There are many different movie, TV, and radio genres. Each genre also has separate categories or subgenres, either very broad or very specific.

So, for that reason, we created a comprehensive list of film genres and their sub-genres. Below we will explain the categories, their usage, and subcategories.

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How do you define a film genre?

Any artistic activity, including writing and other kinds of artwork or entertainment (e.g., music, films, poems)—whether written or spoken, aural or visual—that meets a set of stylistic requirements is referred to as a genre.

A film genre is a creative or conceptual classification based on plot aspects, artistic style, or emotional reaction to the film.

Film genres list

1. Action film genre

Action film genre

The action genre has significant connections to traditional conflict and battle storylines found in all art forms and literature.

Action films have indeed been appealing to movie viewers ever since the start, with a few of the first examples reaching back to anything from historical military epics to simple depictions of diabolical rail thefts. It was also one of the best illustrations of the growth of our filmmaking storyline and classic hero vs. villain tales, which can be found in various genres and films.

Its sub-genres are as follows:

  • War and Military Action
  • Spy and Espionage Action
  • Martial Arts Action
  • Western Shoot ‘Em Up Action
  • Action Hybrid Genres


2. Comedy genre

The comic is an enjoyable, reasonably bright, and creative genre that has entertained people for generations, and it has been a favorite of film viewers young and old from the dawn of filmmaking.

Comedy genre forefathers such as Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, and Lucille Ball, who made a profitable career discovering new and innovative methods to make viewers giggle, are among the most well-known personalities in movie history.

The comic genre is proven to be one of the most adaptable, with its origins woven into the film's structure and its many subgenres.

Soothing a soul and delivering a smile to a viewer's face is an art form that will never be forgotten and that should not be underestimated.

Its sub-genres are as follows:

  • Slapstick Comedy
  • Screwball Comedy
  • Parody Comedy
  • Black Comedy


3. Horror genre

The horror genre

Horror films are contemporary emerging genres; however, it has long been a feature of great films, stretching back to many of the first — and most terrifying — years of cinema.

Shinin No Sosei from 1898 comes to mind, as do numerous early horror adaptations from around the world that captivated a public eager for spooky, occult entertainment.

From the 1970s to the present, horror has taken root with the advent of novel horror genres such as vampires, shredders, found video, and haunting toys.

Its sub-genres are as follows:

  • Zombie Horror
  • Folk Horror
  • Body Horror
  • Found-Footage Horror


4. Sci-Fi movie genre

Sci-fi movie genre

The scientific (popularised as "sci-fi") motion picture dates back to the silent film era and is among the most adventurous of the traditional genres.

A few of the oldest films ever made, such as Georges Méliès' A Trip to the Moon, centered on man's infatuation with deep space and the scientific unknown (1902). The film has been one of the most popular platforms for exhibiting humanity's technological accomplishments and a way of grappling with more significant ideas like alien civilizations, AI, and humankind's role in the cosmos through movie history.

Its sub-genres are as follows:

  • Space Travel
  • Time Travel
  • Cerebral Science
  • Robot and Monster Films
  • Disaster and Alien Invasion


5. Western film genre

Western film genre

Given its enormous popularity and escapades, the west might technically be called micro of the action picture genre. The western's different sub-genres have virtually become legendary film forms in and of themselves.

In many ways, the Western-movie genre reflects the story of old Hollywood, which rose from the ashes of a newly populated California town to become a forerunner of the current film industry.

Westerns roared to popularity at the ticket sales inside the earliest film and far into the late 1960s and 1970s, before evolving into a few of our favorite modern mega-blockbusters.

Its sub-genres are as follows:

  • Classic Western
  • The Revisionist and Anti-Western
  • Contemporary and Neo-Western
  • Fantasy and Space Western
  • Modern Western


6. Romance genre

Like the action and comic categories, the romance genre became a fundamental factor in almost all other movie genres underneath the sun. Even though ancient filmmaking was replete with traditional love instances and several homologs such as the "rom-com," the genre has evolved. Nonetheless, it is a significant genre for both directors and moviegoers.

Its sub-genres are as follows:

  • Historical Romance
  • Romantic Drama
  • Romantic Comedy
  • Chick Flick
  • Paranormal Romance

7. Thriller genre

​​The thriller picture, formerly a very niche genre, has become so widespread that it may be time to rename it Summer Blockbuster Event.

The growth of the drama parallels the emergence of spy and detective pulp novels in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It's one of the most compelling film platforms for generally examining our institutions and society's sometimes painful and overlooked truths.

Thriller has become a prominent and significant element of the cinematic tradition, owing to some of its most incredible wins to legendary directors.

