Some tricks get better with time and technology, and there are some that cannot be repeated – the magic cannot be recreated. It’s the same with good movies. There is something fulfilling and majestic about these classics that their legacy must remain unsullied for generations to come.
At the risk of sounding like a rallying call to filmmakers, here’s a list of 30 movies that we believe should not be resurrected at any cost. No remakes, no reboots. They are perfect just the way they are. So let’s not go ruining them, a’ight?
1. Pulp Fiction
Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 crime masterpiece is an electrifying milestone in the history of film-making. The jumbled up eccentric set of stories with a clever method of storytelling just makes it better with every watch. This film features some of the most sizzling and iconic dialogues ever written; the characters are always talking, and it’s always interesting, funny, terrifying or audacious. A remake is is not only unacceptable, it’s a cardinal sin!
2. 2001: A Space Odyssey
Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey was the most realistic description of space travel up until Inception came and shattered a few myths. He blended the pacing, the music, and the visuals very skilfully and gifted us with a movie that quintessentially stands out as the best sci-fi film the world has ever seen. It’s a shame that Kubrick is no longer with us but this is one film that deserves to remain untainted by modern Hollywood.
3. Forrest Gump
Robert Zemeckis’ Forrest Gump, with Tom Hanks playing the character of a man with an IQ of 75, in all its innocence and genius, brings with it the complexity of being an amazing simpleton. Neither have I met anyone like Forrest Gump nor have I ever seen a movie quite like it. Describing the movie will reduce it to a conventional story, forget about someone trying to remake it.
4. Citizen Kane
Orson Welles at the pinnacle of his career in film-making when he gave us Citizen Kane, a powerful dramatic tale of a man mad with power and drowning in his own success. It captured the time perfectly and even to this day, remains a thoughtful and poignant tale of excess and innocence. Even the thought of rebooting this film should come with a stiff prison sentence.
5. To Kill a Mockingbird
To Kill A Mockingbird is an unparalleled masterpiece. To think of a movie that had the same amount of impact that this film did is not easy. And who can play a strong headed, determined, warm charmer of a character like Atticus Finch better than Gregory Peck? Let’s face it, no one! No need to remake this classic. We’ll remember it the way it was, thank you very much.
6. Gone with the Wind
This movie was a monumental success with the 8 Oscars it bagged. It was also a true product of its time, with a sweeping romance and a flawlessly realistic depiction of slavery, it set a standard that is impossible to meet even in this day and age. If anyone is thinking of rebooting this classic, frankly, my dear, we do give a damn.
7. Pan’s Labyrinth
With Javier Navarrete’s hauntingly simple score knitting itself into the fabric of a film that is perfectly edited, written, directed and presented, Pan’s Labyrinth is one of the greatest fantasy films of all time. Guillermo Del Toro truly outdid himself with this film. The brutality of post-civil war Spain juxtaposed with the world of magic and fantasy the little girl is drawn to, is just the right mix of weird and brutal. Recreating the magic this movie has spun is not a good idea. Pay attention Hollywood, Ghostbusters this ain’t!
8. Taxi Driver
Martin Scorsese’s 1976 Taxi Driver works every time you watch it. It never fails to draw us deep into Travis’ world of anger, helplessness, alienation and loneliness. Well, if anyone is planning a remake, all the best with replacing anyone who could deliver “Are you talking to me? Well, I’m the only one here” better than De Niro.
9. Reservoir Dogs
What makes Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs different from every other film is its honesty with the audience – when you are looking at the screen, you are looking at reality. It strips off the unnecessary comic relief and sappy sub-plots. Measured as a standard for almost all crime movies released in the last few decades, how can one even think of remaking the legendary film?
10. The Big Lebowski
There is something about the Coen Brothers that makes every single movie of theirs work. The Big Lebowski is an amazing film and it is so unpredictable. So what is it about the movie that puts it on this list? This movie, even though it an interesting plot, is not so much about the story as it is about the attitude of the characters. The Big Lebowski has truly given us the coolest person to ever grace the screen in The Dude!
11. Star Wars
In many ways, the original trilogy defined what a truly cinematic experience should be like to an entire generation. Star Wars is a staple for many people back in the day. It is kooky, wacky, a perfect gift to geeks, an obsession to hold on to, a Sunday evening watch, and a masterpiece, all rolled up in a sci-fi tale for the ages. Nobody wanted the prequels after seeing the first one and to be honest, A Force Awakens was terrible!
12. No Country for Old Men
The Coen Brothers again! Many of the scenes in this movie are so flawlessly constructed that you wish they would never end, but then the emotion draws you deeper into the next scene evoking the exact same feeling as in the previous scene. This movie is a masterful evocation of time, place, character, moral dilemma, human nature, destiny, all beautifully entwined in the heartland of America. With the music of Carter Burwell serenading us throughout the movie, some things should just be left to the Coen brothers and no one else.
13. Life is Beautiful
Life is Beautiful is Roberto Benigni’s comic attack on fascism; depressing and uplifting at the same time. It has the capacity to take you through a whole range of emotions. There are some movies which truly hit you right in the feels. Life is Beautiful is one such movie. It is not about fascism or Nazism, what Benigni created in the movie is human spirit, and how it can last forever. How do you remake a movie of that caliber? How?
14. The Matrix
The Wachowski Brothers borrow the gravity-defying choreography of an East Asian action movie and turn it into a visually stunning cyber adventure. The Matrix was a watershed moment in film-making. Even if technology is now capable of much more exotic visual stunts, it is no match for the originality this movie offers. The Matrix offers a little something for everyone, a reflection of the reality, a thing a very few movies could accomplish till date. No one should attempt a remake, no one!
