The Quick Report

20 Best Movie Remakes Ever Released

All movie fans know that most remakes fail to improve upon the original. However, there are rare exceptions to that rule. Read on to discover the 20 Best movie remakes that are actually better than the original.

20. The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)

The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
Paramount Pictures

Suspense master Alfred Hitchcock remade his own 1934 thriller. This time, armed with a bigger budget and set pieces, color film, and two superstar actors to fill the main roles, it shows off Hitchcock’s progress as a director. The film stars Jimmy Stewart and Doris Day and is a true nailbiter.

19. Dawn of the Dead (2004)

Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Strike Entertainment

Director Zach Snyder (300), adds much more horror to this 2004 remake of George Romero’s 1978 classic Dawn of the Dead. Snyder chose to bring gore and action to the forefront in this version, as opposed to his predecessor’s focus on an anti-consumerist message. After all, horror is supposed to be horrifying. Snyder delivers genuine scares with style.

18. Pete’s Dragon (2016)

Pete's Dragon (2016)
The Walt Disney Company

Director David Lowery delivers an improvement on every front in this remake of the 1977 Disney classic. This version is a blend of live-action performance and cartoon characters. But modern effects aren’t what sets this film apart. The film provides profound depth, focusing on the relationship between a boy and his pet fire-breathing Dragon that’s both tear-jerking and awe-inspiring.

17. Insomnia (2002)

Insomnia (2002)
Alcon Entertainment

Twice Oscar-winning director Christopher Nolan (Oppenheimer, Dunkirk) delivers an atmospheric thriller that lives up to its title. It’s a remake of a 1997 Swedish film of the same name. It’s buoyed by a strong performance by Al Pacino, who makes you feel the fatigue. Robin Williams nails the creepy vibe as the villain and Hilary Swank delivers a strong performance.

16. Sorcerer (1977)

Sorcerer (1977)
Film Properties International N.V.

Director William Friedkin delivers nerve-shredding anxiety in this remake of the 1953 French film Wages of Fear. Roy Scheider (JAWS) delivers an outstanding performance. Every moment of this film drips with suspense. At the box office, this film was released opposite Star Wars so it never stood a chance, but was Oscar-nominated for best sound.

15. Nosferatu (1979)

Nosferatu 1979
Werner Herzog Filmproduktion

The original 1922 Nosferatu set the standard for the archetypal image of the vampire through Count Orlock. The story itself was a not-so-thinly-veiled reworking of Bram Stoker’s classic Dracula. While the 1922 version earns respect for breaking ground, Werner Herzog’s 1979 take elevates every element, delivering discomforting horror and a chilly, disturbing atmosphere.

14. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)
Orion Pictures

This remake was based on the 1964 film Bedtime Story starring Marlon Brando and David Niven, which sadly is largely forgotten. And as entertaining as the original was, it’s far overshadowed by this remake starring Steve Martin and Michael Caine. This perfect odd couple with Caine’s suave urbanity and Martin’s goofiness makes for comedy magic. Michael Cain won a Golden Globe for the role.

13. The Birdcage (1996)

The Birdcage (1996)
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios

In this update to the 1978 French-Italian comedy La Cage Aux Folles, Director Mike Nichols and screenwriter Elaine May have delivered comedic gold. This farcical romp is skyrocketed by stellar performances from Robin Williams and Nathan Lane. Hank Azaria’s performance is a standout. Gene Hackman plays the perfect foil. The film won 7 awards.

12. The Jungle Book (2016)

Disney Enterprises

The 1967 original Disney animation is a true classic that was hard to beat. But Jon Favreau’s 2016 remake delivers an engaging, sometimes scary, and gripping remake that will keep you glued. The movie succeeds through a spellbinding mixture of live-action and realistic CGI. With its compelling storytelling, it’s a film all ages will enjoy.

11. The Fly (1986)

The Fly (1986)
SLM Production Group

Truth be told, the 1958 original (starring Vincent Price) is a sci-fi classic that delivers creepy moments you won’t soon forget. However, the 1986 version by David Cronenberg ramps up the atmosphere and the visceral horror. But more than that, Cronenberg’s take emphasizes the thwarted love story within that makes the terror all that more gut-wrenching.

