January 16, 2019

Infographic Breaks Down Film Genre Popularity of the Past 100 Years

Film Genre Popularity Infographic
Check out this cool look into how Film Genre Popularity has evolved over time from 1910 - 2018.

While really a recent invention in the grand scheme of things, as long as they’ve been around movies have always been a great indicator of our collective culture and consciousness.

In this insightful infographic created by Bo McCready (@BoKNowsData) we get an interactive look into the history of film genre popularity over the last 100+ years. It’s fascinating to see how genres have developed - some rising, some falling - over the years. And if you're a fan of infographics, be sure to check out these on analyzing the themes and motifs of Hitchcock and a guide to the history of French cinema.

Based on data pulled IMDB tags (which classifies genres based on information here), we can trace what genres people are interested in and respond to over time. As well as get insights into what genres are trending up (or staying consistent) here in the present day and going into the future.

Note: graph has been updated to include a toggle between varied and constant axes. Just click on the "Standardize Axis Range" at the top!

Film Genre Popularity Infographic

In this interactive version of the infographic above, you can see the top 5 movies each year when you hover your mouse over any given point in each genre. Pretty cool huh?

It's interesting to see the spikes in War and Action over time, as well as the gradual climb of Documentaries and the decline of Westerns. If anything these genres reinforce the notion that film is used by people as a way to process their lives and are a reflection on their time and place.

In the meantime, learn all the specific traits and qualities of each of the TV and Film Genres

What trends stick out to you? Any insights into film that you could take away on your next project? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.     

Your Comment

11 Comments

Scifi, comedy, crime, thriller is how Im going to describe the next project Im working on.

January 16, 2019 at 4:39PM

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Chris Hackett
Director, Director of Photography, Writer
1228

Fascinating that war films were by far at their peak during WW2. I wonder if this infographic reveals anything about the state of our collective consciousness/sub-conscious. Since films can be a vehicle for us to work through issues subconsciously, I’m curious how current events, as well as our psychological development as a society, impact the films we see. I would venture to guess that some really valuable information could be extrapolated from this.

January 17, 2019 at 12:34AM

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Interesting to see the rise of documentary, but also the sharp decline in recent years. About comedy, I feel like the last few years there are not that many big budget comedy's that really make me laugh. I loved the prime time of Jim Carrey, but also Will Ferrell. Maybe not the highest rated comedy's, but funny enough for me.

January 17, 2019 at 3:37AM

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Gerbert Floor
DP / Director / Camera / Editor
416

How come the Ballad of buster scrooge is under Musical and not a western? And also isn't Get out more of an horror than a Thriller? mmm

January 17, 2019 at 1:33PM

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People go to the movies to watch documentaries? Perhaps that's an indicator of the inability to learn through reading... For me, movies are about entertainment including the de rigeur popcorn, jaffas and relaxing ambience of a comfy seat in a large auditorium. However, I do like a good, historically correct docu-drama based on real live events. I hope they're not confusing the two in their measurement.

January 17, 2019 at 5:17PM

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Julie
81

Are you crazy? How is loving to watch documentaries an indicator of the inability to learn through reading? For instance, I love reading about WW2 and love watching documentaries on it as well for the real footage shot by real people who went through the war. This is just one example. There aren't always good books on contemporary documentaries made these days as well. So in this case documentaries allow you to learn beyond what's available in books. As someone who actively seeks knowledge, I don't understand why learning from books or any one media is superior to any other. Also why are you hoping "they're not confusing the two in their measurement?" What do you have against documentaries???

January 17, 2019 at 11:38PM

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Mika Ap
Editor
81

" Perhaps that's an indicator of the inability to learn through reading" Sorry but that makes no sense at all. There are many things that simply cannot be said better than SHOWN. One can describe a piece of art for example for 100 pages, but one good enlarged photo can do the job in an instant. It seems to me there's actually some saying... something about a picture being worth a 1000 words?

History or news as text can be great, but it's always a few steps away from experience. Sometimes that's good, especially for deeper analysis. But often seeing it and hearing it a more direct conduit.

January 22, 2019 at 8:56AM

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Douglas Bowker
Animation, Video, Motion-Graphics
354

Amazing work! However, is anyone wondering why there is no chart for, let's say, "drama" and "melodrama"? These are tags frequently used in IMDB, especially "drama". Any thoughts?

January 18, 2019 at 3:17PM, Edited January 18, 3:18PM

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Ruth Yuste
Instructor | Researcher
81

I call the categories BS when the reason why Fantasy has an all-time spike due to Disney's Beauty and the Beast in 1991, or years before with hits like The 10 Commandments and Brigadoon? Seriously? Or Furious 7 being in the Thriller category? Or how about The Blob being billed as Sci-Fi in 1958 and not the obvious Horror genre which is what it was billed as?

Almost none of these make any real sense in terms of how they were actually presented or received at the time.

January 22, 2019 at 8:51AM

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Douglas Bowker
Animation, Video, Motion-Graphics
354

While a super-cool utility, and one that brought this site to my attention, I'm having an issue with categorization; discovering many of the films appear on multiple lists. Some make sense, like "Blazing Saddles" as Comedy/Western and "Ghostbusters" in Action/Comedy, and "Dawn of the Dead" as both Horror/Thriller. But 1986's not-really-scary "Little Shop of Horrors" is Musical/Horror? The "Star Wars" series, full of tropes that identify it as science fiction, is under Action/Fantasy but not Sci-Fi , while "Superman" and the "Star Trek" films are. Strangely, "Deep Impact" is listed as Romance.

But I suppose it's all subjective. I'd have liked to have seen Animation broken out into its own category for additional comparison.

January 23, 2019 at 5:05PM

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Shawn Crosby
Actor, Host/Presenter/MC, Prop/Costume Designer, Volunteer
74

Darn now I have to reconsider that musical about cowboys going to war.

June 3, 2019 at 8:25AM

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