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
Flicks (or flickers)
The silver screen (talkie era); the silver sheet (silent era)
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.
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
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
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
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"
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
Intertitle – prior to the days of sound film, intertitles (cards with text inserted into the scene) represented dialogue or descriptive/narrative material
Motion Picture Patents Company
Zoetrope – one of several pre-film animation devices which produced the illusion of movement, most popular in the mid- to late 1800s
General film concepts
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".
American Film Institute
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
List of film production companies
List of film production companies by country
List of film distributors by country
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
Amazon MGM 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
Famous film producers
Notable film producers
David O. Selznick
Notable film and television directors
Joel and Ethan Coen
Francis Ford Coppola
Pier Paolo Pasolini
Lon Chaney, Sr.
Olivia de Havilland
Douglas Fairbanks, Sr.
Laurel and Hardy
Edward G. Robinson
The Three Stooges
List of film festivals
List of motion picture production equipment
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
Rottentomatoes.com - movie reviews, previews, forums, photos, cast info
The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) - information on current and historical films and cast listings