Special Report

17 Movie Remakes to Stream That Are Better Than the Original

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Nowadays, it seems as if nearly every new movie is either a sequel or a remake. And while we have no issue with this per se – some of those new Marvel movies are a whole lot of fun – the level of creativity sometimes leaves something to be desired. Thankfully, there’s no shortage of remakes that are actually better than the original. 

Movies have been remade for nearly as long as movies have existed. Believe it or not, the first remake dates all the way back to 1896, when pioneering French director Georges Méliès remade a one-minute film of three men playing cards – the “original” having been made by the Lumière brothers, also pioneering French filmmakers, earlier that year.  

Over the years, films have been remade for a wide variety of reasons. In some instances, the film didn’t perform as well as anticipated when initially released and filmmakers believe that they can fix the original film’s problems. On the other hand, if the film did do well when initially released, studios might believe that there’s already a built-in audience of fans who will go see the new version. Some films have a timeless formula that can easily translate to a modern retelling. And then there are the films that were remade for no apparent reason at all – 1998’s ill-advised “Psycho” remake, for instance. (These are the worst movie remakes of all time.) 

To assemble a list of movie remakes better than the original that are available to stream, 24/7 Tempo developed an index using average ratings on IMDb, an online movie database owned by Amazon, and a combination of audience scores and Tomatometer scores on Rotten Tomatoes, an online movie and TV review aggregator, as of May 2022, weighting all ratings equally. We only considered remakes whose index scores are greater than those of the original movie they are based on, and that are streaming on Netflix, HBO Max, Amazon Prime, Hulu Plus, Disney+, Tubi, Pluto TV, Plex, Amazon Freevee, Peacock, Vudu, or Crackle. Movies are ranked based on total index score. (Data on streaming availability, current as of June 2022, comes from the streaming guide Reelgood, and directorial and cast credits are from IMDb.)

 Click here to see 17 movie remakes to stream that are better than the original

Source: Courtesy of IFC Midnight

17. Maniac (2012)
> IMDb user rating: 6.1/10 (36,408 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 44% (12,415 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 53% (75 reviews)
> Directed by: Franck Khalfoun
> Original movie: Maniac (1980)
> Streaming on: Plex

The 2012 “Maniac” is a super-violent slasher film that follows a schizophrenic serial killer (played by Elijah Wood) as he murders women. It’s shot almost entirely from his point of view, with Wood’s face only occasionally visible in mirror reflections. The original 1980 film was shot guerrilla-style with a very small budget; both were lambasted upon release for their excessive violence, but the more recent version was praised for its unique filmmaking style and was considered one of the year’s best horror films.

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Source: Kevin Winter / Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images

16. Contraband (2012)
> IMDb user rating: 6.4/10 (119,992 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 57% (70,033 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 51% (165 reviews)
> Directed by: Baltasar Kormákur
> Original movie: Reykjavík-Rotterdam (2008)
> Streaming on: Amazon Freevee

The 2012 action-thriller “Contraband” stars Mark Wahlberg as a former smuggler who’s forced to return to the game after his wife’s brother (a drug smuggler himself) loses his drugs in a surprise DEA raid, resulting in his boss threatening to kill his family. With an all-star cast that also includes Kate Beckinsale, Giovanni Ribisi and J.K. Simmons, it was a remake of 2008’s “Reykjavík-Rotterdam,” one of the highest-budget Icelandic films of all time. The original starred Baltasar Kormákur, who directed the remake.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

15. The Lake House (2006)
> IMDb user rating: 6.8/10 (144,668 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 73% (429,984 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 35% (156 reviews)
> Directed by: Alejandro Agresti
> Original movie: Il Mare (2000)
> Streaming on: Netflix

A remake of the South Korean film “Il Mare,” 2006’s “The Lake House” is a fantasy romance in which an architect living in 2004 (Keanu Reeves) and a doctor living in 2006 (Sandra Bullock) correspond via letters left in a mailbox, even though they’re two years apart in time. It didn’t receive especially great reviews, but for fans of romance, time travel, and the two leads, it’s a pleasant diversion.

Source: Courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

14. Wicker Park (2004)
> IMDb user rating: 7.0/10 (55,168 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 79% (55,465 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 27% (135 reviews)
> Directed by: Paul McGuigan
> Original movie: The Apartment (1996)
> Streaming on: HBO Max

A remake of the 1966 French film “L’Appartement,” which in turn is loosely based on Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” 2004’s “Wicker Park” follows Josh Hartnett (during his brief reign as an A-lister) as he tries to track down his missing fiancée (Diane Kruger). Years later, while in a new relationship, he thinks he sees her, but it’s actually Rose Byrne, who acts just like his lost love. The film was scorned by critics for being overwrought, convoluted, and hard to follow, but also praised for being faithful to the French original.

