Source: Revised GRE PDF 2nd Ed. Section 3; #18 (p. 57)


Although the film is rightly judged imperfect by

2 answer choices for 1 blank Although the film is rightly judged imperfect by most of today’s critics, the films being created today are _______ it, since its release in 1940 provoked sufficient critical discussion to enhance the intellectual respectability of cinema considerably beholden to, indebted to, derivative of, based on, distinguishable from, biased against

3 Explanations


Varun Kapoor

Why can't derivative of and based on form the pair for the blank?

May 13, 2018 • Comment

David Recine, Magoosh Tutor

"Derivative of" and "based on" suggest that the movies are closely patterned after the older 1940 film. While this could be one way in which the new movies "owe" something to the older movie, it doesn't match up with the stated reason that today's movies owe something to the 1940 movie.

Remember, the prompt says that the movie form 1940 was able "to enhance the intellectual respectability of cinema considerably." This means that the older movie has mostly likely benefited modern films not by giving the modern films a model to imitate, but by making it easier for modern movies to be intellectually respected and taken seriously.

This, combined with the fact that imitable aspects of a movie are not mentioned in the sentence (plot, visuals, filming techniques, etc...) indicate that "derivative" and "based on" are not in line with the sentence's intended meaning.

May 18, 2018 • Reply


Abhiram Ravikumar

Can someone explain why "based on" would be a wrong choice here?
If an older movie has qualities like intellectual responsibility, then a new-age movie can surely be "based on" it (the older one).

Jun 16, 2017 • Comment


Hi Abhiram,

First, remember that we need 2 similar answer choices here. "Based on" has no similar pair, so we can eliminate it. Second, we don't know that later films are directly based on this earlier film. All we know is that the 1940 film "enhance the intellectual respectability of cinema." That doesn't mean that later films were based on this film; it just means that later films owe a debt to this film.

Jun 19, 2017 • Reply

Krishna Teja

Hello Adam, can't distinguishable from be considered correct as the passage will then read that the films being created today are distinguishable since the older movie was panned(based on the context).

Sep 23, 2017 • Reply


Hi Krishna,

First, the main problem with "distinguishable from" is that it has no synonym pair among the answer choices. Since we need 2 answer choices that mean the same thing, this answer cannot be correct.

Second, it doesn't really fit the context. Sure, contemporary films probably are distinguishable from the older film, but the sentence isn't emphasizing their difference. It's emphasizing the fact that even though the old film wasn't perfect, it made an important impact on cinema. Therefore, new films are beholden to / indebted to it.

Sep 24, 2017 • Reply


Gravatar Chris Lele, Magoosh Tutor

Sep 21, 2012 • Comment

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