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This booklet will establish the history of the drama genre and will give background about the genre itself today.

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The Drama Genre


By Mia Simpson

What the Drama genre includes today:

The purpose of a drama film is to emotionally move people. They depend on realistic characters and their emotional issues. Usually these characters are normal to make the film relateable to the audience.

What the Drama genre includes today:

The purpose of a drama film is to emotionally move people. They depend on realistic characters and their emotional issues. Usually these characters are normal to make the film relateable to the audience.

In the early years of film (1940s), there were pantomime-styled melodramas in silent films. The depression was usually showed in the films.

In the 1950's, there began a rise in famous dramatic actors. Some of which are still known today. For example: Marilyn Monroe, Bette Davis, Montgomery Clift and Glenn Ford.

Dramatic films usually focused on character relationships and the development of the character.

The 1960's brought politics to the drama genre with plenty of war films. Not only that but sports drama's became popular and relevant too.

In the 1970's, there was a rise in modern drama directors:

  1. Francis Ford Coppola directed the Godfather in 1972.
  2. Martin Scorsese directed Taxi Driver (1976).

Sports drama films focused on the struggle of athletes. For Example: The Longest Yard (1974).

War films were specifically based on World War II. They gave the most realistic adaption of the war of all films made so far. War films from this period are often called classic war films.


In the 1980's, the drama genre emphasised  emotional struggles with films of a strong nature and themes (like The Color Purple (1985). Often these films would portray the culture of African American history through characters and themes.

Some films (which are well-known today) were made in the drama genre with a science fiction edge.

Films like: E.T (1982), Blade Runner (1982) and The Accused (1988) were made.

During the 1990's, the drama genre became very, very popular.

The popular crime drama film Goodfellas (1990) was released.

Themes of hope were common in drama films during this decade and this was portrayed in films like Schindler's List (1993).

Popular drama films released in this decade which are still well-known today included:

  1. The drama thriller: Fight Club (1999).
  2. Race relationships were a theme in American History X(1998)
  3. The coming of age was prevalent in Good Will Hunting (1997).
  4. Comedy-drama was featured with films like As Good As It Gets (1997) and Forrest Gump (1994).

In Disney films, child-orientated dramas became key.