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Twenty Movies That Should NEVER Get A Remake (If They Don't Already Have One)

  • Nov 12, 2009
Let me preface this by saying that this list is pretty ficticious.  I'm not suggesting these movies are going to get a remake.  Only suggesting that if anyone is ever thinking they should... stop... desist!  Remaking these films would just be pretty freakin' bad.  It's also possible I might put somthing on here that already has a remake and I'm just not aware of it.  Point is, it's another moment for me to have fun.

Now, everyone knows when it comes to remakes I'm not really too harsh.  I believe you need to let each version stand on their own and they should both be judged on their own merits.  I still stand by that... but that doesn't mean that you don't get bad remakes.  Often they're bad not because they didn't follow the original... but because they're just absurdly bad films (The Day the Earth Stood Still, anyone?).  Other times remaking a movie seems pointless because they don't do anything with it.  In short, if you're going to become a director and you want to consider doing a remake... you're screwed no matter what you do with it.  Just keep that in mind!

Finally, I'm sure you all can think of others movies that shouldn't be remade (or that have too many damn remakes already--I'm looking at you Cinderella).  For that... put 'em in the comments.  Because you know I just won't get 'em all!
The Godfather
If I have to explain this one... then you've never seen The Godfather.  Period.

Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope DVD
Star Wars is one of those movies I don't think people could accurately remake even if they tried.  In the first place, it was just aeons ahead of its time so it still looks rather modern, but more than that it is a film that truly shows us what a big imagination can really do.  It not only has great Special Effects that even todays movies can't live up to, but it has a good story filled with great motifs and themes.  Obviously this means the rest of the trilogy is off limits as well.

See the full review, "30 Years Later and Still a Remarkable Film".
Do I really have to go into why this would be a terrible remake?  If a movie gets slapped with the label "The Finest Movie Ever Made," (there are a lot of movies that get ranked like that--especially movies from the 40's) you don't touch it.  That's the golden rule.  To give you an idea of how much Casablanca means to some people... they reissued it one year... in Color... and it caused one of the biggest uproars in film history.  I'm not kidding.  It's a classic that if they redid now people would complain it has none of the magic... and then if it was redone frame for frame people would say it lacks imagination.  Quite the paradox, I'd say.  But beyond that... how do you replace the cast here with more meaningful characters?

Schindler's List (movie)
Of all the films made in the 90's... this is probably the most important one.  Of all the films Spielberg has done... this is probably his best.  Like The Godfather... if I have to explain this one to you, you've probably never seen it.  It is one of the few movies that just weeps of perfection.  A perfection that can't be touched.  Trying to remake Schinlder's List would be the equivalent of throwing yourself into a bottomless pit.  You'll never come back.

Citizen Kane
Just like Casablanca, Citizen Kane is often labeled The Finest Film Ever Made.  As a result, Citizen Kane is another film that probably shouldn't be touched because of that.  More than that, the film is incredibly significant for its time.  This means if it should ever be redone it would be so changed from the original (for the sake of making it relevant) that it would be such a goddamn waste.

See the full review, ""Rosebud..."".
It should be known the 1959 Ben Hur was already a remake of a Silent Film.  Yet in 1959 this version was way better and more definitive.  This is a case of a movie in which the addition of CGI would somehow taint and ruin the film.  I'm specifically referring to the Chariot Race.  It looks incredibly... and very real.  Even 50 years later.  If someone put CGI in Ben Hur or did the Chariot Race with CGI... I might actually cry.  I'm not kidding.  I love that scene in the original that much.  It's perfect as it is, but adding CGI would make a scene that looked very real look very superficial in comparison.

I should preface this one: I really can't stand remakes of horror suspense films... most of the time.  I believe in letting them stand alone, but the reason why I can't stand them is because instead of being scary... they're about being violent.  Alien strikes me as the kind of film a horror film director would want to remake for the sake of making it so violent you'll feel like you're wearing red tinted glasses than focusing on making it scary and suspenseful.  And how sad that seems to me.  I enjoy horror primarily for the suspense and seeing how the film will try to scare me.  Not for the violence in and of itself.  I can almost picture a remake... it would be so over-the-top at what it does that you'd wonder if the film makers understood that no one loved Alien because of the violence... we loved it because of the suspense.  Because it was scary!  NOT because it had people dying left and right.

DVD front
Indiana Jones pretty much defined adventure in film.  It's an awesome story with an awesome character it revolves around.  Some of its moments are too classic to mess with.  Jones outrunning the boulder... the crackle of the whip... and, of course, the melting faces.  Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of those movies that would be terrible to temper with because film makers now would want it to be too perfect.  They'd ignore the simplicity of what made Raiders of the Lost Ark so memorable to begin with.

Movie poster
Rumor has it this one actually IS getting a remake.  Who knows, but A Clockwork Orange is one of those movies that works in part because it has an unusually awesome style to it that's unique.  A remake would lose that somehow.  And in Hollywood today... everything would be so over the top it would probably wreck it.  Remember the part where Alex reaches up to touch the women's breast on stage and gets sick and falls over?  It's one of the most iconic scenes!  Now imagine Zack Snyder got a hold of the rights to A Clockwork Orange and did that... oh God!  The horror!  NOTE: If there is a remake I highly doubt Zack Snyder is going to make... it's just that when I thought over-the-top he was the first guy that came to mind.

