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"I thought 'Chariots of Fire'" was a remake of 'Ben-Hur' with flamethrowers."
Red Green, The Red Green Show

It has become common in the past few decades to make updated versions of older films. This can be done for several reasons: the director may be a fan of the original work, the studios may want to capitalize on nostalgia, or the writers may want to approach the original plot from a different angle. A movie is not a remake if it is based on the same source as an earlier film, such as the 1967 and 1998 versions of Doctor Doolittle, which were both based on the book series.

A variation on The Remake is the Foreign Remake, an English version of a foreign movie. It can be between any two countries, such as The Ring, a Japanese film remade in the US.

The Video Game Remake is a subtrope of this, as is The Film of the Series.

TV shows can also be remade, but this is much rarer because of the tendency to instead make later series part of the same continuity as the earlier ones. When a series is remade it is often a Continuity Reboot as well.

It should be noted that remakes have existed almost as long as there have been movies.

Not to be confused with the REmake, which is a specific example of a Video Game Remake.

Remakes are also similar to Continuity Reboots, and there is occasionally some overlap. However, one of the key differences between a straight remake and a Continuity Reboot is that anything can be remade, but only a long-running series can be rebooted. Retool is also often congruent with both Continuity Reboots and remakes.

Often, a Tone Shift will be part of the Remake.

Examples of The Remake include:

Straight remakes

  • The 2010 version of The Karate Kid
  • The 2001 version of Ocean's Eleven.
  • The 1976 and 2005 versions of King Kong.
    • Mighty Joe Young is also a friendlier remake of King Kong. Incidently, that movie was also remade in the 90's.
  • The 1996 version of The Nutty Professor.
  • Flubber was a remake of a 1961 film called The Absent-Minded Professor.
  • The 1995 and 2003 versions of Freaky Friday.
  • The 1998 version of The Parent Trap.
    • The 1961 Parent Trap already was the third adaptation of the same book, Erich Kästner's Das doppelte Lottchen, and thus can itself legitimately be described as a Foreign Remake.
  • The 1999 version of The Mummy.
  • The 1999 version of House on Haunted Hill.
  • The 1959 version of Ben-Hur is a remake of the 1925 silent movie of the same name.
  • The 1956 version of The Ten Commandments is also a remake of the 1923 silent movie of the same name. Cecil B. DeMille directed both.
  • The 1956 film The Man Who Knew Too Much, directed by Alfred Hitchcock is the remake of his own 1934 film with the same title.
  • The 1986 version of The Fly is a remake of the 1958 version.
  • The 2008 version of The Day the Earth Stood Still.
  • The 1998 and 2009 versions of The Taking of Pelham One Two Three.
  • The 2007 version of Sleuth. Notable in that it kept one of the original leads, but in the opposite role.
  • The 1982 version of The Thing, which is also more loyal to the book (Who Goes There?) than the original film, The Thing From Another World.
  • gives us this list of remakes that missed the point.
  • An unusual triple threat: Leo McCarey's Love Affair (1939), starring Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer, was remade (by Leo McCarey) as An Affair to Remember (1957) with Deborah Kerr and Cary Grant, which was remade again (by a different director) as Love Affair (1994) with Annette Bening and Warren Beatty. Ironically, An Affair to Remember is regarded as the best of the three, which has led to a general assumption that An Affair to Remember was the original.
  • The 2005 version of The Bad News Bears.
  • The 2010 version of Clash of the Titans.
  • Heaven Can Wait (1978) was a remake of the 1941 film Here Comes Mr. Jordan, and itself was remade in 2001 as Down to Earth. It has nothing to do with the 1943 film Heaven Can Wait (directed by Ernst Lubitsch).
  • The 1954 and 1976 versions of A Star Is Born, respectively with Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand.
  • In 1977, Its a Wonderful Life was remade as the Made for TV Movie It Happened One Christmas with Marlo Thomas as a Gender Flipped version of the Jimmy Stewart character.
  • Doraemon does this for newer audiences and to keep the series alive - with Art Evolution (and, unfortunately, more censorship).
  • Many people don't realize that the 1941 version The Maltese Falcon is actually a remake of a film made ten years prior.
  • The 1939 The Wizard of Oz was a remake of a version made in 1925, which also wasn't the first Oz film. There were two silent-era versions of Oz. The earliest one can be viewed here.
  • The 1983 version of Scarface is also a little better known than the 1932 version. And that one is probably better known than the version made in 1928.
  • The 2009 remake of Fame.
  • Piranha 3D, the 2010 remake of Piranha.
  • The 2011 remake of Fright Night.
  • The play The Front Page by Hecht and MacArthur was first adapted into a movie in 1931, starring Adolphe Menjou and Pat O'Brien. Howard Hawks remade it in 1940 as His Girl Friday with Cary Grant and Rosalind Russel, gender-flipping the role of reporter Hildy Johnson. In 1974 Billy Wilder flipped Hildy Johnson's gender back to male in his screen adaptation with Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. Then in 1988 Ted Kotcheff remade it for the satellite television age with Burt Reynolds and Kathleen Turner, flipping Hildy back to female.

