15 Classic Movies That Could Be Remade Today
Let’s face it, we live in a different world today. People have a lot of choices for their entertainment and many different ways to receive it.
Since 2012, more people watch movies via a streaming service vs. physical media like DVD or Blu Ray. Filmmakers are already starting to account for the way their movies look on a cell phone or tablet vs. how they would look on a television or theater screen.
There are even phones out there now which can film in the latest technology, 4K, using higher picture and sound quality.
Theater chain AMC was briefly open to allowing texting in movie theaters which was quickly nixed after many complaints. There has even been talk of a simultaneous theatrical/video-on-demand broadcast for brand new movies, for a premium charge of course.
The main reason for mentioning any of this is to say the passion for cinephilia seems to be a dying pastime and the current generation of moviegoers does not seem concerned or interested in going back and reliving older movies like previous generations of us did.
As an example, as of 2015, Netflix has more than 65 million customers for its streaming service, but only around 5.3 million for its DVD mailing one.
If you combine this with the fact that Netflix’s streaming library is constantly changing and has an extremely limited library of older quality films, this proves the point.
Check this out (as of May 2016):
Stanley Kubrick – 3 films (2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange and Eyes Wide Shut)
Martin Scorsese – 1 film (The Aviator)
Steven Spielberg – 2 films (Always and E.T. The Extra Terrestrial)
Akira Kurosawa – 1 film (Kagemusha)
Alfred Hitchcock – 1 film (To Catch a Thief)
Following this logic, the only way to keep these ideas and stories fresh is to remake them so today’s audiences can view and enjoy them as much as us cinephiles do.
Studios are currently grasping for any film or franchise they can reboot, remake, revisit or make sequels to so they can keep them going.
Even in 2016, we are set for remakes of “Ghostbusters”, “Ben-Hur” and “The Magnificent Seven”. You would have never thought you may, in your lifetime, be witness to remakes of “The Godfather”, “Gone with the Wind” or “Casablanca”, but you never know.
Having said all this, the ideas and thoughts for the movies listed below are mine only. There are always online rumors of many things happening and film projects in development, etc. and mine are nothing more than fun fantasy ideas or dream scenarios.
Also, since a great movie is only as good as its screenplay, any of these ideas would only work if the script was top notch and the filmmakers had their own unique vision for the familiar source material and were able to put their own spin on it to capture a new audience or those of us who are reluctant to change.
Enough disclaimers already. Here goes!
Please feel free to include your own unique remake ideas as they are a lot of fun to think about and put together.
(Movies in no particular order)
1. Dune remake directed by Peter Jackson starring the cast of The Lord of the Rings
Have to start by saying everyone loves and respects David Lynch, but even he admits his version of “Dune” was a failure. It has garnered a cult following over the years, but most will admit it is flawed.
Why couldn’t Peter Jackson be up to the task of remaking another classic book series? This would be a monumental task to say the least and there would be lots of comparisons to both the original “Dune” and the LOTR films in general; however, he would be able to get it done.
No one can’t tell me they can’t picture Elijah Wood as Paul Atreides, Viggo Mortensen as Feyd Rautha (the Sting character from the original) or Ian McKellen as Doctor Wellington Yueh (Dean Stockwell from the original). The rest of the stellar LOTR cast would fill in the rest of the roles perfectly.
Jackson would have to find a way to make the many characters, locations and confusing plot regarding spice rights sensible and entertaining at the same time which seems the biggest challenge.
You could even bring in Alejandro Jodorowsky as creative consultant so he could finally see some of his ideas on the big screen.
It seems to me he would also be able to use his native New Zealand in the same way he did for LOTR to provide breathtaking backdrops for the characters to inhabit.
2. Hellraiser remake directed by Lars von Trier with Willem Dafoe as Pinhead
There has been many rumors, versions and conjecture about a “Hellraiser” remake over the years, even some by creator Clive Barker, but, so far, none of them have actually happened.
How about taking a fully realized and robust version of hell and its demon Cenobites, led by von Trier alum Willem Dafoe, and put it in the hands of the man who brought us “Antichrist” and the “Europa” trilogy.
Audiences would be ripe for a completely “balls to the wall” version of hell complete with all sorts of creatures, demons and dangerous and messed up characters and von Trier would not disappoint delivering on some of those stunning visuals he is known for.
As with all his productions, he really goes for the throat and leaves nothing on the table and that’s what “Hellraiser” needs. Almost similar to what “Rob Zombie” did for “Halloween” just on a grander scale.
Dafoe has also never been afraid of taking daring roles and giving it all in his performance which would work perfectly here as the demonic leader, “Pinhead”.
It could see this being very successful as audiences have never really seen a massive world of hell depicted on screen and it could be intense and amazing.
3. Being There remake directed by Wes Anderson starring Bill Murray as Chauncey Gardner
There are not many people who could stand in the shoes of Peter Sellers for this role; however, Bill Murray is the exception. He is the one modern actor who has had the most successful evolution from comedy to “dramedy”.
