Despite what some might think, remakes are nothing new in the movie business. It might feel like every movie you loved growing up if getting an updated version, but Hollywood has always been interested in revisiting popular material. However, there are certain stories that they seem to want to return to again and again.
These movies do not necessarily have to be the biggest hits of all time, but there is something that makes filmmakers want to give their own take. It could be the story or the characters, but these movies seem to get recycled often. Here are some of the most remade films of all time.
10 The Longest Yard (1974, 2001, 2005)
The Longest Yard is one of the most entertaining comedies of the 70s starring one of the most popular leading men of the 70s. Burt Reynolds stars as a former football star who is sent to prison and forced to form a team out of the inmates to play against the guards.
The film was a hit but it took several decades for the first remake to hit. Mean Machine was a British remake that starred Vinnie Jones and Jason Statham and focused on soccer. The story returned to its American football roots with a 2005 remake starring Adam Sandler and Chris Rock, with Reynolds in a supporting role.
9 The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three (1974, 1998, 2009)
The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three is one of the most underrated crime films of the 70s. The film stars Walter Matthau as a New York transit cop who is faced with an unlikely crisis when a group of sophisticated criminals takes a subway car hostage.
The film was remade as a TV movie in 1998 with Edward James Olmos in the cop role and Vincent Donofrio as the lead criminal. Tony Scott took on the 2009 action remake with Denzel Washington and John Travolta as the good guy and bad guy respectively. Unfortunately, neither remake captured the humor of the original.
8 I Am Legend (1964, 1971, 2007)
I Am Legend is a novel by science-fiction writer Richard Matheson about a man who becomes the last living person on earth after a virus wipes out the population. However, he soon finds that he is not alone.
The novel was first adapted into the film The Last Man on Earth then into the more popular The Omega Man starring Charlton Heston. Finally, the original title was reclaimed for the 2007 remake starring Will Smith. While the films embraced the sci-fi action, they neglected the novel's more interesting ideas.
7 Invasion Of The Body Snatcher (1956, 1978, 1993, 2007)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a classic paranoia-filled alien invasion story. The original film from 1956 introduced the idea of pods of aliens coming to Earth and birthing aliens who perfectly resembled everyday people. The film was considered a genre classic and remembered for its haunting ending.
The movie received a 1978 remake which many consider to be the best version of the story and features an equally shocking end. The other remakes were largely forgettable with the 1993 version starring Meg Tilly and the 2007 version starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig.
6 A Star Is Born (1937, 1954, 1976, 2018)
It's somewhat surprising A Star is Born has had so many remakes over the years as it feels like a pretty straight-forward story. However, new eras seem to introduce new exciting elements to the story of an alcoholic star who helps an aspiring star find fame.
The 1937 version focuses on an aspiring actress and fading leading man. The 1954 remake starred Judy Garland as the aspiring actress and singer. Barbara Streisand and Kris Kristofferson starred in the 1976 version which changed to a story of musicians. And in 2018, the story proved to still have juice with the award-winning hit starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga.
5 Seven Samurai (1954, 1960, 1980, 2016)
Seven Samurai is one of the most acclaimed and influential action films of all time, directed by legendary Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa. It is also a simple story that lends itself well to a variety of settings. The movie centers on a poor village being attacked by bandits and recruits a group of samurai to defend them.
The film was remade as the classic Western adventure The Magnificent Seven with an all-star cast including Yul Brenner and Steve McQueen. The story then got a sci-fi update with Battle Beyond the Stars. The recent remake of The Magnificent Seven starring Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt proves there's still interest in the story.
4 King Kong (1933, 1976, 2005, 2017)
King Kong is considered to be one of the greatest films ever made and even it is not safe from various remakes. The 1933 original was a ground-breaking bit of filmmaking, telling the story of an expedition to a secluded island where a giant ape is discovered.
The movie was remade in 1976 to pretty awful reviews in an update starring Jessica Lange and Jeff Bridges. Peter Jackson took a stab at the classic in 2005, creating a big-budget adventure epic from the story. And Kong was revisited again in 2017's Kong: Skull Island.
3 Annie (1932, 1938, 1981, 1999, 2014)
Musicals seem to often bee the targets for remakes and Annie seems to be one of the favorites. The first film to tell the story of the red-headed orphan who is adopted by a rich businessman was Little Orphan Annie in 1932 followed up shortly by another version in 1938.
Likely the most well-known version is the 1981 remake starring Albert Finney as Daddy Warbucks. That was followed up with a Disney TV movie remake in 1999 before the story got the big-screen treatment again in 2014 starring Jamie Foxx and Quvenzhané Wallis.
2 Batman (1943, 1966, 1989, 2005, 2016, 2021)
Batman is one of the most iconic characters in pop culture history so it's no wonder he has been represented so often on screen. The film that gave the Dark Knight his big-screen debut was way back in 1943 with a collection of short serials with the character.
Adam West brought his campy version of Batman to the big screen in Batman: The Movie. The Caped Crusader disappeared from the big screen until Michael Keaton and Tim Burton brought him back in 1989's Batman. After that franchise ended, Christian Bale took the role in Christopher Nolan's trilogy before Ben Affleck took the part in the DCEU. Now we'll have to see how Robert Pattinson does in the role in the upcoming The Batman.
1 A Christmas Carol (1901, 1935, 1938, 1951, 1970, 1984, 1988, 1992, 2009)
At Christmas time, it's almost impossible to avoid some version of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Perhaps that's because they just keep making new versions of it. There's something about the story of the miserly old Ebenezer Scrooge discovering the true meaning of Christmas that brings people joy.
The story has been told in many different ways, from silent films, black and white, musicals, animation, motion capture and more. Countless actors have played Scrooge, including Alistair Sim, Patrick Steward, Michael Cain, and Bill Murray. And there are still new versions on the way.