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March 6, 2014 2:01 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for the original foreign inspiration films for US remakes AND foreign remakes of US films.

There's the originals I know of:
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series (2009, Swedish)
Let The Right One In (2008, Swedish)
Shall We Dance? (1996, Japanese)

I'm not sure if Battle Royale really counts, though it's definitely a great and similar film...
But I'm looking for what could definitely be seen, without question, as remakes. Any genre (I know there's horror out there I'm forgetting of course), any nationality. Hopefully the foreign versions are actually good, as in the above 3 examples.
Please include a year if you know it.

And I don't know of any foreign adaptions of US films, but I'd love to watch any I could get my hands on, especially if they're better than the originals!
posted by DisreputableDog to Media & Arts (21 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

Wikipedia has a longer list of film remakes in general. Many of these are English language to foreign. For example, the film 12 Angry Men (1957) was also remade into the Hindi film Ek Ruka Hua Faisla and the Russian film 12
posted by vacapinta at 2:21 AM on March 6, 2014

Unforgiven (1992, US) was recently remade as Yurusarezaru mono (2013, Japan) in a reversal of the samurai-to-western trope. Reviews have been positive.
posted by permafrost at 3:32 AM on March 6, 2014

"Spoorloos/The Vanishing," a positively chilling 1988 Dutch film, was remade here in 1993, but I read that they thoroughly Hollywoodized the ending so I never bothered to see it.
posted by wisekaren at 3:37 AM on March 6, 2014

La Femme Nikita (1990)/Point of No Return (1993).

I only remember the American one because it was how I first encountered Nina Simone; the French original is much the better film.
posted by Diablevert at 4:25 AM on March 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Veep is not quite a remake of 'In the loop' but close enough that it deserves to be mentioned.

House of cards is originally a British series, so is The office.

Coupling, also a British show, sort of works both ways. It's a lot like Friends and then it was remade in the US.
posted by askmehow at 5:39 AM on March 6, 2014

You could go further and fare worse than to watch Hamlet and MacBeth, and then The Bad Sleep Well and Throne of Blood.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:39 AM on March 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Rec (Spain) remade in the U.S. as Quarantine.
posted by jbickers at 6:03 AM on March 6, 2014

You've Got Mail had charming European precursor, but I'm not sure if its considered a remake or an inspired by.
posted by SemiSalt at 6:12 AM on March 6, 2014

Abre los Ojos = Vanilla Sky
posted by O9scar at 6:34 AM on March 6, 2014

3 Hommes et un Couffin is the original of Three Men And A Baby.

Seven Samurai (1954) is the model for The Magnificant Seven (1960) though I don't think think it quite qualifies as a remake.

Ran (1985) is a version of Shakespeare's King Lear. Not American, I know, but English language.

There is a very charming Hindi film Chori Chori (1956) which is a remake of It Happened One Night. Starring Nargis, with some pretty amazing dancing going on as well. Classic Hindi cinema.
posted by glasseyes at 6:40 AM on March 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

With regard to that Wikipedia list can I just point out a nifty title change: Mixed Nuts, from French film Le Père Noël Est Une Ordure (or Father Christmas is a Shit.)

Oh, and, a really beautiful and strange French film La Jetee, re-interpreted at length in Twelve Monkeys.
posted by glasseyes at 6:51 AM on March 6, 2014

Thelma & Louise (1991) looks like it was very much inspired by Messidor (1979), a film by Swiss filmmaker Alain Tanner
posted by Mister Bijou at 7:30 AM on March 6, 2014

Pure Luck, with Martin Short is a remake of the French film Le Chevre with Pierre Richard.
posted by Gungho at 8:13 AM on March 6, 2014

I was horrified to learn that the 1960 French New Wave classic Breathless was being remade into a cheezy Hollywood romp. I was surprised when I caught the 1983 remake on TV and found it to be more entertaining than I expected. Until then I hadn't really liked Richard Gere, but he was funny and rather charming in the leading role.
posted by ovvl at 8:39 AM on March 6, 2014

Insomnia (1997/2002). Norwegian film is much better IMHO.
posted by ps_im_awesome at 9:30 AM on March 6, 2014

In 2000, there was an Australian version of the film On the Beach, which is horrible compared to the Stanley Kramer version done in 1959, both based on the novel by Nevil Shute.
posted by perhapses at 10:52 AM on March 6, 2014

There was a Chinese remake of the Coens' Blood Simple a few years ago.
posted by octothorpe at 1:52 PM on March 6, 2014

Nthing Breathless. The original is 100% better.

The Grudge and The Ring are both remakes of Japanese movies.

Also, the German movie Bella Martha, (AKA Mostly Martha) was remade as No Reservations in 2007.
posted by Gringos Without Borders at 3:30 PM on March 6, 2014

IMDB has some related keywords: remake (2979 titles), foreign language adaptation (1033), remake of Japanese film (24), remake of American film (52). There are dozens of "remake of foo film" keywords with comparably sized results.

The first two keywords I listed will have some false positives according to your criteria, but hopefully the ratio will be high enough to make it worthwhile. For instance, some movies will be American remakes of American Films, French remakes of German films or American remakes British television.

Also, one of the highest rated on that big list is The Departed. It's an adaptation of a Japanese film, as I recall. I enjoyed it.
posted by stuart_s at 9:23 PM on March 6, 2014

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