German Expressionism Cinema

German Expressionism Cinema

German Expressionism is an artistic style that first appeared in poetry and theatre in 1910. It became popular in films after WWI. Initially, it has come from German romanticism but later german filmmakers have been used hyper expressive performances and visual distortions to show the countries turmoils, fears, and their collective anxiety of that era. German expressionism reflected the inner conflicts of German audiences through films. This movement does not talk about cinematic realism. It is expressionist films showcased dramatic, revolutionary interpretations of the human condition of that time.   

The German expressionism grabbed the audience’s attention and became famous after WWI. If you want to consider the real-life situation of the country after WWI then its no wonder that German cinema showed and gave all the expression of the war through its cinema that we think is enough to make people feel what has happened during that era. This cinema was a combination of emotions, feelings, and expressions.

German expressionism

German expressionism has been used in films with a high contrast of dark and light to convey darkest sets.charactrisits of German Expressionism are- High angels, Extream camera tilting, Deep shadows, Imposible sets.  


In 1916, Germen Expressionism cinema was banned by the German government because of the effect of the WWI. The increase in the demand from theatre to generate films on domestic titles leads to an increase in domestic film production from 24 films in 1914 to 130 films in 1918. That time German audience has become less interested in romance and action flicks since the beginning of WWI so for that reason themes like cruelty, violence, betrayal have been in demand from the audience’s side. The country was going to the drastic change to filmmakers were aware of the inflation also so they decided to keep attending films more freely as they knew about their money’s value was constantly diminishing. That unfortunate circumstances and hyperinflation provided a platform to daring innovative filmmakers like F.W. Murnau (Nosferatu), Fritz Lang ( Metropolis) to make german expressionism the most influential movement in cinematic history.

– Fritz Lang “I am profoundly fascinated by cruelty, fear, horror, and death. My films show my preoccupation with violence, the pathology of violence.”

Unlike other cinema movements, Expressionism has existed before the invention of cinema. This helps us to understand the principles of expressionism and how the filmmaker has been used this expressionism in their filmmaking to enhance the mood and quality of the film that helps the audience to get connected by the films. We can consider Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” that was the most famous expressionist painting of all time. By seeing that painting we can easily get noticed how the concept allows the mood to be expressed by creative distortion. It shows the impression of the painting. In film, this ideology can apply to every aspect of the creative process to dream like the scene to melodramatic on-screen performances. Though, german expressionism has a close link that ties to architecture design. A film such as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Metropolis is often studied as a perfect example of how set design can be used to create a world that is aesthetically controlled by the film’s emotional instructions.

Example of German Expressionism

The Cabinet of Dr.Caligari ( 1920) was the German silent Horror film directed by Robert Wiene and written by Hans Janowitz and Carl Mayer. It considered the classic example of German expressionist cinema. it tells the story of an insane hypnotist (Werner Krauss) who uses a somnambulist (Conrad Veidt) to commit murders. The film features a dark and twisted visual style, with sharp-pointed forms, oblique and curving lines, structures, and landscapes that lean and twist in unusual angles, and shadows and streaks of light painted directly onto the sets.

German Expressionism Portrays a Subjective, Emotional World Rather Than An Objective Reality. It was the movement that provided thoughts to make cinema-like had been made that era. In contemporary times German expressionism can be seen through medium used by the directors to make the film more expressionist. German expressionism experience the impact within the horror genre on what we can’t exaggerate.

The artistry of German Expressionism film

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Soviet Montage Cinema

Soviet Montage Cinema

Soviet montage is an approach to understand and create a cinema that relies on editing or montage. The Soviet montage movement began nearly in 1924. During the years of the Russian Revolution, the filmmaker has been found themselves short for supplying of cinema. At that time what they decide was using pieces of films from prior projects and presented them in a  different way with a different meaning.

