Best Movie Remakes

Over in this thread, a debate has broken out about how often movie remakes surpass the quality of the original. I think probably not often, but it does happen.

My favorite remake:

Last of the Mohicans

(I only recently realized this was a remake, utilizing the script from the 1936 adaptation of the book.)

Your nominees?
(And yes, I know we’ve done this before. Don’t feel obliged to link earlier threads. Let’s have a new discussion instead.)

Dawn of the Dead. The original is a boring and in every way terrible zombie movie, whereas the remake is more or less the single best zombie movie ever made. It’s scary, it’s got good, interesting characters, and fast zombies are actually terrifying.

The Maltese Falcon with Humphrey Bogart is superior to the lesser-seen 1931 Ricardo Cortez version, but that original shouldn’t be written off, as it has humor and spice.

I’d say that the version of The Wizard of Oz with Margaret Hamilton and Judy Garland is probably head, shoulders, torso, and thighs above any of the like four versions that came before it. Though, to be fair, I’ve only ever seen the one version.

These are all good examples. And I agree that the remade Dawn of the Dead is the best of the zombie genre (unless you count 28 Days Later, which some don’t).

For the record, I suppose we’ll count re-boots as remakes for purposes of this thread.

I liked the 1999 Thomas Crown Affair much more than the 1968 version.

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is generally regarded as superior to Bedtime Story.

If we’re not being persnickety about remakes vs. alternate versions, The Front Page is an enjoyable period piece, faithfully adapted from a popular play, reinvented as His Girl Friday, a classic screwball comedy.

That was the first example that came into my head.

Ocean’s Eleven. The only two people who have more charisma than Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin are George Clooney and Brad Pitt. The newer movie took everything fun and interesting about the original and magnified it by ten. The sequels, ehhh, I can take or leave them, but the actual remake was brilliant.

John Carpenter’s The Thing, though it’s not so much a remake as a reimagining from what I’ve heard. (Note that I’ve never seen the original, but this seems to be the general consensus.)

That’s the first one that I thought of.

Wikipedia has a list of remakes. I was hampered by very rarely having seen both, but there are some where you have to suspect that the remake was better, e.g. Heston’s Ben-Hur, Cabaret, Chicago.

I haven’t seen the original, but Hitchcock himself supposedly thought his own remake (1956) of The Man Who Knew Too Much superior to the earlier (1934) version.

If by “good, interesting” you mean phenomenally stupid, and by “terrifying” you mean “boring”, and if by “Best” you mean “wholly unnecessary” remake, than I totally agree.

Another vote for Friday, Mohicans and The Thing.

There was also a pretty good remake of the original with Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon – they did the play straight, and it worked, especially since Matthau was born to play Walter Burns (and got to say the play’s final line, too).

After checking that list I now need a thread for the remake was worse than the original:(

I don’t really think the Lord of the Rings counts as a remake, does it? If so, it’s my favorite, as the cartoons were only OK. Then again, I love the new films while others don’t.

The 1939 Wizard of Oz is also an excellent remake.

Carpenter’s version is much closer to the original story (“Who Goes There”) than the first movie. The two major differences that I recall between Carpenter’s film and the short story are the explicit gore and the book has far more people at the research station - it’s easy to write that 25 out of 50 are found to be Things when doing the blood test compared to filming it (the blood test is an example of a detail in the book used in the movie).

I would submit Richard Lester’s “The Three Musketeers” and “The Four Musketeers” as being far better than every previous (and every subsequent) version.

Cheaper by the Dozen. I know the remake was trash, but I could at least get through it. I found the original to be unwatchable, utter crap. Just terrible.