While it’s safe to say that remakes of classic films have been around for quite some time, they have become increasingly popular in recent years. These movies are yet another sign of the evolution of filmmaking, and they attempt to adapt timeless industry favorites with the help of new technologies and fresh perspectives to appeal to a new audience. Over the years, dozens of remakes have hit the silver screen to amaze new generations, paying tribute to films that marked a turning point in cinema. Naturally, however, remaking classic and beloved movies is no easy task, and many remakes failed to live up to expectations and ended up as box-office bombs that were poorly reviewed by critics.
In recent years, Hollywood has released several remakes of 1980s films, with many more expected to hit theaters in the future. And although this decade wasn’t particularly noted for its remakes, it did see the release of some very important remakes that refreshed earlier productions. Here are 10 films from the 1980s that you probably didn’t know were remakes.
10 The Money Pit (1986)
The Money Pit
- Release Date
- March 26, 1986
- Richard Benjamin
1986 marked the premiere of The Money Pit, a film by Richard Benjamin in which Steven Spielberg served as executive producer. In it, Tom Hanks and Shelley Long play Walter and Anna, two lovers forced to find a new home after being evicted from their apartment. Seizing the moment, they buy a suspiciously cheap house, unaware that it is totally ruined and in need of a renovation that could wipe out their savings and destroy their relationship.
A Remake of 1948’s Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House
The Money Pit remakes the 1948 film Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, which earned rave reviews and became a box-office hit. The 1986 film, on the other hand, was not as well received: while Hanks and Long were praised for their on-screen chemistry, general reviews of the film were mixed, with most deeming it inferior to the original production. Rent on Apple TV
9 The Blob (1988)
The Blob is a sci-fi horror film by Chuck Russell that stars Kevin Dillon and Shawnee Smith, and follows the residents of a small town who suddenly find themselves haunted by a strange growing substance that melts everything in its path.
A Remake of 1958’s The Blob
The 1988 remake was not well received from the start, but it eventually managed to consolidate itself as a fairly acclaimed piece, with critical opinion improving over time. In fact, it is now considered an even better remake than the original 1958 film (also called The Blob). Nevertheless, it didn’t perform that well at the box office, and its grosses didn’t even make up for its initial budget of $10 million. Rent on Apple TV
8 Three Men and a Baby (1987)
Tom Selleck, Steve Guttenberg, and Ted Danson star in Three Men and a Baby, a film by Leonard Nimoy that hit theaters in 1987. In it, the stars portray three single friends who share a New York City apartment, whose lives are turned upside down when a woman drops off a baby girl on their doorstep, giving them no choice but to strive to be the best parental figures this little girl could possibly have.
A Remake of 1985’s Three Men and a Cradle
1985’s Three Men and a Cradle earned rave reviews upon its release, and even scored an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. Its remake, on the other hand, failed to match it in terms of critical acclaim, but did outperform it at the box office, becoming the highest-grossing film of its opening year. Furthermore, its success with audiences boosted a franchise that is currently awaiting a reboot by Disney+. Stream on Disney+
7 We’re No Angels (1989)
We’re No Angels is a 1989 comedy film by Neil Jordan that stars Robert De Niro and Sean Penn as Ned and Jim, two convicts that, after breaking out of prison, reach a small town in which they are mistaken for priests. Seizing the opportunity to hide from the authorities, the men decide to keep up the charade for a while, a task that won’t be too easy.
A Remake of 1955’s We’re No Angels
We’re No Angels is a remake of Humphrey Bogart’s 1955 film of the same name, which was met with mixed reviews for failing to live up to the play that inspired it, My Three Angels. Over three decades later, its remake endured the same fate: despite featuring great actors in the lead roles, it failed to impress audiences and only managed to gross $10 million at the box office, which was half of its initial budget. Stream on Paramount+
6 The Fly (1986)
- Release Date
- August 15, 1986
The Fly hit theaters in 1986 to further enhance the popularity of its original. This film, by David Cronenberg, features Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis in the lead roles, and introduces a scientist researching a teleportation device who, following an experiment gone wrong, becomes a fly-human hybrid. As the film progresses, his monstrous appearance worsens by leaps and bounds.
