The principles and chief properties of optical reflection and transmission filters based on guided-mode resonance (GMR) effects in multilayer structures comprising gratings and homogeneous thin films are presented. Detailed fiber characteristics (center wavelength, lineshape, and linewidth) are calculated using rigorous coupled-wave analysis for TE and TM polarized incident waves. These filters exhibit desirable characteristics such as high resonance efficiency with narrow or wide linewidths. Near- zero reflectance sidebands over extended wavelength ranges are obtainable using multilayer waveguide-grating structures. To illustrate the potential of this technology, calculated GMR reflection and transmission example characteristics are presented for filters made with common thin-film materials operating in the visible spectral region. Excellent reflection-filter features are found when antireflection conditions prevail away from the resonance wavelength. The transmission filter is optimized when the structure is highly reflective off resonance. It is found that long-range, low sidebands are obtainable for a single- layer GMR filter with a TM-polarized plane wave incident at the Brewster angle. GMR filter fabrication tolerances are briefly discussed. A calculated example illustrates the sensitivity of the filter center wavelength to variations in layer thickness. The effects of absorptive loss are treated. It is shown that, in general, GMR filters suffer loss- dependent wavelength shifts such that the reflection peak occurs at a different wavelength than the corresponding transmission notch. However, under antireflection conditions, the resonance location becomes insensitive to loss. Finally, reflective GMR thin-film structures that support multiple waveguide modes are studied. These devices exhibit characteristic angular and spectral signatures with unique appearance.