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Home » Movies

My Top 10 Movies That Should Never be Remade

Submitted by on June 2, 2010 – 9:51 pm 27 Comments

When I read last week about how the long-delayed Logan’s Run remake might move forward yet again, I didn’t really care one way or the other. It was a marginal ’70s movie that I only have dim memories of so I have nothing against someone wanting to try and improve on it (because remakes are ALWAYS improvements on the original, right?).

But then I started thinking about the movies for which I’d march on Washington against their being remade (OK, maybe I’d just boo loudly from my couch) because it’d be all kinds of wrongness. Here are my top 10, in no particular order:

  1. The Godfather. Marlon Brando made talking with cotton balls in his mouth seem intimidating; anyone else would come off ridiculous.
  2. Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I’d put anything with Audrey Hepburn on this list since no one can ever step into her shoes (or black sheath dress, in this case), but since it’s too late for Roman Holiday—the 1987 TV remake with Catherine Oxenberg was atrocious—I’ll go with Tiffany’s. Also, though there are many different versions of “Moon River,” none is more heart-tugging than Hepburn’s in the movie.
  3. The Crying Game. If you already know the bulk, er, twist in the story, what’s the point of doing another version? It’d also be really difficult to find someone else like Jaye Davidson to play Dil so convincingly.
  4. The Matrix. It was mind-blowing when we first saw it. After all the copycats since, bullet time won’t look that impressive again.
  5. His Girl Friday. I can’t think of any actress today who can talk as fast as Rosalind Russell, or tackle a man as effectively while wearing a pencil skirt and high heels.
  6. Love Actually. Many storylines, characters, and actors converged serendipitously to make this perfect movie. Trying to juggle that many balls again with a different cast would be pushing their luck.
  7. Waiting for Guffman. Everyone in that cast is a master at improv. It’s hard to imagine another group of actors who can match that level of comic brilliance.
  8. Raiders of the Lost Ark. There ain’t nuthin’ wrong with it so hands off!
  9. Love Story. You’re probably thinking “whaaaat?” but I have a soft spot for this. It’s one of the first movies I ever saw in a theater (I was 4 or 5) and I cried my little buns off. The leads are so pretty, the story so romantic and tragic. But Ollie or Jen wouldn’t get away with “Love means never having to say you’re sorry” today without audiences laughing at them.
  10. Star Wars. Do I have to explain this one?

What would you hate to see remade?



  • Eddy says:

    The Big Lebowski. There can never be another “Dude”. (Although I know that The Big Lebowski is actually a reimagining of The Big Sleep…. still.)

  • Naomi Johnson says:

    Audrey Hepburn was the personification of class.

    Most of the classic movies should be left alone. The remake of REAR WINDOW was meh, as I expected, and much worse was the remake of BORN YESTERDAY. On her funniest day Melanie Griffith can’t touch Judy Holliday, while Don Johnson’s fake nerd is limp next to Bill Holden’s earnest intelligence.

    HIS GIRL FRIDAY was a remake itself of THE FRONT PAGE, and was later redone again as THE FRONT PAGE, but Roz Russell and Cary Grant are untouchable in the roles of reporter and editor. It’s one of my all-time favorites.

    Number one film that I never, ever want to see a remake of: BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID. That screenplay was so brilliant that any other can only suffer in comparison.

  • THE GREAT ESCAPE. Come on, Steve McQueen jumping barbed wire fences on a motorcycle? James Garner at the top of his game? Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson, Donald Pleasence, James COburn, David McCallum and on and on. Could never repeat it.

    • le0pard13 says:

      Brett, you’re also so right about The Great Escape! BTW, AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE LOS ANGELES is showing this classic on Father’s Day at the Egyptian Theatre. I’m thinking about taking my son with me to see it as it was meant to be seen. Thanks.

  • Elizabeth Duncan says:

    Casablanca. The most perfect movie ever made.

  • le0pard13 says:

    A fine list, PCN. Hollywood already has had some poor attempts with our favorite Audrey Hepburn, unfortunately. The absolute dead-head remake of her (and Cary Grant’s) Charade as THE TRUTH ABOUT CHARLIE (what was Jonathan Demme thinking?!?) And Sabrina‘s 1995 remake with Harrison Ford and Julia Ormond? PLEEEEEEZE!

