With so many movies out there, what makes a movie good? When it comes down to it, it’s all really a matter of personal preference.  With that said there are some key elements that I do take into consideration when watching a movie.

PSB - What Makes A Movie Good?


First and foremost, story is the most important element for me.  It is the cornerstone of a good movie in my opinion.  Without a good story to hold the movie together, all other elements could be great, but the movie still won’t be very good.

A great story however, can help a movie stay afloat, even if other elements of the movie aren’t that good.  To me, a movies main purpose is to tell a story.  In order to tell a story well, there needs to be a solid story to begin with.  A movie with a good story will suck you into the world of the movie and keep you there for the duration of the film.  If the story is great you may not even be ready to leave that world once the movie is over.

Pacing is also key to good storytelling.  There shouldn’t be many moments where you’re disengaged from the movie if the pacing is right.  Great movies keep you on the edge of your seat the entire time.

Lastly the characters and world created by the story need to be memorable.  This goes hand in hand with telling a good story.  All these elements put together create a story worth sitting down to watch.


As I mentioned above, good storytelling can make you almost forgive other bad elements of a movie.  However bad acting is something that can take away from a good movie.  Sometimes the person cast for a role in a movie just doesn’t work.  Often this isn’t the fault of the actor/actress but rather the casting crew.  When the wrong person is cast for a role in a movie, something just feels off.

A great actor/actress can really help bring a character to life.  Great actors/actresses have the ability to almost transform from movie to movie, and character to character, sometimes being unrecognizable from film to film.  When a mediocre actor/actress gets cast as a character that is beyond his/her abilities to play is when things can go awry.  Instead of bringing a character to life, poor acting or casting has you seeing the actor/actress instead of the character.

So many things go into who plays what roles, politics, availability, money etc that luck does play a little bit of a role.  Luck aside, properly cast actors/actresses and acting can really help create a memorable movie.


In today’s movie world there’s a lot of emphasis put on movie visuals.  This includes special effects, cinematography, use of computer graphics (CGI) etc.  I’m all for visuals.  Movies are meant to be seen after all.  However I think great visuals should never be the main focus of a movie.  They should on the other hand help make the movie feel more vivid and real.

Too much CGI can make a world feel “plastic” in a sense.  In my opinion the more you don’t notice CGI in a movie, the better it is since that means the CGI is so good it looks real.

Taken all together, the right amount of CGI, good scenery, sets and special effects help transport you to the world inside the movie.  It helps enhance a movie, but it can’t help make a bad story good.  Visuals are an important part of a good movie, but should never be the major focus.


Does a good soundtrack really matter?  I think so.  Music and cinematic score play a huge role in developing the feel and pace of a movie.  Some movie scores are so good that hearing them can immediately take you back to a certain scene in a movie and evoke feelings or deja vu.  Just think back to the movie Jaws and the iconic score given to the attack of the shark.  The music can help give a scene a sense of danger, fear, love or any other type of emotion, if properly composed.

A movie without a good score just seems to be missing that little piece that ties the story, acting and visuals together.  It is the icing on the cake so to say that helps tie everything together and give you a complete package.


When I watch a movie, all the previous elements taken as a whole contribute to the overall enjoyment of the movie.  A great movie will not only have all these elements but do them in a way that makes the movie unique and unforgettable.  Mediocre movies may have bits and pieces of each element, but don’t manage to mesh them together well.

There is one other element  that I think really separates a good movies from a mediocre one.  A good movie should invoke thought and discussion about the movie after it’s over.  Maybe the movie gets you to see the world in a different way, challenges your beliefs and your view on life.  This is the mark of a great movie.  It leaves a lasting impression on you, long after the movie is over.

Not all movies that I enjoy are thought-provoking or memorable, in fact most of them aren’t.  There are a lot of movies that don’t do any of the elements above well but are still fun and super entertaining.


All in all, if a movie has great story telling, solid acting, beautiful visuals and a stellar soundtrack, I’d consider it to be a good movie.  This is just my humble opinion of course, so take it for what its worth.  I do enjoy Rom Coms and B-Movies such as Army of Darkness, so take what I say with a grain of salt I guess.  In the end I’m just a guy who likes to watch movies.  What makes a movie good to you? Feel free to leave your comments below!

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