17 votes

Are there any remakes as good as the original movie?

I was chatting with a friend today and this question came up - I drew a complete blank.

Aside from a few foreign movies retranslated into a completely different context, like Seven Samurai and The Magnificent Seven, most remakes don't even approach the quality of the original, for my tastes.

Please enlighten me if you're aware of any superior, or even equivalent remakes that tell roughly the same story with the same characters.

19 comments

  1. Thrabalen
    Link
    I'd say given that no one remembers that The Wizard of Oz was a silent movie in 1925, the 1939 remake was superior.

    I'd say given that no one remembers that The Wizard of Oz was a silent movie in 1925, the 1939 remake was superior.

    11 votes
  2. [4]
    pseudolobster
    Link
    Scarface, Ocean's 11, Gone in 60 Seconds, The Thing, Cape Fear, 3:10 To Yuma, True Grit. I ended up looking at one of these clickbait best-of lists and these are what stood out to me as "better...

    Scarface, Ocean's 11, Gone in 60 Seconds, The Thing, Cape Fear, 3:10 To Yuma, True Grit.

    I ended up looking at one of these clickbait best-of lists and these are what stood out to me as "better than the original"

    I'm surprised how many of these are either westerns or crime movies. It seems both genres have either run out of ideas or think that all the best stories have already been told. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Pale Rider, Fistful of Dollars, it seems like half of these are westerns.

    Dredd is in this list, but I don't think it can be called a remake. It's made from the same source material, but tells a different story. Definitely better than the 1995 Stallone though for sure.

    LoTR is on this list, and I guess that's technically true too, there's been previous adaptations, but I think it's kinda cheating if they're both adapting a book vs remaking another movie.

    9 votes
    1. Loire
      Link Parent
      A lot of these aren't so much better as they are more in tune with our modern sensibilities. In many cases that just means darker and grittier. Nick Cage's Gone in 60 Seconds isn't really better...

      Scarface, Ocean's 11, Gone in 60 Seconds, The Thing, Cape Fear, 3:10 To Yuma, True Grit.

      A lot of these aren't so much better as they are more in tune with our modern sensibilities. In many cases that just means darker and grittier. Nick Cage's Gone in 60 Seconds isn't really better than the original in my eyes, it just doesn't have that 70's veneer. Likewise the original True Grit is an absolute classic, and while the remake is equally good, the change in ending from the upbeat oroginal to a more modern downcast dark ending really characterizes what I'm talking about here.

      4 votes
    2. Eric_the_Cerise
      Link Parent
      I gotta protest, at least a little bit, to the inclusion of True Grit. I've seen both, and yes, the remake is very good and doubtless, more historically accurate ... but it's ... IDK, dry,...

      I gotta protest, at least a little bit, to the inclusion of True Grit. I've seen both, and yes, the remake is very good and doubtless, more historically accurate ... but it's ... IDK, dry, forgettable ... the original version, even with its old-Hollywood-style melodrama, is still much better, more memorable.

      PS, though, like LoTR and many others, these were both based on a book, and this is another case where the "remake" is an alternative version based on the book a lot more than it is a remake of the first film.

      2 votes
    3. patience_limited
      Link Parent
      You got me with The Thing and 3:10 to Yuma, but I'll confess I either haven't seen the original or the remake of the others.

      You got me with The Thing and 3:10 to Yuma, but I'll confess I either haven't seen the original or the remake of the others.

      1 vote
  3. [2]
    joplin
    Link
    I'm surprised nobody mentioned the 1986 remake of The Fly. It was much better than the original because it took the material seriously.

    I'm surprised nobody mentioned the 1986 remake of The Fly. It was much better than the original because it took the material seriously.

    7 votes
    1. patience_limited
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I'm having a little difficulty with this because we're effectively talking about two radically different movies, in terms of characters, script, scenes, plot, special effects... I suppose the same...

      I'm having a little difficulty with this because we're effectively talking about two radically different movies, in terms of characters, script, scenes, plot, special effects... I suppose the same could be said of The Thing, but I don't think that remake strayed so far from the original story.

      Likewise, Little Shop of Horrors, remade as a musical, has little to do with the original script and production, but the remake is far more entertaining.

      2 votes
  4. Eric_the_Cerise
    Link
    This is going back a few years ... there is a book called Anna and the King of Siam, which has been made into a movie at least 4 times. The first one (same name, starring Rex Harrison and Irene...

    This is going back a few years ... there is a book called Anna and the King of Siam, which has been made into a movie at least 4 times.

    The first one (same name, starring Rex Harrison and Irene Dunne) was actually quite good, and did well commercially, but a decade later, the Rogers and Hammerstein musical version, The King and I, with Yul Brynner's amazing performance, completely blew it away, and became an icon of classic cimena.

