Follow TV Tropes


Foreign Remake

Go To

"Now, as you can imagine, there's a problem in properly translating a French comedy into American. The sense of humor's different. The point of view. Words always mean something else. So I start with a quick, literal translation. Then I adapt the dialogue, make it into the American equivalent."
Abe Burrows, on Cactus Flower

Say you're a writer/director who has managed to make a good film outside of the Hollywood system. Congratulations! Hollywood is so impressed with your movie that they want make it for themselves and change everything. You say yes, and heck, they might even let you direct it, but don't hold your breath. First off, your script needs a total rewrite to massage out all the Values Dissonance. Then all your unknown actors are swapped out for Hollywood stars. The setting will probably get changed, and production values get upgraded by a factor of ten. The resulting Foreign Remake might turn out better or worse than the original depending on the minds at work.



Say you're a Bollywood veteran who is spending a quiet evening on the internet. Suddenly you stumble across the synopsis for a Hollywood movie that looks suspiciously like the popular film you made three years ago. In fact, it's the exact same premise. And it was released to theaters a year ago. Why haven't you heard anything about this until now? After watching the DVD, you discover that it's a garbled version of your film, without the singing and dancing, and the walk in the rain is replaced with a sex scene. What the hell?

Ultimately, whenever something is remade in a different country, it's a foreign remake. Hollywood and Bollywood tend to get the most attention for theirs, but it happens all over. India, in fact, often does this internally: because different parts of India have different official languages, successful movies in one language will often be remade in one or several other languages, for the benefit of a different audience.


Related to The Remake.

Common Tropes:

Compare Disneyfication. See also Transatlantic Equivalent, which is exclusive to television.

Contrast with Canada Does Not Exist, where by design or by imposition, Canadians make their own foreign remakes without making a domestic original first.

Listed in alphabetical order with American release name and Original name (plus years and country of origin for the original ones)

