In modern cinema, it seems like we get a reboot every 5 minutes. While it may be cynical to suggest that everyone has run out of ideas, some remakes come across as an easy money grab on an unoriginal idea. The majority of the time, these modern remakes prove to be superficial and inferior to their predecessors. However, out of the ashes of countless reboots comes some of the best movie remakes of all time.
In this article, we will go through our list of some of the best movie remakes ever made!
Be sure to stay until the very end, our number 1 spot may surprise you!
What Is A Movie Remake?
A movie remake, sometimes called a reboot, is a film adaptation of another movie.
Put simply, it is the retelling of a story that has already been told in the medium of cinema.
Top 10 Best Movie Remakes Of All Time
Now that you know what exactly a movie remake is, let’s count down our top ten remakes of all time. Without further ado, let’s dive in!
10. Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
The 1960 original included Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis, Jr. The film has been described by many as a true product of its time.
The original film stars Sinatra as Danny Ocean, who puts together a team, comprising of his old World War II buddies to pull off the ultimate Las Vegas heist. Like the remake we’ve all seen, the premise is the eleven friends plan to rob five Las Vegas casinos in one night.
Gushing with smooth-talking, tuxedo-wearing, and cigarette-smoking characters, the first version is more focused on a group of fast-talking friends and their in-jokes.
Steven Soderbergh’s remake is adjusted for a modern audience and includes a high-tech heist film. The pacing is a lot faster and the dialogue is snappier as we spend the first half of the film gathering a crew.
While both movies are fun, we think the remake is far more entertaining and much faster-paced. Therefore, this film seems fitting to kick off our list of the best remakes of films!
9. Dredd (2012)
Perhaps more of a reimagining of the original 1995 Sly Stallone film than a remake, but it deserves a spot on this list. This all-guns-blazing cyberpunk masterpiece proved that the scaling down of a franchise to appeal to a smaller, more niche audience is worth the risk.
Dredd includes masterfully choreographed action sequences as our unflinching hero, played by Karl Urban, takes on Lena Headey, the leader of a ruthless gang.
Urban plays judge, jury and executioner in Peach Trees, while he takes a rookie along for the ultimate test.
The film’s story structure and highly stylized fight scenes are clearly influenced by the likes of The Raid and Die Hard. This excellent action-packed movie deserves a spot on our list of best film remakes of all time.
8. Casino Royale (2006)
Bond is one of the franchises that will never go away. The 2006 version of Casino Royale is the film that kicked off Daniel Craig’s long-lasting Bond career.
While the original 1967 was a comedy, Craig’s Bond was a refreshing, gritty interpretation of the character.
The film includes stellar performances from all, particularly Mads Mikkelsen’s Le Chiffre. In this role, he plays a dead-eyed poker player who certainly gives Bond a run for his money.
The opening credits of this movie are a spectacle in itself, with the late, great Chris Cornell’s ‘You Know My Name’ title track. With great action and a stellar cast, this belongs on a list of best movie remakes of all time
7. Dawn Of The Dead (2004)
We’re all familiar with Zack Snyder’s hyper-stylized visuals from the likes of Watchmen. However, he has not always prioritized style over substance.
His 2004 remake of George A. Romero’s zombie classic is an effective, gory, and downright terrifying retelling of the story.
While Romero implements a subtle, anti-consumerist message within the zombie medium, Synder’s is a rollercoaster of fear which will make you double-take at that coat on your door before you go to bed.
A noteworthy scene in Synder’s is the zombie birth scene. This scene in particular is extremely chilling and we’d prefer you didn’t mention it to us from here on!
Sarah Polley drops her usual indie roots to play the central role of a badass zombie-killing survivor.
All in all, this film belongs on our list of the best remake movies of all time.
6. The Magnificent Seven (1960)
John Sturges’ classic western is a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 movie Seven Samurai. Sturges was a huge admirer of the Japanese director and adapted his story to the gunslinging landscape of the Wild West.
The movie remake includes a charismatic cast, with the likes of Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen. The rest of the seven include legends such as Charles Bronson, James Coburn, and Robert Vaughan.
Forget the 2016 remake of the remake – this is the one you’ll want to see!
