Some tricks can 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 so 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 undergo resurrection at any cost. No remakes, no reboots. These are just perfect, and let’s keep it that way, shall we?
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 owns to its name the most sizzling and iconic dialogues ever written; the characters are always talking, and always interesting, funny, petrifying or audacious. A remake is acceptable only in some other planet no one has access to. Or not.
2. 2001: A Space Odyssey
Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey remains the most realistic description of space travel till date. 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 the world has ever seen.
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 an extreme simpleton. Neither have I met anyone like Forrest Gump nor seen a movie anything like it. Describing the movie will reduce it to a conventional storytelling, let alone someone trying to remake it.
4. Citizen Kane
Orson Welles at the pinnacle of his career in film-making gave us Citizen Kane, a powerful dramatic tale of Kane who beautifully and extraordinarily shows a man use and abuse his power and wealth while dealing with success, arrogance and a never ending search for innocence. Even the thought of rebooting this film will be a sin.
5. To Kill a Mockingbird
To Kill A Mockingbird in its black and white classic is a masterpiece unparalleled. To think of a movie, that will carry the same resonance of civil rights is just impossible. And who can play a strong headed, determined, warm charmer of a character like Atticus better than Gregory Peck? Let’s face it, just no one!
6. Gone with the Wind
This movie represents a monumental leap with the huge number of Oscars it has bagged. A movie well set in time, with sweeping romance, and a flawlessly realistic depiction of slavery at that time, it has set a standard impossible to meet 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 perfectly edited, written, directed, presented and received, it is one of the greatest fantasy films of all times. The brutality of post civil war Spain contrasts with the world of magic and fantasy the little girl is drawn to. It beautifully leaves us a message of making the right choice. Recreating the magic this movie has spun is not a good idea.
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 bomb-ticking 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 to the audience – when you are looking at the screen, you are looking at reality. It strips you off those unnecessary comic reliefs and sappy subplots. Measured as a standard for almost all crime movies released in the last few decades, how can one even think of remaking the standard?
10. The Big Lebowski
There is something about the Coen Brothers that makes every single movie of theirs tick. Big Lebowski is a genius creation and it is uniquely predictable. So what is it about the movie that it makes it to this list? This movie, even if it owns an interesting plot, is not so much about the story as it is about the attitude of the movie. Big Lebowski gives a character to the movie you cannot take away or recreate – the Dude abides.
11. Star Wars
In many ways, the original trilogy defined to a generation what a truly cinematic experience should be like. Star Wars is a fantasy and hope many people grew up with. It is kooky, wacky, a perfect gift to geeks, an obsession to hold on to, a Sunday evening fun watch, and a masterpiece. Nobody wanted the prequels after seeing the first one and sure as death and taxes, a reboot, we want not.
12. No Country for Old Men
Coen Brothers again. Many of the scenes in this movie are so flawlessly constructed, that you could wish it would never end, but then the emotions draw 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. With the music of Carter Burwell taking us through the movie, some things should just be left to the Coen brothers.
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 become an emotion in itself. Life is Beautiful is one such movie. It is not about fascism or Nazism, what Benigni created in the movie is human spirit, and it will last forever. How do you remake a movie of that caliber?
14. The Matrix
The Wachowski Brothers borrow the gravity-defying choreography of an East Asian action movies 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 will be 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, just no one.
15. The Shawshank Redemption
Director Frank Darabont created a movie with no special effects, no extra dabs of make-up, just prisoners in uniform talking to each other that manages to encompass friendship, hardship, hope, laughter and dream. Many movies escalate our emotions by offering quick superlative emotions. Shawshank Redemption slows down, it pauses and it gives you the time to sink in the emotions. With the perfect cast, a calm narrative and deep lesson offered effortlessly, remaking it to its standard will cost anyone a lifetime.
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 love and independence, 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 irreplaceable.
17. Requiem for a Dream
Aronofsky takes us through an excursion of serial addiction, unsettling and gruesome, that leads to an unforgiving experiment. Ellyn Burstyn and Jenniffer Connely are just wonderful in this movie, and Marlon Wayons is such a surprise in a serious role. With such powerful and naked exposure to the world of addiction, this leaves a scar that heals with caution. A must watch and a must leave-it-alone.
18. The Bicycle Thief
Routinely voted as one of the greatest films of all time and revered as one of the keystones of Italian neorealism, Vittorio De Sica’s The Bicycle Thief gives us 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, this is a movie that no one must dare to remake for it defines perfection.
19. Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind
Michel Gondry makes a movie with the perfect cast and imagines a scientific experiment, that erases memories to escape bitterness in life. This movie speaks of beauty, loss, self-discovery and leaves us with nothing but memories. It belongs to a different level of reality and the emotions are oddly touchy. To make a movie with such a whimsical concept is difficult, to remake is unthinkable. It leaves a pronounced mark on the mind; no one would want a remake of it – it stands out perfectly well.
20. It’s a Wonderful Life
Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey delivered the best performances in the history of cinema. Frank Capra’s 1946 film is a narrative, in which a guardian angel shows suicidal businessman George all the lives he has touched in his life. A simple, gripping, moving movie in black and white, it is irreplaceable. No one can play George Bailey better than Jimmy Stewart, not like other actors are not good, but no one can simply 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 sometimes both at the exact same time. This movie stands witness to Jack Nicholson being 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 do anything else in his entire life, this movie he made, would make up for a life well lived. They also say, there is no one on this planet at least, other than Depp, who could have delivered the dark fairy tale of a synthetic man trying his best only to fit in, perfectly to its audience. That being said, we surely do not want a reboot. Like Edward doesn’t age, this movie too doesn’t. It is fresh and timeless.
Joe Johnston’s Jumanji is a movie a lot of people grew up watching. It gives you hundred minutes packed with a perfect 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 raw adventure in a digitalised time is not possible. And of course, who can entertain us any better than Alan played by none other than 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 gives us the hope of traveling back and forth in time. There is no way anyone can or should reboot this movie and spoil the time it is set in. And of course, reimagining 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 into a story about madness and then it strings both the subjects and creates something so messed up and beautiful; it is an absolute delight. Films today shy away from 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 challenging.
Fast-paced, greatly shot, incredibly edited, Robert Rodriguez’s Desperado defines Antonio Banderas as an actor par excellence in his quest for revenge. Rodriguez knows the economy of time and he knows how to handle sudden explosions – he sets an example of both in the movie. 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 the 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 al. 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 the good and stay with you through all the decisions you take in your life. It teaches you something about life that no one else cares to. It confirms your faith in something you want to believe in. It gives you an antidote to conformism. It teaches you to live life in 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 sings us a tale of dark comic and it sings it perfectly. Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter in this bloody musical are perfectly cast. In this tale of revenge and blood, this is a musical which sets itself in a devasted time of poverty and despair, that voices anger and reasons revenge. 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 dark patches, it masks as a philosophy of life, and it ticks. Like the typical Fincher, he feels no obligation to tell you how to interpret what you have seen and you are left to your interpretation. Fight Club must be left untouched for one simple reason – it needs no interpretation.
Please don’t touch them classics.
Featured Image: Brain Pickings