A Remake of 1958’s The Fly
Although 1958’s The Fly forever shaped the sci-fi genre, it was met with mixed reviews following its release, establishing itself as an acclaimed production only after significant time had passed. Its 1986 remake, however, enjoyed positive reviews right from the get-go, and not only became a box-office hit, but also scored an Oscar nomination for Best Makeup, among other accolades. Rent on Apple TV
5 Three Fugitives (1989)
French filmmaker Francis Veber took the helm of 1989’s Three Fugitives, starring Nick Nolte and Martin Short. This crime comedy follows a former bank robber, who is taken hostage by an inexperienced crook, who, in turn, sets out to rob a bank in order to pay for his young daughter’s medical treatment. When the police link the man to the crime, he has no other choice but to go on the run with the rookie, embarking on a life-changing adventure.
A Remake of 1986’s Les Fugitifs
Three Fugitives solidified itself as an entertaining comedy with a decent box office performance, mostly due to the work of Nolte and Short in the lead roles and their on-screen chemistry. Still, it disappointed critics, who panned its predictable plot and inconsistent tone in its attempt to combine both comedy and action. Perhaps its most interesting feature is that Veber directs the remake of his own movie, 1986’s Les Fugitifs. Rent on Apple TV
4 I Saw What You Did (1988)
“I saw what you did, and I know who you are”. With this line, two teenage girls teased strangers with prank calls for hours on end. But little do these girls know that one of their targets happens to be a man who has just murdered his girlfriend, and he is determined to find them, believing that they are somehow aware of his crime. That is the plot of I Saw What You Did, the 1988 film by Fred Walton.
A Remake of 1965’s I Saw What You Did
I Saw What You Did is a remake of the 1965 film of the same name by Francis Veber, though it is regarded as significantly inferior to the original film for, among other things, failing to bring anything new to the table. Still, it did achieve cult status among horror fans for its gritty atmosphere and the work of the cast, and even managed to win a Primetime Emmy Award back in the late-1980s. Not Currently Available to Stream or Purchase
3 The Thing (1982)
The Thing hit theaters in 1982 to forever make its mark on the sci-fi genre. This movie by John Carpenter, starring Kurt Russell, follows a group of scientists at a research station in Antarctica who encounter a murderous extraterrestrial creature that is able to take the form of its victims, making it extremely difficult to exterminate.
A Remake of 1951’s The Thing from Another World
The Thing serves as a remake of the 1951 film, The Thing from Another World, which is, in turn, based on John Campbell’s novella, “Who Goes There?”, from 1938. It was released around the same time as E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and struggled to attract audiences in comparison to Spielberg’s timeless classic. Initially, it was praised for its visual effects, but got very poor reviews as a whole, and performed quite badly at the box office. That being said, the film’s reception grew better and better over the years, eventually becoming an iconic piece of horror and sci-fi cinema. Stream on Paramount+
2 Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)
In Frank Oz’s Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Steve Martin and Michael Caine are Freddy and Lawrence, two con men with contrasting expertise, who refuse to share territory. Determined to settle their feud once and for all, the men strike a bet: the first one to con a millionaire heiress gets to stay in town, and the other must leave for good.
A Remake of 1964’s Bedtime Story
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is a remake of Ralph Levy’s Bedtime Story, and besides becoming a box-office hit, it garnered high praise for its witty humor and its stars’ chemistry. Although two other remakes of the movie starring great actresses came out over the years, neither was as successful as the production starring Martin and Caine. Stream on Paramount+
1 Scarface (1983)
Rounding out this list is Scarface, the 1983 Brian De Palma film that follows Cuban refugee Tony Montana’s journey to become Miami’s biggest drug lord. This production landed Al Pacino one of his most iconic roles, and is considered one of the all-time classics.
A Remake of 1932’s Scarface
Back in the 1980s, Scarface was met with negative reviews for its violent scenes and for portraying cultural stereotypes, although it did perform well at the box office and earned praise for Al Pacino’s performance. But, as with some of the other films on this list, De Palma’s picture has been reappraised over the years, and now ranks comfortably among the best gangster films of all time. What many probably don’t know is that it’s a remake of the 1932 movie of the same name, directed by Howard Hawks and loosely based on the 1929 eponymous novel by Armitage Trail. Rent on Apple TV