5. The Thing (1982)
John Carpenter’s remake of the 1951 movie ‘The Thing From Another World’ is a prime example of the best horror movie remakes ever.
The film includes a claustrophobic setting which suffocates the audience with the addition of great special effects.
The Thing was released at the outset of the AIDS crisis. This was a time in which body horror was an exciting new direction in genre cinema. Carpenter masterfully manipulates the unseen extra-terrestrial threat that chills us to our very core.
4. Scarface (1983)
The 1983 movie Scarface starring Al Pacino in the title role is a remake of a 1932 Howard Hawks film of the same name.
Brian De Palma’s 1983 version of Scarface succeeds where the original failed. The filmmaker reimagines the entire movie and adapts it to a modern setting.
In 1980s Miami, we have our title character, a Cuban immigrant who steadily rises the ranks in organized crime through a combination of brains and balls.
The film is led by a powerhouse performance from Al Pacino and includes unforgettable action sequences. Additionally, this remake of Scarface has had a huge influence on popular culture. It even spawned storylines in video games such as Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.
De Palma masterfully constructs the rise and fall of our cocaine-sniffing, little-friend-wielding Tony Montana.
3. Heat (1995)
Director Michael Mann remade his own 1989 made-for-TV film called L.A. Takedown. While it’s the same director at the helm, Heat contains a reworked and far superior script when compared to the original source material.
This movie remake also includes better actors, a far bigger budget, and a sharper script.
The plot follows a cop (played by actor Al Pacino) and a criminal (played by Robert De Niro) who share very similar attributes, despite being on opposite sides of the law.
Heat is considered a modern classic and includes highly memorable scenes, particularly the intense shootout in downtown Los Angeles.
2. Insomnia (2002)
The 2002 film Insomnia is a remake of a 1997 Norwegian movie of the same name. The original starred actor Stellan Skarsgard while Robin Williams and Al Pacino appeared in the remake.
Both movies follow the story of a sleep-deprived officer who suffers from insomnia while in a northern region that experiences 24-hour daylight in the summer.
Since they are exhausted, the police officer commits a terrible mistake that the killer they are tracking bears witness to. This is where the tables turn in this cat-and-mouse thriller.
Both movies are great, however, the remake directed by Christopher Nolan is superior with regards to the suspense he creates and also the acting of the principal cast.
Additionally, the Alaskan setting in the 2002 remake serves as a more rugged environment and the sun seems more relentless than in the Norwegian version of the film.
Not to mention the remake contains one of Robin Williams’ best roles and an excellent performance from Al Pacino.
1. The Departed (2006)
The Departed is an excellent gangster film directed by the master of the genre, Martin Scorsese. This particular movie is a remake of the 2002 Hong Kong gangster film Infernal Affairs. However, the violence throughout the 2006 version is much more intense and believable.
The remake is set in Boston and involves the Irish mob and their gangster leader, played by actor Jack Nicholson.
The main premise in both movies is centered around a mole in the police department and an undercover cop. Each of the parties has the same objective: to discover who is the mole and who is the cop.
The 2006 remake stars Matt Damon as the mole and Leonardo DiCaprio as the undercover police officer. Both of their performances, with the additions of actors Mark Wahlberg and Alec Baldwin, really distinguish the remake from the original.
Martin Scorsese won his only Academy Award as Best Director for The Departed. 2006 is also the last time we saw Jack Nicholson put on a great performance. We think this is a fitting number one on our list of best movie remakes ever!
Those Were 10 Of The Best Movie Remakes
So there we have it! That was our top 10 best movie remakes of all time! We’ve taken a look at some close adaptations as well as some that are loosely based on its source material.
Good remakes can be hard to come by, but every once in a while, someone finds a way to knock it out of the park!
We love movie remakes and we hope that, where directors have previously missed the mark with some films, that new directors will revisit them to give the story the motion picture it deserves.
Don’t take our word for it, why not have a movie marathon and watch all these movie remakes!
Do you agree with our list? What did we miss? Be sure to let us know in the comment section below. Also, if you enjoyed this article be sure to share it with your friends on your socials and tag us @musicgateway!