Lev Kuleshov was the pioneer in the Filmmaking theory. Lev Kuleshov realized that an actor’s expression wasn’t enough to convey a specific idea, therefore juxtaposed images must. His theory is also known as the “Kuleshov Experiment”. In his experiment audience saw the close of a man followed by Soup Bowl, Casket and an attractive woman. When the audience saw that they assumed the man, the soup bowl, again saw that man then figure out he must be hungry and want soup. Now when the soup bowl replaced by casket they think he must be sad as a child died. Eventually, casket replaced by an attractive woman and people thinks he must want something desirable. If you see that you will notice the face of the man was the same, it means one footage has been used for different elements and it looked exactly the same as we perceived it.

Kuleshov Experiment

Einsenstine was the biggest theorist of the Montage. He considered the montage a nerve of cinema. He wrote a book called Film Forms, where he emphasized how the duration and movement of a shot, and emotions can affect the audience. Filmmakers like Dziga Vertov and Sergei Eisenstein did not believe in the continuity system of shots in cinema they thought it make reality fake. They believed in the dialectic system which was about the conflict between the ideas. Eisenstein wanted to move the audience’s emotions and inspire them to get behind the revolution.


Montage is a technique of film editing in which short shots are sequenced to condense space, time and information. This term has been used in a different context such as in French the term montage use in cinema simply in terms of editing.  Montage originally originated from Russia by Eisenstein where it was used to create symbolism. Later this technique was used by Britain and American studios to show the “montage sequence” to suggest the passage of time. The montage sequence often used the short shots with optical effects like fade, dissolve, slit screen, double exposure. This technique has been changed the way of making films with the means of editing techniques.

Soviet montage was not even famous for illustrating philosophical point but it had the ability to manipulate how a viewer perceives a certain event. In Eisenstein’s film Battelship Potemkin (1925), there is a sequence which is known as Odessa Steps. In this scene protesting citizens are moving down by Tsarist troops. This sequence used the whole montage technique where he used the graphics, short shots of real incidence, dramatic cuts from wide shots to extream close-up shots. This film was a highly respected film in the year 1958 and voted to be the best ever film made by Sergei Eisenstein.

Battleship Potemkin 1925

Battleship Potemkin is a 1925 Soviet silent film directed by Sergei Eisenstein and produced by Mosfilm. It presents a dramatized version of the mutiny that occurred in 1905 when the crew of the Russian battleship Potemkin rebelled against their officers.

To understand the meaning more clear you can watch the movie. Link below.

Types of Montage:-

Sergei Eisenstein categorized montage into five different types:-

  1. Metric montage – this is simple editing where long shorts get shorten without losing the scene’s originality and emotions attached to that scene. This type of os scene generally uses suspense and tension science.
  2. Rhythmic montage – Each shot’s length derives from the specifics of the piece and from its planned length according to the structure of the sequence.
  3. Tonal montage- this is a combination of both the metric and rhythmic montage that highlights the emotional themes that may present at a particular time. This technique is more subjective. In this, you can use videos and images.  
  4. Overton montage- it is a practice of cutting various tones and overtones of the shot. It is an abstract than tonal. It is the simultaneous use of the above three which forms over tonal montage and creates conflict between the shots.
  5. Intellectual montage- this one is the combination of the above four montages. It does not even create conflict between the shots but also arise complex emotion to the audience that makes the film more realistic and make people more plight of the character on the screen. Einstein’s movie Strike (1925) is an example to understand this.

 Four primary directors who used soviet montage in their cinema

  1. Sergei Eisenstein
  2. Lev Kuleshov
  3. Dziga Vertov
  4. Vsevolod Pudovkin

Classic Movies of the Time

  1. Strike, 1925
  2. Battleship Potemkin, 1925
  3. The end of St. Petersburg, 1927
  4. October, 1928
  5. Citizen Kane, 1941
  6. Casablanca, 1942

For further readings you may check out these links mention below:-

Riley & Riley Model

Riley & Riley Model 

The husband and wife team of Sociologists John W. and Matilda White Riley developed the communication model called Riley and Riley model. They discussed about their ideas about communication theory in an article entitled Mass Communication and the Social System in 1959. The idea of their work revolves around the Aristotle and Lasswell model of communication.


