Let's face it, Hollywood is full of unoriginal ideas; just look at the disproportionate number of films based on books, plays, TV shows and even Broadway musicals that were themselves based on movies. But every now and then, that most unoriginal of green-lit ideas, the remake of a popular or critically acclaimed movie -- like current releases 'Clash of the Titans,' 'Death at a Funeral' and the upcoming 'Nightmare on Elm Street' reload -- can yield a film that equals, or in rare cases, surpasses the original.

After navigating tricky waters and narrowing down the definition of a remake to a movie clearly based on another feature-length film (and not, say, yet another adaptation of a classic text like a Shakespearean play or a Jane Austen novel), here is our list of the 25 best. That means you won't find adaptations like 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,' shorts-based films a la '12 Monkeys,' or reinterpretations like 'Clueless' or 'Moulin Rouge.'

Let's face it, Hollywood is full of unoriginal ideas; just look at the disproportionate number of films based on books, plays, TV shows and even Broadway musicals that were themselves based on movies. But every now and then, that most unoriginal of green-lit ideas, the remake of a popular or critically acclaimed movie -- like current releases 'Clash of the Titans,' 'Death at a Funeral' and the upcoming 'Nightmare on Elm Street' reload -- can yield a film that equals, or in rare cases, surpasses the original.

After navigating tricky waters and narrowing down the definition of a remake to a movie clearly based on another feature-length film (and not, say, yet another adaptation of a classic text like a Shakespearean play or a Jane Austen novel), here is our list of the 25 best. That means you won't find adaptations like 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,' shorts-based films a la '12 Monkeys,' or reinterpretations like 'Clueless' or 'Moulin Rouge.'

What you will find on this list is the Moviefone staff's highly subjective picks for the best remakes in movie history -- a crop of films worth watching even if you're completely unfamiliar with the originals.

25. 'The Thomas Crown Affair' (1999)
Based On: Norman Jewison's heist thriller, 'The Thomas Crown Affair' (1968)
Pierce Brosnan, a master of playing suave and sophisticated types, was the perfect choice to play the titular role that had belonged to Steve McQueen in 1968. What makes John McTiernan's remake even more memorable than the original is the electrifying chemistry between Brosnan's art thief and co-star Rene Russo's knowing insurance investigator. Not only are they worthy heist-flick adversaries, they steam up the screen with their magnetic attraction.


24. 'Ransom' (1996)
Based On: Alex Segal's hostage drama, 'Ransom!' (1956)
Rene Russo also starred, this time opposite Mel Gibson, in Ron Howard's thriller about a rich businessman whose son is kidnapped in an elaborate ransom scheme. Whether or not you're a Gibson fan, there's no denying he's the king of conquering fathers and husbands in full-blown revenge mode. With a fabulous ensemble cast -- Gary Sinise, Liev Schreiber and Lili Taylor as villains, and Delroy Lindo as a sympathetic FBI Agent -- this remake's taut, twisty and surprisingly touching.


23. 'Nosferatu the Vampyre' (1979)
Based On: F.W. Murnau's legendary vampire film, 'Nosferatu' (1922)
Two vampire movies more than 50 years apart are still among the standard bearers of the genre (sorry, Twihards!). German director Werner Herzog's stylized rendering of his countryman's original focuses on the dread and loneliness the Count (played by Herzog's frequent collaborator Klaus Kinski ) experiences, as he yearns for love but is ultimately doomed. Slow and deliberate and devoid of graphic blood and sex, this is a beautiful, cerebral 'Dracula.'


22. 'Insomnia' (2002)
Based On: Eric Skjoldbjærg's Norwegian psychological drama, 'Insomnia' (1997)
Christopher Nolan followed up his brilliantly enigmatic 'Memento' with this straightforward remake. Al Pacino is a troubled homicide detective stuck on assignment in Alaska, and the world-weary intensity he evokes is palpable. Nolan's most noticeable improvement for American audiences is the shocking casting of Robin Williams as the meticulous killer Pacino's trying to trap; their unique cat-and-mouse game in the unceasing daytime-fog of the Far North is creepily delicious.


21. '3:10 to Yuma' (2007)
Based On: Delmer Daves' Western '3:10 to Yuma' (1957)
James Mangold's thrilling tribute to the golden Westerns of half a century ago is propelled by the amazing duo of Russell Crowe, who kicks ass as notorious 19th-century outlaw Ben Wade, and Christian Bale, who plays a conflicted, crippled war hero paid to escort Wade to his prison train. The action is gripping, but the dialogue between the two men, who are far deeper and more complicated then they seem, makes this remake even better than Daves' original.


20. 'True Lies' (1994)

Based On: Claude Zidi's French spy comedy 'La Totale!' (1991)
Like most of James Cameron's canon, this was, in it's day, the most expensive movie ever made. Cameron and star Arnold Schwarzenegger's gift for effects-heavy action theatrics plus Jamie Lee Curtis' crack comic timing as Arnold's on-screen wife was a formula for box office success. Considering most audiences had never heard of the French comedy on which it's based, 'True Lies' is clearly one of those rare remakes that replaced the original as the "default" version.


