Some of your favorite movies might be older than you think, because a lot of popular movies are actually remakes of earlier films. In fact, remakes are so important to moviemaking, the first time one came out was 1904, with a remake of The Great Train Robbery, released only a year after the original came out! Today, we are shedding light on these senior movies.
At Bright Side, we love movies and enjoy giving classics their day in the sun. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of films you might not have known were remakes.
Scarface is arguably one of Al Pacino’s best-known roles and it’s hard to imagine anyone else playing the part, but he wasn’t the first to do so. The movie is actually a remake of a 1932 film of the same name. To be fair, the original isn’t completely unheard of. The Library of Congress added the older film to the National Film Registry in 1994.
2. A Fistful of Dollars
A Fistful of Dollars is an Italian Western film that arguably made Clint Eastwood a household name. The film was actually influenced by a Japanese film called Yojimbo. Instead of the “Man with No Name”, the earlier film tells the story of a wandering ronin who tries to clean up a crime-ridden town.
Allegedly, Italian director, Sergio Leone intended his film to be a remake but the rights were not secured in time for the release. Unfortunately, the similarities of the films led to a lawsuit from the Japanese director, Akira Kurosawa over copyright infringement which was settled out of court.
3. You’ve Got Mail
You’ve Got Mail based its love story around a time when emails were becoming a big part of people’s lives. While it’s easy to assume this is a period piece, the original story is actually much older. The film is inspired by the play Parfumerie by Miklós László, which was previously adapted into 2 films, The Shop Around the Corner and In the Good Old Summertime.
While the ’90s film isn’t necessarily a remake of either, it pays homage to them — the bookstore in the film is even named “The Shop Around the Corner”. But before you ask, yes, the older stories involved love letters but they were written the old-fashioned way.
4. The Uninvited
The Uninvited tells the story of 2 sisters who become suspicious about their late mother’s cause of death. The story is actually a remake of an earlier Korean film, A Tale of Two Sisters. Those who know Korean folklore might recognize the movie as a retelling of the Korean ghost story, Janghwa Hongryeon Jeon which is an alternate name of the original film.
5. The Sound of Music
Many people know of the real-life Trapp family through The Sound of Music, but their story was already adapted to film by the 1956 West German film, Die Trapp-Familie. Arguably, this example counts as an indirect remake; the latter was based on the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical which was in part inspired by the older German film.
Another notable detail is that Die Trapp-Familie even had a sequel involving the Trapps in America which was released only 2 years after the first.
6. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
When Walt Disney was a teenager, he saw a silent film based on the story of Snow White, starring Marguerite Clark, which later inspired him to make his first full-length animated film. While you can argue that both films are just a retelling of the same story, a lot of scenes in the silent film appear in the Disney cartoon.
In both films, we see the following: Snow White working as a maid in the palace, the girl meeting the prince at the start of the story, the wicked stepmother wanting Snow White’s heart (in the original story, it was the girl’s liver and lungs), and a scene where one of the dwarfs is forced to take a bath. However, for their film, Disney didn’t entirely scrap the scenes from the silent film. Some Disney live shows name the prince Florian which might be a play on “Florimund,” the prince’s name in the silent film.
7. The Upside
Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston star in the film, The Upside, which tells the story of the friendship between a wealthy man with quadriplegia and an unemployed man. The film is actually a remake of an earlier French film, Intouchables. The earlier film also has remakes in Argentina and India.
8. Dinner for Schmucks
If you thought Dinner for Schmucks was just another Steve Carell, Paul Rudd buddy comedy and nothing more, you couldn’t be more wrong. The film has a bit of history in that it’s an adaptation of the 1998 French comedy, Le Dîner de Cons, which itself originated as a play.
9. Jungle 2 Jungle
Jungle 2 Jungle is a Franco-American 1997 film that tells the story of a man who learns he has a son who grew up in a native South American tribe and takes him to live with him in the city. The film was actually a remake of an earlier French film, Un indien dans la ville, which has a similar plot but takes place in Paris. Interestingly enough, the original French film had scenes filmed in the United States.
10. Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey
Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey tells the story of 3 lost pets trying to reunite with their family. The story was previously told by Disney in 1963 under the title, The Incredible Journey. One major difference between the 2 films is that while the original did have some narration, the remake has the animals “speak,” allowing the audience to “hear” what they’re thinking.
Big is a 1988 film that tells the story of a boy whose wish to become an adult comes true overnight. A film with a similar premise is Italy’s Da grande, which was released the year before. While the older film is believed to have inspired the 1988 film, the plots have some differences. For example, instead of getting a job at a toy factory, the Italian “boy in a man’s body” ends up becoming a popular babysitter since he’s good with kids.
12. Some Like It Hot
Some Like It Hot, which tells the story of 2 men who disguise themselves as female musicians, originated with the French film, Fanfare d’amour. The French film was previously adapted into a West German film in 1951 which also greatly influenced the American film since the French version was hard to trace at the time.
One notable difference between the films is that the American version has a subplot where the musicians are on the run from gangsters — in the earlier films, they were just that desperate for work.
13. Three Men and a Baby
Three Men and a Baby is a remake of the French film, Trois hommes et un couffin. In fact, the original French director, Coline Serreau, was almost going to direct the American remake but eventually dropped out. The idea of men raising babies is so popular, there are at least 4 different Indian remakes of the film, albeit in different languages.
Brothers seemed like it was made to cash in on Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal actually looking like they could be brothers, but it’s actually a remake of the Danish film, Brødre, released around 5 years before. The Danish film also inspired an opera!
15. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Stieg Larsson’s Swedish thriller first came to the silver screen as Män som hatar kvinnor in 2009 and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo in 2011. The Swedish film also inspired a television mini-series.
Do you know any other films that are remakes and want more people to know about the original? Let us know!
Preview photo credit Jungle 2 Jungle / Disney, Un indien dans la ville / Canal+