Drama film

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A drama film is a film genre that depends mostly on in-depth development of realistic characters dealing with emotional themes. Dramatic themes such as alcoholism, drug addiction, racial prejudice, religious intolerance, poverty, crime and corruption put the characters in conflict with themselves, others, society and even natural phenomena.[1]

This film genre can be contrasted with an action film, which relies on fast-paced action and physical conflict, but superficial character development.[2] All film genres can include dramatic elements, but typically, films considered drama films focus mainly on the drama of the main issue.

Some well-known drama films include Citizen Kane (1941), The Godfather (1972), E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Forrest Gump (1994) and The Shawshank Redemption (1994).[3]

Drama films have been nominated frequently for the Academy Award (particularly Best Picture) - more than any other film genre.



Dramatic films include a very large spectrum of film genres. Because of the large number of drama films, these movies have been sub-categorized:

  • Crime drama and Legal drama - Character development based on themes involving criminals, law enforcement and the legal system.
  • Historical drama (epic) (including War drama) - Films that focus on dramatic events in history.
  • Docudrama: the difference between a docudrama and a documentary is that in a documentary it uses real people to describe history or current events; in a docudrama it uses professionally trained actors to play the roles in the current event, that is "dramatized" a bit. Not to be confused with docufiction.
  • Comedy-drama: is in which there is an equal, or nearly equal balance of humor and serious content.
  • Melodrama: a sub-type of drama films that uses plots that appeal to the heightened emotions of the audience. Melodramatic plots often deal with "crises of human emotion, failed romance or friendship, strained familial situations, tragedy, illness, neuroses, or emotional and physical hardship." Film critics sometimes use the term "pejoratively to connote an unrealistic, pathos-filled, campy tale of romance or domestic situations with stereotypical characters (often including a central female character) that would directly appeal to feminine audiences."[4] Also called "women's movies", "weepies", tearjerkers, or "chick flicks". If they are targeted to a male audience, then they are called "guy cry" films.
  • Romance: a sub-type of dramatic film which dwells on the elements of romantic love.
  • Tragedy: a drama in which a character's downfall is caused by a flaw in their character or by a major error in judgment.

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