The model shows communicator (C) emerges as a part of the larger social system who sends messages and information according to the expectations or needs of  group or people within the same social structure.  this process also same for the receiver (R). this model clearly shows that the model is two- way process. It is a two way communication and both C & R are part of this large social system.

larger social structure (1) holds , communicator, primary group a1 and a2. communicator (C) represents the larger social group 1. larger social group 2 holds receiver, primary group b1 and b2. Receiver (R) is representing the large social group 2.

in the above model we can see that the large Group 1 and large Group 2 comes under the Overall Social System. communicator and receiver are interdependent by  feedback. It is a two way communication. this model helps to solve the dispute between two groups with in a large social system. It creates better understanding between the groups.

here it needs to understand that who are the primary group? in primary group might be your friends, relatives with whom you can share a degree of intimacy.

Questions on Indian Cinema

1.First Marathi film produced in India?

a. Vilasi Ishvar

b. Shwans

c. Vittal

d. Natrang

2. The first film of India Screened at which Place?

a.Film city, Mumbai

b. Taj Hotel, Mumbai

c. Watson Hotel, Mumbai

d. Oberoi Hotel, Mumbai

3. The first south Indian Movie of India?

a. Keechakvadham


c. Dancer

d. Kalli

4. First 70 MM film made in India?

a. Mirza galib

b. Sholey

c. Mother India

d. Kagaz ke Phul

5. who Won the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2018?

a. Shashi Kapoor

b. Vinod Khanna

c. Amitabh Bachchan

d. All of these

6. Who is the Director of the Lagaan?

a. Amir Khan

b. Vishal Bhardwaj

c. Ashutosh Gowarikar

d. sajid Khan

7. Actor(s) who got Indian National Award in 2019?

a. Ayushman Khurana

b. Amitabh Bachchan

c. Vicky Koshal

d. Both A and C

8. From which sacred Scriptures Indian Music originated?

a. Vedas

b. Guru

c. Vishnu

9. The first Indian Film documentary called?

a. The Ganga

b. The Wrestlers

c. Tradition Man

d. Raja Harishchandra

10. In which year India’s first talkie film was released?

a. 1912

b. 1931

c. 1924

d. 1918

11. First Sanskrit film of India was?

a. Bharti Balak

b. Adi Shankracharya

c. Alam Ara

d. Paundalik

12. Which was the first English film of India?

a. The Namesake

b. Cinderelle

c. Court Dancer

d. Burning Train

13. At which place India’s first Film Festival was held?

a. Mumbai

b. Chennai

c. Hyderabad

d. Delhi

14. Among the following which was the first Malayalam movie won the President’s gold medal for the best film?

a. Chemmeen

b. Marthanda Verma

c. Balan

d. Vighatkumaran

15. The first short film of India Flower of Persia directed by whom?

a. Hiralal Sen

b. Ashok Kumar

c. Ritwik Ghatak

d. Rajkapoor


Answers: –

  1. C
  2. C
  3. A
  4. B
  5. B
  6. C
  7. D
  8. A
  9. B
  10. B
  11. B
  12. C
  13. A
  14. A
  15. A

NIRF Ranking 2019

NIRF Ranking 2019

(National Institutional Ranking Framework) 

