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Where to watch CODA and 11 other English-language remakes (that don't suck)
CODA made waves at the Oscars on March 27, 2022, becoming Apple TV Plus‘ first best picture winner. What many didn’t know is that CODA is a remake of a 2014 French film called La Famille Bélier. It’s just one of many English-language remakes. Some such remakes can be pretty terrible, but others are terrific, sometimes even surpassing their originals.
See also: Movies like best picture winner CODA
Read on for some of the best English-language remakes of films from around the world. And if you haven’t seen it already, you can check out CODA on Apple TV Plus by hitting the link below.
The best English-language remakes
The Departed (2006)
Another Oscar best picture winner, Martin Scorsese’s The Departed is a western adaptation of the fabulous Hong Kong action film Infernal Affairs. With terrific performances by Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, and Jack Nicholson, among many others, it’s a perfect example of how to remake a film and cross cultural borders. In the Departed, a Boston cop goes deep undercover in the Irish mob, while the mob simultaneously sends one of its own to infiltrate the police department. It’s a gripping game of cat-and-mouse or, er, rat, that runs in two directions at once.
Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney had already remade Ocean’s Eleven before tackling Solaris. This remake of the Soviet classic sees a doctor sent on a mission to a space station orbiting a mysterious planet that appears to be having dramatic psychological effects on the crew. Once aboard, the doctor must deal with visions of his long-dead wife to understand how the planet Solaris is manipulating him and the others aboard the station.
A Fistful of Dollars (1964)
Westerns and Samurai films have had a tendency to borrow from each other since their early days. Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars, a Clint Eastwood-starring classic, took those thematic connections to their extremes, unofficially remaking Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo. In it, a nameless drifter comes to town and plays two rival families against each other, pocketing hefty fees from both along the way.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
David Fincher sadly didn’t get to complete his Millennium trilogy after the first film underperformed. But still, his The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a stellar remake of the Swedish original, both based on the novel by Stieg Larsson. The film sees a disgraced journalist and hacker team up to solve a disturbing cold case, the disappearance of a teen girl whose rich family may hold the key to what happened to her.
Some Like It Hot (1959)
In Some Like It Hot, two musicians who witnessed a mob killing go on the run disguised as women to avoid reprisals. Along the way, the two befriend a beautiful ukelele player and singer, played by Marilyn Monroe, while in disguise — making it harder to woo her without revealing themselves. This comedy is among Billy Wilder’s most celebrated titles, and it’s based on the 1935 French film Fanfare of Love.
The Guilty (2021)
Directed by Antoine Fuqua, The Guilty is a gripping thriller about a 911 operator with a troubled past as he scrambles to help a woman who seems to have been abducted. As the night goes on, he slowly realizes that he’s dealing with a horrific situation that’s beyond his comprehension and leads to a shocking end. The Guilty is an English-language remake of the 2018 Danish film of the same name and stars Jake Gyllenhall.
See also: The Guilty review
The Birdcage (1996)
This madcap comedy sees a gay Miami drag club owner pretending to be straight when meeting his son’s future parents-in-law. Much of the film’s comedy comes from the clash between Robin Williams’s flamboyant Armand and Gene Hackman’s Republican Senator Kevin Keeley. The Birdcage is an English-language remake of the 1978 Franco-Italian film La Cage aux Folles.
12 Monkeys (1995)
Director Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys isn’t exactly a remake, but it was inspired by the French short film La Jetée. It follows a man living in a dystopian future played by Bruce Willis. He’s sent back in time to stop a terrorist group from unleashing the virus that will reshape society and kill off most of humanity. As he finds his way through the past, it becomes clear that there’s no easy fix, and that the causes of humanity’s downfall are far more complicated than imagined.
One of The Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan’s earliest features, Insomnia is a remake of the 1997 Norwegian film of the same name. In it, Al Pacino plays a detective sent to a small Alaskan town to investigate a murder. His mental state deteriorates as he’s lured into a game of cat-and-mouse with his primary suspect, played by Robin Williams cast completely against type. Making matters worse, he’s struggling to adjust to the perpetual daylight of the northern town.
Funny Games (2008)
Michael Haneke remade his own 1997 Austrian film just over 10 years later with Funny Games. The original film offered a critique of America’s fascination with violence, so it was only fitting to reframe it within America. In Funny Games, a family on vacation is terrorized by two disturbed young men, who pause to address the camera directly and question the audience’s enjoyment of what we’re watching.
Check out: What is Kanopy?
Wrath of Man (2021)
Guy Ritchie’s Wrath of Man is a tight little thriller starring Jason Statham as a mysterious new employee at a security truck company. After displaying some truly advanced skills with a gun during a stick-up, his true intentions slowly reveal themselves in this dark and brutal English-language remake of the 2004 French film Cash Truck.
Those are some of our favourite English-language remakes of movies from around the globe. Did you know they were remakes?