You will often hear people complaining that Hollywood has run out of ideas and that is why they keep remaking successful films, sometimes doing an OK job, and sometimes ruining memories for fans of the originals.
But those are just the ones we talk about! Here are ten Hollywood films that you probably didn’t even know were remakes.
12 Monkeys (1995)
This classic psychological thriller by Terry Gilliam, starring Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt sees Willis’ character as a convicted felon given a mission to travel through time and stop a major terrorist incident in order to gain his freedom. This is a remake of a French short film called La Jetee (1962)which tells the same story, but using almost entirely still photos and narration.
Ben Hur (1959)
While pretty much everyone knows that the 2016 version of Ben Hur is a remake of the Charleston Heston classic, few people known that the 1959 version with the veteran actor is actually a remake of a 1925 film starring Ramon Novarro. The silent film has exactly the same plot as the 1950s version, and arguably has an even more exciting chariot race.
The Birdcage (1996)
In this film which is probably pretty offensive by modern LGBT standards, Robin Williams and Nathan Lane play a gay couple who decide to play it straight when meeting their son’s girlfriend’s parents as her father is a conservative senator. This idea for this story is taken from the 1978 French-Italian film La Cage Aux Folles, which has pretty much an identical plot!
The Departed (2006)
This Martin Scorsese classic stars Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, and Mark Wahlberg. Set in Boston, we have police placing undercover agents in a crime organization, and a crime leader beating the police at their own game by placing his own people in their ranks. This is actually a remake of the Hong Kong film Internal Affairs from 2002.
His Girl Friday (1940)
It is not only new movies that can be remakes. This Cary Grant classic which sees him playing a newspaper editor trying to sabotage the relationship of his star reporter so that they won’t leave and get married. This film was based on the earlier movie The Front Page (1931), but with a twist. In the original the leaving reporter was male, while in Grant’s version they are female, adding an additional layer of romance and complication to the story.
I Am Legend (2007)
This Will Smith post-apocalyptic film features him as one of the last people in an abandoned city that has been overrun by zombies caused by a virus, of course. This is a remake of an earlier film The Last Man on Earth (1964) which starred Vincent Price. The difference? Smith is more badass and gets a happier ending, while Price’s world is a much bleeker and leaves the viewer questioning who the real monster are.
Meet Joe Black (1998)
Women around the world were falling over themselves for Brad Pitt who plays an angel of death looking to experience life before taking a soul in this romantic drama. This film was largely based on the 1934 film Death Takes a Holiday that worked on the same premise, but probably had a less popular leading man.
Meet the Parents (2000)
This comedy hit starring Ben Stiller as he meets the difficult parents of his new girlfriend is based on a 1992 short film of the same name by Greg Glienna. The film was popular with critics and picked up by Universal, who then went about making a feature-length film with some big stars.
This is one of the most iconic Hollywood gangster movies of all time, starring Al Pacino as a Cuban immigrant living the American dream by making a fortune selling drugs. This is actually a remake of a 1930s gangster film of the same name, but is set in Chicago rather than Miami and our gangster is Italian rather than Cuban.
You’ve Got Mail (1998)
This Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan rom-com about arch-nemeses who accidentally fall in love due to the anonymity of email is a remake of the 1940 film The Shop Around the Corner, which is also about a pair of rival shop owners that fall in love through mail correspondence. The modern version updates itself to email and deals with small businesses closing down, but the inspiration is clear.