Is there a single word to denote non-animated movies?

What I have in mind is like the following:

  • Disney is okay, but I prefer ??? movies.

It should mean movies where human actors/actresses play, instead of cartoons or polygons. It has nothing to do with fantasy elements and Harry Potter is a ??? movie.

I guess real would be understood with sufficient contexts, but is there a more specific words for "acted by humans"?

  • I suggest there is none, for the same reason that we once had wrist or pocket or fob watches, but now all of those are lumped together as "analogue" and portrayed as different from "digital" I personally see the Question as disingenuous, though I see that others might accept it. How would it not serve you to divide movies into "ordinary/traditional/standard/regular…" Who could ever need a word - or more likely, a term - for 'non-animated' movies? Nov 2, 2022 at 21:31
  • @RobbieGoodwin There is a word, actually. It has been answered below, the word is "live-action". Nov 14, 2022 at 21:19
  • @deadly-nightshade666 Sorry to have to point out such a primary-school problem and still "live-action" is not a word, nor any grammatical construct that could be treated as a word. Nov 17, 2022 at 19:40
  • @RobbieGoodwin Live-action is a word. It is defined by Oxford Languages as "(in filmmaking) action involving real people or animals, as contrasted with animation or computer-generated effects." Dec 2, 2022 at 13:36
  • @deadly-nightshade666 Sorry, I forgot to ask for a specific citation in which Oxford Languages says "Live-action" is a word. Can you provide a link to a specific citation? Dec 7, 2022 at 0:14

2 Answers 2


Such movies and TV are referred to as "live-action."

live action noun

(in movies, etc.) action involving real people or animals, not models, or images that are drawn, or produced by computer:

It’s not always easy as you might think to tell the difference between live action and an animated film.

a live-action movie

Source: Cambridge Dictionary — live action

  • 8
    Welcome! This is the common term. I encourage you to include some examples that show how it answers the question, and do take a moment to tour.
    – livresque
    Oct 28, 2022 at 0:50
  • 25
    @sundowner "Live action" is the common term and has no connotations of "action as a genre". For example, all the remakes Disney is churning out recently are officially called "live action remakes"
    – No Name
    Oct 28, 2022 at 9:19
  • 10
    @sundowner, the hyphen (-) in "live-action" is significant. It indicates that "live-action" is to be understood as a single adjective in contexts where the words might be interpreted differently without. Especially, it emphasizes that "live-action movie" should be grouped as (live action) movie, not as live (action movie). Oct 28, 2022 at 15:11
  • 2
    While this answer is generally correct, it'd be improved by pointing to a definition or examples of the term being used in this way.
    – V2Blast
    Oct 28, 2022 at 16:45
  • 3
    There was some objection to the use of "live-action" as it pertained to The Lion King remake, because it was more realistic, but still largely CGI. Reading this article helps you understand what live-action is intended to mean as it pertains to animation.
    – Wyck
    Oct 28, 2022 at 20:49

You might just say I prefer movies that aren't animated, or movies with live actors.

The other sense of animated could interfere with its use to mean with cartoon characters.

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