America's 100 Greatest Movies
100 YEARS...100 MOVIES

AFI's 10 Top 10 Film Genres


Genre Sub-Sections
Film Genres Overview | Main Film Genres | Film Sub-Genres | Other Major Film Categories | Film Sub-Genres Types (and Hybrids)
Best Pictures - Genre Biases | Summary of Top Films by Genre | Top 100 Films by Genre | AFI's Top 10 Film Genres

The American Film Institute in Los Angeles, California, in 2008 honored America’s 10 greatest films in 10 classic film genres. The jury was asked to choose up to 10 movies per genre from a comprehensive list.

To compile the final list, AFI distributed a ballot with 500 Nominated Films (50 per genre) to a jury of over 1,500 leaders from the creative community, including film artists (directors, screenwriters, actors, editors, cinematographers), critics and historians.

AFI asked jurors to consider the following criteria in their selection process:

  • Feature-length: Narrative format typically over 60 minutes in length.
  • American film: English-language film with significant creative and/or production elements from the United States. Additionally, only films released before January 1, 2008 were considered.
  • Critical Recognition: Formal commendation in print, television, and digital media.
  • Major Award Winner: Recognition from competitive events including awards from peer groups, critics, guilds and major film festivals.
  • Popularity Over Time: This includes success at the box office, television and cable airings, and DVD/VHS sales and rentals.
  • Historical Significance: A film's mark on the history of the moving image through visionary narrative devices, technical innovation or other groundbreaking achievements.
  • Cultural Impact: A film's mark on American society in matters of style and substance.

Facts about Genres and Ballot:

  • The ballot included entries that spanned from 1915's The Birth of a Nation (Epic), to a number of 2006 films, including Cars (2006) (Animation), Children of Men (2006) (Sci-fi), The Departed (2006) (Gangster), Happy Feet (2006) (Animation) and Letters From Iwo Jima (2006) (Epic).
  • The films that were represented in more than one category included: Adam's Rib (1949) (Romantic Comedy/Courtroom Drama), The Big Heat (1953) (Gangster/Mystery), Bull Durham (1988) (Sports/Romantic Comedy), Dances With Wolves (1990) (Western/Epic), Field of Dreams (1989) (Sports/Romantic Comedy), The Godfather, Part 2 (1974) (Gangster/Epic), How the West Was Won (1962) (Western/Epic), and Jerry Maguire (1996) (Sports/Romantic Comedy).

Comments Regarding the Ballot:

  • Three major genres that weren't part of the compilations but should have been: horror films, musicals, and war films.
  • A few of the genres that were included were basically sub-genres: Romantic Comedy (a sub-genre of comedy films) and Courtroom Drama (a sub-genre of drama films). Animation is not a film genre.

(See Filmsite's Descriptions of Genres)

10 Links are to Each Genre


(Greatest Films:
Animated Films)

# 1 Film:
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

(Greatest Films:
Fantasy Films)

# 1 Film:
The Wizard of Oz (1939)

(Greatest Films:
Gangster-Crime Films)

# 1 Film:

The Godfather (1972)

(Greatest Films:
Science Fiction Films)

# 1 Film:

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

(Greatest Films:
Western Films)

# 1 Film:
The Searchers (1956)

(Greatest Films:
Sports Films)

# 1 Film:
Raging Bull (1980)

(Greatest Films:
Mystery Films)

# 1 Film:
Vertigo (1958)

(Greatest Films:
Comedy Films)

# 1 Film:
City Lights (1931)

(Greatest Films:
Courtroom Dramas)

# 1 Film:
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

(Greatest Films:
Epic Films)

# 1 Film:
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

AFI's 10 Top 10 Film Genres
Introduction | Part 1 - Animated | Part 2 - Fantasy | Part 3 - Gangster | Part 4 - Science Fiction | Part 5 - Western
Part 6 - Sports | Part 7 - Mystery | Part 8 - Romantic Comedy | Part 9 - Courtroom Drama | Part 10 - Epic

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