Top 10 Educational Institutes in all categories
  • NIRF Ranking 2019: – Overall Category
  1. Indian Institute of Technology Madras
  2. Indian Institute of Science Bangalore
  3. Indian Institute of Technology Delhi
  4. Indian Institute of Technology Bombay
  5. Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur
  6. Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur
  7. JNU, Delhi
  8. Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee
  9. Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati
  10. BHU, Varanasi
  • Top 10 Universities
  1. Indian Institute of Science Bangalore
  2. JNU, Delhi
  3. BHU, Varanasi
  4. University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad
  5. Calcutta University, Kolkata
  6. Jadavpur University, Kolkata
  7. Anna University, Chennai
  8. Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Coimbatore
  9. Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal
  10. Savitribai Phule Pune University
  • Top 10 Engineering Institute
  1. Indian Institute of Technology Madras
  2. Indian Institute of Technology Delhi
  3. Indian Institute of Technology Bombay
  4. Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur
  5. Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur
  6. Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee
  7. Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati
  8. Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad
  9. Anna University, Chennai
  10. National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirappalli
  • Top 10 Management Schools
  1. Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore
  2. Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad
  3. Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta
  4. Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow
  5. Indian Institute of Management, Indore
  6. Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur- Management School
  7. Xavier Labour Relations Institute
  8. Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode
  9. Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi- Management School
  10. Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay- Management School
  • Top 10 Medical College
  1. All India Institute of Medical Science, Delhi
  2. Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh
  3. Christin Medical College, Vellore
  4. Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Science, Lucknow
  5. Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Coimbatore
  6. BHU, Varanasi
  7. Kasturba Medical College, Manipal
  8. Jawaharlal Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research, Puducherry
  9. Institute of Liver and Biliary Science, New Delhi
  10. King George’s Medical University, Lucknow
  • Top 10 Colleges
  1. Miranda House, Delhi
  2. Hindu College, Delhi
  3. Presidency College, Chennai
  4. Stephen’s Delhi
  5. Lady Shri Ram College for Women, Delhi
  6. Loyola College, Chennai
  7. Shri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi
  8. Ramakrishna Mission Vidyamandira, Howrah
  9. Hans Raj College, Delhi
  10. Xavier College, Kolkata
  • Top 10 Law Universities
  1. National Law Institute of University, Bengaluru
  2. National Law University, Delhi
  3. Nalsar University of Law, Hyderabad
  4. Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur
  5. The West Bengal National University of Judicial Science, Kolkata
  6. National Law University, Jodhpur
  7. Symbiosis Law School, Pune
  8. Jamia Milia Islamia, Delhi
  9. Gujrat national Law University, Gandhinagar
  10. The Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala

ACT Theory

ACT Theory

The ACT is a cognition theory developed by John R. Anderson an American Psychologist. He was born in 1947 in Vancouver, British Columbia. He was well known as Cognition Architect as he had expertized in Cognitive Psychology.


This theory talked about the tasks performed by Human Beings. Each and every task performed by humans are considered several steps and process. This model provides a framework of the process that happens in our mind during the time of our activities. This framework may look like a programming language. ACT theory is basically inspired by the work of Allen Newell.

ACT-R, Adaptive Concept of thought-Rational is based on the assumption that human knowledge can be divided into two kinds of representations first is Declarative and second is Procedural. ACT-R is a cognitive architecture. Cognition is the process of understanding and acquiring knowledge through thought. The ACT architecture made up of framework or model.

The main components of the ACT are:-

  1. Modules- there are two types of modules:-
  • Perceptual motor module- it intersects with the real or outer world. It may take care of the inferences.
  • Memory module- these are of three kinds
  1. Procedural memory:- this is the memory we generally use in simple things such as removing the pen cap.
  2. Declarative memory:- this is a kind of memory consists of facts and information regarding something. Such as minutes in one hour.
  3. Working memory:- it is a long term memory which highly activated.


  1. Buffers- the buffer system provides accessibility to cognitive adaptations thoughts.
  2. Pattern Matcherit attempt for the production that matches current state of buffer. These productions work for a specific period of time and later they alter the buffer and changes occurred in the system. This is also why ACT also explains as s production system. Every human task can be made on this task. The model of each person is different that’s why it also performs or thought differently. This model helps to find out quantitative measures. This theory finds out perception and attention, problem-solving and decision making, language and communication, individual difference between persons.


