Movie Genres

What if I told you everything you thought about movie genres is mainly for the general public? In the movie industry, among screenwriters and movie markers, there's a separate classification of genres for people behind the camera to describe the specific story structure.

The new classification of genres got introduced by an acclaimed screenwriter and teacher Blake Snyder (1957-2009), in his bestselling book "Save The Cat" in 2005.

When you learn about new genres, it can result in some flabbergasting discoveries, for example, an Action movie, Die Hard and an excellent example of a Comedy movie Home Alone, even though different "Genres" are indeed in the same "Cat Genre" described as Dude with a Problem. In the same way, Alien, a classic representation of a sci-fi horror movie and Jaws, a thriller movie, are classified as Monster in the House. All because the essential elements and the story beats are generally the same.  


"Cat Genres"

Monster in the House

First, there was a sin, and then there was a problem. You sin, and then then you let the monster into the house. The house itself doesn't have to be a building, and it can be a spaceship, a resort full of tourists. There also has to be a hero that ultimately gets killed, and there has to be someone that Blake Snyder calls a half-eaten man - a character that previously encountered the monster and barely escaped partially damaged.

Example: Alien

Golden Fleece

Golden fleece is one of the oldest types of stories ever created. If you remember the story of Odysseus well, you have the golden fleece story, you have to get a team of mighty warriors, send them on a quest somewhere to get something and drop them in a turmoil of amazing adventures and obstacles they'll have to resolve before ultimately succeeding. Sounds familiar, yes. If you've ever watched any adventure movie, you've probably already heard this story, multiple times.

Example: Lord Of The Rings

Out of the Bottle

What happens if you let the gin out of a bottle? Well, you wish you could put the gin back inside. This is an old story of Alladin, very often re-told. 

Example: Freaky Friday

Dude with a Problem

Take someone innocent, make him face a sudden problem and raise the stakes, and you have a story that can be classified as a dude with a problem. Many catastrophic and apocalyptic movies are of this type but also spy movies.

Example: Apollo 13

Rites of Passage

This category describes any coming-of-age story or about going through a difficult or specific time in someone's life.

Example: American Graffiti

Buddy Love

If you're after romantic comedies, then you know the drill. He loves him, but she doesn't love her. She realizes she loves him, but he is about to marry someone else. Then she's running across the city/airport/spaceship/galaxy. They hug and kiss, and they live happily ever after. In reality, the genre is mostly used in romcoms it is a bit wider, you need to have an incomplete hero that meets the second character that complements the first character, and there also needs to be some misunderstanding that triggers the complexity of why the two cannot be together.

Example: The Princess Bride


If you think of most criminals, their plot is organized as a whydunit. The screenplays are created to some extent in reverse order. First, there is a crime, and then we watch how a smart detective figures out how and why a specific crime got committed. 

Example: Knives Out

Fool Triumphant

Imagine a clumsy hero, that well has no reason to succeed and then against all odds this person becomes a hero and saves the World.

Example: Forrest Gump


This is a specific type of movie when the protagonist is fighting against an antagonist that is not a person but an institution. The institution can be a government, a system or an organization. 

Example: Erin Brokovich


Here with supernatural powers and a nemesis, a lethal enemy. The hero also needs to have a weak spot. 

Example: Barbie in Princess Power 

Save The Cat

Apparently the only screenwriting book you'll ever need. Well, it's not so much thue because there's couple more.

Save The Cat Goes To The Movies

Second book in the series, in which Blake Snyder analyzing 50 movies beat by beat - warrning - lots of spoilers

Save The Cat Strikes Back

Third and final book in the series published posthumously focusing more on the industry of the screenwriting and common mistakes

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