Romance film

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Tyrone Power passionately embraces Alice Faye in the 1938 film Alexander's Ragtime Band. Tyrone power alice faye ragtime6.jpg
Tyrone Power passionately embraces Alice Faye in the 1938 film Alexander's Ragtime Band .

Romance films involve romantic love stories recorded in visual media for broadcast in theatres or on television that focus on passion, emotion, and the affectionate romantic involvement of the main characters. Typically their journey through dating, courtship or marriage is featured. These films make the search for romantic love the main plot focus. Occasionally, romance lovers face obstacles such as finances, physical illness, various forms of discrimination, psychological restraints or family resistance. As in all quite strong, deep and close romantic relationships, the tensions of day-to-day life, temptations (of infidelity), and differences in compatibility enter into the plots of romantic films. [1]


Romantic films often explore the essential themes of love at first sight young and mature love, unrequited love, obsession, sentimental love, spiritual love, forbidden love, platonic love, sexual and passionate love, sacrificial love, explosive and destructive love, and tragic love. Romantic films serve as great escapes and fantasies for viewers, especially if the two leads finally overcome their difficulties, declare their love, and experience their "happily ever after", often implied by a reunion and final kiss. In romantic television series, the development of such romantic relationships may play out over many episodes or different characters may become intertwined in different romantic arcs.

Screenwriter and scholar Eric R. Williams identifies Romance Films as one of eleven super-genres in his screenwriters' taxonomy, claiming that all feature length narrative films can be classified by these super-genres. The other ten super-genres are action, crime, fantasy, horror, science fiction, comedy, sports, thriller, war and western. [2]


Poster for Gone With the Wind (1939). Poster - Gone With the Wind 01.jpg
Poster for Gone With the Wind (1939).

Chick flick

'Chick flick' is a term associated with romance films mostly targeted to a female audience. [3] [4] Although many romance films may be targeted at women, it is not a defining characteristic of a romance film and a 'chick flick' does not necessarily have a romance as a central theme, revolve around the romantic involvement of characters or even include a romantic relationship. As such, the terms cannot be used interchangeably. Films of this genre include Gilda , The Red Shoes , Sense and Sensibility , Gentlemen Prefer Blondes , Dirty Dancing , The Notebook , Dear John , A Walk to Remember, Thelma & Louise, Fifty Shades of Grey , Sleepless in Seattle , You've Got Mail and Romeo + Juliet.

Historical romance

Also known as epic romance, this is a romantic story with a historical period setting, normally with a turbulent backdrop of war, revolution, or tragedy. This includes films such as Gone with the Wind , Doctor Zhivago , Reds , Titanic , A Very Long Engagement , Atonement , and Cold War .

Paranormal romance

Paranormal romance is a popular genre of film which features romantic relationships between humans and supernatural creatures. [5] Popular tropes include vampirism, time travel, ghosts and psychic or telekinetic abilities – i.e. things that cannot be explained by science. [6] The genre originated in literature and moved on to the screen in the early 2000s, following the success of the Twilight Saga adaptations from Stephenie Meyer's books. [7] By 2007–08, film studios were producing various paranormal romance films, many adapted from novels. [7]

Examples of paranormal romance films include The Exterminating Angel , The Twilight Saga , Warm Bodies , Vampire Academy , I Am Dragon , and The Shape of Water .[ citation needed ]

Romantic comedy

Romantic comedies are films with light-hearted, humorous plotlines, centered on romantic ideals such as that true love is able to surmount most obstacles. Humour in such films tends to be of a verbal, low-key variety or situational, as opposed to slapstick. [8] Films within this genre include City Lights , A Night at the Opera , It Happened One Night , His Girl Friday , My Wife's Goblin , The Philadelphia Story , Intolerable Cruelty , Roman Holiday , Good Morning, My Dear Wife , The Big Sick , Enough Said , Lost In Translation , To All the Boys I've Loved Before , Four Weddings and a Funeral , Dave , Say Anything... , Moonstruck , In Summer We Must Love , As Good as It Gets , Something's Gotta Give , When Harry Met Sally... , Annie Hall , Manhattan , The Apartment and Pablo and Carolina .

Romantic drama

Salah Zulfikar passionately embracing Shadia in the 1965 film Dearer than my Life Salah Zulfikar&Shadia.jpg
Salah Zulfikar passionately embracing Shadia in the 1965 film Dearer than my Life

Romantic dramas usually revolve around an obstacle that prevents deep and true love between two people. Music is often employed to indicate the emotional mood, creating an atmosphere of greater insulation for the couple. The conclusion of a romantic drama typically does not indicate whether a final romantic union between the two main characters will occur.

Some examples of romantic drama films and shows before 2000 are Man's Way with Women , Casablanca , María Candelaria , Pride & Prejudice , Appointment with Happiness , Wakeful Eyes , Among the Ruins , The River of Love , Dearer than my Life , Love Story , Paris and Love , Featureless Men , Coming Home , Daughters of the Dust , Like Water for Chocolate , Sommersby , The Bridges of Madison County , The English Patient , Shakespeare in Love , Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge , An Officer and a Gentleman , Saptapadi and Cinema Paradiso .

