Hollywood has been remaking films for almost as long as it has existed. Even well-known classics such as Wizard of Oz and Some Like it Hot were not the first versions of those stories.
It’s hard to pull of a good remake, but stories that audiences have already paid to see once are irresistible to movie producers. And many directors feel so inspired by their favorite films they want to take a shot at making their own version. Sure, most remakes don’t work – I’m looking at you Psycho – but the remake train can’t be stopped.
In addition to new versions of Goonies and Ghostbusters coming soon to a theater near you here are Screen Rant’s 10 Classic Movies That Hollywood Will Inevitably Remake.
The films on this list were either popular when they were released, or later attained cult status, and have never directly been remade. We’re not saying we want these films to be remade, but we have a hard time seeing someone not take a crack at them at some point in the future. Some movies that are universally recognized as classics, like Casablanca or Citizen Kane, haven’t been included because we doubt even the most foolhardy Hollywood producer would touch them.
Back to the Future (1985)
The 1985 teen time travel classic Back to the Future launched Michael J. Fox’s movie career and made director Robert Zemeckis a household name. Filmmakers have always been drawn to time travel, but no film uses time travel in a more fun way than the story of Marty McFly (Fox), who takes a DeLorean from the ’80s to the ’50s and plays matchmaker with his teenage parents.
Back to the Future might look a bit cheesy now, but its special effects were exceptional for the mid-80s. A remake would be able to update the effects with more advanced CGI (but hopefully they would keep the DeLorean). If the film was remade now, the story could be set in a completely different time period, setting it apart from the original. Little (if any) of the actual storyline would need to be changed, but the concept is ripe for an update.
Fear not, opponents of a Back to the Future remake, as there is a substantial roadblock. Director Robert Zemeckis and writer Bob Gale both had it written in their 1984 contracts that they would need to approve any further Back to the Future films (at least until their deaths). And as of right now, they don’t want a remake.
Time Bandits (1981)
Time Bandits tells the tale of a young boy (Craig Warnock) whisked off on an adventure with a group of dwarves, who are on the run after they steal a treasure map. The boy and the dwarves roam from era to era as they are pursued by Evil, a powerful sorcerer, who wants the map for himself. The film was as wacky and fantastical as any from Terry Gilliam would be, but it was also made with a children’s audience in mind, and was immediately successful with critics and audiences.
The love for Time Bandits has only grown over the years, making it a prime target for a remake. Many directors would love the chance to film scenes in a variety of times and places. In the original film, the bandits travel to Napoleonic Italy, Mycenaean Greece, and on board the RMS Titanic, but the possibilities for a remake are endless. There was a Time Bandits remake rumored to get the go-ahead in 2006, and then again in 2011, but neither project ever materialized.
Breakfast Club (1985)
When you think of classic movies about high school, The Breakfast Club is very likely at the top of that list. The 1985 John Hughes film is considered a quintessential snapshot into the lives of teenagers. The film takes place over one boring (but eventful) Saturday, during which five students are stuck in all-day detention. Representatives from all of the high school’s social factions are present: the prom queen (Molly Ringwald), the jock (Emilio Estevez), the bookworm (Anthony Michael Hall), the outcast (Ally Sheedy), and the rebel (Judd Nelson). After spending time talking and arguing with one another, the students start to bond, realizing that they’re not so different after all. One thing they all have in common is their disgust of Assistant Principal Vernon (Paul Gleason) for the day, who clearly has no tolerance for any of them.
A remake of The Breakfast Club could keep all of the same cliques – as these kinds of students have always and will always exist. But the student body would most likely be even more diverse. Let’s be real, the original The Breakfast Club cast was a sea of white faces. Adding students of other races, religions, and sexual orientations would all be welcome additions in a remake.
North By Northwest (1959)
Almost every filmmaker today was inspired in some way by Alfred Hitchcock. Recent Hitchcock remakes include Psycho (2000) and Rear Window (1998). There are also several films that are directly inspired by Hitchcock’s movies. Brian De Palma has basically made a career out of appropriating plot points from Vertigo, with movies like Obsession (1976), Body Double (1984), Femme Fatale (2002), and Passion (2012). Hitchcock even made two versions of The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934 and 1956), proving that even he wasn’t above remakes.Remakes are also purportedly in the works for The Birds and Strangers on a Train, though only time will tell if they eventually materialize.
A remake of North by Northwest would have a tough hill to climb. Not only is it one of Hitchcock’s greatest films, but is considered to be one of the best films ever made. Cary Grant plays a man on the run from a mysterious spy organization after being mistaken for someone else, a favorite storyline of Hitchcock. Any director remaking North by Northwest would have to decide if they wanted to try and improve on the original iconic chase with a crop dusting plane, or the foot chase on Mount Rushmore that concludes the film.
Trading Places (1983)
The 1983 comedy Trading Places may not have been a remake in the proper sense, but it is an updated twist on Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper. The classic John Landis film stars Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy as a rich commodities broker and a poor grifter who are forced to switch places after two even richer brokers play an elaborate hoax on them.
