The Bourne Identity (2002)
The Remake: A quick-paced, quick-witted re-interpretation of Robert Ludlum’s beloved spy novels, helmed by that bloke who directed Swingers and Go .
The Original We Didn't Know About: Three hour plus thriller from 1988 directed by TV helmer Rogert Young, adapted by Carol Sobieski of Annie fame.
Key Differences: Matt Damon cuts a slightly more dashing heroic figure than Richard Chamberlain. Also, the ‘80s are dead.
Fatal Attraction (1987)
The Remake: Glenn Close and Michael Douglas tango then tangle after her lust for the married father of one turns into blinding red obsession. She boils a bunny. He shoots her in the bath.
The Original We Didn't Know About : A 50 minute film from 1980 called Diversion . Directed by Rogue Trader ’s James Dearden for British television. We can’t find it anywhere.
Key Differences: The remake is longer, it stars a deliriously demented Close, and forever established the term ‘bunny boiler’ for use when describing ultra-clingy women. The original isn't even out on DVD.
The Remake: Despite being a remake and influenced by the ’66 Broadway of the same name, Cabaret did away with many of the original songs and created new ones for its feature version. Talk about biting the hand that feeds…
The Original We Didn't Know About: A 1955 adaptation of the play I Am A Camera John Van Druten, starring Julie Harris and Shelley Winters.
Key Differences: Sally Bowles becomes an American (thanks to Minnelli’s presence), new characters and plots are created for Fritz, Natalie and Max, and numerous songs end up on the cutting room floor.
Ben Hur (1959)
The Remake: Second time’s the charm for MGM, whose 1959 stab at the yarn invites accolades aplenty as Charlton Heston takes on the titular role and makes history with the chariot race scene.
The Original We Didn't Know About: Most expensive silent movie ever made ($4-6m), released in 1925 and starring Ramon Novarro. Previous to that, there was a 1907 one-reel version, while a 2003 animated DTV movie followed, featuring the voice of Heston.
Key Differences: The remake bagged 11 Academy Awards, starred a Hollywood titan (that’d be Heston) and was presented in glorious Technicolor. Oh, and it has sound.
His Girl Friday (1940)
The Remake: Screwball comedy starring Cary Grant as an editor who decides to sabotage his ex-wife’s plans to marry a boring nobody.
The Original We Didn't Know About: A Howard Hughes production from 1931, broader in its comedy. It was nominated for numerous awards – including Best Picture – at the 4th Academy Awards. Yes, the 4th…
Key Differences: The remake got zero Academy nominations. Yes, zero… Also, Hildy becomes a woman.
Brewsters Millions (1985)
The Remake: Does a film that’s already been remade five times really need a sixth go around the cineplexes? Well, when you’ve got John Candy interested, who’s going to say no? Walter Hill grabs Candy and Richard Pryor for the tale of a millionaire who has to get rid of his fortune if he wants to inherit $300m.
The Originals We Didn't Know About: Take your pick. First made in 1914 by Cecil B. DeMille, though his film has been lost to time, all the remakes have pretty much stuck to the premise of George Barr McCutcheon’s 1902 novel.
Key Differences: The amount of millions to be inherited varies greatly depending on which era each remake is from. In the original novel, it’s just $7m.
The Arena (2001)
The Remake: Timur Bekmambetov’s surprising English-speaking debut is a bizarre number that clearly sought to ride the Gladiator wave. Playboy bunnies Karen McDougal and Lisa Dergan grunt a lot and get filthy sparring in a ring…
The Original We Didn't Know About: 1974 Roger Corman-produced exploitation flick starring Pam Grier as a black slave and Margaret Markov as a white slave who must stick together to survive coliseum battles.
Key Differences: No Pam Grier. Boo.
Let Me In (2010)
The Remake: Hot on the tails of cult Swedish vampire film Let The Right One In , Hammer Films decided to make their own American version with Cloverfield director Matt Reeves. It’s not done well at the box office, but has received fair praise.
The Original We Didn't Know About: Okay, so we did know about this one. It was directed by Tomas Alfredson, following a bullied 12-year-old boy who befriends the girl next door that just so happens to be a vampire. It’s haunting, lovingly crafted stuff. It's so perfect that we dropped our bacon sandwiches when we found out it was being remade.
Key Differences: The unbroken interior car shot is a particular stand out of the remake. Everything else is surprisingly similar - apart from the lack of subtitles.
Cat People (1982)
The Remake: Sex symbol Nastassja Kinski gets saucy as a man-sized moggy. The icky bestiality plotline revolves around a legend in which women shagged leopards – no, not the Louisville football team, but actual felines.
The Original We Didn't Know About: Preserved in the Library of Congress as one of those “culturally significant” numbers, the 1942 Cat People was directed by Jacques Tourneur. It cost just $141,000 to make, but grossed $4m at the box office.
Key Differences: The remake ups the erotica and David Bowie quotient.
The Remake: Dazzling Oscar-winning musical starring Rene Zellwegger and Catherine Zeta-Jones as competing showgirls both banged up in the clink together. Director Rob Marshall’s next musical, Nine , wasn’t quite so impressive.
The Original We Didn't Know About: Roxie Hart from 1942 was based on the 1927 silent movie Chicago , and went on to become the 1975 stage show musical that Marshall’s Chicago would eventually be based on. Whew! Ginger Rogers played Hart in the ’42 version.
Key Differences: The original Roxie Hart had a plotline in which the titular wannabe confesses to a murder in the hope that the publicity will gain her fame. In the ’02 version, the fame is an unplanned bonus side effect of Hart’s arrest.
The Remake: Gus Van Sant steps away from the arthouse crowd to craft a baffling Technicolor shot-for-shot remake of Hitchcock’s classic motel nightmare. Everybody hates it.
