Film vs Movie – Difference Between Film and Movie

Film vs Movie – Difference Between Film and Movie

A film is an artistic attempt to explore a subject or topic that usually reaches far beyond itself whereas a movie is designed purely to entertain and deliver precisely what an audience expects of it.

Today we’re going to explore the difference between film and movie in extensive detail, or that is to say, we’re going to look very closely at the meaning of the two words. This might seem like a slightly confusing subject at first, especially when you’re likely to hear both of these words getting used as part of very similar sentences. But there are definitely some key areas that set movie vs film apart.

We’ll give you a detailed rundown of the exact definition of each word and provide you with a quick reference table so that you can come back here at any point for a fast “refresher” on the film and movie difference. Let’s dive further into the film vs movie debate and try to make a little more sense of it all!

Definition of Film – What Does Film Mean?

The definition of film is, “Any story or event that has been recorded by a cameraman as a series of moving images that is shown on a television or in a cinema.”

So, when we watch something on our television or at the cinema, what we’re seeing is a series of pictures that have been combined together at high speed and placed onto a physical piece of film. This gives the illusion of “motion” (hence the description “motion picture”).

Film is the name of the material that the moving images are placed onto. Before we look further into the word itself, first consider another definition that we can use to set film vs movie apart: “A flexible piece of plastic, or other material, specially coated for exposure in a camera. Used to produce photographs or motion pictures.”

As you can see, when we say “film,” we’re describing a tool as opposed to a piece of entertainment or genre. This tool (a plastic film) is used to create something that we see on our screen. A “film” isn’t a “movie,” though many believe it is.

When we consider the technical definition of the word film, it relates to something extremely specific. As we’ll soon cover, the word movie is a very “open-ended” word that can have several meanings. Film, on the other hand, is a very factual and precise word that only has one direct meaning.

Those working in the film industry or those who write about the film industry typically prefer to use the word “film” when they talk about a motion picture. This is because it is considered to have a more “professional” sound and meaning than the word “movie.”

Given that the definition and use of the word film is intended to be both professional and precise, it probably comes as no surprise that it is often closely linked with motion pictures that are designed to be factual in nature (like a biography) or that carry an educational or “deep” message (think of a high calibre drama like the film “Good Will Hunting”).

Before we take a look at the word movie and consider how movie vs film vary further from one another, you might find it easier to sum up the difference between movie and film at this stage with the simple phrase that one word (film) is “serious” and one (movie) is “fun.”

Definition of Movie – What Does Movie Mean?

The definition of movie is, “A film shown either on a television or in a cinema that is designed to tell a story and entertain.”

Movie is a word used to describe a popular type of film that is often of a commercial or “fun” nature.

Though it’s very easy to understand why people use the movie vs film interchangeably as though they are exactly the same, after reading the last section, you already know that the word “film” is typically used to describe certain motion picture types, and it’s usually used mainly by industry professionals.

So, if that’s the case, what is the exact film and movie difference? To decipher their variations further, let’s first consider another commonly accepted alternative definition for movie: “Motion pictures as a genre of art or entertainment.”

And it’s this second definition that gives us our primary difference between movie and film. A film produced mainly for the cinema for entertainment purposes is typically referred to as a movie.

In a way, a film is a format used to create something. It is little like a canvas is used to paint a picture. However, a movie is something that has been created using that canvas. In this instance, the canvas is a film. This is the primary movie and film difference.

Another movie and film difference is that those working in the film industry typically use the word to help establish the serious nature of a motion picture, the word movie is often used by those outside of the industry (movie goers and cinema fans) to describe films that have been created purely for entertainment.

The difference between film and movie is very subtle, but professionals like to use the word film to make people aware that what they’re watching is supposed to be taken seriously and to an extent, they would probably prefer that their motion picture was referred to as a film accordingly if its tone is serious or touches on a delicate or meaningful subject.

However, the general population, and even some film directors themselves, use “movie” to make you aware that their film has been made purely “for fun.”

Movies are associated with being produced as a means of making money by entertaining millions of people either in the cinema or at home. Films, on the other hand, are usually designed to educate you or make you think. That’s typically their primary objective.

One is an artistic statement and one is a piece of entertainment. Or at least, that’s probably how professional actors and film directors would like you to view their work if they use either of the two words!

In reality, a film can be entertaining and a movie can be educational. But it’s the way you think about a motion picture before watching it depending on which word is used that’s supposed to help you to understand more about its nature.

What Is Main the Difference Between Movie and Film?

We’ve created a quick reference table to make it easier for you to understand the difference between film and movie without having to read the entire article every time you come back for help.

Basis of Comparison Film Movie
How they often get used For “serious” motion picturesFor “entertaining” or “light-hearted” motion pictures
Often used by Film industry professionals or those writing about the industryFilm fans or the general population
Usual intended purpose To educate and inform people or provoke serious thoughtTo entertain people and generate money
Genre examples Independent films, biographical films, documentaries, historical films Scream fests, superhero movies, sci-fi, chick flicks
Location-specific differences Used more in non-English speaking European countries Used more by Americans and non-native English speakers
Popular title examples Saving Private Ryan, The Pianist, Rain Man Guardians of the Galaxy, Star Wars, Airplane

Though the two can certainly cross over from time to time, the above differences typically remain consistent.

We’re now going to provide you with an FAQ to separate the film movie difference further so that by the time you’ve read through to the end of our post today, you’ll have every question about these two motion picture formats thoroughly answered.

Film and Movie Difference – FAQ

Here are the most commonly asked questions about movies vs films.

Can you tell me the difference between a film and a movie from a directors perspective?

A director who has created a serious motion picture that touches on sensitive, meaningful subjects will likely refer to their motion picture as a film and would probably like their audience to do the same.

If a director has created a motion picture purely to entertain audiences without there being much deep or intricate thought required, however, it’s likely that they will refer to their motion picture as a movie instead.

So, what is the difference between film and movie at the cinema?

A movie has usually been designed to generate as much cinema and home video sale revenue as possible purely through entertaining mass audiences, whereas a film is used to explore meaningful subjects and isn’t likely to appeal to as many people or generate as much revenue as a movie.

Can you sum up the movie film difference in one word?

If you wanted to use one word to describe a movie or film, then a movie would be described as “fun” and a film would be described as “serious.”

So What Is Film and Movie? – Conclusion

Finally, for those who came here today pondering over the question, “What is the difference between movie and film?” You should now be equipped with everything you need to effectively summarize and separate them.

Though the two words absolutely can and do get used as part of very similar sentences, in summary, their intended use and how their intended use is supposed to change your outlook on a motion picture are very different.

Don’t forget, any time you find yourself at a loss, take a quick look at the table in the last section and remember: “A film usually requires a lot of thought to understand, whereas a movie often requires very little to enjoy.” And with that, it’s time for you to go and enjoy your next blockbuster!