    BTW, regarding #9, did you ever see 1972’s great What’s Up Doc? and its allusion to that quoted line from Love Story? Classic. This was fun, Elyse. Thanks for this.

  • jenn says:

    Any classic with Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Myrna Loy.

    Specifically, Bringing Up Baby, Adam’s Rib (I can see them trying), The Thin Man Movies, Cool Hand Luke, The Sting, anything Alfred Hitchcock.

    Ok… maybe I don’t like change.

  • Sharon says:

    The list should be expanded to 20. “The Sound of Music” is another that shouldn’t be remade. No one can sing like Julie Andrews!

  • Pop Culture Nerd says:

    Eddy—I thought of LEBOWSKI since I agree there can never be another Dude, but I didn’t love the movie. Don’t hate me!

    Naomi—I forgot GIRL was a remake of FRONT PAGE (which wasn’t nearly as memorable). They got it right with Russell & Grant and should just leave it alone.

    Brett—If they tried to remake ESCAPE, it’d be THE GREAT BOMB.

    Elizabeth—I considered this but only liked, didn’t love the movie. (Ack! Stop throwing rocks, y’all!) Ingrid Bergman ties with Audrey Hepburn for my favorite actress of all time but I think I saw CASABLANCA when I was too young to fully appreciate it. Mama exposed me to classics at a very young age so I probably need to see it again.

    le0pard13—SABRINA has been erased from my memory so I can retain my sanity. I didn’t even bother seeing TRUTH ABOUT CHARLIE. And I love WHAT’S UP, DOC?! It made me laugh so hard I almost leaked from the wrong places.

    jenn—Oh, love BRINGING UP, BABY & ADAM’S RIB. Ever seen THE AWFUL TRUTH? Awesome. Hitchcock repertoire should be left alone, too (I studied his films in college), as painfully evidenced by PSYCHO remake.

    Sharon—Welcome! And feel free to expand to 20. What are some other titles on your list?

  • jenn says:

    Please watch Casablanca again. It’s not my favorite, but the camera angles and shots are freaking brilliant.

    Gilda sort of reminds me of it and is a great movie.

  • Donna says:

    Off the top of my head: The Magnificent Seven; Brigadoon; Singing in the Rain; Casablanca; Camelot; The Apartment; Some Like It Hot; Airplane; Dirty Harry; Bullet. There are plenty others but too long to list. It’s not a movie but has anyone noticed CBS is doing the series “Hawaii 5-0” this Fall? I mean…COME ON! Jack Lord is turning in his grave!

  • Gone With the Wind. Along with all the great classics already listed here, some things should never be messed with. Like Jenn, maybe I just don’t like change! And funny how the theme music from many of these is so memorable as well. Ack, now I can’t get The Great Escape out of my head. I’ll just whistle along for the rest of the day…

    • Pop Culture Nerd says:

      Whether or not I like change depends on the situation. If my pants are too tight, I’d want to change out of them pronto. But if I make a wonderful friend, I’d hang on for dear life and hope that person never changes his/her mind about our friendship.

  • Jen Forbus says:

    O.k., someone mentioned THE STING above, I’d agree whole-heartedly with that one. I’m also going to add another Redford great THE GREAT GATSBY. A&E tried to do a remake. *groan* Big Mistake!

    Leave TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD alone. One of the few movie adaptations of books I truly appreciate. Gregory Peck was brilliant.

    A BEAUTIFUL MIND. This is my favorite movie of all time. I’ve not ever seen such a profound approach to film from all parties involved: directors, producers, actors, EVERY. LAST. PERSON. They pulled off an amazing subject matter with utter beauty. And they didn’t try to do it with bells and whistles. It was just plain masterful.

  • Bailey says:

    Gosh, PCN: pretty much your entire list would go on my list….so, if I were to ADD another ten, here’s mine:
    my votes:
    02) HAIRSPRAY (2007)

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