10 Movie Remakes That Were Better Than The Original

It feels like movie remakes are everywhere. With an ever-growing need for new content, studios find themselves mining popular franchises for fresh takes on beloved characters and storylines. But it often seems like these new movies can’t recapture the magic of their predecessors. There are certain movies that are better off left alone.

However, quite a few movies can and have benefited from a cinematic facelift. As time passes by, there are some core story ideas that are better served by a different director or time period. Here are 10 remakes that surpassed the original films..


10 Movie Remakes That Were Better Than The Original

Sometimes, a reboot of a movie turns out to be an improvement on the one before it. Here are 10 movies whose remakes were better than the original film.

Paramount Pictures

1. The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)

Not many directors find themselves in the position to remake their own movies. But Alfred Hitchcock used the 20 years of time after his 1934 movie The Man Who Knew Too Much to update the story and filmmaking techniques behind it. The 1956 version, which stars Jimmy Stewart and Doris Day, improves upon the original in subtle ways. The overarching plot is still there: A pair of civilians find themselves embroiled in a conspiratorial plot. While the casual viewer may not find a profound difference in quality between the two films, Hitchcock’s own insistence on remaking The Man Who Knew Too Much makes it worthy of a closer look.

Warner Bros. Pictures

2. A Star Is Born (2018)

A Star Is Born has been remade three times in the U.S. (and once in India), which is unique for a film that isn’t based on a book or other source material. Each generation has its own incarnation of this story, but which one is the strongest? The 1937 film stars a brilliant Janet Gaynor in the title role, while Judy Garland steals the show in George Cukor’s 1954 remake. But the 1976 version starring Barbra Streisand hit a flat note. Decades later, Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut brought this cautionary tale into the modern age with great success. It might be hard to definitively say which A Star Is Born is the best, but the 2018 version certainly gives the first two adaptations a run for their money. No offense to the Streisand version, but it’s just not as good.

Universal Pictures

3. The Thing (1982)

The 1951 horror classic The Thing From Another World set the stage for John Carpenter’s 1982 remake, titled The Thing. Both are quality films, but what makes The Thing slightly more memorable is its setting. Because prosthetics and visual effects had progressed in the 30 years between the two, The Thing benefits from more realistic visuals. However, both are much better than the 2011 prequel that was to come, the events of which take place before Carpenter’s version.

Buena Vista Pictures

4. Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993)

Try to find a millennial who doesn’t have a deep emotional connection to 1993’s Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey. Don Ameche, Michael J. Fox, and Sally Field voiced a pair of dogs and a cat, respectively. The sentimental adventure culminated in a heart-wrenching scene where the animals are reunited with their human owners. The 1963 version, which was based on Sheila Burnford’s novel, was also charming and touching. But the pets couldn’t talk. Giving the animals a way to converse with one another added an extra boost of humor and drama to the remake.

Walt Disney Pictures

5. Pete’s Dragon (2016)

Disney hasn’t had the best track record with their live action remakes of classic movies, but Pete’s Dragon is a definite exception. The David Lowery-directed 2016 film goes much deeper than the 1977 original, blending a heartfelt storyline with top-notch CG animation. The original was more of a whimsical musical movie, while the modern film captured a more serious tone. While the 1977 version delighted audiences of a different era, the newer Pete’s Dragon is more of a spellbinding tale about a misunderstood, magnificent creature.

Buena Vista Pictures

6. Freaky Friday (2003)

Let’s face it — both Freaky Fridays have their charms, and your preference has a lot to do with which generation you were born in. The 1976 original stars Barbara Harris and Jodie Foster as the mother-daughter duo that switches places thanks to a magical fortune cookie. While Harris and Foster sold their on-screen relationship, the movie was a bit too predictable to fully reach its comedic potential. The 2003 version features Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan in the updated roles. Capturing the zeitgeist of the early 2000s, this version revitalizes the body-swap genre with a sharper script and punchier performances.

Warner Bros. Pictures

7. Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

The 1960 version of Ocean’s 11 will always have an air of irreplaceable cool surrounding it thanks to Rat Pack members Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop. Their rapport and chemistry was at the heart of the film, but there was room for improvement. In 2001, Steven Soderbergh rounded up Hollywood A-listers George Clooney, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, and Julia Roberts to remake the film. The result was a smart, funny film with a more upbeat, satisfying ending. Ocean’s Eleven also spawned a successful film franchise that would continue for several year’s

Warner Bros.

8. The Maltese Falcon (1941)

It’s crazy to think that the version of The Maltese Falcon we know today only came about because Warner Bros. couldn’t re-release the lesser-known previous version. Originally made in 1931, The Maltese Falcon was a pre-Code film that suddenly couldn’t be released due to new restrictions on racy subject matter. Therefore, the studio quickly tried to whip up a comedic version of Dashiel Hammet’s story. Fortunately, they opted instead to give the material to John Huston for his directorial debut. Gathering a dynamite cast including Humphrey Bogart and Mary Astor, Huston crafted one of Hollywood’s most legendary film noirs that wasn’t nearly as suggestive as its predecessor

Paramount Pictures

9. True Grit (2010)

John Wayne’s only Academy Award for acting came from his performance in True Grit, a 1969 Western where he played aging US Marshal, Reuben “Rooster” J. Cogburn. Wayne’s performance was outstanding, and the movie was a solid addition to the Western canon. However, at times it felt like the movie was purely a star vehicle for Wayne. The Coen brothers raised the bar with their remake, returning to Charles Portis’ novel for a more faithful adaptation of the story. Jeff Bridges took over the role of Rooster, putting a different spin on the character and earning an Academy Award nomination in the process. From the picturesque landscapes to the thrilling shootouts, the Coen Brothers’ True Grit is a fully realized Revisionist Western masterpiece.

Sony Pictures Releasing

10. Casino Royale (2006)

Casino Royale demonstrates just how important tone is when crafting an action film. Loosely based on Ian Fleming’s first James Bond novel, the 1967 Casino Royale is a wacky, baffling comedy starring David Niven as 007. It was hard to take any of it seriously. When Casino Royale was remade in 2006, the tone felt much more serious, which also made it more exciting to watch. The film was Daniel Craig’s debut as 007, and the critical response was overwhelmingly positive. It became the highest-grossing movie in the franchise, until it was beat out by Skyfall in 2012.

Read More: Emma Stone Responds to Rumors She’s in the New ‘Spider-Man’

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