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The Movie Glossary


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Crime: places its character within realm of criminal activity, or within organizations attempting to prevent said activity (or sometimes both). (Example: The Godfather)


Fantasy: speculative fiction outside reality (i.e. myth, legend). (Example: The Wizard of Oz)


Film noir: portrays its principal characters in a nihilistic and existentialist realm or manner. (Example: The Big Combo)


Historical: taking place in the past amidst notable historical circumstances. (Example: The Four Feathers)


Science fiction: defined by the effects of speculative (not yet existing) technology (i.e. future space travel, cyberpunk, time travel). (Example: Star Wars)


Sports: sporting events and locations pertaining to a given sport. (Example: Hoosiers)


War: battlefields and locations pertaining to a time of war. (Example: Apocalypse Now)


Westerns: wilderness on the verge of civilization, usually in the American West. (Example: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly)


Action: generally involves a moral interplay between "good" and "bad" played out through violence and/or physical force. (Example: Bullitt)


Adventure: involving danger, risk, and/or chance, often with a high degree of fantasy. (Example: Raiders of the Lost Ark)


Comedy: intended to provoke laughter. (Example: Some Like It Hot)


Drama: depends mostly on in-depth character development, interaction, and highly emotional themes. (Example: Citizen Kane)


Horror: intended to provoke fear and/or revulsion in the audience. (Example: Night of the Living Dead)


Mystery: not understanding in full the plot of the movie until the end. (Example: The Maltese Falcon)


Romance: dwelling on the elements of romantic love. (Example: Casablanca)


Thrillers: intended to provoke excitement and/or nervous tension into the audience. (Example: Fatal Attraction)


Biography: also known as "biopic", a format that tells the story of a historic figure or a story about real people. This genre is arguably the most controversial, because the majority of biopics show fictionalized events. (Example: Cleopatra)


Documentary: a genre that films reality. (Example: Nanook of the North)


Musical: songs are sung by the characters and interwoven into the narrative. (Example: Singin' in the Rain)


Children's film: films for young children; as opposed to a family film, no special effort is made to make the film attractive for other audiences. (Example: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs)


Family film: intended to be attractive for people of all ages and suitable for viewing by a young audience. (Example: Mary Poppins)


Pornographic film: motion pictures that depict sexual intercourse and/or other sexual acts, typically for the purpose of sexual arousal in the viewer. This genre is almost as old as film itself. (Example: Deep Throat)


Production Code (also known as the Hays Code): this was the set of industry censorship guidelines governing the production of motion pictures released in America. (Example of a Code film: It's a Wonderful Life)


Pre-Code film: a film released before the MPAA Production Code Administration. (Example: Baby Face)


Epic film: a film genre typically featuring expensive production values, a long running time, and dramatic themes. (Example: War and Peace)


Animation: the rapid display of a sequence of artwork or model positions in order to create an illusion of movement. (Example: Cinderella)


Live action: the most common format of films. (Example: Gone with the Wind)


NOTE: This glossary is EXTREMELY incomplete. Please contribute to the glossary! :)


Message was edited by: Metropolisforever


Message was edited by: Metropolisforever


Message was edited by: Metropolisforever

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