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While many American movies are remade in other countries, there are a number of foreign films that receives an American remake (just in case you don’t want to read subtitles). Sometimes the movies are good, while sometimes they’re varying degrees of quality. Here are 13 examples of foreign films remade into American movies.
- The Birdcage (La Cage Aux Folles). The Birdcage was one of the biggest smash hits of 1996, but it was actually based on a French-Italian comedy called La Cage Aux Folles from 1978, which in turn was based on a stage play of the same name from 1973.
- City of Angels (Wings of Desire). The 1998 romance film featuring Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan, City of Angels, is based on a New German Cinema film from Wim Wenders called Wings of Desire from 1987. Both films feature a romance between an angel and a human, but the German film tackles themes of existentialism and loss.
- The Lake House (Il Mare). The romance/science fiction hybrid The Lake House reunited Sandra Bullock with Keanu Reeves (both were in Speed), but was also based on a South Korean film called Il Mare (which rough translates to The Sea) from the year 2000.
- The Departed (Infernal Affairs). Based on the first film in a Hong Kong crime trilogy, the Academy Award winning movie The Departed was based on Infernal Affairs. Both movies are very similar, expect one takes place in Hong Kong, while the other is set in Boston.
- LOL (Laughing Out Loud). The train wreck starring Demi Moore and Miley Cyrus is based on a French film titled LOL. Both films are very similar considering they were both written and directed by the same person. Of course, one translates better than the other. You be the judge on which is which.
- Shall We Dance? The romantic comedy Shall We Dance? is based on a Japanese movie of the same name. While the original was a smash hit in Japan, the American remake was all but forgotten when it was released in 2004.
- Last Man Standing (Yojimbo). The crime film Last Man Standing starring Bruce Willis is based on Akira Kurosawa’s classic Yojimbo. While the original was set during feudal Japan, the other takes place in Texas during the Prohibition era. Also, A Fistful of Dollars is also a remake of Yojimbo.
- Let Me In (Let the Right One In). Director Matt Reeves horror film Let Me In is based on the cult hit Let the Right One In from Sweden. While only two years separate the films, both movies are practically the same, but the original Swedish version is a little more bleak and horrific. But Let Me In ain’t bad either.
- Point of No Return (Nikita). Based on Luc Besson’s action film Nikita, Point of No Return was almost forgotten. It’s only claim to fame is that it’s based on a better film and it starred Bridget Fonda at the beginning of her career.
- True Lies (La Totale!). James Cameron’s action comedy True Lies is based on a French film called La Totale! Good luck trying to find a copy to watch James Cameron bought the rights to it and quickly buried it, so his version would be the only one in the movie-going market.
- The Magnificent Seven (The Seven Samurai). The Western movie genre is very similar to the Samurai genre, which is why so many Westerns can be adapted as Samurai movies and vice versa. The Magnificent Seven is based on Akira Kurosawa’s The Seven Samurai, only with cowboys instead of samurais.
- Contraband (Reykjavík-Rotterdam). The Icelandic crime film Reykjavík-Rotterdam was a big hit in its home country, while the American remake Contraband was a big ol’ flop, despite that the star of the original directed the remake.
- Funny Games (Funny Games). This one is interesting, but no matter how you slice it, it’s, literally, the same movie. Michael Hanke directed a shot-for-shot remake of his own movie Funny Games into an American remake. The only difference is the cast is different and one is in English, while the other is in German. Aside from that, both movies are exactly the same. Exactly the same!