What Makes A Great Film?



Anastasia Strelkov, Writer

Have you ever thought of why we still rewatch classics like “The Godfather”, “Back To The Future”, the “Titanic” and tons of other fantastic films that have made us who we are today? Do we watch them because they are good films? And if so then why and how are they good films?

Currently we are having tons of films coming out each year. Of course all of them are in some way entertaining, for example the recently released “Black Widow” or “Birds Of Prey” in 2019. When I watched those movies I didn’t have a bad time at all, but I did find many flaws which many movies in the modern day have. The reason they have those flaws is because people are running out of ideas for good films and barely care about writing a good story. 

Now let’s go all the way back to the 70s going up to the early 2000s. In the 1970s we had movies like “Fantastic Planet” made in France, then we had “Mad Max”, “Alien”, and of course “The Godfather.” After, in the 1980s we had the amazing first “Terminator”, “The Princess Bride”, “Labyrinth”, and “Scar Face.” In the 90s one of my favorite films was “Edward Scissorhands”, then there was “Pulp Fiction”, “The Matrix”, and “Fight Club.” For last in the early 2000s we got “The Notebook”, “V for Vendetta”, “Avatar’, and “Donnie Darko.”

We look at all of these films and we always remember exactly what they were about, but when we look at most modern movies they bring back much thought. Just simply compare something like “The Matrix” to a Spiderman movie. Automatically we can say that the Matrix is better. Websites that list movie lover’s favorite movies include pretty much all of the ones listed here. So why do so many people think that? 

The main purpose for films now isn’t to give a deep explanation of something, or give a great story. It is to get profit. Now, good acting doesn’t matter and neither does good storytelling. That is why we don’t connect to those movies on an emotional level. The dullness of those films causes us to want to go back to when movies had relatable and creatively written characters and story. That is what makes a great film. 

If a director can create the correct atmosphere and characters to fit that atmosphere, as well as give us a life-lesson, then that movie would be considered at least good. It is also important to make the characters feel real and relatable. Even if they might be something like an alien or superhero, it is still important to establish a connection with the audience otherwise they will just forget about the movie and never come back to it. The film director needs to be good at establishing feelings and that is always created through the colors, tones, dialogue, and even camera angles. That complex idea of creating something that feels almost like it could be right there happening in front of your eyes, and that escapism that an audience gets from a good film is what makes cinema a form of art. 

Let’s remember that no matter what time it was there were still bad movies as well. It’s just that there are more of them now than there was before. But that doesn’t mean that it is impossible for a good film to come out today. In fact there are some amazing pieces of cinema that were made just recently two or three years ago. Those would be, “Joker” with Joaquin Phoenix, “The Father” with Anthony Hopkins, and the thriller film “Run’ with Kiera Allen. Those are some great examples of what a good film should look like. All of them are memorable in some way and in many people’s eyes reach top places for best movies of the modern day. For me at least, these are very well done. 

In the end, a good film is always hard to make. First you need to come up with the idea, then the characters, then the main theme, and so on. There are endless details you can include, and the more you have, the more accurate or believable your film will be. It also requires years of learning, experimenting and filming, and exploring different parts of the art.