Foreign Remake

  • The Ring, a remake of the Japanese film Ringu.
  • A Fistful of Dollars, a remake of the Japanese film Yojimbo.
  • Nightwatch, a remake of the Danish film Nattevagten.
  • Jungle 2 Jungle, a remake of the French film Un indien dans la ville.
  • The Point of No Return, a remake of the French film Nikita.
  • Some Like It Hot, an elaborated remake of the 1951 West German film Fanfaren der Liebe.
  • Taxi, the 2003 remake of the French original.
  • Father's Day, the 1997 remake of the French film Les Compères
  • The Departed, a remake of the Hong Kong movie Infernal Affairs
  • The 2010 remake of the 2007 movie Death At a Funeral. Bizarrely unneeded, as the original came out not even three years before the film was made, has one of the same actors returning for the same character, and is exactly the same in every way except the characters are black.
  • The Debt, a 2011 remake of the 2007 Israeli film by the same name.
  • Just Visiting, a remake of the French film Les Visiteurs.
  • Welcome to Collinwood, the 2002 remake of the Italian film I soliti ignoti, with George Clooney reprising Totò's role. The same film was also remade earlier with Louis Malle's 'Crackers (1984).
  • True Lies, a remake of the French film La Totale!.
  • The Magnificent Seven is a remake of the Japanese film Seven Samurai, which was then remade In Space as Battle Beyond the Stars, remade and computer animated as A Bugs Life, then remade yet again as the anime Samurai Seven.
  • Shall We Dance, the 2004 American remake of the 1996 Japanese movie. Neither is related to the 1937 movie musical of the same title.
  • Quarantine, a 2008 remake of the Spanish film ~[REC]~ (2007).
  • Vanilla Sky was a remake of the Spanish Abre los Ojos.
  • The 1998 American version of Godzilla.
    • The upcoming 2012 Godzilla remake by Legendary Pictures, supervised by Toho themselves.
  • The Birdcage, a remake of the French la Cage Aux Folles
  • The Wicker Man was remade in the States in 2006, with Nicolas Cage in a bear suit.
  • Last Man Standing is another remake of Yojimbo.
  • Pathfinder is an American action remake of the Oscar-nominated Norwegian film Ofelas.
  • The 2010 film Let Me In is an American remake of the 2008 Swedish vampire film Let the Right One In.
  • King Kong has a few in Asia, although Your Mileage May Vary on whether they are direct remakes or rip-offs:
    • King Kong vs. Godzilla is basically a remake of the original Kong for about 2/3 of the movie. The only difference is that he goes on to fight Godzilla and doesn't die in the end.
    • There was a Japanese remake of King Kong, which was the first Kaiju film. It was titled King Kong Appears in Edo. Sadly, this movie is lost.
    • The Mighty Peking Man from Hong Kong.
    • There was a joint US/Korean production called A.P.E., which is famous for featuring the mom from Growing Pains and a giant monkey giving the finger to the military.
    • While not Asian, there is a Greek remake of King Kong as well.

