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Outline of film

Outline of film

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to film:

Film refers to motion pictures as individual projects and to the field in general. The name came from the fact that photographic film (also called filmstock) has historically been the primary medium for recording and displaying motion pictures.

What type of thing is film?

Film can be described as all of the following:

  • Art – aesthetic expression for presentation or performance, and the work produced from this activity.
    • One of the arts – as an art form, film is an outlet of human expression, that is usually influenced by culture and which in turn helps to change culture. Film is a physical manifestation of the internal human creative impulse.
      • One of the visual arts – visual arts is a class of art forms, including painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking and others, that focus on the creation of works which are primarily visual in nature.
      • One of the performing arts – art forms in which artists use their body, voice, or objects to convey artistic expression. Performing arts include a variety of disciplines but all take the form of a performance in front of an audience.
      • Fine art – in Western European academic traditions, fine art is art developed primarily for aesthetics, distinguishing it from applied art that also has to serve some practical function. The word "fine" here does not so much denote the quality of the artwork in question, but the purity of the discipline according to traditional Western European canons.
  • Show business – a means of providing employment for actors, screenwriters, artisans and technicians, regardless of whether the finished film was produced as a for-profit enterprise or as a not-for-profit public service.

Other names for film

  • Movies
  • Motion pictures
  • Talking pictures
  • Pictures
  • Celluloid
  • Flicks (or flickers)
  • Photoplays
  • Picture shows
  • The cinema
  • The silver screen (talkie era); the silver sheet (silent era)
  • Videos

Essence of film

  • Filmmaking – process of making a film. Filmmaking involves a number of discrete stages including an initial story, idea, or commission, through scriptwriting, casting, shooting, editing, and screening the finished product before an audience that may result in a film release and exhibition. Filmmaking is both an art and an industry. That is why they call it "show business". It's a show and a business. Films were originally recorded onto nitrate film stock which was highly flammable. After the late 1950s, polyester film was used which was shown through a movie projector onto a large screen (in other words, an analog recording process). The adoption of CGI-based special effects led to the use of digital intermediates. Most contemporary films are now fully digital through the entire process of production, distribution, and exhibition from start to finish.

Cinematic genres

Film genre

By setting

  • Biography - portrays a real-life character in his or her real-life story
  • Crime - places its character within realm of criminal activity
  • Fantasy - films set in imaginary worlds, often with a swords and sorcery theme
  • Film noir - portrays its principal characters in a nihilistic and existentialist realm or manner
  • Historical - taking place in the past
  • Science fiction - placement of characters in an alternative reality, typically in the future or in outer space
  • Sports - sporting events and locations pertaining to a given sport
  • War - battlefields and locations pertaining to a time of war
  • Westerns - colonial period to modern era of the western United States

By mood

  • Action - generally involves a moral interplay between "good" and "bad" played out through violence or physical force
  • Adventure - involving danger, risk, and/or chance, often with a high degree of fantasy
  • Comedy - intended to provoke laughter
  • Drama - mainly focuses on character development
  • Erotic - sexuality or eroticism and sex acts, including love scenes
  • Horror - intended to provoke fear in audience
  • Mystery - the progression from the unknown to the known by discovering and solving a series of clues
  • Romance - dwelling on the elements of romantic love
  • Thrillers - intended to provoke excitement and/or nervous tension into audience

By format

  • Biographical - a biopic is a film that dramatizes the life of an actual person, with varying degrees of basis in fact
  • Documentary - a factual following of an event or person to gain an understanding of a particular point or issue
  • Experimental (avant-garde) - created to test audience reaction or to expand the boundaries of film production/story exposition then generally at play
  • Musical - a film interspersed with singing by all or some of the characters
  • Silent - a film with no synchronized recorded sound, especially with no spoken dialogue

By production type

  • Live action - film using actors
  • Animation - illusion of motion by consecutive display of static images which have been created by hand or on a computer
  • Television - a film that is produced for and originally distributed by a television network

By length

  • Short - may strive to contain many of the elements of a "full-length" feature, in a shorter time-frame
  • Serial - similar to shorts, but forms a constant story arc
  • Feature film - film that is "full-length"

By age

  • 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
  • Family - intended to be attractive for people of all ages and suitable for viewing by a young audience; examples of these are Disney films
  • Teen film - intended for and aimed towards teens although some teen films, such as the High School Musical series; may also be a family film; not all of these films are suitable for all teens, as some are rated R
  • Adult film - intended to be viewed only by an adult audience, content may include violence, disturbing themes, obscene language, or explicit sexual behaviour. This includes various forms of exploitation films. Adult film may also be used as a synonym for pornographic film.

Cinema by region

History of film

History of film

  • Block booking
  • Camera obscura
  • Thomas Edison
  • Intertitle – prior to the days of sound film, intertitles (cards with text inserted into the scene) represented dialogue or descriptive/narrative material
  • Magic lantern
  • Motion Picture Patents Company
  • Phantasmagoria
  • Silent film
  • Zoetrope – one of several pre-film animation devices which produced the illusion of movement, most popular in the mid- to late 1800s
Giuseppe Zanotti Luxury Sneakers

General film concepts

Film theory

  • Academy Awards – an American awards show hosted by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences which recognizes excellence in cinematic achievement, as voted for by the academy itself. The statuettes handed out to winners are nicknamed "Oscars".
  • Actor
  • American Film Institute
  • B movie
  • Film directing
  • Film editing
  • Film studio
  • Movie projector
  • Cinematography
  • Set construction
  • Sound stage

