In Hollywood, there’s never a wrong time to revisit the premise of a previously existing classic. It’s usually a movie that earned serious bank upon its initial release, though every now and then, it will just be a matter of an established filmmaker wanting to put his or her own spin on the material. Take Guillermo del Toro’s “Nightmare Alley,” for example, which is a remake of a 1947 noir but also a faithful adaptation of the source novel that both movies are based on.
To determine the best movie remakes of all time, 24/7 Tempo reviewed the Ultimate Movie Remakes List on IMDb, an online movie and TV database owned by Amazon. To rank the films, we created an index of average user ratings on IMDb and average audience ratings on Rotten Tomatoes, an online movie and TV review aggregator, scaled to take into account the varying number of votes across the movies in our database. This combined rating was then averaged with the Rotten Tomatoes critic rating to obtain each film’s 24/7 Tempo index score. To be considered, each film had to have at least 10,000 total user ratings between IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes and 10 approved Tomatometer critic reviews.
Generally, the best remakes bring something new and exciting to the table instead of merely rehashing a previous film or capitalizing on that film’s blockbuster success. For instance, the 1986 musical comedy “Little Shop of Horrors” completely reimagines a low-budget Roger Corman movie and breathes all kinds of new life into the narrative as a result. And while the 1932 pre-code gangster flick “Scarface” is considered a classic, it bears scant resemblance to Brian De Palma’s ultra-violent epic of the same name. (Both, though, are good enough to be considered among the 50 best gangster movies of all time.)
Then there are films such as Steven Soderbergh’s “Ocean’s Eleven” or John Carpenter’s “The Thing,” which employ modern production techniques and make their respective predecessors seem stiff or dated by comparison. It all provides for a compelling argument in favor of the occasional remake. (These are movie remakes that are better than the original.)
On the other hand, Hollywood does tend to go overboard in the pursuit of profit. Indeed, was anyone really asking for a remake of “Total Recall” in 2012 or “Point Break” in 2015? Suffice it to say, you won’t find those titles on the following list.
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