21st century examples include Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna , Sideways , Memoirs of a Geisha , Slumdog Millionaire , Up in the Air , The Artist , Gloria Bell , and Malcolm & Marie .

Director Richard Linklater helmed the prominent Before trilogy, consisting of Before Sunrise , Before Sunset , and Before Midnight .

Kasautii Zindagii Kay is a popular Indian romantic drama television series of the 2000s.

Same-sex romantic dramas that tackle LGBT issues include Brokeback Mountain , Blue is the Warmest Colour , Carol , Moonlight , and Call Me by Your Name . [9]

Romantic fantasy

Romantic fantasies describe fantasy stories using many of the elements and conventions of the romance genre. Some examples include The Lady Eve , Top Hat , The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Les Parapluies de Cherbourg) , Singin' in the Rain , Groundhog Day , Enchanted , Cinderella , Beauty and the Beast , Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind , Midnight in Paris, Her, and The Shape of Water.

Romantic musical

Romantic musical (alternatively musical romance) is a genre of film which features romantic relationships and whose story is partially explained through song and/or dance numbers. This genre originated on Broadway and moved to the silver screen thanks in part to the popularity of the Rodgers and Hammerstein productions.

Some examples include South Pacific , West Side Story and its 2021 remake, Grease , High School Musical , Across the Universe , Moulin Rouge! , the Mamma Mia! franchise, Sunshine on Leith , and La La Land .

Romantic thriller

Romantic thriller is a genre of film which has a storyline combining elements of the romance film and the thriller genre. Some examples of romantic thriller films are Desire , To Catch a Thief , Vertigo , The Crying Game , The Bodyguard , Unfaithful , Wicker Park , The Phantom of the Opera , The Tourist , and The Adjustment Bureau . [10]

Film types, macro genres and the filmmaker's voice

The screenwriters taxonomy creates additional categories beyond "subgenre" when discussing films, making the argument that all narrative Hollywood films can be delineated into comedies or dramas (identified as a "film type"). [11] The taxonomy also identifies fifty "macro genres", which can be paired with the romance super genre. [12] Using this approach, films like Gone with the Wind (noted above) would be classified as a dramatic (type) historical/family (macro genres) romance (genre) rather than simply a historical romance; while The Notebook would be identified at dramatic (type) disease (macro genre) romance (genre) rather than simply a romantic drama. [13]

Similarly, musicals are categorized as one option for a filmmaker's "voice" because the artistic choice to have the characters sing does not affect the story or the characters – it simply alters how the story and characters are conveyed. [14] Therefore, a romance film like Grease would be categorized as a dramatic (type), romance (super genre), high school / coming of age (macro genres), musical (voice) – rather than simply as a "musical romance". [15]

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Comedy film</span> Genre of film which emphasizes humour

A comedy film is a film genre that emphasizes humor. These films are designed to amuse audiences and make them laugh. Films in this genre typically have a happy ending, with dark comedy being an exception to this rule. Comedy is one of the oldest genres in film, and it is derived from classical comedy in theatre. Some of the earliest silent films were slapstick comedies, which often relied on visual depictions, such as sight gags and pratfalls, so they could be enjoyed without requiring sound. To add drama and excitement to silent movies, live music was played in sync with the action on the screen, on pianos, organs, and other instruments. When sound films became more prevalent during the 1920s, comedy films grew in popularity, as laughter could result from both burlesque situations but also from humorous dialogue.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fantasy film</span> Film genre

Fantasy films are films that belong to the fantasy genre with fantastic themes, usually magic, supernatural events, mythology, folklore, or exotic fantasy worlds. The genre is considered a form of speculative fiction alongside science fiction films and horror films, although the genres do overlap. Fantasy films often have an element of magic, myth, wonder, escapism, and the extraordinary.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Film genre</span> Classification of films based on similarities in narrative elements

A film genre is a stylistic or thematic category for motion pictures based on similarities either in the narrative elements, aesthetic approach, or the emotional response to the film.

Romantic comedy is a subgenre of comedy and romance fiction, focusing on lighthearted, humorous plot lines centered on romantic ideas, such as how true love is able to surmount most obstacles. In a typical romantic comedy, the two lovers tend to be young, likeable, and seemingly meant for each other, yet they are kept apart by some complicating circumstance until, surmounting all obstacles, they are finally united. A fairy-tale-style happy ending is a typical feature.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Genre fiction</span> Fictional works written with the intent of fitting into a specific literary genre

Genre fiction, also known as formula fiction or popular fiction, is a term used in the book-trade for fictional works written with the intent of fitting into a specific literary genre in order to appeal to readers and fans already familiar with that genre.

Romance may refer to:

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Romance novel</span> Genre novel on the theme of romantic love

A romance novel or romantic novel is a genre fiction novel that primary focuses on the relationship and romantic love between two people, typically with an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending. Authors who have contributed to the development of this genre include Samuel Richardson, Jane Austen, and Charlotte Brontë.