International news agency

International news agency

  1. Reuters

Reuters is an international news agency founded by Paul Julius Reuters. It was established in 1851. It was owned by Thomson Corporation in 2008. Its headquarter is in London.


About Reuters:-

Reuters worked at a Book Publishing firm in Berlin. In 1851 he moved to London and established a news wire agency at London Royal Exchange. Reuters is listed in both the London and New York stock exchange.

Reuters receives 10% of its revenue from the subscribers and rests 90% from its financial services. Reuters employee some 2500 journalists and 600 photojournalists in about 200 location worldwide.

Reuters merged with Thomson Organisation in 2008 and became Thomson Reuters.

  1. Associated Press

It is a non for profit agency founded on May 22, 1846. Its headquarter is in New York. Its members are U.S newspapers and broadcasters. Its has received 53 Pulitzer Prize. It received 2019 Pulitzer Prize for international reporting for coverage of the Civil War in Yemen.


AP produced content in English, Spanish, and Arabic. AP operates 263 News Bureues in 106 countries. It also operates AP radio Network. It uses inverted pyramid formula for making news.


About AP:-

It was formed in 1846 by five daily newspapers in New York, The Sun, New York Herald, New York Courier & Enquirer,The Journal of Commerce, and New York Evening Express.

In 2011, AP expanded its fact checking web presence to twitter.

AP has Sports Awards in:-




In 1994, APTV ( associated press television) was founded to provide news to TV broadcasters. In 1998, AP purchased WTN ( worldwide t.v news) from the ABC news division of the Walt Disney Company, Nine Network Australia and ITN London. It was the first news agency to launch a live video service in 2003.

Controversies and Ligitation:-

  • Christopher Newton
  • FBI Impersonation Case
  • Fair use Controversies
  • Copyright & Intellectual Property
  • Shepard Fairey
  • Hot News
  • Illegal Immigrant
  • Hoax Tweet & Flash Crash
  • Justice Department Subpoena of Phone records
  • Claims 0f Biased reporting
  1. Agence France Press

AFP is the world’s oldest news is an International news agency founded in 1835 as Agence Havas. Its headquarter is in Paris, France.


Its regional headquarters are in Nicosia, Montevideo, Hong Kong, and Washington DC and News Bureaux.

About AFP:-

AFP was founded as Agence Havas in 1835 in Paris by Charles- Louis Havas.two Havas employees Pal Julius Reuters and Bernhard Wolf set up their own news agency in London and Berlin.

In 1991, AFP set up joint venture with Extel to create financial news services AFX news. It was sold in 2006 to Thomson Financial.

News Agencies in India

News Agencies in India

An Indian Journalist K.C Roy set up the first Indian News Agency called Press Information Bureau (PNB) in 1919. S. Sadanand established a nationalistic news agency called Free Press of India (FPI) in 1930 that could not run more than a year. In 1933, the UPI came out from FPI and proved to be a great success. Until independence, Reuters and UPI were the main sources of news.

By1949, Indian and Eastern News agency had started its own agency called The Press Trust of India (PTI). This was the time we called a setup of Indian News agency run properly till now and all we have many more apart from this.

  1. Press Trust of India (PTI)- press trust of India also known as PTI is the largest news agency of India. It was founded on 27th August 1947. Its headquarters is in New Delhi. Its present Chairman is Vijay Kumar Chopra. PTI has expended its services and has Foreign correspondents in New York, Moscow, Kathmandu, Colombo, London, and many other countries as well. It has other news agencies with whom it shares its information such as Reuters, AFP. It has relation with other agencies for sharing news like, AP for international photographs, and AP-Dow Jones for international economic and financial news. PTI has teamed with AAP(information service of Australia), Nihon Keizai Shimbun of Japan, Antara news agency of Indonesia, and YONHAP of South Korea.


