Wikipedia:WikiProject Film/Categorization

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This is the Film Categorization Department page. Its purpose is to offer common ground for an effort to improve the general order of Category:Films and to coordinate contributions in categorizing or re-categorizing groups of articles. Another aim of this page is to come up with clear categorizing guidelines. After an initial period of reorganizing and cleaning up, this page should give priority to helping new members find their way in categorizing easily.


This project endeavors to categorize films in a simple logical manner so that anyone is able to effectively browse the large number of films here on Wikipedia. This means that clear categorization guidelines must be established. With these guidelines in place, this department can then categorize all the films in a systematic manner.

To do[edit]

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At the moment, for the sake of simplicity this section will solely deal with the categorization of individual films' articles. In other words, Category:Films, not Category:Film. The latter category is the root category of all film-related articles, and is in the process of being evaluated for possible restructuring.

The category scheme outlined below originates in the sub-root category—Category:Films—and can be thought of as a tree structure that intersects at several points. A guide to the top-level sub-categories of Category:Films is presented below; for brevity, only a selection of the broadest categories are shown.

Category:Film series
Category:Film stubs
Category:Films by country
Category:Films by genre
Category:Films by language
Category:Films by studio
Category:Films by year
Category:Lists of films
Category:Lists of films by award
Category:Upcoming films

General principles[edit]

Marking uncategorized articles[edit]

If a film has few or no categories add [[Category:Uncategorised films]] at the bottom of the article. Then add {{Uncategorized}} or {{Cat improve}} at the top of the article page to alert other editors.

Most specific categories[edit]

In general, articles and categories should be placed in the most specific applicable categories, and should not be placed directly in a "parent" category if they are already present in one of its sub-categories. For example, if an article is placed in Category:Comedy horror films, there is no need to place it in Category:Comedy films or Category:Horror films.

Note, however, that this applies only to direct placement into a "parent" category; it is normal for a category to have multiple indirect paths up to some other category higher in the tree. For example, Category:American documentary films is both a sub-category of Category:American films and a sub-category of Category:Documentary films; thus, there are two distinct paths from Category:American documentary films up to Category:Films. This is especially common when dealing with intersection categories.

Categorizing entire sub-categories[edit]

One important aspect of the "most specific" principle is that if every article in a category belongs to another category, it is sufficient to nest the categories directly, rather than double-categorizing each individual article. For example, A Nightmare on Elm Street does not need to be added to Category:Film series directly because Category:A Nightmare on Elm Street is already a sub-category of it.

Intersection categories[edit]

In many cases, articles can be categorized through several parallel classification schemes, associating them with the related countries, languages, years, and other topics. There are two general ways of applying multiple categories from these classification schemes to a particular article. The simplest, which can be sufficient for unusual combinations or small categories, is to apply each category separately. As with the aforementioned example, an American documentary film could be placed in both Category:American films and Category:Documentary films. However, this system is unwieldy as category sizes increase; thus, common combinations of multiple categories can be made explicit by creating an "intersection" sub-category for them; in this case, Category:American documentary films.

The intersection category can potentially combine an arbitrary number of elements from the overall category structure, but categories that combine two or three are more common. It is recommended, however, to follow existing combinations. For example, Year-Country films categories should not be created, unless the project decides it is wise to do so. This is not so imperative when creating an isolated category somewhere down the line, but it certainly is when this action could open the way for a big number of resulting intersections.

Following a discussion in June 2016, a consensus was reached not to create a category structure for the combination of Year-Genre, with the exception of horror films. Possible future creation of categories by year and genre should be discussed with the Film Project before creating them. In July 2017, a consensus was also reached not to create a category structure for the combination of Country-Year.

Note that the simpler system can still be used in conjunction with intersection categories to avoid the proliferation of extremely small and narrow sub-categories. For example, it may be better to place an article in both Category:Armenian films and Category:Documentary films than to create an additional Category:Armenian documentary films. A similar approach should be taken if there is no reasonable way to name a potential intersection category.

General categorization[edit]

All films can and should be categorized on at least the following criteria:

  • by year – this should be the first year of its first verifiable release (including film festival screenings). For upcoming films yet to be released, the category should be included as long as it is supported by a reliable source in the article.
  • by country – this may be somewhat contentious for international co-productions
  • by language – all silent films should be categorized under Category:Silent films, regardless of the language of their creators. In all other films, the main language only should be given, except for rare cases when the film is clearly bilingual or multilingual.
  • by studio – this is exclusively for the studio(s) that produced the film.

It has been decided by long standing consensus, that these four categories of films (Category:YYYY films, Category:XXXX films, Category:XXXX-language films, Category:XXXX studio films) are non-diffusing parent categories. The most important reasons given for this have been: their use in incategory searching, their use in the related changes function, and in relation to the category intersection proposal.

Some categorization criteria commonly used may be less easily verified, such as Category:Films by genre, where a given film may not necessarily occupy a clear genre or disagreement may exist on whether or not certain genres fit the film. As always, consensus should be canvassed.

Please keep in mind that categoriges assigned to articles by templates are NOT visible to the "incategory" search term. For this search feature to find all articles belonging to a certain category, the category has to be inserted manually at the bottom of these articles, along with the other assigned categories. This limitation of the search feature is explained in detail here: WP:TEMPLATECAT.

A more detailed grouping of categories[edit]

This attempt of grouping categories is based on the existing logic of categorizing. Please, feel free to expand it or correct it. If in doubt, please post on the discussion page.


* A category for a director's films should be created even if they have only directed one film (irrespective of whether they are likely to direct more in the future), providing that the director already has an article. Please ensure that every category you create belongs to at least one other category, otherwise, it cannot be navigated to and will be listed at Special:Uncategorizedcategories.

Category:Lists of films[edit]

For a more comprehensive grouping of lists, see Lists of films.

Practical instructions[edit]

The article should include categories at the bottom. At a minimum, year, country, language and genre categories should be included. The generic categories, among others, are listed below for browsing. If the article title begins with "The" or "A", use {{DEFAULTSORT}} at the top of the list of categories in the article.

For films that have yet to be released to the public, add Category:Upcoming films.

For example, you would add the following to the bottom of a page titled "The Movie" for an English-language American comedy film that came out in 2008:

{{DEFAULTSORT:Movie, The}}
[[Category:2008 films]]
[[Category:2000s comedy films]]
[[Category:American films]]
[[Category:English-language films]]

See also[edit]