Five films you may not have known were remakes

Have you ever had a feeling of déjà vu when watching a film – like you might have seen something very similar before?

In fact, you may well have. It’s happening more and more as big studios reboot old franchises, make live action versions of animated classics, or produce English language versions of classic foreign films.

But you may be surprised to learn that some blockbuster movies are actually remakes. BBC Bitesize explores five films that you may not have known weren’t original stories.

Ocean’s Eleven

Most people will probably know that the all-female Ocean’s 8 was a spin-off of the 2001 heist film Ocean’s Eleven.

But the antics of George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon weren’t an entirely new story.

Steven Soderbergh’s tale of casino criminals was a remake of a 1960 film starring members of the famous group of entertainers known as the Rat Pack, including Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr.

In the original, Danny Ocean (played by Sinatra) puts together a team of criminals to rob five Las Vegas casinos on New Year’s Eve – with a few little hiccups along the way.

The cast of the original 'Ocean's 11'; (left - right): Richard Conte, Buddy Lester, Joey Bishop, Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Peter Lawford, Akim Tamiroff, Richard Benedict, Henry Silva, Norman Fell and Clem Harvey.

While the remake has a similar premise, the actual events of the modern version are somewhat different to the original. It’s in part due to the new cast's dislike of it. In a 2001 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Clooney claimed most people have never even seen it, while co-star Julia Roberts said she fell asleep twice while trying to watch it.

The Magnificent Seven

It’s one of the most iconic Wild West movies ever made – but the origins of The Magnificent Seven are actually in the east.

The 1960 classic starring, among others, Steve McQueen and Yul Brynner, is considered one of the greatest Westerns of all time – but was based on a Japanese film made six years earlier.

Seven Samurai, directed by Akira Kurosawa, was named the best foreign-language film of all-time in a 2018 BBC Culture poll. While The Magnificent Seven was set in Old West times – in this case, thought to be the 19th Century – Seven Samurai took place much earlier. The film was set in the Sengoku period of Japanese history, in the 16th Century.

The remake led to a remake of its own, with a version starring Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt released in 2016.

Escape to Victory

It’s a cult classic and probably the only place where you can see Sylvester Stallone, Pele and Bobby Moore sharing a screen.

But the World War Two football film Escape to Victory wasn’t an entirely original story.

Twenty years earlier, in 1961, a Hungarian film called Két félidő a pokolban (known in English as Two Halves in Hell or The Last Goal) told the story of the so-called Death Match.

The film centres around a game of football between Hungarian prisoners of war and Nazi soldiers, based on a real-life match between a German team and occupied footballers in Kiev, Ukraine.

The film was a hit and an English-language version was produced in 1981, replacing the Hungarian soldiers with a multi-national, star-studded line up of professional players.

An acrobatic equaliser from Luis Fernandez (played by Pele) to make it 4-4 between the Allied Soldiers and the German team in Escape to Victory.

Two Halves of Hell is also thought to loosely be an inspiration for The Longest Yard – where prisoners take on guards at American football.

The Parent Trap

You’ve probably realised by now that Lindsey Lohan played both twins in the 1998 film The Parent Trap – but did you know that it was a remake?

The story of twins, separated at birth and reunited at a summer camp, was originally a hit in 1961, with British actress Hayley Mills playing the sisters.

In both versions, once reunited, the sisters attempt to get their divorced parents back together again by swapping identities.

The original version was so popular, it led to three tv sequels and multiple international versions and is set for another remake – with Disney confirming a new version is currently in development.

Brewster's Millions

It's the sort of challenge we would all probably like to try - to spend $30 million in 30 days.

The 1985 film Brewster's Millions tells the story of Monty Brewster, played by comedian Richard Pryor, who needs to complete a challenge to spend millions of dollars in order to earn a $300 million inheritance.

While it might sound like an original concept, it was actually the seventh English-language version of the story to hit the screens.

Based on a 1902 novel by George Barr McCutcheon, Brewster's Millions was first adapted into a Broadway play in 1906 before a silent film version was released eight years later. Five more English versions of Brewster's Millions were made between 1921 and 1961 before the 1985 movie - including the 1926 silent film Miss Brewster's Millions, the only one of the seven English-language versions that featured a female protagonist.

The movie has also been remade into multiple foreign-language versions, with four different adaptations released in India alone. A 1988 version called Maalamaal was effectively a shot-for-shot remake of the 1985 Richard Pryor film, with the language changed from English to Hindi.