14 Movie Remakes People Think Are Better Than the Originals

Steve Guttenberg, Tom Selleck and Ted Danson with a baby

Are remakes usually better than the originals? Many fans would say no. One film lover asked in a popular online forum, “Name the remakes you think are better than the originals.” Here are 14 remakes people recommended as their favorites.

1. You've Got Mail (1998)

Youve Got Mail
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

You've Got Mail is a remake of The Shop Around the Corner. However, it's not the whole story. You've Got Mail was inspired by the 1937 Hungarian play Parfumerie by Miklós László. That play had already been adapted into two movies — 1940's The Shop Around the Corner and 1949's In the Good Old Summertime.

One movie fan said they enjoyed how the Tom Hanks remake is “a time capsule of the 90s.”

2. A Star Is Born (2018)

A Star Is Born
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

When the 2018 remake of A Star Is Born, starring Lady Gaga and Bradly Cooper, hit the big screen, movie and pop music fans were fascinated. “It’s the fourth adaption of the same story but the most successful and critically acclaimed one,” one person noted.

3. True Grit (2010)

true grit
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

True Grit is a remake of the 1969 film starring John Wayne. “The Coen Brothers' version of True Grit was very good. I'd say that Jeff Bridges was surprisingly good as Rooster Cogburn,” one person said. Another movie lover added, “I thought it was better in every way, personally.” A third noted that Jeff Bridges is “vastly superior to John Wayne as an actor.”

4. The Fly (1986)

the fly
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

Some movie fans voted for the 1986 version of The Fly, a remake of the 1958 film. One person said that it takes “a more serious approach to the subject matter” than the original, “thus resulting in a better movie.” Another individual explained that the remake is “much more ambitious, both on a thematic level and in how much extra mileage they get out of the premise, compared to the original.”

5. King Kong (2005)

King Kong
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

One film fan suggested King Kong (2005). “Peter Jackson's King Kong. It's a hard comparison, on special effects alone — plus most people never saw the original 1933 movie or the 1976 remake. Jackson's version is not without its faults, but is leagues ahead of the original and the first remake,” they wrote.

6. Little Shop of Horrors (1986)

Little Shop of Horrors
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

One movie fan said, “The Little Shop of Horrors musical with Rick Moranis is a remake of an earlier, non-musical monster film of the same name.”

That's correct, but there's more to it. Specifically, the 1986 movie is an adaptation of the 1982 off-Broadway musical of the same name. That musical, in turn, was an adaptation of the 1960 movie The Little Shop of Horrors, which was a non-musical comedy horror film.

7. Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993)

Homeward Bound
Image Credit: Buena Vista Pictures.

Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey,” suggested an animal lover. “Good one,” another fan said. “I found that out by watching Inside Llewyn Davis, and there is a moment where he is looking at The Incredible Journey poster.”

We suspect Inside Llewyn Davis might be the source of many people discovering that Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey is a remake of 1963's The Incredible Journey. Without it, pretty much everyone would think the heartwarming Michael J. Fox movie was an original idea.

8. Heat (1995)

Heat
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

One movie expert recommended Heat, to which another replied, “First one on here that I didn't know was a remake.”

Heat's script was first used for a television pilot developed by its director, Michael Mann. It became the 1989 television movie L.A. Takedown after the pilot failed to receive a series order. In 1994, Mann revisited the script and turned it into Heat.

9. Three Men and a Baby (1987)

Three Men and a Baby
Image Credit: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution.

Another fan suggested several movies, the most notable being “Three Men and a Baby.”

The viewer didn't elaborate and nobody commented on it, so we'll take the reins. Three Men and a Baby's script was based on the 1985 French movie Trois Hommes et un Couffin (which translates to Three Men and a Cradle). It was remade a further seven times in six different languages.

10. A Fistful of Dollars (1964)

A Fistful of Dollars
Image Credit: United Artists.

Another cinema lover recommended A Fistful of Dollars, “a remake of Yojimbo (1961).” Someone else noted, “This is an interesting one — the plot is basically the same, but the setting is completely different. Not many people know about this connection.”

When this movie was identified as an unofficial remake of Akira Kurosawa's classic Japanese samurai movie Yojimbo, it resulted in a successful lawsuit by Yojimbo's production company, Toho.

11. The Departed (2006)

The Departed
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Several people suggested The Departed. Martin Scorsese's Academy Award-winning epic crime thriller is, somewhat surprisingly, a remake of the 2002 Hong Kong movie Infernal Affairs. If Asian cinema is something that interests you, Internal Affairs is a movie that's well worth checking out.

12. Knock Knock (2015)

Knock Knock
Image Credit: Lionsgate Premiere/ Sundance Institute.

“I didn't know Knock Knock is a remake of Death Game until after I watched it, as it doesn't explicitly credit it,” said one person.

Well, it is! Eli Roth's psychological thriller — which stars Keanu Reeves, Lorenza Izzo, and Ana de Armas — is a remake of the 1977 movie Death Game. It's also not the first remake of the movie. The 1980 Spanish movie Viciosas al Desnudo holds that title.

13. Man on Fire (2004)

Man on Fire
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox & Regency Enterprises.

“I only learned recently Man on Fire with Denzel Washington was a remake,” one movie fan said. “The original of the same name starred Scott Glenn in 1987.”

That's true. While Man on Fire is based on the 1980 novel of the same name by A. J. Quinnell, the novel had previously been adapted into a feature film 17 years earlier. One person called the Denzel Washington remake “amazing.”

14. CODA (2021)

CODA
Image Credit: Apple TV+.

One movie watcher suggested CODA, a remake of La Famille Belier (2014). Both movies are brilliant and resonated positively with the deaf community. A fan remarked, “CODA is better than the original. The directing is more subtle and efficient, the cast is more convincing and poignant.”

Author: Kev Stewart

Title: Writer and Editor

Bio:

Writer and editor with ten years of experience working full-time in this capacity. I've written over 2000 pieces of published work and managed teams of 50+ writers. I've produced content for some of the world's most prominent entertainment and sports platforms. My published work includes feature articles, news and opinion pieces, listicles, quizzes, voice-over scripts, viral content, and more. I'm a British 80s kid who loves movies (horror, superhero stuff, and all things 80s are my favorites), boxing, and football (soccer), a former business owner and executive headhunter, and a Tottenham Hotspur FC fan for my sins.