Rarely do moviegoers hear the word remake and get excited. The truth is, remakes and Hollywood typically go together like orange juice and cereal; they don’t. However, no rule is infallible, and there are always exceptions. Sometimes we’re blessed with a film that is not just good, but better than the original. Here’s the top 10.
10. John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982)
The most well-known remake on the list, John Carpenter’s The Thing from 1982 is a remake of the 1951 black and white horror film The Thing From Another World. Whilst The Thing From Another World is an undisputed classic, Carpenter’s interpretation is a masterpiece in film making and further cemented his title as master of horror after the success of Halloween (1978). John Carpenter’s The Thing although being nearly 40 years old, has aged like a fine wine. The film never loses an ounce of atmosphere or terror even on repeat viewings, and this is in part thanks to the incredible practical effects that were used in place of CGI that would have undoubtedly aged poorly and given the film an expiration date.
9. The Departed (2006)
When it comes to masters of cinema, there are few with more impressive credentials than Martin Scorsese. Many groundbreaking and critically acclaimed films such as Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and Goodfellas. just to name a few, would not have been possible without Scorsese. Few people realise that The Departed is not actually an original film, but is rather a remake. The reason is probably down to the fact that the original 2002 film Internal Affairs is a Hong Kong film. With The Departed, Scorsese brought the story of the original to western audiences, with his signature style. The Departed is yet another great film from Scorsese and offers everything we expect from him: unrelenting violence, beautiful imagery, and great use of contemporary music.
8. A Star Is Born (2018)
This couldn’t be a list about remakes without mentioning A Star Is Born. A Star Is Born is no stranger to a remake, with there being three different remakes of the original 1937 film. With there being a remake from 1954, 1976 and 2018, it was difficult to choose which to include on the list. In the end, it was the 2018 remake that secured its place on the list. The film has incredible performances by Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga and a stellar soundtrack. The soundtrack received plenty of airtime with the song Shallow in particular. It would be a crime to not include it.
7. Dredd (2012)
Whilst not a direct remake, this list could not be made in good conscience without including Dredd from 2012. This remake or reboot is exactly what Judge Dredd fans have been wanting from a film in decades. With a brilliant synth soundtrack that accentuates the action and brutal violence, this film serves the franchise well. The story is engaging and never feels at any point cheesy or too over the top as the original does. The film never hits the brakes once. Above all, there’s no crappy costumes and horrifying audiences from Stallone and Rob Schneider.
6. Casino Royale (2006)
The less said about the 1967 Casino Royale the better. The film was not made with the blessing of Albert R. Broccoli and forced to be made satire. To compare the original to the 2006 film starring Daniel Craig would be like putting a professional boxer in the ring with a baby. Casino Royale was the perfect way to revive the Bond series for the present. It had all the trademarks that make a Bond film a Bond film.
5. Scarface (1983)
The 1983 iteration of Scarface is another film that many people don’t realise is a remake. The film of the same name from 1932 was based on the story of Al Capone whereas Al Pacino plays the fictional character, Tony Montana. Scarface 1983 trumps the original in several aspects. The original was made during the infancy of Hollywood and as a result, was a victim of censorship. However, Brian De Palma’s remake had more creative freedom, resulting in one of the most iconic films in history with some of the most intense onscreen violence.
4. Heat (1995)
Heat differs from the other remakes on this list since the creator Michael Mann also created the original from which it is based. L.A. Takedown which serves as the basis for Heat was created originally as a pilot for an NBC TV series. The series never came to fruition, and L.A. Takedown aired as a TV film. Heat is easily one of the best crime films in recent memory. Featuring incredible performances from Al Pacino and Robert De Niro in a deadly game of cat and mouse. This is all topped off with impressive shootout scenes that so realistic that they are shown to Marine recruits for demonstration purposes.
3. True Grit (2010)
Although True Grit (1969) has the legend John Wayne, it still doesn’t compare to the Coen brothers’ remake. True Grit (2010) also has its legendary stars. Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon and Josh Brolin all go above and beyond expectations. The tension and stakes in the film are so thick; that they could be cut with a kitchen knife. The True Grit story greatly benefits from the Coens’ trademark style, making it the better film out of the two.
2. The Magnificent Seven (1960)
Another film on the list that is one of the multiple remakes, The Magnificent Seven (1960) is a certified classic. In a similar fashion to The Departed, The Magnificent Seven takes an incredible piece of Asian cinema and makes it more accessible to the west. Seven Samurai (1954) which serves as the source intimidates many with its 3 hours and 27 minutes runtime. The Magnificent Seven also has the advantage of recognisable talents such as Steve McQueen, Yul Brynner and Charles Bronson.
1. The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Does anything need to be said about this one? One of the most famous pieces of cinema history is indeed a remake. Known for its revolutionary use of colour, familiar story and catchy, loveable songs, the 1939 rendition supersedes the 1925 film in every aspect.