Some of the main sub-genres are as follows:

  • Conspiracy Thriller
  • Crime Thriller
  • Legal Thriller
  • Spy Thriller
  • Supernatural Thriller


8. Fantasy genre

Fantasy movie genre

In contrast to sci-fi, a fantastical story revolves around magical or paranormal powers. For example, the Harry Potter series is nothing less than a fantasy epic.

Some of its subgenres are as follows:

  • Bangsian
  • Contemporary Fantasy
  • Urban Fantasy
  • Dark Fantasy
  • Fables
  • Fairy tales
  • Hard fantasy
  • High Fantasy
  • Historical Fantasy
  • Magic Girl
  • Mythic Fiction
  • Sword and Sorcery
  • Dying Earth
  • Legends
  • Gaslamp fantasy
  • Shenmue

9. Historical movie genre

The historical genre

A fictionalized account of a true event or incident. Several fictitious pieces claim to be "writings" of fictional people and are written similarly, but they belong to a different genre.

Movies belonging to the historical film genre are commonly written in the shape of a textbook that might or might not be completely focused on that.

Some of the its subgenres are as follows:

  • Historical Fiction
  • Alternate History
  • Counterfactual history
  • Period Piece

10. Crime and mystery genre

Crime and mystery film genre

A crime drama is usually about a crime occurring, have occurred or following the life of a criminal. In a mystery story, an investigator must solve some sort of a conundrum (often a crime).

The protagonist discovers details and clues as the story progresses. The riddle is resolved by the end of the movie. Inside the case of a criminal mystery, for instance, the culprit and motivation for the murder are disclosed, and the culprit is prosecuted.

Mystery novels are frequently published in series, allowing for an in development of the main character.

Some of its subgenres are as folllows:

  • Cozy histories
  • Detective story
  • Gentleman thief
  • Gong’an fiction
  • Legal thriller
  • Locked room mysteries
  • Murder mysteries
  • Noir fiction
  • Hardboiled

11. Drama genre

Drama is a type of narration (or semi-fiction) that is supposed to be more severe than amusing in tone focused on the in-depth characterization of realistic characters who must cope with real emotional issues. It is found in film, tv, and radio.

Some of its subgenres are as follows:

  • Docudrama
  • Legal drama
  • Medical drama
  • Melodrama
  • Military drama
  • Psychological drama
  • Political drama
  • Teen drama  

12. Animation genre

Animation film genre

Animation is not a genre or medium but rather a collection of different ways that films can be animated. The genres in the "Live-action scripted" genre can also be portrayed in an animated format. These categories are called "genres" by many film critics and streaming services.

Some of its subgenres are as follows:

  • Traditional animation
  • Animated series
  • Computer-generated imagery
  • Stop motion
  • Claymation
  • Puppetry

13. Experimental film genre

The experimental genre is a subset of artistic expression that does not fit neatly into other genres or subsets. The audience can forego a cohesive story in favor of an emotional reaction or almost nothing in experimental art.

Some main subgenres are as follows:

  • Surrealist
  • Absurdist

14. Other film genres

Film genres today

Musical Genre

Musicals began as stage productions, but they quickly had become a favorite of many filmmakers, and they've even moved it to tv. Musicals could be of any type, but they always have characters singing a song and executing dance routines.

War Genre

The term "war" has a few various definitions, but we'll do our best to be as plain and objective as possible. War films are about great battles among rival factions set in a world that follows the same natural principles as our own.

Biopics (Biographical Film)

Biopics have been a distinct film genre since the beginning of filmmaking. Biopics can be found in various film genres (sports films, war films, westerns, etc. ), although they are most typically found in dramas. Biopics are, at their foundation, dramatizations of actual characters and events with varying degrees of plausibility.

What's next? Deep dive into biopoics in filmmaking

There are different types of genres and different ways to plot them. Some of the common and most used genres are romantic, action, comic, sci-fi, and thrillers.

Explore furter. Learn what biopics is and how you do it yourself.

What are the different film genres?

Some of the different genres include thrillers, horrors, romantic, action, sci-fi, biopics, etc.

How do film genres develop?

Distinguish by the type of artwork you want to create and combine with other genres.

What are the 10 film genres?

Comedy, Horror, Sci-Fi, western, romance, thriller, fantasy, historical, crime and mystery are some types of genres.

What are movie genres?

A movie genre is a category of movies with similar elements. These can be the story, narrative, types of characters, place, and more. Comedy, Horror, and Drama are examples of genres. Genres also have many subgenres. For instance, a genre like Thriller can have a subgenre Psychological Thriller.

How many movie genres are there?

There are 13 basic movie genres: Action, Crime, Drama, Fantasy, Horror, Comedy, Romance, Science Fiction, Sports, Thriller, Mystery, War, and Western. Then, there are more than 90 movie subgenres, ranging from space travel sci-fi to contemporary westerns.