Major Indian subscribers of PTI are The Hindu, Times of India, Indian Express, Hindustan Times, The Statesman, The Tribune, The All India Radio, Doordarshan. Press Trust of India is the only news agency in Asia which has its own communication Satellite an INSAT.  PTI has its offices in Dubai, Colombo, Bejing, Bangkok, Washington DC, New York, Moscow, Islamabad, and Kualalampur. PTI –Bhasha is the Hindi news service unit of PTI.

1905 Birth of API (Associated Press of India), by K.C Roy, First Indian news agency.
1919 Reuters takes over operation of API.
1953 PTI became free agent, independent of Reuters.
1976 PTI,UNI,Samachar Bharti and Hindustan Samachar merged under pressure during emergency.
1986 PTI-TV launched
1986 PTI-Bhasha launched, making it bi-lingual.
  1. United News of India (UNI)- United News of India was founded on 19th December 1959 as an English news agency. It is a multilingual news agency set up by Dr. B.C Roy. Its commercial operation was started on 21st March 1961. Its headquater is in New Delhi. Univerta is UNI Hindi unit. UNI started its Urdu service in 1992. Its present chairman is Vishvas Tripathi.


UNI offers various services to ith thousands of subscribers in India and 30 abroad, include UNIFIN, finance and banking service,UNISTOCK, a service for stock exchange, and UNISCAN, a news service fed directly into television sets. UNI is the first agency to start first multilingual news agency called UNIVERTA on 1st May 1982.

  1. Hindi News Agency
  • PTI -Bhasha, and UNIVARTA are the Hindi units of the two national news agencies called PTI and UNI.
  • Hindustan Samachar India’s first multilingual news agency was founded by S.S Apte in 1948.
  • Samachar bharti began in 1967 supported by government of Bihar.Gujrat,Rajasthan and Karnatka. Jayprakash Narayan was its first chairma.

  Film Genres

 Film Genres

 Genre Types
(represented by icons)

 Genre Descriptions


Action films usually include high energy, big-budget physical stunts and chases, possibly with rescues, battles, fights, escapes, destructive crises (floods, explosions, natural disasters, fires, etc.), non-stop motion, spectacular rhythm and pacing, and adventurous, often two-dimensional ‘good-guy’ heroes (or recently, heroines) battling ‘bad guys’ – all designed for pure audience escapism. Includes the James Bond ‘fantasy’ spy/espionage series, martial arts films, video-game films, so-called ‘blaxploitation’ films, and some superhero films. A major sub-genre is a disaster film

