Which type of movie do you like the most?
When you go home after a hard day of work, you just want to jump on the couch and relax. But if you’re striving for a truly relaxing and chill experience, you should also watch a movie. For decades movies have been a popular pastime. It brings you a lot of excitement and thrills, without leaving the house. Furthermore there is a huge variance in the types of movies you can watch. During the past decades numerous different kinds of genres were created, each with their own style and content. Below you’ll find an overview of some the most famous genres and their history.
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Adventure in the wild wild west
Everybody is familiar with western movies. But why are so many films related to a relatively small timeframe and one location? One could argue that it’s because the content of these types of movies is so appealing, however the truth is that for a great part the reason that westerns became so dominant is purely coincidental.
Before cinema became hugely popular, even before cinema was invented, stories about the wild west were quite well known around the world, and of course especially in the United States. Traditionally, travellers from the west would share their stories with strangers while enjoying the warmth of a campfire. After a while big eastern American newspapers started to write stories about cowboy’s and their dealings, these became hugely popular. Eventually some writers started to make up complete stories, and a new industry was born. There were even German people writing about the wild west, even though they never had been to the United States. These events took place in the late 19th century, so before the invention of cinema, stories about the wild west were already quite popular. It’s therefore not surprising that many of the first movies can be classified as westerns. Still, there were also other more practical reasons which made the western genre so successful. First of all in the early part of the 20th century, films didn’t have sound. Because westerns feature a lot of action scenes and don’t have a lot of dialogue, they were suitable for the early movie industry. Furthermore making a movie requires a lot of expensive equipment, good lights for example. However, westerns were almost always shot outside, with the use of natural light. So, this meant a huge cut in production costs. Also, westerns usually are set in the desert. There are numerous desert locations near Hollywood, which also meant cheap production costs. Even though nowadays there are numerous other genres, still the western is quite popular.
Comedy always brings a smile on your face
Comedy is another movie genre with an even greater history. In ancient Greece theatre consisted of two types; drama and comedy. So it’s apparently in accordance with human nature to want to laugh at something. During the late 16th and early 17th century, Shakespeare also wrote some brilliant comedies. It’s therefore not surprising that comedy eventually became one of the most popular forms of cinema. During the early days of comedic cinema, slapstick was the most common form. The reason being that there still was no sound, so verbal jokes were not possible. Instead a lot of crazy acrobatic tricks and pie throwing were usually to be seen. After the invention of sound films, verbal jokes became more and more the standard. Nowadays, stand-up comedians often are the stars of movies. Still they often feature a lot of crazy stunts, so you can clearly see the influences of early films.
The dramatic war movies
Birth of a nation is arguably the most popular and critically acclaimed film of the early decades of cinema. The content of the movie is quite outdated, actually it’s even racist and offensive. The heroes of this film are the klu-klux clan. However the film is still significant from a historical perspective. It’s the first war movie, and thus with the advent of this film a whole new genre was created, that would be incredibly popular and influential. Throughout the years war has been portrayed in numerous different ways. Often the explanation in the changes can be explained by actual wars that took place. For example during the second world war, most war movies that were created in the United States had a message of togetherness and unity. There were large factions within the society who didn’t want to go to war. So the government thought it was necessary that Hollywood participated in the war effort through the use of propaganda. The Roosevelt administration saw to it, that Hollywood executives produced movies in which every American citizen, no matter his or her background, worked together to fight the common enemy.
However after the Vietnam war ended, a whole different kind of war movie came into existence. Americans were severely traumatized by the events that took place in Vietnam. So, in contrast to other war films, movies like Platoon or Full Metal Jacket don’t glamourize the war experience and don’t introduce heroic characters. Instead, they provide the cinema goer with a grim and traumatizing view of war.
It will be quite interesting what future war movies will look like especially considering the failed experience of Afghanistan. What we can know for certain is that it will deliver some very enjoyable and sensational war movies!