Film formats

  • List of film formats


  • List of films by title: #, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J-K, L, M, N-O, P, Q-R, S, T, U-V-W, & X-Y-Z
  • List of years in film

Films by genre

Films by origin

  • List of films by region and country of origin

Films by setting location

  • Lists of films based on location

Films by cost

  • List of most expensive films
  • List of most expensive non-English-language films

Films by success

  • List of films considered the best
  • List of highest-grossing films
  • List of films considered the worst
  • List of Academy Award-winning films
  • Lists of box office number-one films

Films by movement

Film companies

  • List of film production companies
  • List of film production companies by country
  • List of film distributors by country

Film studios

Major film studios

Majors (Big Five)

  • Walt Disney Studios – American film studio owned by The Walt Disney Company, founded in 1923
  • Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group (a subsidiary of Sony Pictures) – American film studio owned by Sony, founded in 1924
  • Paramount Pictures (a subsidiary of Paramount Global) – American film studio owned by Paramount Global, founded in 1912
  • Universal Studios (a subsidiary of NBCUniversal) – American film studio owned by Comcast, founded in 1912
  • Warner Bros. (a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Discovery) – American film studio owned by Warner Bros. Discovery, founded in 1923


  • Lionsgate
  • Lantern Entertainment
  • MGM
  • Netflix, Inc.
  • Amazon MGM Studios
  • Apple Studios

Awards and festivals

  • List of film awards
  • List of film festivals
  • List of Academy Awards ceremonies
  • AFI 100 Years... series
  • List of Golden Globe Awards ceremonies

Notable people from the film industry

  • Show business families
  • Soundtrack composers

Film theorists

  • Rudolf Arnheim
  • André Bazin
  • Sergei Eisenstein
  • Siegfried Kracauer
  • Lev Kuleshov
  • Vsevolod Pudovkin

Famous film producers

Notable film producers

  • George Lucas
  • David O. Selznick
  • Jerry Bruckheimer

Famous directors

Notable film and television directors

  • Woody Allen
  • Robert Altman
  • Ingmar Bergman
  • Kathryn Bigelow
  • James Cameron
  • John Carpenter
  • Charles Chaplin
  • Yash Chopra
  • Joel and Ethan Coen
  • Francis Ford Coppola
  • Michael Curtiz
  • Federico Fellini
  • David Fincher
  • Victor Fleming
  • Bob Fosse
  • D.W. Griffith
  • Werner Herzog
  • Alfred Hitchcock
  • Peter Jackson
  • Alejandro Jodorowsky
  • Stanley Kubrick
  • Fritz Lang
  • David Lean
  • Sergio Leone
  • Sidney Lumet
  • David Lynch
  • Christopher Nolan
  • Pier Paolo Pasolini
  • Ken Russell
  • Martin Scorsese
  • Steven Spielberg
  • Quentin Tarantino
  • Andrei Tarkovsky
  • Billy Wilder
  • Sam Wood
  • William Wyler
  • Satyajit Ray

Famous actors

Notable actors

  • Woody Allen
  • Fred Astaire
  • Lauren Bacall
  • Amitabh Bachchan
  • Ingrid Bergman
  • Humphrey Bogart
  • Marlon Brando
  • Richard Burton
  • James Cagney
  • Lon Chaney, Sr.
  • Charles Chaplin
  • Gary Cooper
  • Julie Christie
  • Joan Crawford
  • Russell Crowe
  • Tom Cruise
  • Bette Davis
  • Daniel Day-Lewis
  • James Dean
  • Olivia de Havilland
  • Leonardo DiCaprio
  • Kirk Douglas
  • Clint Eastwood
  • Douglas Fairbanks, Sr.
  • W.C. Fields
  • Joan Fontaine
  • Clark Gable
  • Greta Garbo
  • Judy Garland
  • Dorothy Gish
  • Lillian Gish
  • Cary Grant
  • Alec Guinness
  • Gene Hackman
  • Tom Hanks
  • Audrey Hepburn
  • Katharine Hepburn
  • Charlton Heston
  • William Holden
  • Anthony Hopkins
  • Boris Karloff
  • Buster Keaton
  • Angela Lansbury
  • Laurel and Hardy
  • Christopher Lee
  • Vivien Leigh
  • Jack Lemmon
  • Peter Lorre
  • Myrna Loy
  • Fredric March
  • Walter Matthau
  • Steve McQueen
  • Marilyn Monroe
  • Michael Murphy
  • Paul Newman
  • Jack Nicholson
  • Laurence Olivier
  • Peter O'Toole
  • Al Pacino
  • Geraldine Page
  • Anthony Perkins
  • Sidney Poitier
  • Oliver Reed
  • Burt Reynolds
  • Edward G. Robinson
  • Ginger Rogers
  • James Stewart
  • Meryl Streep
  • Elizabeth Taylor
  • The Three Stooges
  • Spencer Tracy
  • Denzel Washington
  • John Wayne
  • Orson Welles
  • Shelley Winters
  • Joanne Woodward

See also

  • Film industry
  • Filmmaking
  • Independent film
  • List of film festivals
  • List of motion picture production equipment


External links

  • Movies at Curlie
  • Allmovie - information on films: actors, directors, biographies, reviews, cast and production credits, box office sales, and other movie data
  • Film Site - reviews of classic films
  • - movie reviews, previews, forums, photos, cast info
  • The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) - information on current and historical films and cast listings

Text submitted to CC-BY-SA license. Source: Outline of film by Wikipedia (Historical)