US Remakes

When UK films get the Hollywood treatment

Photo: Paramount Pictures

US remakes of UK movies: lacking British sensibilities or providing audiences with more of the good stuff?

Hollywood will take film ideas wherever it can find them. Whether reboots or remakes, movie makers have even been known to turn to British cinema for ‘inspiration’. And with mixed results.

Here’s a list of the best and worst US adaptations of UK movies. Find out what received a poorer kind of Tinseltown treatment and which ones did their predecessors proud.


The 1955 movie saw five oddball criminals planning a robbery and pretending to be musicians while living with a little old woman. As the film goes on, the gang including Peter Sellers and Herbert Lom become involved in one comic complication after the other as they attempt to do away with their landlady.

© webothlovesoup // YouTube

The original film was always going to be a challenge to improve on. Tom Hanks is as wonderful as always in the 2004 remake, and although you might expect a little more from a screenplay penned by the Coen brothers, it only serves to reaffirm the quality of the classic British original.

© WamBamFam // YouTube


The 1969 film starring Michael Caine will live long in the memory. Who can forget the sight of the Mini Coopers navigating through the streets of Turin as Charlie Croker and his crew attempt a high-risk heist under the nose of the Mafia?

© TriplicateGoose // YouTube

The 2003 remake with Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron and Edward Norton was surprisingly enjoyable with a more streamlined plot and souped-up Minis. But it didn’t have the line: “You were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!”

© Paramount Movies // YouTube


Both films involve a man selling his soul for seven wishes and outrageous situations, but it’s the 1967 original starring Peter Cook, Dudley Moore and Eleanor Bron that dazzled audiences. The rapport between the two leading men in particular induced many moments of hilarity.

© // YouTube

You can’t say that Brendan Fraser and Elizabeth Hurley didn’t try in the 2000 remake and there are certainly funny moments. Still a good choice when you want something simple and uncomplicated.


The original 1973 version was directed by Robin Hardy and starred Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee and Britt Ekland. It was set on a Scottish island village and centred on a missing girl whom the local residents say never existed.

© Michael Netsch // YouTube

The intelligent and creepy script, unsettling soundtrack and memorable ending of the original saw it named as the sixth greatest British movie of all time by Total Film in 2015. The 2006 remake with Nicholas Cage failed to re-create the same atmosphere and suffered from many unintentional moments of comedy.

warnervod // YouTube


Here’s another British original starring Michael Caine that got a Hollywood make-over. The 1971 film follows London gangster Jack Carter as he attempts to find out what truly happened to his brother who died under mysterious circumstances. 

© ryy79 // YouTube

Sylvester Stallone took on the part of the leading man in the 2000 remake that never really got near the high standard of the original. It was at times confusing with ‘The Italian Stallion’ looking a bit out of place in comparison to Caine’s chilly and authoritative figure.

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04 2016 The Red Bulletin

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