The booming trend of remakes in the present era of Hollywood has offended numerous fans of the original movies but such practice has not only happened just recently. In fact, the conventional productions of movie remakes have been occurring since the inception of the film industry and some even surpassed the original. Here are the 15 remakes better than the original:
15. The Ten Commandments (1956)
Director Cecil B. DeMille wowed movie-goers with his 1923 silent religious movie The Ten Commandments but more than thirty years later, he had significantly improved as a film-maker and remade his own movie.
With the aid of technological advancements as far as shooting a movie was concerned, his 1956 The Ten Commandments was considered a massive upgrade and the movie went on to win an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects from its seven nominations.
14. The Maltese Falcon (1941)
Just ten years after the release of the 1931 crime movie The Maltese Falcon, Warner Bros. decided to remake it by reducing its “lewd” content and increasing the element of suspense.
Directed by John Huston and starring Humphrey Bogart and Mary Astor, the remake was heavily praised as one the best mystery thrillers of its time. Additionally, the movie was nominated for three Academy Awards including Best Picture.
13. True Lies (1994)
With none other than James Cameron sitting in the director’s chair and with Schwarzenegger as his leading man, True Lies was a gigantic commercial success and went on to earn a whopping $378.9 million at the box office.
12. Ben-Hur (1959)
While it is widely known that Ben-Hur holds the distinction of winning the most Academy Awards i.e. eleven (a record tied with Titanic and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King), it is often negated that it the epic religious drama movie is a remake of the 1925 silent movie Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ.
However, remakes of a remake do not guarantee similar results in terms of success. Based on the novel of the same name by Lew Wallace, the 1959 version of the movie had two remakes afterward only to earn dismal feedback as far as critical reception and the box office was concerned.
11. Man of Fire (2004)
The 1980 thriller novel Man of Fire by A. J. Quinnell had not one but two movie adaptions. One was released in 1987 starring Scott Glenn while its remake was released in 2004 starring Denzel Washington.
While both movies were great in their own right, if there is one individual who can accurately judge which version was better, it is definitely the author himself. As it just so happened, Quinnell liked the 2004 version of the movie much more.
10. Godzilla (2014)
Who can ever forget the over-hyped disaster that was Godzilla? Released in 1998, the movie was an absolute train wreck and killed all the chances of a surefire sequel despite ending in a cliffhanger.
Sixteen years later, Hollywood had learned their lesson as the 2014 remake was, by and large, a much better version and served as the first installment of Legendary Entertainment’s MonsterVerse franchise.
9. The Thing (1982)
There is no question regarding the status of the 1951 black-and-white movie The Thing from Another World as a stupendous science-fiction and horror flick, but its remake by John Carpenter is without a doubt a part of cinematic history.
As a master of horror and suspense, the director added even more shades of mystery in his 1951 remake and is truly responsible for making The Thing one of the most memorable horror movie monsters of all time.
8. Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
Now expanded into a successful movie franchise, it all started with the original 1960 heist movie, Ocean’s 11. Starring an ensemble cast of Frank Sinatra, Peter Lawford, Dean Martin, Joey Bishop, and Sammy Davis, Jr., the movie was one of the most anticipated ones at the time of its release but met with a lukewarm reception.
Forty years later, Warner Bros. made an improved version of the movie with a modern spin and even a bigger ensemble cast of Hollywood A-listers such as George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Casey Affleck, Julia Roberts, Don Cheadle, etc.
7. The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
Arguably the greatest film-maker to have never won an Academy Award, Alfred Hitchcock was a master of suspense and never failed in keeping the viewers on the edge of their seats. During his historic career that lasted a little over six decades, the director remade his own 1934 thriller The Man Who Knew Too Much.
The comparisons between the original and remake were inevitable and as the public opinion emphasized that the remake was indeed better, Hitchcock responded,
“Let’s say the first version is the work of a talented amateur and the second was made by a professional.”
6. Heat (1995)
Following the footsteps of Alfred Hitchcock and Cecil B. DeMille, American director Michael Mann remade his own television movie L.A. Takedown. It was originally intended to be a pilot episode of an NBC series that was never picked up so Mann had another idea in mind.
Expanding the elements in L.A. Takedown, the director came up with the ultimate crime movie – Heat. Coupled with an incredible storyline and solid star power of Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Val Kilmer, and Jon Voight, the movie is one of the most influential crime movies to date.
5. 12 Monkeys (1995)
As one of the earliest stepping-stones of Brad Pitt that aided him in becoming the Hollywood megastar that he is today, 12 Monkeys was an outstanding neo-noir science fiction movie. Nominated for two Academy Awards including Best Supporting Actor for Pitt, the movie was not a product of original thought.
Executive producer Robert Kosberg was a fan of Chris Marker’s 1962 French short film La Jetée and it inspired him to come up with a full-length movie that would go on to become 12 Monkeys starring Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe, and Pitt.
4. Scarface (1983)
Unlike the rest of the movies on the list, the 1983 crime movie Scarface was not pushed into production by the interest of a major movie studio. In fact, it was the star Al Pacino who wanted a remake and star in it as well.
After watching the 1932 Scarface, the actor eagerly expressed to his manager and producer Martin Bregman about possibly starring in the remake of the movie. The result was one of the best crime movies of all time and responsible for several iconic dialogues of cinematic history.
3. Scent of a Woman (1992)
Coming up with an improved remake is a difficult task alone but it is even harder when the original has been nominated for Academy Awards. Dino Risi’s 1974 Italian film Profumo di donna was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Adapted Screenplay so one can only imagine the pressure on the shoulders of Universal Pictures while remaking the classic Italian movie.
With their leading man being none other than Al Pacino – who coincidentally happens to star in remakes more than any other actor – Scent of a Woman was destined for greatness. Nominated for four Academy Awards including Best Picture, the movie won one for Best Actor. It was Pacino’s very first Oscar triumph as the critically acclaimed actor’s win had previously received seven nominations and was long overdue for a win.
2. The Wizard of Oz (1939)
From feature-length movies to animated movies, the legendary tale of The Wizard of Oz has been told and retold in various forms of media. Judging from the fact that the earliest movie dates back to 1908, more than a dozen attempts have been made to remake the fabulous tale of Dorothy in the Land of Oz.
If narrowed down to the one remake that stands supreme from the rest, it is undisputedly none other than Victor Fleming’s 1939 The Wizard of Oz. The movie won two Academy Award from its six nominations but above all, leading star Judy Garland was awarded an Academy Juvenile Award for her terrific performance.
1. The Departed (2006)
By merit, Martin Scorsese’s The Departed is easily the greatest remake of all time. Winning four Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director, the movie was a critical and commercial success. Inspired by the 2002 Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs, the movie is an ultimate thrill ride.
From the nail-biting plot to the superb acting by Hollywood heavyweights such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Martin Sheen, and Jack Nicholson, The Departed is a flawless crime movie that dares to be epic. Hell, it even presented Mark Wahlberg as a legitimate scene-stealer.
Hope you enjoyed reading our list of remakes better than the original. Feel free to share your views in the comment section below!