19. 'Dawn of the Dead' (2004)

Based On: George Romero's zombie flick, 'Dawn of the Dead' (1978)
Redoing the Grandfather of Zombie's cult classic must've been a daunting task for first-time director Zack Snyder, but the unknown commercial and music-video vet managed to do Romero's legendary zombie film justice with a faithful (in spirit, if not in details) homage that earned him real fanboy cred. It also helped that Snyder had a talented and diverse ensemble featuring Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames, Mekhi Phifer and Jake Weber. Did it unseat the original? No, but it came pretty close.


18. 'Dirty Rotten Scoundrels' (1988)
Based On: Ralph Levy's con-men comedy, 'Bedtime Story' (1964)
Conning unsuspecting rich women along the French Riviera doesn't sound like a funny premise, but add in Steve Martin and Michael Caine as competing high-class hustlers, and Frank Oz's remake suddenly sounds potentially hilarious. Caine's suave, elegant approach versus Martin's perfect physical comedy make the object of their scheme -- Glenne Headly -- almost superfluous until the surprise ending, which is a tricky delight.


17. 'The Italian Job' (2003)
Based On: Peter Collinson's British caper, 'The Italian Job' (1969)
It's hard to compete with the swingin' original (Michael Caine, Noël Coward, comedy genius Benny Hill, that awesome Mini Cooper chase sequence), but F. Gary Gray's go at the quintessentially English heist flick is -- no matter what your British friends say -- a bloody satisfying treat starring Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron and Ed Norton, and some souped-up Minis for the mandatory car chase -- this time through Los Angeles.


16. 'The Champ' (1979)
Based On: King Vidor's award-winning boxing drama, 'The Champ' (1931)
Although Jon Voight didn't win an Oscar like Wallace Beery for starring in Franco Zeffirelli's tear-jerker remake, he and his adorable on-screen son Ricky Schroder made one of those emotional sports dramas that make men to cry. Critics overwhelmingly favored Vidor's poignant but harder-hitting tale over Zeffirelli's treacly re-conception, but audiences (us included) didn't mind spilling a few tears during the comeback drama.


15. 'Little Shop of Horrors' (1986)
Based On: Roger Corman's horror comedy, 'Little Shop of Horrors' (1960)
Director Frank Oz's second film on the list is this hilariously twisted musical comedy starring Rick Moranis and Ellen Greene. Between the singing, flesh-eating plant Audrey II (voiced by the lead singer of the Four Tops, Levi Stubbs), Steve Martin as a deliciously sadistic dentist, and the doo-wop chorus girls, this is a freaky but fun musical. We dare you to not catch yourself singing "Little shop/Little shop of horrors" after watching the quirky and campy remake.


14. 'The Ring' (2002)
Based On: Hideo Nakata's horror flick, 'Ringu' (1998)
Gore Verbinski's gothic American take on the outrageously popular Japanese original doesn't have the "best of horror" credentials of 'The Exorcist' or 'The Thing,' but it's chilling enough to elicit audience-wide yelps from even genre aficionados. Without a crazy body count or masked murderers, this is the epitome of scary minus the gore. Naomi Watts is unforgettable as a mom who will stop at nothing to uncover the seemingly unknowable mystery surrounding a killer VHS tape.


13. 'Father of the Bride' (1991)
Based On: Vincente Minnelli's wedding comedy 'Father of the Bride' (1950)
If you learn anything from this list, it's this: when in doubt, enlist Steve Martin to star in a comedy remake. Director Charles Shyer (who's also responsible for the remakes 'Alfie,' 'The Parent Trap' and the recently announced 'Private Benjamin') cast Martin in Spencer Tracy's iconic role as the titular father, and the result is a terrifically sweet performance (with help from fellow comedy masters like Diane Keaton and Martin Short).


12. 'Heaven Can Wait' (1978)
Based On: Alexander Hall's supernatural comedy, 'Here Comes Mr. Jordan' (1941)
Writer-director-star Warren Beatty changed the profession from boxer to quarterback, but the plot's are essentially the same -- an angel accidentally kills off a star athlete several decades too early, so he's reincarnated in the body of a womanizing billionaire (that should answer the question of why Beatty chose to redo this story). A screwball comedy with a subtly biting '70s edge, Beatty's remake is still a charmer 30-plus years later.


11. 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers' (1978)
Based On: Don Siegel's alien-horror classic, 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers' (1956)
Horror devotees still debate, three decades after the remake's release, whether Philip Kaufman's special-effects-aided version is as good as (or better!) than its predecessor. We'll leave it to the genre experts to decide, but one thing's for sure, both are masterpieces compared to the two subsequent remakes. Smart, suspenseful and socially conscious, this is the kind of crafty psychological thriller that even horror-sci-fi naysayers could love.


10. 'A Star is Born' (1954)
Based On: William Wellman's showbiz drama, 'A Star is Born' (1937)
Director George Cukor revived a fading Judy Garland's career with the comeback role of a lifetime. Playing a talented rising star who falls for James Mason's controlling, alcoholic singer (James Mason), Garland gave the performance of her career and cemented the unforgettable Ira Gershwin-Harold Arlen-produced standard 'The Man That Got Away' into her repertoire. Yes, it was made specifically to prop up Garland, but she delivered the movie equivalent of an amazing one-woman show .


