“Drama” can be defined as a category of narrative film intended to be more serious than humorous in tone, however, drama is often qualified with additional genre-defining terms that specify its particular sub-genre.

List of Approved Movies

Created by Dr. Nathan Pritts and Dr. James Meetze (2020)


Throughout this class, you will be able to select a film to use as the basis for your analysis. This is a list of approved choices.


NOTE: If you would like to write about a film that is not on this list, you must email your professor in advance. If you write about an unapproved film option in this class you may not receive credit.


Many of the films on these lists are sourced from the Ten AFI Top 10 lists, where you will find additional information and resources. Please note, though, that the different AFI Top 10 lists include films that are not approved.




“Drama” can be defined as a category of narrative film intended to be more serious than humorous in tone, however, drama is often qualified with additional genre-defining terms that specify its particular sub-genre.


Film Year
Imitation of Life 1959
Shadows 1959
A Raisin in the Sun 1961
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner 1967
Wanda 1970
Do the Right Thing 1989
Boyz N the Hood 1991
Daughters of the Dust 1991
Mississippi Masala 1991
Winter’s Bone 2010
Dear White People 2014
Chi-Raq 2015
Tangerine 2015
Moonlight 2016
Beatriz at Dinner 2017
The Hate U Give 2018
Blindspotting 2018
If Beale Street Could Talk 2018
Clemency 2019



Biographical Drama

A “biographical drama” is a film that dramatizes the life of a non-fictional or historically-based person or group of people.

Film Year
Malcom X 1992
Milk 2008
Fruitvale Station 2013
Dallas Buyers Club 2013
12 Years a Slave 2013
The Wolf of Wall Street 2013
Selma 2014
Hidden Figures 2016
Loving 2016
BlacKkKlansman 2018
Harriet 2019


Courtroom drama

AFI defines “courtroom drama” as a genre of film in which a system of justice plays a critical role in the film’s narrative.

Film Year
To Kill a Mockingbird 1962
12 Angry Men 1957
Kramer vs. Kramer 1979
The Verdict 1982
A Few Good Men 1992
Witness for the Prosecution 1957
Anatomy of a Murder 1959
In Cold Blood 1967
A Cry in the Dark (Evil Angels) 1988
Judgment at Nuremberg 1961
Just Mercy 2019



AFI defines “epic” as a genre of large-scale films set in a cinematic interpretation of the past.

Film Year
Lawrence of Arabia 1962
Ben-Hur 1959
Schindler’s List 1993
Gone with the Wind 1939
Spartacus 1960
Titanic 1997
All Quiet on the Western Front 1930
Saving Private Ryan 1998
Reds 1981
The Ten Commandments 1956


AFI defines “fantasy” as a genre in which live-action characters inhabit imagined settings and/or experience situations that transcend the rules of the natural world.

Film Year
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring 2001
It’s a Wonderful Life 1946
King Kong 1933
Miracle on 34th Street 1947
Field of Dreams 1989
Harvey 1950
Groundhog Day 1993
The Thief of Bagdad 1924
Big 1988


AFI defines the “Gangster film” as a genre that centers on organized crime or maverick criminals in a modern setting.

Film Year
The Godfather 1972
Goodfellas 1990
The Godfather Part II 1974
White Heat 1949
Bonnie and Clyde 1967
Scarface 1932
Pulp Fiction 1994
The Public Enemy 1931
Little Caesar 1931
Scarface 1983


AFI defines “mystery” as a genre that revolves around the solution of a crime.

Film Year
Vertigo 1958
Chinatown 1974
Rear Window 1954
Laura 1944
The Third Man 1949
The Maltese Falcon 1941
North by Northwest 1959
Blue Velvet 1986
Dial M for Murder 1954
The Usual Suspects 1995

Romantic comedy

AFI defines “romantic comedy” as a genre in which the development of a romance leads to comic situations.

Film Year
City Lights 1931
Annie Hall 1977
It Happened One Night 1934
Roman Holiday 1953
The Philadelphia Story 1940
When Harry Met Sally… 1989
Adam’s Rib 1949
Moonstruck 1987
Harold and Maude 1971
Sleepless in Seattle 1993

Science fiction

AFI defines “science fiction” as a genre that marries a scientific or technological premise with imaginative speculation.

Film Year
2001: A Space Odyssey 1968
Star Wars 1977
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial 1982
A Clockwork Orange 1971
The Day the Earth Stood Still 1951
Blade Runner 1982
Alien 1979
Terminator 2: Judgment Day 1991
Invasion of the Body Snatchers 1956
Back to the Future 1985


AFI defines “sports” as a genre of films with protagonists who play athletics or other games of competition.

Film Year
Raging Bull 1980
Rocky 1976
The Pride of the Yankees 1942
Hoosiers 1986
Bull Durham 1988
The Hustler 1961
Caddyshack 1980
Breaking Away 1979
Race 2016
Jerry Maguire 1996


AFI defines “western” as a genre of films set in the American West that embodies the spirit, the struggle, and the demise of the new frontier.

Film Year
The Searchers 1956
High Noon 1952
Shane 1953
Unforgiven 1992
Red River 1948
The Wild Bunch 1969
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid 1969
McCabe & Mrs. Miller 1971
Stagecoach 1939
Cat Ballou 1965



The “horror” genre includes films that seek to elicit fear for entertainment purposes.

Film Year
Psycho 1960
Jaws 1975
The Exorcist 1973
The Silence of the Lambs 1991
Rosemary’s Baby 1968
The Night of the Hunter 1955
The Shining 1980
The Babadook 2014
It Follows 2014
Get Out 2017
Us 2019

Is this part of your assignment? Get trusted writers to serve you on on your task
Our experts will take care of your task no matter the deadline!
Use the following coupon

Order Now