12 Good Movie Remakes

Wednesday, June 16, 2010 at 4:32 am

This list of 12 good movie remakes was inspired by Hollywood’s recent revival of such franchises as The Karate Kid and The A-Team. While plenty of remakes fall short of the original, the flicks listed below are solid efforts that often surpass their predecessors. And if you’re tired of your local video store not having what you’re looking for, you’re guaranteed to find these 12 good movie remakes at Netflix, the nation’s leading online rental service.

Cape Fear (1991) – Robert De Niro stars as Max Cady, a hillbilly rapist who gets out of prison and goes looking for revenge against his lawyer (Nick Nolte), who withheld evidence and made sure his guilty client got sent up the river. Martin Scorsese’s remake of the 1962 film of the same name, and the stars of the original, Gregory Peck and Robert Mitchum, appear in different roles.

A Star Is Born (1954) – In this classic musical, Judy Garland is Esther Blodgett (later known as Vicki Lester), a struggling singer who falls in love with a fading, alcoholic actor (James Mason) and experiences a meteoric rise in her career. Meanwhile, her lover’s status in Hollywood continues to diminish, and he turns increasingly to the bottle as a release. The original film of the same name starred Janet Gaynor and Fredric March, while the 1976 version featured Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson.

The Crazies (2010) – Thanks to a chemical being introduced into their water supply, the residents of a small town start turning into homicidal maniacs. The 1973 film of the same name–directed by George Romero–featured cheesy acting and poor effects. Of all the entries on this list of 12 good movie remakes, this one easily surpasses the original in terms of quality.

Three Men and a Baby (1987) – The year’s biggest film in terms of box office business , this remake stars Tom Selleck, Ted Danson, and Steve Guttenberg as three bachelors forced to care for an infant abandoned on their doorstep. The original was made in France in 1985 and titled Three Men and a Cradle.

Little Shop of Horrors (1986) – This version was a Frank Oz musical starring Rick Moranis, Ellen Greene, and Steve Martin. While both films involved a lonely floral assistant who tends to an intelligent, blood-craving plant, the 1960 original was a low-budget affair directed by Roger Corman and now available in the public domain.

Dawn of the Dead (2004) – George Romero’s original Dawn of the Dead mixed horror, comedy, and messages about consumerism; it also helped create the modern-day zombie genre. The social commentary is absent in Zach Snyder’s remake, but the non-stop action, solid performances, fast-moving undead, and eclectic soundtrack more than make up for it. Starring Sarah Polley and Ving Rhames.

Vanilla Sky (2001) – Tom Cruise stars as a man who gets disfigured by his psycho girlfriend (Cameron Diaz), has his face replaced, and then proceeds to romance another woman (Penelope Cruz). But something doesn’t seem right to him, and he’s soon forced to confront a series of disturbing truths about his so-called reality. Directed by Cameron Crowe and based on the 1997 Spanish movie Open Your Eyes.

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988) – Steve Martin and Michael Caine play a pair of dueling con artists out to scam an heiress (Glenne Headly) in this well-acted comedy directed by Frank Oz. While not officially recognized as a remake, the plot is very close to that of Bedtime Story, a film starring David Niven and Marlon Brando as two cads who prey on rich ladies in the French Riviera.

The Fly (1986) – In the 1958 version, a scientist tries to invent a teleportation tube and gets his head and arm switched with a fly that was also present during the experiment. In David Cronenberg’s hit remake, Jeff Goldblum tries the same experiment but finds himself slowly transforming into a man-sized fly. Geena Davis co-stars in one of Cronenberg’s many films dealing with issues of body transformation and mutation.

Sorcerer (1977) – In a remote village in Venezuela, four criminals in hiding are given the opportunity for a fresh start by an oil company. All they have to do in return is drive two trucks loaded with unstable dynamite 200 miles across rough roads, rope bridges, and impassable obstacles. Largely forgotten by modern audiences, Sorcerer compares favorably with the original, the 1953 French film The Wages of Fear.

The Thing (1982) – John Carpenter and Kurt Russell got together for the first time on the big screen in this sci-fi/horror tale of a shape-shifting alien who’s dug out of the ice of Antarctica and promptly goes on a killing spree. A remake of the 1951 classic, The Thing from Another World, which starred future Gunsmoke star James Arness as the monster. I had to include this one on my list of 12 good movie remakes, as it’s perhaps my all-time favorite motion picture.

Insomnia (2002) – Al Pacino is an unethical L.A. cop who travels to Alaska to assist with a case and accidentally guns down his partner. Robin Williams is a killer on the loose, and Hilary Swank is the local policewoman who idolizes Pacino’s big city officer. Based on the tense 1997 Norwegian crime film starring Stellan Skarsgard, the remake has a very different ending than the original.

In addition to renting these films from Netflix, you can also purchase them from Amazon. They offer the lowest movie prices around, and your selections will be delivered right to your door. Sure, we get a small commission if you make a purchase via our Amazon link, but all proceeds go right back into the site.

For those of you who enjoyed this look at 12 good movie remakes, be sure and peruse the following articles from Only Good Movies:

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