    These days, most people have never even heard of the original movie.

    6 votes
  5. [3]
    mrbig
    Link
    Not as good, but 1978s Invasion of the Body Snatchers is vastly superior to the one from 1956.

    Not as good, but 1978s Invasion of the Body Snatchers is vastly superior to the one from 1956.

    5 votes
    1. [2]
      patience_limited
      Link Parent
      I don't know what happened to my brain, but you are, again, absolutely correct about this.

      I don't know what happened to my brain, but you are, again, absolutely correct about this.

      1 vote
      1. mrbig
        Link Parent
        IMHO 1978s Body Snatchers is not just better than the first, it is also one of the best movies of all time.

        IMHO 1978s Body Snatchers is not just better than the first, it is also one of the best movies of all time.

  6. [2]
    Algernon_Asimov
    Link
    How about the A Star Is Born movies? 1937 version 1954 version 1976 version 2018 version I'll admit I haven't seen them all (yet). However, if the ratings on Rotten Tomatoes are anything to go by,...

    How about the A Star Is Born movies?

    I'll admit I haven't seen them all (yet). However, if the ratings on Rotten Tomatoes are anything to go by, two out of the three remakes are about the same quality as the original:

    3 votes
    1. patience_limited
      Link Parent
      I haven't seen the 1937 or 2018 versions, but the 1954 Judy Garland version was iconic, and the 1976 Barbara Streisand version was just meh.

      I haven't seen the 1937 or 2018 versions, but the 1954 Judy Garland version was iconic, and the 1976 Barbara Streisand version was just meh.

      2 votes
  7. balooga
    Link
    I recently watched the original animated 101 Dalmatians and the live action remake close together and for all its faults, I do think the remake is the better movie. In a lot of ways it’s faithful...

    I recently watched the original animated 101 Dalmatians and the live action remake close together and for all its faults, I do think the remake is the better movie. In a lot of ways it’s faithful to the original, but it’s really amplified by some over the top performances from a great cast.

    1 vote
  8. [3]
    Douglas
    Link
    If we're counting American remakes of foreign movies... The Departed The Vanishing True Lies As for American remakes: The Mummy Rear Window (I thought was surprisingly a good remake) Dawn of the Dead

    If we're counting American remakes of foreign movies...

    • The Departed
    • The Vanishing
    • True Lies

    As for American remakes:

    • The Mummy
    • Rear Window (I thought was surprisingly a good remake)
    • Dawn of the Dead
    1 vote
    1. [2]
      patience_limited
      Link Parent
      I'm enough of a Hong Kong action purist that I think The Departed and Infernal Affairs should be considered separate movies with similar plots. I've seen both and think they're each excellent in...

      I'm enough of a Hong Kong action purist that I think The Departed and Infernal Affairs should be considered separate movies with similar plots. I've seen both and think they're each excellent in their own way, but I don't think The Departed has the fidelity to place (cultural nuances, built environment of the cities, etc.), plot, and dialogue to call it a remake.

      The Vanishing had me confused because the same title applies to three different releases - I'm going to assume you're referring to the 1993 remake of the Dutch film. I'm now really curious about this one because the same director was involved in both the U.S. and French-Dutch versions - sounds like the spouse and I have a double feature for the next snowy weekend.

      I wasn't aware that True Lies was based on the French film Le Totale, but I'm suspicious of Hollywood remakes of non-English language films in general. The action gets jazzed up, and dialogue, plot, acting nuance are lost. I really shouldn't comment because I haven't seen either.

      1 vote
      1. Douglas
        Link Parent
        Totally agree, they're different movies. I just thought they were both good on their own. Yes, the 1993 one. The remake got a bit of flak, but if I recall correctly, neither of them were great,...
        • Totally agree, they're different movies. I just thought they were both good on their own.
        • Yes, the 1993 one. The remake got a bit of flak, but if I recall correctly, neither of them were great, they were both just equally alright.
        • True Lies was indeed a more Americanized version of Le Totale. I just recall thinking it was way better than the original and exceeded my expectations... then again I was probably comparing it to Point of No Return vs. La Femme Nikita, which I recall disliking and was worried True Lies would be another flop.
        1 vote
  9. Sand
    Link
    Ben-Hur?

    Ben-Hur?

  10. raul
    Link
    Not sure if it counts as a remake, but I liked F. Ford Coppola's Dracula much better than previous ones (perhaps competing with Nosferatu, which feels like a very different movie). Also prefer...

    Not sure if it counts as a remake, but I liked F. Ford Coppola's Dracula much better than previous ones (perhaps competing with Nosferatu, which feels like a very different movie).

    Also prefer King Kong (2005) over the original.