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Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

13. Fever Pitch (2005)
> IMDb user rating: 6.2/10 (44,043 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 60% (166,769 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 65% (196 reviews)
> Directed by: Peter & Bobby Farrelly
> Original movie: Fever Pitch (1997)
> Streaming on: Hulu Plus, Plex

In the original, British “Fever Pitch,” Colin Firth and Ruth Gemmell play a couple who fall in love while the soccer team Arsenal works towards a championship title. In the 1997 remake from the Farrelly Brothers, the film is transposed to Boston, with Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore in the lead roles and the Red Sox replacing Arsenal. It’s a cute, charming romantic comedy with plenty of chemistry between the two leads, but it’s obviously not for Yankee fans.

Source: Courtesy of Overture Films

12. The Crazies (2010)
> IMDb user rating: 6.5/10 (115,607 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 56% (199,247 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 70% (155 reviews)
> Directed by: Breck Eisner
> Original movie: The Crazies (1973)
> Streaming on: Plex

The original 1973 “The Crazies,” written and directed by B-movie horror legend George A. Romero, is about a small town whose residents either die or become homicidal maniacs after accidentally being exposed to a biological weapon. It bombed but has since become a cult favorite. The 2010 remake of the same name has the same plot and stars Timothy Olyphant, and even though it wasn’t a huge hit, it was praised for being cleverer, tenser, and more action-filled than the original.

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Source: Courtesy of Buena Vista Pictures

11. Freaky Friday (2003)
> IMDb user rating: 6.2/10 (131,073 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 57% (932,448 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 88% (155 reviews)
> Directed by: Mark Waters
> Original movie: Freaky Friday (1976)
> Streaming on: Disney+

The basic plot of “Freaky Friday” is one of the simplest and most iconic in film history: a mother and her daughter somehow switch bodies, and gain a new understanding of each other’s lives. The 1976 original, a classic in its own right, stars Barbara Harris and Jodie Foster as the mother-daughter duo, and the 2003 remake starred Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan. Lohan’s and Curtis’ performances were especially well-reviewed, especially that of Curtis, who gives a comedic tour de force playing a teenager.

Source: Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

10. Man on Fire (2004)
> IMDb user rating: 7.7/10 (342,234 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 89% (423,695 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 38% (169 reviews)
> Directed by: Tony Scott
> Original movie: Man on Fire (1987)
> Streaming on: Tubi

2004’s Denzel Washington-starring “Man on Fire” is a remake of the 1987 film of the same name starring Scott Glenn, which in turn was based on the 1980 A.J. Quinnell novel of the same name. The original film takes place in Italy, but the remake moves the action to Mexico City, where a former CIA agent-turned-bodyguard played by Washington attempts to track down the kidnapped daughter of a wealthy businessman. It performed well at the box office and was Quinnell’s preferred adaptation.

Source: Courtesy of Netflix

9. The Kindergarten Teacher (2018)
> IMDb user rating: 6.7/10 (14,288 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 68% (392 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 90% (103 reviews)
> Directed by: Sara Colangelo
> Original movie: The Kindergarten Teacher (2014)
> Streaming on: Netflix

The original “The Kindergarten Teacher” was released in Israel in 2004, and was well-reviewed enough that it was remade four years later in the U.S. with star Maggie Gyllenhaal. Both films are about a disaffected kindergarten teacher who goes to great lengths to protect the talents of an especially gifted student. The film, and Gyllenhaal’s performance specifically, received high praise.

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Source: Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

8. Pete’s Dragon (2016)
> IMDb user rating: 6.7/10 (56,297 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 72% (37,214 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 88% (245 reviews)
> Directed by: David Lowery
> Original movie: Pete’s Dragon (1977)
> Streaming on: Disney+

1977’s “Pete’s Dragon” is a Disney live action/animation hybrid musical fantasy in which a lighthouse keeper’s daughter befriends a runaway orphan and his pet dragon. While critics appreciated its premise, it has largely been relegated to the Disney dustbin due to its excessive length, sluggish pacing, and tired formula. The 2016 remake did away with the music and turned it into a drama about the boy’s discovery of the dragon and its repercussions, and was praised as one of the year’s best, most soulful movies.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

7. Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
> IMDb user rating: 7.0/10 (69,830 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 79% (181,709 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 90% (50 reviews)
> Directed by: Frank Oz
> Original movie: The Little Shop of Horrors (1960)
> Streaming on: HBO Max

Roger Corman’s 1960 “The Little Shop of Horrors” is a cult-classic B-movie that’s best-known for its (very) black comedy and the presence of a young Jack Nicholson in the cast. It grew in popularity thanks to late-night TV broadcasts throughout the ’60s and ’70s, which led to it being turned into an Off-Broadway musical in 1982 – and, in 1986, into the classic film we know and love today. With music and lyrics by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman (before they became Disney legends), thoughtful direction from Frank Oz, and star turns from Rick Moranis and Ellen Greene, the surprisingly affecting film is a must-watch.