Movies that involve people switching roles or even switching bodies have been popular for years. Trading Places excels in large part because of the fantastic casting of Aykroyd and Murphy, who both get to play larger-than-life characters on both ends of the financial spectrum. A remake would most likely live or die on the chemistry of the actors hired to replace Murphy and Akroyd, as well as the supporting role of the helpful prostitute, played by Jamie Lee Curtis in the original. Having two old white guys play the villains would be just as relevant today as it was in 1983.
The early 198’s had some amazingly fun (and, yes, cheesy) fantasy adventure films, including Legend, The Neverending Story, Clash of the Titans and Krull. Clash of the Titans has already been remade, and there have been reports a Neverending Story remake as well. Legend and Krull are both ridiculous (or ridiculously awesome) fantasy films, but Krull especially seems ripe for a remake.
Krull is a mashup sci-fi/fantasy film that involves a beast, a prince (Ken Marshall) saving a princess (Lysette Anthony), a quest, and really cool weapon. What else do you really need in a film? Krull was a not a box office success when it premiered in 1983. In fact it was a huge box office bomb. But over time Krull has gained a cult following. If the film is remade, we can only hope that Liam Neeson, who played a small role in the original film as an axe-wielding bandit, will make an appearance in the new version.
The Lost Boys (1987)
There have been a lot of vampire films and TV shows recently, which cater to pre-teen girls and horror loving adults alike. But before Twilight, The Vampire Diaries, and The Strain there was The Lost Boys, a crazy mix of comedy, horror and coming-of-age all wrapped into one R-rated package. The film follows two teen boys who move to the beach community of Santa Carla, California. The older brother, (Jason Patric), quickly falls for the girlfriend of the leader of a vampire gang (Kiefer Sutherland), while the younger brother (Corey Haim) befriends two teen vampire hunters.
The Lost Boys works because it manages to balance the comedy and horror of vampires with a good mix of action and suspense. The casting of the film was also top notch – and extremely attractive. Kiefer Sutherland, Jason Patric, and Jami Gertz made for a sexy love triangle, while pre-teen heart throbs Corey Haim and Corey Feldman attracted an audience too young to buy tickets to the film on their own.
There hasn’t yet been a remake of The Lost Boys, but there have been two forgettable direct-to-DVD sequels. Lost Boys: The Tribe and Lost Boys: The Thirst came out in 2008 and 2010 respectively. Even though Corey Haim reprised his role from the original film, it seems unlikely that these sequels would prevent anyone from making a big-budget remake of the original film.
The Great Escape (1963)
Hollywood will never tire of making World War II epics. Recent war movies include Fury, Unbroken, and The Monuments Men. There are countless stories to be told about the war that some refer to as “the good war.” The Great Escape has a lot going for it in the drama department; it’s not only a war movie, but also (as the title suggests) an escape story, detailing an attempt by allied soldiers to escape from a Nazi POW camp.
What makes The Great Escape different from other escape movies is the pure audacity of the prisoners’ plan. It isn’t a plan to get a handful of prisoners out. It’s a plan to get every prisoner out. The ensemble cast boasts stars such as Steve McQueen, James Garner, and Richard Attenborough. There has been talk of a BBC miniseries based on The Great Escape, but that’s unlikely to derail a large budget Hollywood remake from taking place at some point.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind, like Back to the Future, is not likely to be remade anytime soon. Spielberg is very unlikely to allow anyone to remake a film that was so close to his heart. However, films that directors choose to remake are usually both commercially successful and make powerful impressions on the filmmakers who view them. Close Encounters certainly fits both of these descriptions.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind tells the story of Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss), who is forever changed after a close encounter with an alien spaceship. Neary’s drive to find answers about his experience drives a wedge between his wife and family, but pulls him toward a single mother, Jillian Guiler (Melinda Dillon), whose young son has recently been abducted. It’s an inspirational film that has stood the test of time because of strong performances, a memorable soundtrack, and strong special effects that served the story rather than themselves. For a science fiction film, Close Encounters of the Third Kind features relatively few effects, which works to its benefit.
While a remake of Close Encounters of the Third Kind would likely be met with groans from many, it’s such a great story that it’s bound to happen at some point. If a remake is produced, it’ll be interesting to if it keeps the story development in which Neary abandons his family. Spielberg has said in interviews that he would never have included that development after he became a father.
Forbidden Planet (1956)
Forbidden Planet was a landmark science fiction film, and the first one to be set on another planet (a fact that seems almost impossible from a film made 60 years after the invention of cinema). Forbidden Planet was creative with its soundtrack, and ahead of its time for its special effects.
Forbidden Planet has a storyline that has been repeated several times throughout the years. A space crew is sent on a mission to check on the status of another crew that has been out of contact for 20 years. The only survivors of the original mission are a father and daughter who report that something has killed the rest of the crew and destroyed their ship. It’s a set up that could easily be updated in a new film.
Several people have expressed interest in re-making or re-imaging Forbidden Planet including The Empire Strikes Back director Irvin Kershner and Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski, but these efforts have never been realized. In the end, Forbidden Planet can be said to have been the inspiration for many other other science fiction films, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see a true remake at some point in the future.
Which film on this list do you think will be remade first? Which films did we miss? Let us know in the comments section.