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
The Shawshank Redemption is, hands down, one of the greatest movies ever made.  Even at the time of its release people were skeptical as to whether or not people would enjoy it.  It's really long and has a ton of dialog.  Hell that means that if it did get a remake someone would think to themselves, "You gotta make it MORE violent and MORE depressing, damn it!"  Because Shawshank was hardly violent.  In fact, with the exception of several uses of the word "Fuck" there was no real reason for Shawshank's rating in the first place.  Not to mention a remake would probably focus more on trying to be flashy than anything else.  I don't know why the guys who make movies now think dialog isn't what people want, but they do.  And redoing Shawshank would mean someone would want less dialog and more action... in a movie that was NEVER designed for it anyway.

See the full review, "Fear Can Hold You Prisoner; Hope Can Set You Free".
It's a Wonderful Life
There are about a million films inspired by "It's a Wonderful Life."  Where as some movies get labeled "Best Film Ever," It's a Wonderful Life has the pleasure of often being labeled the Greatest Holiday Movie ever made.  At least this one might be safe... if only because film makers haven't had enough fun with A Christmas Carol as it is.  The story and the performances are just majestic.  It's like Shawshank in a way.  A remake people would see fit to make sure there was a bit more action and a bit too much drama in a film that doesn't need anymore of that stuff than it already has.

Original Film Poster
The idea of anyone even considering a remake of Pulp Ficiton would give me a heart attack.  It's strikingly originally... and stylistically incredible with quick, snappy and witty dialog.  Redoing Quentin Tarantino's masterpiece would drive a stake through the heart of several people, I'm sure.  No one has a style like Quentin Tarantino and that's part of what gives the movie such a charm.  Remaking Pulp Fiction without Quentin Tarantino would be like someone saying, "Let's reboot Seinfeld without Seinfeld!"

The Sound of Music
Heh, Musicals.  You don't want to remake a whole lot of those for the sake of losing some of the good melodies (Grease is another musical you probably wouldn't want to see a remake of).  The Sound of Music would be one of those remakes people wouldn't like because it would take their favorite songs and butcher them somehow.  You'd lose the voice of Julie Andrews and you'd get a bunch of kids staring in that would probably be manufactured by fucking Disney.  God, I can see it now: "Miley Cyrus in: The Sound of Music!"

DVD front
No one really cares about the other two films in The Matrix Trilogy, but the first one in and of itself is VERY ambitious and has a lot of depth.  Again, it has a style about it that just makes it work so well.  And like Star Wars... much of what it does was well ahead of its time.  In fact, people are STILL stealing shit from The Matrix.  Whether it be bullet time or that sort of "Too cool for the room," thing that The Matrix has going.  But the reason the first film is so great and the other two are so forgettable was because it was philisophically driven but you didn't feel like you needed to be a genius to grasp it.  It's one of those movies that almost everyone understands and they don't have to bang their head against the wall to do it... even though it's definitely a very smart movie.  Somehow I get the feeling that people would try to dumb the damn thing down if they did a remake.

Lord of the Rings_The Return of the King
Much like Star Wars, Lord of the Rings is a trilogy that was already a hard project to tackle as it is.  The entire trilogy took four years to get done.  And in spite of its imperfections it's pretty memorable.  Now, I'm not a huge Lord of the Rings fan.  In fact, I only truly enjoyed the third film (I always fall asleep during the first one).  Nevertheless, however, the movies are incredible.  The sets are remarkable and the special effects are incredible.  It's epic on a whole other scale.  A kind of epicness that no remake could ever achieve.

Fight Club
Fight Club is already so goddamn bizarre.  And a remake would suffer for two reasons.  Either it would be way too bizarre for some to swallow or it wouldn't be bizarre enough.  It might also be just a tad bit over done.  The movie is already overdone as it is, of course (but overdone is a very good way)... but there's one thing every remake is almost always striving for... to pay tribute to the original or to be better (by giving it a "modern" update).  And Fight Club is not one of those movies that could use something like that.

Kill Bill Vol. 1
Much like Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill Vol. 1 has such a unique style to it (and is such a brilliantly executed idea) that it being in the hands of anyone other than Tarantino would be like having to swallow a rubber hot dog instead of a real one.  It needs to remain in Tarantino's hands and only his hands for the sake of making sure our memories won't be ruined by a remake.  It would be brutal to have to sit through it without Tarantino on board (I assure you someone would get rid of the flying and stuff in the first film).  This goes DOUBLE for the second film.