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Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

6. Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
> IMDb user rating: 7.7/10 (539,125 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 80% (32,601,771 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 83% (179 reviews)
> Directed by: Steven Soderbergh
> Original movie: Ocean’s 11 (1960)
> Streaming on: HBO Max

The original “Ocean’s 11” is remembered for being a perfect vessel for the Rat Pack to chum it up while planning a massive Las Vegas heist, but the film itself is actually pretty contrived, thinly plotted with little to no characterization, and oddly merry. The 2001 Steven Soderbergh-helmed remake, on the other hand, is an excellent and hugely influential ensemble piece starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, and many more A-listers. It’s fast-paced and witty, a whole lot of fun, and a perfect popcorn film.

Source: Courtesy of Lionsgate

5. 3:10 to Yuma (2007)
> IMDb user rating: 7.7/10 (297,987 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 86% (394,530 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 89% (224 reviews)
> Directed by: James Mangold
> Original movie: 3:10 to Yuma (1957)
> Streaming on: HBO Max

The original “3:10 to Yuma” is a classic western that stars Van Heflin as a struggling, impoverished rancher who’s tasked with transporting a dangerous outlaw (Glenn Ford) to justice. The suspenseful, expertly shot film was a critical hit upon its release. The 2007 James Mangold remake, with Christian Bale as the rancher and Russell Crowe as the outlaw, was regarded as an improvement on the 1957 version, however, with more greed-driven corruption, stronger lead performances, deeper exploration of morality, and more wit and tension.

Source: Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

4. The Jungle Book (2016)
> IMDb user rating: 7.4/10 (267,140 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 86% (94,778 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 94% (326 reviews)
> Directed by: Jon Favreau
> Original movie: The Jungle Book (1967)
> Streaming on: Disney+

The animated 1967 version of “The Jungle Book” is a Disney classic, still popular among children for its iconic characters including feral child Mowgli, Baloo the jolly bear, Bagheera the panther, and evil tiger Shere Khan as well as classic songs like “Bear Necessities.” Jon Favreau’s 2016 live action/CGI remake also received critical acclaim for its faithfulness to the original storyline, stunning visual effects, sincerity, and heart.

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Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

3. True Grit (2010)
> IMDb user rating: 7.6/10 (323,355 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 85% (158,421 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 95% (275 reviews)
> Directed by: Joel & Ethan Coen
> Original movie: True Grit (1969)
> Streaming on: Netflix

John Wayne won his only Oscar for his performance in 1969’s “True Grit” as Rooster Cogburn, an aging U.S. marshal tasked by a young girl with tracking down the man who murdered his father. He plays a classic antihero, and the film went down as a classic, if unassuming, western. The Coen brothers’ 2010 remake focused more on the character of the young girl, Mattie (a star turn for Hailee Steinfeld), and was extremely well-reviewed thanks to its great cinematography, pacing, and performance by Jeff Bridges as Cogburn.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

2. The Departed (2006)
> IMDb user rating: 8.5/10 (1,241,061 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 94% (738,191 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 90% (283 reviews)
> Directed by: Martin Scorsese
> Original movie: Infernal Affairs (2002)
> Streaming on: HBO Max

Before it was adapted into the critically acclaimed, four-time Oscar winner (including Best Picture and Martin Scorcese’s first win for Best Director), “The Departed” was a 2002 film from Hong Kong called “Infernal Affairs” follows a police officer who infiltrates an organized crime syndicate and another officer who’s secretly a spy for the same syndicate. Scorcese’s remake moves the action to Boston, and stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg, and Jack Nicholson as a mob boss based on gangster Whitey Bulger. It’s a taut, tense crime thriller, and it’s gone down as one of the best films of the decade.

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Source: Archive Photos / Getty Images

1. The Maltese Falcon (1941)
> IMDb user rating: 8.0/10 (153,406 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 91% (57,929 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 100% (60 reviews)
> Directed by: John Huston
> Original movie: The Maltese Falcon (1931)
> Streaming on: HBO Max

You probably only know “The Maltese Falcon” as the 1941 film noir starring Humphrey Bogart as San Francisco private eye Sam Spade, but this classic film was actually the third adaptation of Dashiell Hammett’s 1930 novel of the same name. The 1931 film hewed very closely to the source material, the first had a slightly looser tone, and had references to homosexuality and nudity; unfortunately, due to the 1934 imposition of the Hays Code, which censored such “improprieties,” the film was largely forgotten and was completely overshadowed by the remake. Bette Davis starred in a 1936 version of the Hammett novel – a looser interpretation, under the title “Satan Met a Lady,” in which “Sam Spade” became “Ted Shane.” It is even more thoroughly forgotten than the 1934 film.

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