Remakes of foreign TV shows

  • NBC's The Office is the Americanized version of the BBC series. Well at least it didn't end up like their Coupling...
  • ABC made Life On Mars, another BBC show.
  • American Idol and its counterpart Canadian Idol are actually the US and Canadian versions of the hit British talent show, Pop Idol. This applies to any other show with the title *Insert Nationality Here* Idol.
  • Traffic was originally an English TV miniseries, remade as a Film Of The Series, which in turn was made into another US TV series.
  • Snavely was an attempt to make an americanized version of Fawlty Towers — starring Harvey Korman, no less — that died a quick and well-deserved death.
    • There was another attempt to remake it with Bea Arthur as the gender-swapped version of John Cleese's character.
  • Sanford and Son was a remake of the British Steptoe and Son.
  • Three's Company was based on the British Man About The House.
    • The Ropers was based on the British George And Mildred.
    • Threes A Crowd was based on the British Robins Nest.
  • The American remake of Prime Suspect, starring Maria Bello in the role originally played by Helen Mirren.
  • The Killing is a remake of the Danish series Forbrydelsen (The Crime).
  • The Swedish series Wallander was remade by The BBC.
  • The Upper Hand was a remake of Whos the Boss.

TV shows remade as movies (The Film of the Series)

TV shows remade as TV shows

  • The 1992 version of the British sci-fi series "The Tomorrow People"
  • The 2000-2001 version of The Fugitive.
  • The 2007 version of Bionic Woman.
  • The 2007 version of Police Camera Action, although that was probably due to a Role Ending Misdemeanor
  • The 2003 miniseries and 2004-2009 version of Battlestar Galactica.
  • Gundam Seed of 2002-03 was admittedly a remake of the original Mobile Suit Gundam from 1979.
  • A good chunk of Hispanic Soap Operas are either remakes of previous soaps (TV or radio) or adaptations of famous romantic books. One example who combine both is the famed "Corazón Salvaje" (title translates to Savage Heart), who began as a romantic novel, then was adapted as a soap in The Sixties, then later as a movie in The Seventies, and then again as a soap in The Nineties who unusually for the trope was claimed as the better version of them all.
  • Game shows do this all the time. The best ones came during the '70s and '80s, where The Match Game became Match Game '7x, The Price Is Right evolved into The (New) Price Is Right, Pyramid kept climbing in dollar amounts, and Password would become Password Plus and later Super Password. There were numerous "Same shows, new hosts" examples as well, such as Family Feud (Richard Dawson, then Ray Combs) and Card Sharks (Jim Perry, then Bob Eubanks). More recent revivals tend to fall a bit flat by comparison (Match Game '98 with Michael Burger, Card Sharks '01...just, Card Sharks '01, Family Feud with pretty much everyone since Ray Combs — even an aged Richard Dawson — until John O'Hurley came along, and Pyramid with Donny Osmond).
  • The 2009 Britcom Reggie Perrin, a remake of the 1970s Britcom The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin.
  • The 2009 version of V.
  • The 2010 version of Hawaii Five-O.
  • The 2011 version of Charlie's Angels.

Unusual/parodic remakes

  • See the entire Film section of Recursive Adaptation.
  • Airplane!! takes its plot and much of its "straight" dialogue from the 1957 drama Zero Hour!.
  • The novel Beau Geste was adapted to film in 1926, 1939 and 1966. In 1977 a parody titled The Last Remake of Beau Geste was made. The title became not entirely true, because BBC made a television version in 1982.
  • Don Bluth's 1997 Anastasia is officially a Disneyfication/fantasticization of the 1956 Ingrid Bergman film (itself a play adaptation).
    • Fox specifically presented him with a list of works they owned the rights to that he could adapt. It boiled down to this or My Fair Lady.
  • Last Man Standing is a remake of a remake, being a remake of a Fistful of Dollars which was a remake of Yojimbo
  • The movie State Fair got a 1945 musical remake, with songs by Rodgers and Hammerstein. The musical itself was remade in 1962.
  • Gus Van Sant's Psycho was, save for a gratuitous scene of Mister Bates... misterbating (sorry), and a couple scattered lines of dialogue, a shot-for-shot remake of the Hitchcock original.
  • If you'll believe it, a group of teenagers did a shot-for-shot remake of Raiders of the Lost Ark in the 80s. It's really awesome.
  • Someone remade the opening song of A Goofy Movie in live action And it is awesome.