Types of Drama Movies

Drama movies are serious in tone, about dramatic stories full of conflict and emotionally compelling themes told through the eyes of well developed protagonists. Subtypes of drama movies include: melodrama, crime, thrillers, historical epics, romance, action and adventure, horror, science fiction, westerns, tragedy and docudrama.

Drama & Melodrama

Drama movies are character driven, explore serious and compelling themes and deliver a strong and engaging storyline. Melodrama is a more emotionally heightened drama.


Crime movies cover themes of homicide, armed robberies or other kind of crime that needs to be solved by the protagonist, or the hero of the story.


Thrillers have often intriguing characters involved in complicated and dramatic plots with unusual twists and tension enhanced by the musical score.


Historical epics are elaborate costume dramas covering past events such as wars, biblical events or that of mythical legends. These films are often long and accompanied by an epic musical score.


Romantic dramas are character driven and focus on the trials and tribulations of emotional relationships.

Action & Adventure

Action films are driven by heroic protagonists in a dramatic plot often full of spectacular high budget special effects, set within a time of crisis, large or small. Fights, wars, disasters, hostage situations or other crimes spark intense, active efforts by the protagonist to save the day.

Adventure films also contain action and special effects but tell stories of discovery, of new experiences, places or journeys found in pursuit of a goal.


Horror is a drama with a gory, blood-soaked plot intended to shock, create suspense and provoke intense fear in the viewer. Common themes are vampires, ghosts, serial killers and zombies.

Science Fiction

Science fiction movies may be as realistic as tomorrow, with stories based on science and technological developments just a step past today, or fantasy dramas that tell stories about aliens, galaxy wars, unexplained events and strange creatures. They may include extensive special effects.


Westerns are period stories about the development of the American west, often focusing on survival or battles for territory.


Tragedy films are concerned with characters who possess a fatal flaw and some tragic event ensues as a consequence of the protagonist's actions.


Docudrama uses actors to play real life characters in a dramatisation of an actual event. The film's story may or may not stay very close to the true story.

Photo Credits
  • old movie film onwhite background image by Anatoly Tiplyashin from