What is genre?

The term 'genre' comes from the French word for 'type'.

In film and other forms of storytelling the word genre is used to describe the type of story being told.

Avengers: Age of Ultron movie poster

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) is an example of the superhero genre.

It is important to remember that genre refers to the type of story being told and not the style used to tell it.

Science fiction is a genre but although it might be filmed in black and white, this does not count as a separate genre.

Animation is also not a genre in its own right, it is simply a technique used to make films.

The animated film The Iron Giant (1999) should be described first and foremost as a science fiction film as its plot features aliens, giant robots and other sci-fi elements.

In GCSE Moving Image Arts you will be expected to know the characteristics of the following genres:

  • Horror
  • Western
  • Action/Adventure
  • Romantic comedy
  • Science fiction
  • Crime

You are probably already generally familiar with each of those genres but it is useful to think about how and why a film fits into a certain genre.

It also helps to think about specific examples you may have seen.