and nerve-wracking tension. The acclaimed Master of Suspense is Alfred Hitchcock. Zombie Films had their origins in the earliest films within the horror genre that were about the 'raising of the dead,' such as the Frankenstein films, and the early German expressionistic film The Cabinet of Dr. The zombie film craze started with the Haitian concept of voudou, where a corpse was reanimated and magically controlled by a witch-like bokor a type of priest, sorcerer, magician, or practitioner. The first feature-length walking-dead film was director Victor Halperin's cheaply-made White Zombie It was the decade of the s that ushered in a revolutionary new horror subgenre of zombie pics, from the "Master of the Zombie Film" himself, George A. The influence of Romero on future zombie films has been phenomenal, and many zombie films in their wake have been imaginative derivatives or mutated examples.
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