The Original We Didn't Know About : Again, we'd kind of vaguely heard of the original. Apparently, it's a masterful suspense thriller (arguably the first ever slasher flick) starring Anthony Perkins as a murderous, cross-dressing motel owner.
Key Differences: For a shot-for-shot remake, there's actually a lot. A surprising amount, you might say. Such as the male full frontal shot in the opening sequence. And the instert of a cow. If you haven't seen it, we seriously haven't made any of those up.
Blood Diner (1987)
The Remake: Horror comedy about a crazed serial killer who convinces his two nephews to help him resurrect the Egyptian goddess Sheetar by snatching body parts from ‘immoral’ women.
The Original We Didn't Know About: Perhaps the first ever splatter film, Blood Feast became notorious upon its 1963 release for its masses of blood and gore. We knew it existed. But it's only fairly recently that we realised that Blood Diner's a remake of it.
Quick question: Why bother remaking a film if you're not going to keep the original title?
Key Differences: The blood and gore’s still intact, but the general premise is slightly different, with the original film following a caterer who kills women to sacrifice them to his goddess.
The Mummy (1999)
The Remake: Universal Studios horror goes action flick! Yeah, that’s because Universal fancied updating the formula for this remake from Stephen Sommers, though it’s still bizarre that they chose to splice the previously shuffle-plenty bandage-lover with an Indiana Jones adventure.
The Original We Didn't Know About: Boris Karloff’s defining role as Imhotep came just a year after his turn as Frankenstein made him a star, and 10 years after the opening of Tutankhamun's tomb in 1922. It spawned numerous sequels/knock-offs. We've heard of it.
The surprising element of this one is the opposite to the previous problem. If you're going to remake something, why completely change every single element? Well, it surprised us anyway.
Key Differences: Oh, everything?
The Ladykillers (2004)
The Remake: Ethan and Joel Coen wade into remake territory, and enlist Tom Hanks to play the articulate/pretentious charmer who stays with a dear old lady and plans to burrow through her basement into a neighbouring casino.
The Original We Didn't Know About: Lauded Ealing comedy from 1955 starring a ne’er better Alec Guinness alongside Cecil Parker and Peter Sellers. Screenwriter William Rose says he literally dreamed up the entire concept.
Key Differences: The big surprise here? It’s a crap Coen movie.
Funny Games (2007)
The Remake: Michael Haneke makes everybody take a deep breath when he decides to literally translate his own Austrian film for an American audience. Naomi Watts and Tim Roth play the couple whose lives are turned upside down by terrorsome teens.
The Original We Didn't Know About: Heneke’s 1997 original acts as a frame-for-frame blueprint for the American version, with a wealthy German family this time the people whose house is invaded.
If you had told us it would be remade, by Haneke, in AMERICA, ten years later, we would have had you committed.
Key Differences: The original was made for $5m, the remake triple that at $15m.
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
The Remake: Hitchcock decides that his original 1934 version of The Man Who Knew Too Much is pap, and uses his newfound filmic clout to redo it entirely – this time with A-list stars James Stewart and Doris Day.
The Original We Didn't Know About: Peter Lorre takes on the role of an assassin in his first ever English-speaking role – for which he learned his lines phonetically.
We'd love it if other directors decided to remake their own crap films. Michael Bay's Transformers 2 2 anybody?
Key Differences: Genders are switched, opening locations alter and the final climatic showdown is completely different in each version.
House Of Wax (2005)
The Remake: Teen-bait re-slash that completely forgoes the films it’s based on in favour of Paris Hilton speaking in that whiny voice while some masked dude runs around offing people. The finger bit always gets us, though. We were mostly surprised by the casting of this one.
Paris Hilton and Vinent Price should never be in the same sentence.
The Original We Didn't Know About: : 1933 Mystery Of The Wax Museum blended horror with comedy, while it first remake – the 1953 Vincent Price vehicle House Of Wax – was the first 3D feature to get a studio release, and all but kicked-off the ‘50s 3D craze.
Key Differences: The house itself is literally max of wax, here. Wonder who this guy’s supplier is?
Death At A Funeral (2010)
The Remake: Neil LaBute puts an American spin on the 2007 film of the same name, as family secrets come pouring out at a funeral.
The Original We Didn't Know About: British film starring that bloke off the BT adverts and the other bloke off X-Men with his kit constantly off.
Key Differences: James Marsden is the one frequently naked (very important, apparently). Key similarity: little man Frank (Peter Dinklage) reprises his role from the original, though the name's changed.
The Remake: A made-for-TV musical that features a creepily shaven-headed Victor Garber (yeah, the Titanic chap), Kathy Bates channelling Miss Trunchbull as the autocratic Miss Hannigan and Alicia Morton as Annie.
The Original We Didn't Know About: In this instance, we actually have heard of the original. The 1982 musical was directed by John Huston and prompted all 11-year-old girls to die their hair a shocking orangey-red. Aileen Quinn as Annie won the Razzie award for Worst Supporting Actress.
What we didn't know was that had been remade. How did this one get by us?
Key Differences: In the ’99 version, Grace gets an African-American makeover courtesy of Audra McDonald, Sandy gets his own sublot and, most shocking of all, Annie gets straight hair. The audacity!
The Truth About Charlie (2002)
The Remake: Critically panned mystery thriller directed by Jonathan Demme and starring Thandie Newton as a woman whose husband is killed. Luckily, she then meets Mark Wahlberg’s stranger, who helps her get to the truth.
The Original We Didn't Know About: Banter like never before was stirred into being by Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn in the 1963 original Charade . Hepburn won the Best Actress BAFTA for it.
Key Differences: Whisper it quietly, but Wahlberg’s no Cary Grant.