9. 'Ocean's 11' (2001)
Based On: Lewis Milestone's heist flick, 'Ocean's 11' (1960)
Steven Soderbergh's remake of the Vegas-set caper stars a much more diverse group of actors than the A-list best friends who headlined the original, but the ensemble's collective energy is so infectious, it's easy to believe Clooney, Pitt, Damon, Cheadle and co. are a Hollywood reincarnation of the celebrated Rat Pack. Even the villainous casino owner, played by Andy Garcia, is likable -- so much so that he, along with Ocean's entire crew, returned for two sequels.


8. 'A Fistful of Dollars' (1964)
Based On: Akira Kurosawa's samurai drama, 'Yojimbo' (1961)
Sergio Leone's first Spaghetti Western is more important for introducing the world to Clint Eastwood's infamous Man With No Name, than for being an unofficial Kurosawa remake. With his air of mystery, narrowed eyes and cool aloofness, Eastwood's lawless character was so engrossing that Leone's violent retelling spawned two 'Dollar' sequels starring Eastwood's "Stranger." Not bad for a relatively unknown director and a star trying to break free from his TV persona.


7. 'The Fly' (1986)
Based On: Kurt Neumann's horror classic, 'The Fly' (1958)
Jeff Goldblum has starred in bigger blockbusters ('Jurassic Park,' 'Independence Day'), but to us, he'll forever be remembered for his very first performance as an eccentric scientist in David Cronenberg's excellent (and very different) remake. Part graphic horror, part graphic romance (it is a Cronenberg movie, after all) co-starring Geena Davis, the movie was both a commercial and critical success that completely transcended the campy original.


6. 'The Departed' (2006)
Based On: Andrew Lau and Alan Mak's Hong Kong crime-thriller 'Infernal Affairs' (2002)
Who would've thought that Martin Scorsese would finally score Oscar gold for a story not about the New York City mob, but the Irish gangsters up in Boston. Scorsese's mind-blowing drama about cops, criminals and those who secretly cross the line between both worlds, is nothing short of extraordinary. Starring most of the best actors in Hollywood (Nicholson, DiCaprio, Damon, Baldwin, Sheen, Wahlberg, Farmiga), it's nearly Shakespearean in scope and scale.


5. 'The Magnificent Seven' (1960)
Based On: Akira Kurosawa's epic 'The Seven Samurai' (1954)
Kurosawa's samurai films obviously spoke to American directors, and John Sturges doesn't disappoint with his brilliant Westernization featuring seven gunmen hired to protect a besieged Mexican village. The seven spectacular action stars alone make this worth watching (Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Robert Vaughn and Horst Buchholz -- all of whom truly are magnificent), not to mention the epic gunfight sequences.


4. 'Cape Fear' (1991)
Based On: J. Lee Thompson's stalker thriller, 'Cape Fear' (1962)
Martin Scorsese's second remake in the top 10 is his modernization of Thompson's infamous 1962 crime thriller. Robert De Niro is frighteningly menacing and seductive as Max Cady, the ex-con out for revenge who Robert Mitchum immortalized. Nick Nolte holds his own as the attorney Cady is threatening, but it's a teenage Juliette Lewis who steals the show as the object of Cady's creepy obsession. The squeamish should stick to the excellent original, but this is one of Scorsese's best.


3. 'The Man Who Knew Too Much' (1956)
Based On: Alfred Hitchcock's first 'The Man Who Knew Too Much' (1934)
This is the only entry of a director remaking his own film (although plenty of other filmmakers have done it). Hitchcock kept the basic premise of his early thriller: a family on vacation stumbles upon top-secret information that leads to their child's kidnapping, but he updated the setting, shot in color and cast bonafide Hollywood sweethearts James Stewart and Doris Day in the subsequent film. Hitchcock himself proclaimed it the superior version, and who are we to argue with his genius?


2. 'Scarface' (1983)
Based On: Howard Hawks' gangland drama, 'Scarface' (1932)
Brian De Palma's remake is a cultural phenomenon -- the kind of movie that nearly 30 years later is still regularly referenced. The genius behind De Palma and screenwriter Oliver Stone's update is switching from the Italian mob to the Cuban cartels in Miami's cocaine-fueled drug boom. Al Pacino's machine-gun-wielding kingpin Tony Montana is as iconic as Michael Corleone, with even more quotable lines, like, "Say hello to my little friend," or "In this country, you gotta make the money first..."


1. 'The Thing' (1982)
Based On: Howard Hawks' 'The Thing' (1952)
Considering this list could've been comprised solely of horror films -- there are just that many remakes in the genre -- it should come as no surprise that John Carpenter's horror gem is No. 1. A known master of paranoia and suspense, Carpenter's take on a parasitic alien that can shape-shift into any thing or any body is both bloody disgusting and bloody brilliant. Never has working in a remote outpost seemed scarier, and never has an awesomely bearded Kurt Russell been this good.
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