ELLE's favourite movie remakes

The original isn't always the best


A remake of cult horror film Carrie, based on the novel by Stephen King, hits cinemas today.

This 21st century reimagining of the 1976 original sees Chloe Moretz as Carrie, a shy social outcast who unleashes telekinetic terror on her peers after being humiliated at her senior prom.

The question on every viewer’s lips: will this remake be better than the original?

Do remakes of iconic films ever work? Can remakes ever top the original? Some remakes have flopped and some have soared.


Here, we celebrate 10 of our favourite movie remakes.

1. Let the Right One In – Swedish romantic horror film Let the Right One In (2008) received critical acclaim and demonstrated that vampire films can be thoughtful, quirky and somber. This brilliant version was tidied up and repackaged as a Hollywood indie in 2010. Let Me In (also featuring Chloe Moretz) was smart and interesting, just like the original.


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2. The Italian Job – This American reworking of the 1969 British classic actually constitutes a decent homage to the original. With a dose of Ocean’s 11 style pizzazz, modern stunt-work and Hollywood clout courtesy of Charlize Theron and Mark Wahlberg, this 2003 version offers brilliantly modernised Mini-mayhem.

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3. Freaky Friday – This 2003 Disney reworking of the 1976 original is entertaining and sweetly funny. Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan compliment each other as mother and daughter, and effectively revive the theme of generational understanding for the 21st century Disney girl.

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4. The Great Gatsby – In his cool pink suit, Robert Redford was the ultimate Great Gatsby in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1974 adaptation of Fitzgerald’s iconic novel. But Leonardo DiCaprio gives him a run for his money in Baz Luhrmann’s visually stunning, champagne-soaked reinvention of the story. Luhrmann’s directorial aesthetic brilliantly portrays the excess and frivolity of the Jazz Age.

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5. Casino Royale – The original Casino Royale (1967) was a baffling spy comedy loosely based on Ian Fleming’s first James Bond novel. The story got the treatment it deserved in 2006, when Daniel Craig took on the mantle of 007 and lent Bond a gritty, muscular realism. This was Bond stripped bare (plus it made Pierce Brosnan’s slick tuxedo transformations seem pretty ridiculous.)

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6. ArthurArthur was a box office hit when it first hit screens in 1981, so a modern day remake replacing Liza Minnelli with Jennifer Garner could have been a flop. Russell Brand lends his characteristic comic style to his portrayal of the eponymous playboy Arthur Bach, whilst Helen Mirren brings the story into the 21st century by assuming the role of Arthur’s female butler.

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7. The Pink Panther – Since his first appearance as Inspector Clouseau in The Pink Panther in 1963, actor Peter Sellers has monopolised viewers’ memory of the bumbling French detective. Sellers may be associated with the role, but the 2006 remake featuring Steve Martin captures the spirit of the original, and managed to become the highest grossing Pink Panther film ever.

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8. Psycho - Can you ever rework a Hitchcock classic? Apparently not, as this 1998 remake with Vince Vaughan and Julianne Moore is a shot-by-shot remake of the 1960 original. The film replicates Hitchcock’s chilling score, script and iconic camera movements to a T, and lends the story a modern feel by filming in vivid colour.

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9. True Grit – The Coen brothers’ excellent western True Grit was a step-up from the 1969 original that bought John Wayne an Oscar. The Coen brothers’ adaptation is different in tone and spirit from the older version, with fantastic performances and a zingy dialogue.

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10. Romeo and Juliet – Never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo. Shakespeare’s tale of doomed love has inspired various adaptations, but our favourites are Baz Luhrmann’s glitzy telling (replacing fair Verona for Miami Beach), and Julian Fellowes' recent remake starring Hailee Steinfeld and Douglas Booth as the star crossed lovers. Fellowes’ remake stays true to the play’s adolescent origins and features gorgeous costumes.

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Read ELLE's review of Jeune et Jolie

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