15. Shawshank Redemption
Director Frank Darabont created a movie with no special effects, no extra make-up, just prisoners in uniform talking to each other. It manages to capture friendship, hardship, hope, and the realities of prison life in an amazing tale. Based on a short story by Stephen King , this film was an excellent slice of old-timey Americana. With a perfect cast and a superb narrative, a remake is just not the right way to go.
Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Amelie is a movie that takes its time to tell every detail. Can you imagine anyone other than the 23-year-old Audrey Tautou playing the role of the whimsical, innocent Amelie? She has her own sense of judgment, her own sense of independence; she’s a character with so much individuality, so powerfully and simply played that the moment I hear anyone say ‘Amelie’, Audrey Tautou comes to mind. It is completely irreplaceable.
17. Requiem for a Dream
Aronofsky takes us through a trail of serial addiction, unsettling and gruesome, that leads to an unforgiving finale. Ellyn Burstyn and Jenniffer Connely are just wonderful in this movie, and Marlon Wayons is such a surprise in a very serious role. With such a powerful look at the world of addiction, this film leaves a scar that never really heals. A must watch and a must not remake film. Period!
18. The Bicycle Thief
Routinely voted as one of the greatest films of all time and revered as one of the keystones of Italian neo-realism, Vittorio De Sica’s The Bicycle Thief tells the story of a man and his son in search of a bicycle. The story is simple yet profound. Nothing can recreate the scene where the son forgives his father for stealing a bicycle; it is genuine and all-comforting. This is a movie that inspired many, and no one should even think of remaking it!
19. Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind
Michel Gondry directs a movie with the perfect cast and imagines a science experiment, that erases people’s memories to help them escape the bitterness of life. This movie depicts beauty, loss, self-discovery and leaves us with nothing but memories. To make a movie with such a whimsical concept is difficult, to remake it is unthinkable. It leaves a mark on you so deep that it stings. Again, no need for a remake. It’s perfect as it is.
20. It’s a Wonderful Life
Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey delivered one of the best performances in the history of cinema. Frank Capra’s 1946 film is a tale in which a guardian angel shows a suicidal businessman,George, all the lives he has touched. A simple, gripping and moving movie in black and white, it is irreplaceable. No one can play George Bailey better than Jimmy Stewart, Not that other actors aren’t good enough, it’s just that no one can top that performance.
21. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
I have heard of movies that are disheartening and uplifting, but this movie is both at the exact same time. This movie stands witness to Jack Nicholson at his best. There cannot be a remake of this movie by someone who is not Milos Foreman, casting the same people, to create something that leaves the viewer beaten down by the same confusing emotions.
22. Edward Scissorhands
They say even if Tim Burton did not make anything else in his entire life, Edward Scissorhands would make up for a failed career. They also say that there is no one on this planet other than Depp who could have delivered the dark fairy tale of a synthetic man trying his best to fit in, perfectly to its audience. That being said, we surely do not want a reboot. Like Edward doesn’t age, this movie doesn’t age as well. It is fresh and timeless.
Joe Johnston’s Jumanji is a movie a lot of people grew up watching. It gives you 100 minutes of pure adventure. Time travel, physical transformations, perceptual distortions, multiple universes, uncertain appearances are just a few of the things that Jumanji deals with. To remake such a raw adventure in this day and age is not possible. And of course, who can entertain us better than Alan played by none other than the legendary Robbin Williams?
24. Back to the Future
There are some movies that are a product of their time. Back to the Future stands as a testimony to the 80s. Set in 1985, it tells the tale of Doc and Marty, two amateur time-travellers. There is no way anyone can or should reboot this movie and spoil the perfection. And of course, remaking it without Michael J. Fox or Christopher Lloyd just seems out of place and plain wrong.
25. Benny and Joon
Jeremiah Chechik’s Benny and Joon is so different from everything else – it wants to tell a tale of love but entangles itself in a story about madness and then it strings both the subjects together and creates something so messed up and beautiful; it is an absolute delight. Films today shy away from the complexities of characters, but this one boldly defends its characters and shines through it. To recreate something so offbeat and impressionable as this one is truly challenging.
Fast-paced, greatly shot and incredibly edited, Robert Rodriguez’s Desperado defines Antonio Banderas as an actor star. Rodriguez knows the economy of time and he knows how to handle sudden explosions. And here he sets an example of how to do action right. Also, for a reason as simple as Salma Hayek looking her best and delivering a performance many would dream of, this movie should not be insulted with a reboot.
27. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
This John Hughes movie features on the list because of its plain innocence. Every person who has been through that awkward teenage phase can relate to this. In its own rebellious ways, it is slight, whimsical and sweet. The film’s heart is in the right place and we wouldn’t want to replace the (adorable) preacher that Ferris is, we still feel a little lost at times, after all. The spirit of the movie is what we need at times, it works as the best friend we needed when we were lost, and honestly, who would want to remake a movie like that!
28. Dead Poets Society
There are some movies that get under you skin for good and stay with you through all the decisions you make in your life. It will teach you something about life that no one else does. It teaches you to live life on your terms. And if a lesson like that is delivered by someone as heroic and charming as Robin Williams, is there anything about the movie you would want to change?
29. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
With its thunderously exciting score, Sweeney Todd is a dark and funny tale of revenge. Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter star in this bloody musical. It is a funny and bloody tale that stands on it’s own as a modern musical masterpiece. Like we all know, perfection does not demand a remake.
30. Fight Club
David Fincher’s Fight Club is intense, disturbing, a gross-out shocker, extremely fascinating and enlightening. Fight Club is a thrill ride that does not shy away from confronting the deep seeded insanity of man and masks it as a philosophy of life. In typical Fincher style he feels no obligation to tell you how to interpret what you have seen and you are left to your devices. Fight Club must be left untouched for one simple reason – it needs no interpretation.