Movies have the power to transport us to different worlds and completely different realities, and when done right, can even shape the way we think and behave. But not every movie ever created is a big success at the box office, or even liked among movie-goers. In fact, some downright flop.

So what exactly is it that determines whether a movie will flop, or float? Whether it will be catapulted into the annuls of the favorite movies of all time, or sink to the bottom of the charts without a trace?

Read on to find out some of the essential ingredients of great movies:

A story told well

It goes without saying that a great movie should have a compelling storyline, but how that story is told to the audience, can be a determining factor in a movies’ success. Masterful storytelling can transport us to a far off land; making the unbelievable, believable, and engaging our emotions in a way nothing else can.

Characters that are memorable

For a movie to be truly great, it must contain characters that we feel we’ve known all our lives. Whether they’re characters we can relate to, or characters we despise, either way, they give us an insight into the human experience, and watching them on the screen, feels like a guilty pleasure.

Evocative visuals

Combing cinematography with set design and stunning visual effects, a soulful movie that resonates with its audience, must look every bit as powerful as it feels or sounds. From landscapes that take the breath away, to costumes that are expertly designed, a movies visuals help immerse us in the whole experience.

A soundtrack that captivates

Even if a movie doesn’t feature a lot of music, those songs or pieces of music it does use, must complement the storytelling and enhance it in ways that only music has the power to do. Whether we find ourselves singing along, are reduced to tears, or end up with a song going around in our heads for days after watching the movie, a great movie needs a great soundtrack.

Themes that are thought-provoking

While watching a movie can be a great way to pass a couple of hours, for many who watch powerful movies, they provide an opportunity to think about the world in an alternative way, and oftentimes, explore new ideas and themes that we’d never considered before. Movies can be transformative in every sense of the word, and may even compel us to take action about a cause close to our hearts, or question things we had once believed in.

Impactful emotionally

There’s a time and a place for movies that are pure entertainment, that much is true; you just want to sit down and be entertained, without having to think too much, or explore emotions you haven’t experienced for a while. But, more often than not, a movie will leave an emotional impact that’s long lasting, and that’s how we determine whether the movie was great, or not.

The 10 best movies of all time typically combine each of the factors listed above; embodying the true spirit of cinema, and making us to want to sit down and watch them, over and over again.

So, the next time you’re stuck trying to decide whether to add a movie to your personal list of all-time greats, ponder over how it made you feel, and whether it had the magic needed to make it truly memorable.


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