A film is considered a feature film if it has a running length that is considered long enough to be the main part of an entertainment program. So although the term feature film sounds like it should mean blockbuster, the real definition is that it should be long enough to be shown in a movie theatre as the main attraction.

If you have ever wondered what is a feature film (and what are the best upcoming feature films in 2021) you probably have an idea that a feature film should be one of the must see films of the year.

However according to many film organizations such as the American Film Institute, the British Film Institute and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, it’s all about the movie’s run time. The minimum length of a feature film is set at 40 minutes. However the Screen Actors Guild stipulates that a feature film should be longer than 75 minutes which is more in line with public expectations today.

So what is a feature film (and what are the best upcoming feature films in 2021)?

The name feature film dates back to the early days of cinema when a variety of films were shown on the same bill and the feature film was the main attraction. Back in the early part of the 20th century, the main feature was often a documentary or a sporting event such as a boxing match rather than a drama.

This all changed in 1906 with the first dramatic feature film in the world. This was The Story of the Kelly Gang which recounted the story of famous Australian Bushwacker Ned Kelly and was released in 1906.

Elsewhere dramatic feature length films started to be released across Europe, the UK and Russia with the American film making industry becoming more dominant from 1912 onwards.

Today the COVID pandemic has changed the film landscape with many films going straight to the home digital format rather than being released in the movie theatres.

If you are wondering what is a feature film (and what are the best upcoming feature films in 2021), it is hard to make predictions. However there are some big features coming up this year especially from the franchises. Here are four of the best.

No Time To Die is the latest Bond movie and although it was scheduled from release at the end of 2019, it is anticipated to be finally aired sometime later this year. All Bond movies are blockbusters and this final Daniel Craig outing looks to be a good one.

Black Widow is another franchise movie, this time from Marvel Cinematic Universe and is set for release in May 2021. It stars Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff, the Black Widow of the title reprising her role possibly for the last time.

Cruella is a black comedy that focuses on Cruella De Vil as a young fashion designer played by Emma Stone who has an obsession with dog skins and promises to be very dark. Luckily it is billed as a comedy so we are not expecting anything too distressing in this movie.

Top Gun: Maverick. The first Top Gun was released in the 1980s and amazingly Tom Cruise is back again with a new younger cast to kick off the franchise again. Cruise as Maverick takes a bunch of rookie airmen and trains them for a special mission so if you like amazing flying stunts and some all American hero driven valour, you will probably love it.

What is a feature film (and what are the best upcoming feature films in 2021) will depend upon your own tastes. The meaning of feature film has changed a bit over the last hundred years and today it is generally used to describe a major movie with plenty of action and impact.