2 Adventure films are usually exciting stories, with new experiences or exotic locales, very similar to or often paired with the action film genre. They can include traditional swashbucklers or pirate films, serialized films, and historical spectacles (similar to the epics film genre), searches or expeditions for lost continents, “jungle” and “desert” epics, treasure hunts, disaster films, or searches for the unknown.
3 Comedies are light-hearted plots consistently and deliberately designed to amuse and provoke laughter (with one-liners, jokes, etc.) by exaggerating the situation, the language, action, relationships, and characters. This section describes various forms of comedy through cinematic history, including slapstick, screwball, spoofs and parodies, romantic comedies, black comedy (dark satirical comedy), and more. See this site’s Funniest Film Moments and Scenes collection – illustrated, also Premiere Magazine’s 50 Greatest Comedies of All Time, and WGA’s 101 Funniest Screenplays of All Time.
4 Crime (gangster) films are developed around the sinister actions of criminals or mobsters, particularly bankrobbers, underworld figures, or ruthless hoodlums who operate outside the law, stealing and murdering their way through life. The criminals or gangsters are often counteracted by a detective-protagonist with a who-dun-it plot. Hard-boiled detective films reached their peak during the 40s and 50s (classic film noir), although has continued to the present day. Therefore, crime and gangster films are often categorized as film noir or detective-mystery films, and sometimes as courtroom/crime legal thrillers – because of underlying similarities between these cinematic forms. This category also includes various ‘serial killer’ films.
d Dramas are serious, plot-driven presentations, portraying realistic characters, settings, life situations, and stories involving intense character development and interaction. Usually, they are not focused on special-effects, comedy, or action, Dramatic films are probably the largest film genre, with many subsets. See also melodramas, epics (historical dramas)courtroom dramas, or romantic genres. Dramatic biographical films (or “biopics”) are a major sub-genre, as are ‘adult’ films (with mature subject content).
6 Epics include costume dramas, historical dramaswar films, medieval romps, or ‘period pictures’ that often cover a large expanse of time set against a vast, panoramic backdrop. Epics often share elements of the elaborate adventure films genre. Epics take a historical or imagined event, mythic, legendary, or heroic figure, and add an extravagant setting or period, lavish costumes, and accompany everything with grandeur and spectacle, dramatic scope, high production values, and a sweeping musical score. Epics are often a more spectacular, lavish version of a biopic film. Some ‘sword and sandal’ films (Biblical epics or films occurring during antiquity) qualify as a sub-genre.
7 Horror films are designed to frighten and to invoke our hidden worst fears, often in a terrifying, shocking finale, while captivating and entertaining us at the same time in a cathartic experience. Horror films feature a wide range of styles, from the earliest silent Nosferatu classic to today’s CGI monsters and deranged humans. They are often combined with science fiction when the menace or monster is related to a corruption of technology, or when Earth is threatened by aliens. The fantasy and supernatural film genres are not always synonymous with the horror genre. There are many sub-genres of horror: slasher, splatter, psychological, survival, teen terror, ‘found footage,’ serial killers, paranormal/occult, zombies, Satanic, monsters, Dracula, Frankenstein, etc. See this site’s Scariest Film Moments and Scenes collection – illustrated.
8 Musical/dance films are cinematic forms that emphasize full-scale scores or song and dance routines in a significant way (usually with a musical or dance performance integrated as part of the film narrative), or they are films that are centered on combinations of music, dance, song or choreography. Major subgenres include musical comedy or the concert film. See this site’s Greatest Musical Song/Dance Movie Moments and Scenes collection – illustrated.
9 Sci-fi films are often quasi-scientific, visionary and imaginative – complete with heroes, aliens, distant planets, impossible quests, improbable settings, fantastic places, great dark and shadowy villains, futuristic technology, unknown and unknowable forces, and extraordinary monsters (‘things or creatures from space’), either created by mad scientists or by nuclear havoc. They are sometimes an offshoot of the more mystical fantasy films (or superhero films), or they share some similarities with action/adventure films. Science fiction often expresses the potential of technology to destroy humankind and easily overlaps with horror films, particularly when technology or alien life forms become malevolent, as in the “Atomic Age” of sci-fi films in the 1950s. Science-Fiction sub-categories abound: apocalyptic or dystopic, space-opera, futuristic noirs, speculative, etc.
10 War (and anti-war) films acknowledge the horror and heartbreak of war, letting the actual combat fighting (against nations or humankind) on the land, sea, or in the air provide the primary plot or background for the action of the film. War films are often paired with other genres, such as actionadventuredramaromancecomedy (black), suspense, and even historical epics and westerns, and they often take a denunciatory approach toward warfare. They may include POW tales, stories of military operations, and training. See this site’s Greatest War Movies (in multiple parts).
