The movie business has been accused, not without some justification, of being lacking in imagination. Sure, plenty of groundbreaking original films have been released over the years. Consider such cinematic game-changers as “Fantasia,” “Citizen Kane,” “Koyaanisqatsi,” “2001: A Space Odyssey,” and “Memento,” among many others.
But so much of what gets produced these days is blatantly derivative: Sometimes it seems as if no old TV show or comic book franchise is safe from movie-makers, and that there’s no hit film that doesn’t deserve a sequel or two or maybe quite a few more. There have been at least eight follow-ups to the 2004 horror classic “Saw,” for instance, with another one on the way. (These are the best movie sequels you can stream right now.)
Then there are remakes — either new versions of original films (like “A Star is Born”) or fresh adaptations of classic novels, like “The Great Gatsby,” “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” “Great Expectations,” or “Treasure Island.” Certain stories just seem to appeal so strongly to movie-makers of various generations that they get cloned (usually with considerable variation) again and again.
24/7 Tempo has assembled a list of 20 of the most remade films of all time. It excludes foreign-language films, TV movies, sequels, and spin-offs that spiral off too far from the original. Musical adaptations and animated versions are included. In some cases, there’s little argument about which version would be considered definitive (the 1931 “Dracula,” starring Bela Lugosi, for instance). In other cases, the matter is open to debate, but the choices noted below have all gained considerable critical acclaim.
If your tastes don’t run to remakes, you won’t find any in this selection of the best classic movies that are now available for streaming.