A hybrid genre is a literary or film genre that blends themes and elements from two or more different genres. Works in hybrid genres are also referred to as cross-genre, multi-genre, mixed genre, or fusion genre. The Dictionary of Media and Communication describes hybrid genre as "the combination of two or more genres", which may combine elements of more than one genre and/or which may "cut across categories such as fact and fiction". Some such sub-genres have acquired their own specialised names, such as comedy drama, romantic comedy ("rom-com"), horror Western, and docudrama.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Crime film</span> Film genre

Crime films, in the broadest sense, is a film genre inspired by and analogous to the crime fiction literary genre. Films of this genre generally involve various aspects of crime and its detection. Stylistically, the genre may overlap and combine with many other genres, such as drama or gangster film, but also include comedy, and, in turn, is divided into many sub-genres, such as mystery, suspense or noir.

Urban fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy, placing supernatural elements in an approximation of a contemporary urban setting. The combination provides the writer with a platform for classic fantasy tropes, quixotic plot-elements, and unusual characters—without demanding the creation of an entire imaginary world.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Paranormal romance</span> Subgenre of romantic fiction and speculative fiction

Paranormal romance is a subgenre of both romantic fiction and speculative fiction. Paranormal romance focuses on romantic love and includes elements beyond the range of scientific explanation, from the speculative fiction genres of fantasy, science fiction, and horror. Paranormal romance range from traditional romances with a paranormal setting to stories with a science fiction or fantasy-based plot with a romantic subplot included. Romantic relationships between humans and vampires, shapeshifters, ghosts, and other entities of a fantastic or otherworldly nature are common.

Slice of life is a depiction of mundane experiences in art and entertainment. In theater, slice of life refers to naturalism, while in literary parlance it is a narrative technique in which a seemingly arbitrary sequence of events in a character's life is presented, often lacking plot development, conflict and exposition, as well as often having an open ending.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Anurag Basu</span> Indian film director

Anurag Basu (born 8 May 1974) is an Indian director, screenwriter, actor and producer. He is best known for helming films which tackle bold themes of passion, envy and adultery.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Drama (film and television)</span> Film and television genre

In film and television, drama is a category or genre of narrative fiction intended to be more serious than humorous in tone. The drama of this kind is usually qualified with additional terms that specify its particular super-genre, macro-genre, or micro-genre, such as soap opera, police crime drama, political drama, legal drama, historical drama, domestic drama, teen drama, and comedy-drama (dramedy). These terms tend to indicate a particular setting or subject matter, or they combine a drama's otherwise serious tone with elements that encourage a broader range of moods. To these ends, a primary element in a drama is the occurrence of conflict—emotional, social, or otherwise—and its resolution in the course of the storyline.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Thriller film</span> Film genre

Thriller film, also known as suspense film or suspense thriller, is a broad film genre that evokes excitement and suspense in the audience. The suspense element found in most films' plots is particularly exploited by the filmmaker in this genre. Tension is created by delaying what the audience sees as inevitable, and is built through situations that are menacing or where escape seems impossible.

A romantic thriller is a narrative that involves elements of the romance and thriller genres. A good thriller provides entertainment by making viewers uncomfortable with moments of suspense, or the heightened feeling of anxiety and fright. A thriller is more a familiar concept and description than a pure genre. A typical genre can vary from comedy and melodrama to adventure and romance. All thrillers are a combination of different genres. The basic thriller trait of suspense fits with some genres better than others. For example, crime, sci-fi and romance allow more scope for suspense than screwball comedies or musicals do.

A bromantic comedy is a comedy film genre that takes the formula of the typical "romantic comedy" but focuses on close male friendships.

Inspired by the biological classification system of the Linnaean taxonomy, screenwriter Eric R. Williams developed the Screenwriters Taxonomy in 2017 to create a common language of creative collaboration for filmmakers. Williams’ central thesis in The Screenwriters Taxonomy: A Roadmap to Collaborative Storytelling is that the term “genre” is used so broadly to describe films that the modern use of the word has become meaningless. The Screenwriter's Taxonomy proposes seven categories for discussing the creative process of telling cinematic stories.

  1. Type
  2. Super Genre
  3. Macrogenres
  4. Microgenres
  5. Voice
  6. Pathway
  7. Point of View


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  7. 1 2 Crawford, Joseph. (2014). The twilight of the Gothic. Vampire fiction and the rise of the paranormal romance. University of Wales Press. ISBN   978-1-78316-064-8. OCLC   894201495.
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  10. "Wicker Park (2004)". AllRovi. Archived from the original on 27 October 2011. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
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  14. Williams, Eric R. (2018). "Episode #24: Filmmaker's Voice and Audience Choice". In How to View and Appreciate Great Movies. The Great Courses / Audible.
  15. Williams, Eric R. (2019). "Episode #6: Voices: Though the Stars Walk Backward." In Falling in Love with Romance Movies. Audible Original.