Favorite Movies by Genre

Tags: 
  • Action/Adventure: Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • Apocalyptic: Delicatessen
  • Children's Film, Non-Animated: Mary Poppins
  • Children's Film, Hand-Animated: Beauty and the Beast
  • Children's Film, Computer-Animated: Toy Story
  • Comedy, Light: Groundhog Day
  • Comedy, Medium: A Fish Called Wanda
  • Comedy, Dark: Brazil
  • Crime, Con: The Sting
  • Crime, Guns: L.A. Confidential
  • Crime, No Guns: Zero Effect
  • Documentary: Hoop Dreams
  • Foreign (not U.S.): Raise the Red Lantern
  • Gangster: Goodfellas
  • Guilty Pleasure: The Fifth Element
  • Horror, Funny: Scream
  • Horror, Scary: The Blair Witch Project
  • Mystery: The Thin Man
  • Musical: Singing in the Rain
  • Period Piece: Shakespeare in Love
  • Plot Number One: Jaws
  • Science Fiction: Aliens
  • Shakespeare, Unorthodox: Ran
  • Shakespeare, Orthodox: Henry V
  • Tear Jerker: Truly, Madly, Deeply
  • War, Pre-WWI: Braveheart
  • War, WWI and beyond: Grave of the Fireflies
Author Comments: 

[Raise the Red Lantern makes a reappearance here because I briefly toyed with making U.S. and non-U.S. versions of this list, but then I realized I haven't seen enough foreign films to flesh it out. RtRL fell through the cracks in the shuffling.]

Yes, I cheated a little bit by splitting genres. How else could I pick just one?

Thanks to bertie, bitterms, lbangs and UncRoger for setting the precedent.

Heartfelt congratulations on filling your Tear Jerker slot. Was it a shoo-in, or could you think of several? - if several, I demand to know them.

I may filch one or two of your genre ideas too.

When I noticed nobody else could fill the "Tear Jerker" slot, I started to think about it. I couldn't come up with anything off the top of my head (except Steel Magnolias), so I looked at movies we own, and it leapt out at me. "Of course!" And I didn't give it any more thought. Great movie. Have you seen it?

Once I had figured out my "Tear Jerker", I needed to fill in the rest of the list, which was harder. :)

Raise the Red Lantern is my favorite foreign film as well! What a well-done dramatic movie! And excellent visuals.

Yeah, I am always impressed by it. Have you seen other Zhang Yimou films? Of the ones I've seen, this is my list in order of preference:


  1. Raise the Red Lantern
  2. To Live
  3. Ju Dou
  4. The Story of Qiu Ju
  5. Shanghai Triad

While I would recommend them all, I do think the first 3 are considerably better than the last 2. But I don't really have any well-articulated reasons for believing that. And I'd have to see Ju Dou and To Live again to decide which one I preferred.

Jim, I feel honored that you have seen fit to elevate Plot Number One to genre status. When I get around to adding to my own FbG list you'll see my choice for the slot.

Yeah, I have to update my choice for that one, though. Got caught by the recency effect in choosing Deep Blue Sea. Switching it to Jaws. Looking forward to seeing your choice!

I think you may be stretching the limits of what qualifies as a "hand-animated" film. "Beauty and the Beast" does have some computer-generated sequences.

Yeah, you have a point. But "Not Entirely Computer Animated" is too cumbersome a genre for me. Besides, except for the ballroom scene, it feels hand-animated.

I'd be curious to see your favorites-by-genre list, Dave.

Great list, Jim. I've made a copy of it and hope to put my own answers up as my very first list. Here's another Genres to think about: Modern Adaptation of a Shakespeare Work.

Thanks! Looking forward to seeing your version. I've made the recommended Shakespeare addition (sort of).

Much as I like your list, Jim, I have to protest that "Black & White" is definitely not a genre in the intended sense.

Interesting. Why not? Or rather, what is the intended sense? To make sure I wasn't completely misusing the word, I grabbed this . . .

Genre Gen"re, n. Kind; genus; class; form; style, esp. in literature.

. . . from the Hypertext Webster Gateway, and it seems okay by that rather broad definition.

Sure, "Black & White" is a genre in the sense of 'kind', but it's an extremely broad kind in that there are two kinds of movie, B&W and Color. The intended sense is one that includes genres that, by their very names, tell us something about the content of things that are of those genres. Get it? "B&W" tells us nothing about content.

Plot Number One being exceptional, of course. But that's just because not many people know what it means - yet.

Actually, based on your definition, Plot Number One is not an exception, as it is quite specific in regards to content. And I link to the definition, so its relative obscurity is addressed.

Perhaps, although I thought by splitting B&W into "classic" and "modern" I did provide a hint as to content. I define "B&W classic" as movies where color was not an option, so not only have I narrowed the field by medium, but by date. Still, could be comedy, drama, whatever, so I see your point.

Therefore, I might take the out that you have given me. I assume that "B&W, Comedy" is a genre? If so, you've given me a ton of genre-splits I can do, expanding my list! BWAA-HA-HA!

I'll have to think about it. I might leave it the way it is, just 'cause I like the distinction between B&W as a mandatory medium, and as an artistic choice.

We'll have to agree to disagree on the legitimacy of "Black & White" as a genre. Genre is all about content within a medium, Jim, so it makes no sense to pretend that media are genres in the sense of 'kinds of content'.

Come on, you wusses - who agrees with me and who with Jim?

Let's not agree to disagree quite yet . . . What if I'd just said "Classic" instead of "Black & White, Classic." Would you have had the same issues? If not, why?

Not the very same issues, of course, but I'd ask you to define your Classic/Modern distinction (as I asked our new friend and genre-meister, bufdet), and, come to think of it, to explain its relevence. 'Official' lists of the greatest movies ever made don't discriminate on grounds of a movie's age, so why should a FbG list do so?

Can't you just let me flit about aimlessly without demanding so must thought and precision on my part? "I know a classic when I see it." :-)

I would have to say a movie is a classic if it's 20 years or older.

Meanwhile, I am strongly considering ditching B&W as a genre. I'll have to figure out where to put Dr. Strangelove though.

Sorry, Jim, don't mean to be a pain - it's my training in philosophy that makes me a bit pedantic sometimes. When you do philosophy at uni, your instructor is liable to jump from a great height on the slightest contradiction or illogicality in your essays. Rigorous thinking is extremely important to philosophers.

But, hey, if you catch me out in sloppy thinking (as you already have once or twice) you can take pleasure in jumping on it from a great height - but don't forget your parachute.

You're not a pain. Actually, I appreciate you keeping me honest. Otherwise I start thinking lazily.

I like the list but I believe that there should be several more slots for best foreign films. Cinema outside of the States does not get enough respect.

Agreed. I haven't seen enough non-American films to feel I can make a truly educated choice in more genres, but I'll give it a shot. Give me a couple days.

Actually, if I'm feeling up to the challenge, what would you think if I split this list into "FbG, American" and "FbG, Non-American" (same genres on each). Would you view it negatively, thinking that I mean the non-American films can't compete (I don't think that), or positively, in that they get equal billing genre-by-genre?

For that matter, what do the rest of you think of this . . . More slots, or a separate list?

I think a seperate list is an excellent idea

I had to ditch the separate list. I'm not well-viewed enough. I'll try to add more slots here, where appropriate.

Reverse discrimination comes to TL. Bring it on :-)

I'm curious, what's your favorite pre-Godfather gangster flick?

I've been thinking about this, but I don't know if I've seen any! I think I must be blocking. Name some for me? Something to break the ice . . .