See the full review, "Tarantino Has Made A Fun Movie".
Stand By Me
There are not that many coming of age stories in Hollywood that are done right.  Stand By Me is one of them.  Our characters become memorable and grow and as a result they go on a journey as boys and come back as men.  Most Coming of Age tales now have to feature really bad boys somehow becoming really good boys through a tragic experience.  This is exactly why Stand By Me shouldn't be remade.  It doesn't do that.  It's a very authentic experience with characters that aren't really bad boys and only one of them is really troubled in some way.  Stand By Me works because it doesn't try to be edgy like so many movies starring adolescents do now.  So many movies with teenagers or what have you spend so much time trying to be cool rather than telling a damn story!  Or they're trying to be really edgy.  Stand By Me never did that.  Seeing a remake of it... SOMEONE would be saying, "We have to relate to our audience somehow!"  And then they'd take the aspects that made it so good and change them.  The boys wouldn't be these cute innocent boys but rather these hardcore "we're badasses," kind of people.  There would be no heart in it.

See the full review, "Stand By This One".
The Lion King
I decided to put this one here for one reason: With the advent of making Computer Animated movies... there's going to be someone who at one point is going to say, "You know what would be great?  If we took a classic 2D animated film and put it in 3D!"  And someone would say, "That's an awesome idea Burt... now which movie?"  Okay, the guy's name might not be Burt, but I can see this happening.  The Lion King should not be one of those films.  Actually... no 2D Disney film should get any sort of 3D remake.  For some reason there's magic in the 2D movies that might be marred when rendering them in 3D (a ton of video games are like this... so it might just be the gamer in me talking here).

See the full review, "Among the Best of Disney's Traditional Animated Films".
The Sixth Sense
Okay, I put this one on here for one reason: We need to be able to say that at one point in time that M. Night Shyamalan made a decent film.  Please oh please don't take that away from him.  His ego needs it!

See the full review, ""I See Dead People..."".

What did you think of this list?

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October 04, 2010
Great list man... I totally agree with you specially on the following items 1, 6 & 13...
September 28, 2010
I have been disappointed with every remake I have seen so far and will probably not see any future ones. So much is lost!. One of the worst was Oceans 11 - completely ruined by changing the ending, which was hillarious in the original. Besides, no one can top the "rat pack".
September 28, 2010
Why not?? Anything can and should be remade, if and only if a true quality effort is made to improve on it.Classic that was remade and should not have been = "The day the Earth stood still." BAD remake!!
September 28, 2010
Great list. I find it interesting that two of your picks, The Shawshank Redemption and Stand By Me are both stories originally penned by Stephen King. Having said that, they have some protection, but then again, Carrie was remade. It's a Wonderful Life has been redone without satisfaction, because the original movie was actually supposed to be a comedy. One of those "greatest mistake" moments that can't be duplicated.
September 28, 2010
@Geraldv333, The Wizard of Oz was already remade as "The Wiz" with michael Jackson as the "Dorothy" charecter. while not completely horrible, it pretty much sucked. they ought to leave all the classics alone. my personal choice to never get a remake? Arsenic and Old Lace
September 28, 2010
They should Never ever Never had remade the ELM STREET movie, this year. it was a total disaster. I went home so disappointed. and the guy they used for Freddy, was nothing but a midget. ugh
September 28, 2010
The Wizard if Oz. Or is that just too obvious that it does not need to be listed?
September 28, 2010
Well, i think its an OK list. Wanna quip? Lets do it! Remake Godfather? pfft, no need so many mafia movies out there. Star wars? Jedi is updaed SW, in early interviews Lucas says so. also, they will keep re-releasing it thru the years so no need. It re-hashes itself. Casablanca - do it! S list? too many holocaust movies so no need. I recently saw Kane & Hur and all i can say is...OK.Tauted for years and i don't mind a re-make, esp. Hur. Gee, another Hebrew (would they say 'Jew'?) breaking his bonds movie...lot of those back in the day. Alien, Matrix and most others can, did and will do remakes, rehashes and just plain rip offs of themselves or the like. the few i think really belong on the list are : fight club and stand by me. but really Stand is a much better than average 'coming of age' type. plenty of those. Lotr tril shouldn't count because its almost word for word tolkien..wheres his oscar? spinning underground, he is! plenty of dwarves, orcs & pecks out there. so its just fight club..ahh tyler, tyler, tyler. such a smart and STYLISH movie. only good brad pitt movie. maybe. who cares, do it all! its about money not art. u want art go watch some bad french movie about 12 year old loosing their virginity to 45 year old men and fall asleep.peaceful.
September 28, 2010
It's A Wonderful Life has been remade in just about every medium they can find, almost ever since the original came to be. Same with Christmas Carol. Also, I really can't see anyone remaking Schindler's List. Not only would Spielberg have them whacked, but it wasn't a blockbuster because it was an action pic or a feel-good movie. And, if anyone ever tried to remake or alter Raiders of the Lost Ark, I would find them, and I would hurt them. Bad.
September 28, 2010
I too agree with all of you. I also believe they shouldn't have remade some of the movies that have come out. Like you said, alot of these movies are great just the way they are. You can't find actors today to actually bring the original characters to life in the same influence that we've come to love and remember. Great list bud.
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About the list creator
Sean A. Rhodes ()
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I'm a more analytical person. I believe that the purpose of the review is not for me to give you my opinion but for me to give you an analysis and help you decide if you want to get it. If you reading … more
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