The aim of the present paper is to analyse the glass formation and stability of bulk metallic glasses. Attention is focused to metallic alloys as systems which may develop a large glassforming ability. Glass formation when quenching from the liquid state is discussed in terms of the thermodynamics and kinetics of the stable/metastable competing phases. Thermodynamics is required to relate glass transition temperature, Tg, to the energetics of the supercooled liquid. Kinetic destabilisation of equilibrium solidification and, consequently, glass forming ability are favoured by the high viscosity values achieved under continuous cooling. The relative thermal stability of the supercooled liquid depends on the thermodynamic driving force and interfacial energy between each competing nucleating phase and the molten alloy. It is shown that the quantities representative of the process, once scaled, have a temperature dependence that is mostly fixed by the reduced glass transition temperature, Tgr= Tg/Tm, Tm being the melting temperature. Based on the classical models of nucleation and crystal growth, the reduced critical cooling rate is shown to follow master curves when plotted against Tgr. Experimental trends for specific systems are compared to predicted values from these master curves.