He could take the idea of mistaken identity from “Chance the gardener” to political pundit “Chauncey Gardner” and run with it. His take on the character would undoubtedly be unique and fun and Murray would give him the humor and thoughtfulness he deserves.
Adding Cate Blanchett as the Shirley MacLaine character Eve Rand would also seem to make sense.
Wes Anderson has not filmed anything other than his own unique screenplays, but he could do wonders with this story and add his own take and unique characters he is known for to the story. He could go back to the original screenplay and novel by Jerzy Kosinski to find additional inspiration.
His use of color and interesting locations would also lend itself to this story well.
It would be nice in the current political climate we live in today to find some humor and not take it so seriously sometimes.
4. Deliverance remake directed by Quentin Tarantino starring Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Samuel L. Jackson
Think about this one for just a second. When compiling this list, Tarantino and this story seemed to come together almost immediately.
If you combine the outdoor locales of “Inglorious Basterds”, “Django Unchained” and “The Hateful Eight” and the sharp, witty vocabulary splendor of his script, this retelling would be amazing.
Tarantino characters are so complex, so the heroes would not be so heroic and be flawed in some way. There would even be some back story about revenge or a deed gone wrong which could make this so interesting and entertaining.
He would make the hillbilly characters unforgettable and probably make Jonah Hill do some things he has never done before.
When compiling the cast, any Tarantino veterans would do; however, Brad Pitt seems to me to be the best choice for the lead due to his ability to play flawed characters heroically. He seems like the kind of person who would be fun to have with you on an outdoor trip and he would have your back in a time of crisis.
Maybe even Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Steve Buscemi or Harvey Keitel would show up somewhere?
5. Who Framed Roger Rabbit remake directed by its original director Robert Zemeckis starring Neil Patrick Harris as Eddie Valiant
With the unfortunate passing of Bob Hoskins in 2014, it seems unlikely the long-rumored sequel for this film will never happen. Hoskins was a great loss as he gave us so many memorable performances.
Also, so much time has passed since its release in 1988 and technology has come so far it would seem a remake would make more sense currently.
Disney has found a new niche in adapting its animated titles into live-action varieties with the success of remake of “The Jungle Book” and “Pete’s Dragon” upcoming, so this one really makes sense.
The tone of the remake would be important as it should still be in the context of the retro cartoon world, in my opinion and not modernized like “The Smurfs” or “Alvin and the Chipmunks”.
Zemeckis still seems to be the perfect choice to retell his own film based on the novel “Who Censored Roger Rabbit?” which is darker and not like the movie at all. He would be only one of a handful of directors to remake their own movie (“The Man Who Knew Too Much” from Hitchcock comes to mind).
Zemeckis has had great success with his stop-motion animated films “The Polar Bear Express” and “A Christmas Carol”, but should keep a more tradition approach with this remake.
There would be much opportunity to make this another billion-dollar Disney franchise if done right and have lots of fun with crossovers with other Disney properties. Remember how exciting it was to see Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse onscreen together in the original?
6. Grumpy Old Men remake directed by Jay Roach starring Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd
With the greatest respect to comedy legends Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau:
Instead of being relegated to doing cameos in remakes of their own movies (“Ghostbusters”, “Vacation”), how about giving two of the biggest comedy stars of the 1980s another chance to headline a major comedy?
It would have been better to see a remake of “Neighbors” with Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi, but since that is not possible, this seems like a fun idea.
Chase is currently 73 years old and Aykroyd is 64 (where did the time go) and haven’t appeared together in a film since the horrible “Nothing but Trouble” in 1991. It would be hilarious if we could see these two together again.
Jay Roach has had an impressive varied career as a director including the comedy “Meet the Parents” and “Austin Powers” franchises as well as political dramas “Recount”, “Game Change” and 2015’s “Trumbo”. He would be able to coax comedy gold from these two SNL vets as the two ornery neighbors who like to jab and play jokes on each other.
Burgess Meredith in the original pair of films stands out also and could be replaced with a comedic performance by Clint Eastwood. That would be unforgettable.
7. Bullitt remake directed by Justin Lin and starring Idris Elba
No one was cooler in the 1960s than Steve McQueen. His reputation on string of badass, cool characters was unmatched during that time period, but time to move on.
Justin Lin had brought us 4 “Fast and the Furious” films and recently completed the new “Star Trek: Beyond” hitting theaters this summer and should be able to deliver an action thriller which could easily become a franchise on its own. His stunts and action sequences have been thrilling and would undoubtedly keep us on the edge of our collective seats.
Assuming Idris Elba does not become the new James Bond, the character of Frank Bullitt would be a natural for him and he could definitely make it his own. His charm and style as well as his toughness would be just what the character needs.
The original story is a crime witness under Bullitt’s protection is gunned down. Bullitt tries to figure out what is at play and protect his injured witness at any cost while looking cool in the process.
The original was also set in San Francisco which still feels like the right location for this story to take place due to its topography lending itself well to interesting car chase sequences.
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