10. 3:10 To Yuma (2007)

3:10 To Yuma (2007)
Lionsgate Films

The original 1957 version starring Glenn Ford and Van Heflin is one of the all-time great westerns and a tough act to follow. But director James Mangold succeeds in elevating this sequel by ramping up the nail-biting tension. Credit goes to Russell Crowe and Christian Bale for delivering outstanding performances. The film was nominated for two Oscars.

9. Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1978)

Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1978)

While the 1956 version is a sci-fi classic in its own right, this 1978 version directed by Philip Kaufman is far better than its predecessor. It succeeds at creating a foreboding, paranoid, and anxiety-written atmosphere. It’s also much scarier than the original. The finale with a screeching Donald Sutherland is unforgettable.

8. A Fistful Of Dollars (1964)

A Fistful Of Dollars (1964)
Jolly Film

This film by Italian filmmaker Sergio Leone kicked off his “Dollars” trilogy. This film also popularized the so-called “spaghetti western.” 

It’s a remake of Japanese director Akira Kurosawa’s samurai film Yojimbo. A Fistful Of Dollars was Clint Eastwood’s breakout movie. It’s also notable for Ennio Morricone’s soaring soundtrack.

7. Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

Ocean's Eleven (2001)
Warner Bros.

Unquestionably, the 1960 original earns props for the rat pack of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr. But director Steven Soderbergh’s 2001 remake is a stylistic tour de force with an addictive soundtrack. The cast is stellar. George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Andy Garcia, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Carl Reiner, Elliot Gould, Casey Affleck and more.

6. The Thing (1982)

The Thing (1982)
Universal Pictures

The original, 1951’s The Thing from Another World, has its strengths and scares. However, John Carpenter’s 1982 version has a claustrophobic, paranoid atmosphere that is visceral. The anxiety and horror is unrelenting. The film has lost none of its chilling effect over time. It stars Kurt Russell. It ranks #150 among the top-rated movies.

5. Heat (1995)

Heat (1995)
Warner Bros.

Director Michael Mann is firing on all cylinders in this atmospheric crime classic. Heat is a remake of Mann’s 1989 TV movie, L.A. Takedown, which he wrote and directed. The remake stars Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, and Val Kilmer. Heat is rated #111 among the top-rated movies of all time.

4. Scarface (1983)

Scarface (1983)
Universal Pictures

Howard Hawks directed the 1932 original. Brian de Palma’s 1983 remake not only modernizes the tale but also takes it to an entirely different level, thanks in part to writing from Oliver Stone. Al Pacino delivers a timeless performance. The film is ranked #106 among the top-rated movies of all time. Quotes from the movie are now everyday parlance.

3. True Grit (2010)

Still from True Grit

The original 1969 is a classic Western that’s almost sacrilegious to tamper with. The performance by John Wayne as hard-nosed, drunken U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn is iconic. Yet directors Joel and Ethan Coen had the nerve to try. They succeeded, and received 10 Oscar nominations for their effort. Jeff Bridges nailed the role of Cogburn and received a Best Actor nomination.

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2. A Star Is Born (2018)

A Star Is Born (2018)
Warner Bros

This is the third remake. The original version from 1954 starred Judy Garland and James Mason. The 1976 version starred Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson. Both have their strong points. However, director and star Bradley Cooper’s 2018 version surpasses both in emotional impact. Lady Gaga’s performance shines. The film was nominated for 5 Oscars and won for best song.

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1. The Magnificent Seven (1960)

Movie Scene from The Magnificent Seven (1960)
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios

This film was actually made three times, but the 2016 version is rather forgettable. This 1960 pièce de résistance is a remake of Japanese director Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 movie Seven Samurai. The Magnificent Seven (1960) features one of the best ensemble casts ever. Shockingly, it only received one Oscar nomination, but it’s a Western not to be missed.

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