Documentary Film and a Feature Film - Niche Film Farm

Difference Between a Documentary Film and a Feature Film

What is Documentary Film?

A documentary is a type of film that provides a factual report and is based on a particular reality-based subject. Moreover, the main purpose of a documentary is to educate or inform the audience. It is based on reality thus it is an accurate representation of real events, situations, occasions people, and emotions. And usually uses real-life situations, people, and facts and must have a logical utility. 

It is mostly based on social issues and maintains a historical record. It can inspire its viewers to raise their voices against injustice or take action against it. They are reality-based films so, real people perform instead of professional actors. Documentaries often have narration in them as the script is written after it is filmed. The narration is done by a voice-over narrator, or a voice tells the whole situation to the audience.

What is Feature Film

A feature film is a fiction-based movie or a film that is made for entertainment purposes. It is also known by the names like a full-length or theatrical film. It is a narrative film with having long running time. Feature film can be based on a long period of time such as years or months. In this type of film script and dialogues are written first and afterward performed by professional actors. Feature films have a large-scale budget as many locations and sets are included to shoot.  

It is mostly made for entertainment purposes having fictional stories. The main aim of this film is to show the colorful world to the people in which they want to live. Story of these films is usually based on dreams and wants so some illogical elements are sometimes included in them. The time length of a feature film is generally two hours and more than it too. 

Documentary Film vs Feature Film

After understanding the documentaries and feature films separately, now we can clearly state the differences between both of them. Which is also the main aim of this blog.


Documentary is an accurate representation of real events, people, and situations

Feature film tells a fictional story, event, or narrative

It aims to educate, inform, instruct, and inspire the audience.

It aims to entertain the audience

Documentary deals with reality

It deals with fiction

Usually have a low budget

Usually have a high budget than a documentary

May have recorded actions

Always have scripted dialogues and actions

Mostly use real people and locations

It uses professional actors and sets

Shooting span of these films are less

Shooting span of feature films are long about months or year


Now we can state the clear difference between feature films and documentaries. There are too many genres of films. Makers pick the genre according to the stories and the audience’s preferences. But it is equally important to keep the trending topics, issues, and genres are kept in mind while making the film. Sometimes the storyline or the type of message from the film is viewed for deciding the genre of the film.

Feature films and documentaries are two different genres that are almost opposite to each other. The aim, Budget, type of emotion, situation, and the people included are the factors, based on which the differences between both the genres are stated.

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