Emflix – Part 16 – Subgenres – Classics

Link to Part 15 – Subgenres – Children and Family

Onto Classics!

Compare again Netflix’s listing of genres to mine.

Overall…’Classics’ was a tough one for me. While genre analysis is an inherently subjective task, and there’s room for disagreement in any category, ‘Classics’ are even more so because its not describing a film’s content (like Action films may contain high-octane explosions or car chases, or fight sequences), or mood (like a Thriller may evoke tension and danger to characters) — rather it’s a film’s reception. A film is a ‘Classic’ if a buncha people get together and say, “oh yeah that one’s a classic’.

I guess — I imagine a person on a desert island. You give her a complex compendium of all film genre tropes, styles, and identifiable characteristics. She could watch movies all day and then assign them genres based on these definitions. But unless she had other people around, she could never really say a film was a ‘Classic.’

But on the other hand — in actual practice, I found that the vast vast majorities of films placed into the ‘Classic’ genre by Netflix were really just “old exemplars”. Here’s how to be a Horror Classic — be a Horror film from a long time ago. So is the ‘Classic’ genre really just functioning as a limiting the films by year? Maybe…


Here are my subgenres for said category with asterisks for ones I’ll be discussing below

  • Action Classics*
  • Classic Comedies
  • Classic Dramas
  • Classic Epics*
  • Classic Movie Musicals*
  • Classic Sci-Fi and Fantasy
  • Classic Thrillers
  • Classic War Stories
  • Classic Westerns
  • Family Classics*
  • Film Noir
  • Foreign Classics
    • Foreign Classic Comedies
    • Foreign Classic Dramas
    • Foreign Silent Films
  • Horror Classics*
  • Indie Classics*
  • Romance Classics*
  • Silent Films




  • Action Classics, Classic Movie Musicals, Family Classics, Horror Classics, Indie Classics, and Romance Classics
    • Added for hybrid consistency — I was really surprised by how many terms are in the Netflix hierarchy that should be cross listed, but weren’t. Well I wouldn’t be doing that. The only exception was the subgenre, ‘Sci-Fi Cult Classics’ because I determined that that was just their term for ‘cult films’ — there was no distinction being made between a ‘regular cult film’ and a ‘classic cult film’, so I reflected that in my mapping.
  • Classic Epics
    • This was the only one requiring substantive thought from me. You’ll notice that while Netflix has ‘Epics’ as a subgenre under ‘Classics’, I have ‘Epics’ as a subgenre of ‘Drama’ and ‘Classic Epics’ as a subgenre of ‘Classics’. The problem was that not every epic is a classic epic! Their genrification has nowhere to place these non-classic epics. While I give you that epics were more popular back in the day, and Cecil B. DeMille isn’t making movies anymore — Lord of the Rings is definitely an epic, but I’ve not seen it on any Classics lists.

Link to Part 17 – Subgenres – Comedy

5 thoughts on “Emflix – Part 16 – Subgenres – Classics

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