11 Westerns are the major defining genre of the American film industry – a eulogy to the early days of the expansive American frontier. They are one of the oldest, most enduring genres with very recognizable plots, elements, and characters (six-guns, horses, dusty towns and trails, cowboys, Indians, etc.). They have evolved over time, however, and have often been re-defined, re-invented and expanded, dismissed, re-discovered, and spoofed. Variations have included Italian ‘spaghetti’ westerns, epic westerns, comic westerns, westerns with outlaws or marshals as the main characters, revenge westerns, and revisionist westerns.
Sub-Genre Types
(represented by icons)
Sub-Genre Descriptions
12 ‘Biopics’ is a term derived from the combination of the words “biography” and “pictures.” They are a sub-genre of the larger drama and epic film genres, and although they reached a hey-day of popularity in the 1930s, they are still prominent to this day. 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.
13 Often considered an all-encompassing sub-genre, ‘chick’ flicks or gal films (slightly derisive terms) mostly include formulated romantic comedies (with mismatched lovers or female relationships), melodramatic tearjerkers and gal-pal films, movies about family crises and emotional catharsis, 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 mid-80s and into the 90s. See also O Magazine’s 50 Greatest Chick Flicks. Their counterpart films for males have termed ‘guy’ films (see below). See also this site’s compilation of Greatest Tearjerker Films, Moments and Scenes.
14 One of the best subject areas for dramatic films (or sometimes crime films) is 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. “evil,” or they often involve wider issues, such as race, sex, capital punishment (life and death), and morality. 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 courtroom drama as “a genre of film in which a system of justice plays a critical role in the film’s narrative.” See this site’s special feature highlighting the Greatest Courtroom Dramas.
15 Detective-mystery films are usually considered a sub-type or sub-genre of crime/gangster films (or film noir), or suspense or thriller films that focus on the unsolved crime (usually the murder or disappearance of one or more of the characters, or a theft), and on the central character – the hard-boiled detective-hero, as he/she meets various adventures and challenges in the cold and methodical pursuit of the criminal or the solution to the crime.
16 Disaster films, a sub-genre of action films, hit their peak in the decade of the 1970s. 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.
17 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.
18 Film noir (meaning ‘black film’) is a distinct branch of the crime/gangster sagas from the 1930s. Strictly speaking, film noir is not a genre, but rather the mood, style or tone of various American films that evolved in the 1940s, and lasted in a classic period until about 1960. 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. See this site’s special tribute to Greatest Femmes Fatales in Classic Film Noir.
19 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 counterparts 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). See also the “100 Greatest Guy Movies Ever Made” by Maxim Magazine compiled in 1998 or Men’s Journal’s 50 Best Guy Movies of All Time list compiled in 2003.
20 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 (“weeping” 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.
22 Road films have been a staple of American films from the very start, and have ranged in genres from westernscomediesgangster/crime filmsdramas, and actionadventure films. One thing they all have in common: an episodic journey on the open road (or undiscovered trail), to search for escape or to engage in a quest for some kind of goal — either a distinct destination, or the attainment of love, freedom, mobility, redemption, the finding or rediscovering of oneself, or coming-of-age (psychologically or spiritually).
23 A sub-genre for the most part, this category shares some features with romantic dramas, romantic comedies (“rom-com”), and sexual/erotic films, and have often been derogatorily called chick flicks (see above). 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. See Greatest and Most Memorable Film Kisses Scenes.
24 Films that have a sports setting (football or baseball stadium, arena, or the Olympics, etc.), event (the ‘big game,’ ‘fight,’ ‘race,’ or ‘competition’), and/or athlete (boxer, racer, surfer, etc.) that are central and predominant in the story. 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.
25 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 1930s-1960s 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 plotline 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).
26 Supernatural films, a sub-genre category, may be combined with other genres, including comedysci-fifantasy 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.
27 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. Spy films may be considered a type of thriller/suspense film.
28 Zombie Films had their origins in the earliest films within the horror genre that was about the ‘raising of the dead,’ such as the Frankenstein films, and the early German expressionistic film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920, Germ.). 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 (1932). It was the decade of the 1960s that ushered in a revolutionary new horror subgenre of zombie pics, from the “Master of the Zombie Film” himself, George A. Romero. 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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