The Magnificent Seven 1960
An acolyte of John Ford and other Western (and Western-directing) auteurs, Akira Kurosawa drew inspiration for his chanbara films from Hollywood oaters. So it wasn’t that drastic of a transformation when his 1954 film Seven Samurai was remade as one six years later by John Sturges, replacing katanas with six-shooters and becoming a classic in its own right.
William Friedkin’s follow-up to The French Connection and The Exorcist was a remake of the excruciatingly effective French nailbiter The Wages of Fear, about the transport of a truck with explosive cargo. This is an underseen master class in suspense, and it features one of Roy Scheider’s best performances.
The Ring 2002
In the early 2000s, we really couldn’t get enough of little dead girls with stringy black hair and lurchingly scoliotic walks in our horror films. They were the mascots of the slew of Japanese remakes that crawled out of our movie screens and TV sets. The best of them was also the first: Gore Verbinski’s nightmare-inducing remake of 1998’s Ringu.
The Departed 2006
If someone is going to give your movie an English-language makeover, you could do worse than Martin Scorsese. He transformed the polished and twisting Hong Kong crime thriller Infernal Affairs into something leaner and meaner with this all-star film that finally won him his Oscar.
Let Me In 2010
Coming only two years after the release of the Swedish film it’s based on, the preteen-vampire creeper Let the Right One In, Matt Reeves’ redo should’ve given us whiplash, but it only gave us more chills.