12 Iconic Movies that Shouldn't Be Remade (Like, Ever)
It’s no secret that we’re living in the age of constant reboots. All it takes is one quick scroll through the latest news and, before you know it, you’re reading articles about the new Bollywood remake of The Girl on the Train, or about Peacock’s multiple classic revivals, from Saved by the Bell to Punky Brewster to Clueless.
Since nostalgia has been so crucial to the success of past reboots, it comes as no surprise that we’re seeing an influx of films that give older classics the modern-day makeover. But while it can be fun to revisit these fan-favorites, it looks like Hollywood is starting to tread on some very dangerous territory with their selections (see: The Wizard of Oz). Simply put, there are certain iconic films that need to stay untouched because they are too sacred to be recycled (not counting prequels, sequels or spin-offs, FYI). From The Breakfast Club to Scarface, these 12 movies should never be (or in some cases, should never have been) remade. Period.
1. ‘Do the Right Thing’ (1989)
The cultural impact of this movie still resonates so deeply today, which is why it’s hard to fathom why anyone would try to remake this gem. Do the Right Thing, which explores racial tensions during a hot summer day in Brooklyn, cleverly balances humor with darker, relevant issues, and of course, the performances are also top-notch. Any attempt to imitate this film would be a total waste of time, and even the director, Spike Lee, agrees.
In a Q&A that was published in The Guardian, Lee confirmed, “As long as I’m alive, there will be no remake and, if they try, I’m coming back from the dead to stop it. I promise you, I will come back from the pearly gates, from the upper room, to stop a remake.” Sounds like a plan.
2. ‘Forrest Gump’ (1994)
Yes, we know—Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor Khan are set to star in a Bollywood remake of the film, which was pushed from 2020 to Christmas of 2021. As intriguing as this version sounds, it just won’t be the same as this 1994 classic, which won an impressive six Academy Awards, including one for Best Picture. In this film, Tom Hanks plays a slow-witted man who leads an extraordinary life. Not only is his performance outstanding, but the actual story stays true to Winston Groom’s novel that inspired the film. We couldn’t have asked for a better adaptation.
3. ‘Dead Poets Society’ (1989)
Is it even possible to envision another Mr. Keating like Robin Williams, with his contagious energy and charisma? Absolutely not. In this powerful film, the late actor portrayed an English teacher named John Keating, who inspires his students to resist conformity and “seize the day.” It’s a message we live by more than three decades later.
4. ‘Love Jones’ (1997)
Love Jones is so much more than a romance flick. It actually helped pave the way for more films to portray Black love in a new light. For those who’ve yet to see it, Larenz Tate and Nia Long star as Darius and Nina, two Black artists who fall in love after a chance encounter in Chicago. Though we’re all for a new sequel (Tate actually teased the idea on his Instagram in 2019), it’s hard to imagine a reboot that can live up to this insightful film.
5. ‘The Breakfast Club’ (1985)
This timeless coming-of-age comedy is arguably one of the best movies of the ‘80s. The Breakfast Club, which centers on a group of high school students who get stuck in detention, addresses the ups and downs of adolescent life, from peer pressure and social cliques to parental neglect. It’s smart, it’s refreshing, it’s memorable, and it certainly doesn't need a redo.
6. ‘The Princess Bride’ (1987)
It was entertaining to see celebrities collaborate and offer a fresh take on this classic tale, including Jennifer Garner, Tiffany Haddish and Hugh Jackman. But of course, their creation doesn’t count as an *official* remake. Had Hollywood tried their hand at seriously remaking this film, which follows a young farmhand on a mission to rescue the princess, we get the feeling that it wouldn’t be half as good.
7. ‘The Godfather’ (1972)
Some may argue that a sequel could benefit the series, but when it comes to possible reboots, there are way too many things that could go wrong, from awful casting to mediocre writing. Why run the risk of potentially ruining such an iconic franchise? Why work on a reboot that Godfather fans never asked for? The entire crime trilogy is considered among the greatest of all time, and its depiction of family relationships and crime is truly unmatched. Let’s try to keep it that way.
8. ‘Titanic’ (1997)
We can’t see how this iconic film could get any better than it already is. The chemistry between Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet is incredible, the special effects are stunning and those disaster scenes make us feel like we’re actually there with the passengers. There’s no reason to mess with James Cameron’s epic romance; after all, it’s often considered one of the best films ever made.
9. ‘Back to the Future’ (1985)
Perhaps you’ve imagined Tom Holland as the new Marty McFly after seeing this fake trailer (and we don’t blame you at all), but since this beloved classic was so well made, there’s really no need for it to be rebooted. In fact, any attempt to redo this film would be a huge risk, since several fans have grown up watching Marty and the eccentric Doc. Who wants to deal with thousands of fans complaining that their favorite childhood films got ruined?
10. ‘The Matrix’ (1999)
If you recall, The Matrix follows the computer programmer Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves), aka Neo, who’s forced to confront a dangerous enemy after uncovering a huge secret. Fans are already giddy over the fact that a Matrix 4 is coming later this year. And while there aren’t many details about it just yet, it’s already been confirmed that the main characters will return. Had this been a brand-new reboot that deviated from the original films, we’re sure that fans of the franchise would not be pleased. After all, Keanu Reeves is (and will always be) Neo. End of story.
11. ‘Friday’ (1995)
Friday follows the newly unemployed Craig (Ice Cube) and his best bud, Smokey (Chris Tucker), as they hang out together on a rather eventful Friday. Not only is this comedy extremely quotable, but also, the chemistry between Cube and Tucker is seriously unmatched. It’s impossible to imagine any other pair of actors who can give the same energy and keep fans cackling every five minutes. Plus, no one is interested in seeing a remake of a film that’s already this good.
12. ‘Clueless’ (1995)
Sure, there’s a TV reboot with a mysterious twist in the works, which, TBH, we already have mixed feelings about. But what we absolutely don’t need is a straight-up remake of this classic teen film. From the stylish ‘90s attire to the throwback music, it just wouldn’t hit the same. Alicia Silverstone will forever be Cher Horowitz to us.