A subgenre of melodrama that aims to teach a lesson, be it moral, political or social. The term is often used negatively to describe films in which heavy-handed ideological sermonizing takes precedence over narrative conventions like character development and plot. Often these films play to the lowest emotional common denominator, reducing complex issues like racism, sexism, sexuality, war, poverty, insanity, abuse and addiction into simplistic plot conventions and cliches. Early on however, in the 1930s, message movies were often used as a justification for presenting otherwise taboo topics such as venereal disease, drug abuse, abortion, and prostitution. Examples include works by directors like D.W. Griffith, Cecil B DeMille and Charlie Chaplin. In the ‘50s and ‘60s, message movies by filmmakers like Elia Kazan and Stanley Kramer tried to teach audiences about the negative consequences of bigotry, war, and parental neglect. From the 1970s onward, as big-budget entertainment dominated box-office revenues, message movies were increasingly confined to those made for television. In recent years, a given week of TV-movie viewing could include fictionalized parables about drugs, promiscuity, date rape, domestic abuse, and racism.