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Films that Should Never Be Remade - From 'The Goonies' and 'Die Hard' to 'Deer Hunter' and 'Shawshank'

by Sophia Savage
December 27, 2012 5:11 PM
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"The Silence of the Lambs" (1991), Dir. Jonathan Demme, Wr. Ted Tally (Thomas Harris, novel)

'Silence of the Lambs'

Who would be naive enough to try and top Anthony Hopkins' Hannibal Lecter? Jodie Foster's Clarice Starling should also be considered sacred territory. This is the only horror/thriller to ever win the Oscar for Best Picture (it also won Best Actor, Actress, Director, Screenplay), and it's easy to see why. It's also easy to see the ways in which it could be taken over the top, exaggerated and pushed to the point of parody. (Ridley Scott himself did it in the "Hannibal" sequel.) No one can touch this film. Television is going to try; Mads Mikkselsen is starring as a younger Lecter in an upcoming 13-episode NBC series.

"Shawshank Redemption" (1994), Dir. Frank Darabont Wr. Stephen King, Darabont

It's no surprise that Stephen King's novels make for excellent films ("The Shining," "The Green Mile," "Dolores Claiborne"), and as some of them are already being redone ("Carrie," "Pet Sematary"), it would be nice to keep at least one safe from consideration. Let it be "Shawshank"; there will never be a better pair than Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman as Andy and Red. Darabont's direction is perfection, and the film holds up swimmingly nearly twenty years on.

"The Usual Suspects" (1995), Dir. Bryan Singer, Wr. Christopher McQuarrie

A cult classic mystery with a stellar cast, including Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne, Benicio Del Toro and Stephen Baldwin. To pull off this convoluted story as cleverly as Singer did is no easy feat, and to attempt re-engaging an audience --old or new--with the same story would be an invitation for endless comparisons, if not disaster. The original holds up, and if people haven't already seen this movie, they should go in knowing as little as possible.

"Fight Club" (1999), Dir. David Fincher, Wr. Chuck Palahniuk

It may have been considered a commercial failure when it debuted, but this film, one of Fincher's finest, has become one of the most beloved cult films of all time. Cinematically and conceptually, "Fight Club" was ahead of its time and to try to reassign its scathing social commentary to 2013 or beyond just wouldn't have the same jolting effect. We're too jaded now. And making this movie without Brad Pitt and Edward Norton? Please.

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More: Lists, Classics, Remake, Features, Directors


  • Jenny | September 17, 2013 6:41 PMReply

    The Back to the Future trilogy should be on here.

  • regista | February 4, 2013 5:31 PMReply

    Films, good or bad, are like plays. Have you ever heard of Shakespeare or Ibsen not being remade? Stories have been retold since the dawn of time, but today, more than ever before, with films we have a technological conundrum. Have you ever tried to show a 12 year old the classics? They just won't get past the black and white, or the slow set up, or the bad "effects". Great stories should be preserved in eternity EXACTLY by being remade, no matter how many times, by future generations. The only reason why we even KNOW a lot of great stories and myths, is that they were endlessly retold by people. Whoever compiled this list thinks that everyone is a film buff or a die-hard cinephile, when clearly 99,9% of the public is not. They'll never see the movies on this list. They'll keep seeing bad movies, if we don't remake the good ones.

  • Ralph Hartman | December 28, 2012 8:51 PMReply

    E.T. should be on this list.

  • Brian | December 28, 2012 3:26 PMReply

    I for one would welcome remakes of DIE HARD and THELMA AND LOUISE if there was a whole new approach to the subjects. I think both stories can be told in different ways, DIE HARD just as effectively as the original, THELMA AND LOUISE more effectively (i.e. more realistic and not such a delusional feminist fantasy and with a more believable ending where they get caught and take their lumps, like 99% of criminals).

  • Roy Munson | December 27, 2012 8:56 PMReply


  • clinique | December 27, 2012 6:15 PMReply

    Showgirls should be added to this list.

  • Keith | December 27, 2012 6:07 PMReply

    Oops. Make that "...nothing to DESTROY the original...".

  • Keith | December 27, 2012 6:05 PMReply

    "great works should stay intact"

    Which they will. Someone doing a new version of "Thelma and Louise" or "The Silence of the Lambs" does nothing to destory the original, which is why a "never remake" list is such a silly and snobby exercise to begin with.

  • brace | December 27, 2012 6:02 PMReply

    no great movie should ever be remade.only movies that had the potential (like good story,idea,characters...) but something went wrong (wrong director,casting,timing...) should be remade. great works should stay intact, especially the movies made from the original script.

  • Nato | December 27, 2012 5:55 PMReply

    and don't even think about touching "The Crow" !!! Having anyone else playing Eric Draven would be like Tom Cruise playing Jack Reacher...

  • Roy Munson | December 27, 2012 8:55 PM

    Please. No one would care. That's considered a great film by no one

  • Migilicuty11 | December 27, 2012 5:34 PMReply

    Taxi Driver should be on this list.

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