    open/close all folders 

     American remakes of foreign films 
  • Thirteen Sins (2014) — 13 Beloved (Thailand, 2006)
  • Algiers (1938) — Pepe Le Moko (France, 1937)
  • Astro Boy (2009)
  • Bangkok Dangerous (2008) — Bangkok Dangerous (Thailand, 2000): Both versions directed by the Pang Brothers.
  • Barefoot (2014) — Barfuss (Germany, 2005)
  • Big (1988) — Da grande (Italy, 1987)
  • The Birdcage (1996) — La Cage aux folles (France, 1978)
  • Brick Mansions (2014) — Banlieue 13 (France, 2003)
  • Brothers (2009) — Brøders (Denmark, 2004)
  • Buddy Buddy (1981) — L'emmerdeur (A Pain in the... ) (France, 1973)
  • City of Angels (1998) — Wings of Desire (Der Himmel über Berlin) (West Germany, 1987)
  • Cold Pursuit (2019) — In Order of Disappearance (Norway, 2014)
  • Conspiracy (2001) An English-language remake of the German film Die Wanseekonferenz (1984) which covered the same event. Aside from casting several actors with more international credentials, the difference between the two is most noticeable in the Rule of Drama: in the German version, the Nazis are pretty much on the same page about the Holocaust, whereas in the English version there is more open disagreement and infighting.
  • Cousins (1989) — Cousin Cousine (France, 1975)
  • Crackers (1984) — Big Deal on Madonna Street (Italy, 1974). Also remade as Welcome to Collinwood (2002).
  • Criminal (2004) — Nueve Reinas (Argentina, 2000)
  • Dark Water (2005) — Dark Water (Japan, 2002)
  • Death at a Funeral (2010) — Death at a Funeral (UK, 2007)
  • The Debt (2011) — The Debt (Israel, 2007)
  • The Departed (2006) — Infernal Affairs (Hongkong, 2002)
  • Diabolique (1996) — Les Diaboliques (France, 1955)
  • Dinner for Schmucks (2010) — The Dinner Game (Le dîner de cons) (France, 1998)
  • Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986) — Boudu Saved from Drowning (France, 1932)
  • The Eye (2008) — Gin Gwai (Malaysia, 2002)
  • Father's Day (1997) — Les Compères (France, 1983)
  • Funny Games (2007, US-French co-production) — Funny Games (Austria, 1997) : The former being a shot-for-shot remake in English by the same director (Michael Haeneke).
  • Gaslight (1944) — Gaslight (UK, 1940)
  • Get Carter (2000) — Get Carter (UK, 1971)
  • Gigi (1958) — Gigi (France, 1949)
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) — The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Sweden, 2009)
  • Godzilla (1998) — Gojira (Japan, 1954)
  • Godzilla (2014) (2014) — Gojira (Japan, 1954)
  • The Good Thief (2002) — Bob Le Flambeur (France, 1956)
  • The Grudge (2004, US-Japanese co-production) — Ju-on (Japan, 2000)
  • Hachi: A Dog's Tale (2009) — Hachiko Monogatari (Japan, 1987)
  • Gunmen (1993) — Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo (Italy/Spain, 1966)
  • Head Above Water (1996) — Hodet Over Vannet (Norway/Sweden, 1993)
  • Hit Man (1972) — Get Carter (UK, 1971)
  • Human Desire (1954) — La Bête Humaine (France, 1938)
  • Insomnia (2002) — Insomnia (Norway, 1997)
  • The Invisible (2007) — The Invisible/Den Osynlige (Sweden, 2002)
  • I Think I Love My Wife (2007) — L’Amour l’apres-midi/Chloe in the Afternoon (France, 1972)
  • Jungle 2 Jungle (1997) — Un Indien dans la ville (Indian in the City) (France, 1994) - Siskel & Ebert put both on their "worst of the year" lists in back-to-back years.
  • Just Visiting (2001) — Les Visiteurs (France, 1993) : Distinct in that the writer and the stars of the originals reprised their roles in the remake. More of an anglophone sequel with the elements of a remake, really.
  • K-PAX (2001, US-German co-production) — Man Facing Southeast (Argentina, 1986) : Though K-PAX is originally based on a novella.
  • Kiss Me, Stupid (1964) — Moglie per une notte/Wife for a Night (Italy, 1952)
  • The Lake House (2006) — Siworae, aka Il Mare (South Korea, 2002)
  • The Ladykillers (2004) — The Ladykillers (UK, 1955)
  • The Last American Virgin (1982) — Lemon Popsicle (Israel, 1978). Both films were Golan-Globus productions written and directed by Boaz Davidson.
  • Last Kiss (2006) — L'ultimo bacio (Italy, 2001)
  • Let Me In (2010, US-British co-production) — Let the Right One In (Sweden, 2008)
  • M (1951) — M (Germany, 1931)
  • The Magnificent Seven (1960) — Seven Samurai (Japan, 1954). This became a trope.
  • The Man with One Red Shoe (1985) — The Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe (France, 1972)
  • My Sassy Girl (2008) — My Sassy Girl (South Korea, 2001) - This film also received a Bollywood remake and a Tollywood remake.
  • The Next Three Days (2010) — Pour Elle/Anything for Her (France, 2008)
  • Nightwatch (1997) — Nattevagten (Sweden, 1994). Remade by its original director Ole Bornedal for the American market.
  • No Reservations (2007, co-production with Australia) — Mostly Martha (Austria/Germany, 2001)
  • Oldboy (2013) — Oldboy (South Korea, 2003)
  • One Missed Call (2008, US-Japan co-production) — Chakushin Ari (Japan, 2003 + a TV series sequel, 2005)
  • The Outrage (1964) — Rashomon (Japan, 1950)
  • Paris, When It Sizzles (1964) — Holiday for Henrietta (France, 1952). Also remade as Alex & Emma (2003).
  • Pathfinder (2007) — Pathfinder (Norway, 1987), probably better known by its Norwegian name (Veiviseren) or Sami name (Ofelaš)
  • It has never been officially confirmed, but the 2004 Scarlett Johansson flick The Perfect Score is very probably an unofficial Americanised remake of the obscure 1997 Irish movie How to Cheat in the Leaving Certificate.
  • Nikita (France, 1990), by Luc Besson
    • Point of No Return (US, 1993)
    • Hei Mao (Black Cat) (Hongkong, 1991)
    • La Femme Nikita (US first-run title)/Nikita (syndication/international title) (1997, American TV series)
    • Nikita (2010, American TV series)
  • Pulse (2006) — Kairo (Japan, 2001)
  • Pure Luck (1991) — La chèvre (France, 1981)
  • Quarantine (2008) — Rec (Spain, 2007)
  • The Ring (2002) — Ringu (Japan, 1998) - The sequel of The Ring was directed by the director of the original and its sequel.
  • Scarlet Street (1945) — La Chienne (France, 1931)
  • Scent of a Woman (1992) — Profumo di donna (Italy, 1974)
  • Shall We Dance (2004) — Shall We Dance (Japan, 1996)
  • Shutter (2008) — Shutter (Thailand, 2004) : Notably, it pretends that it's a J-horror remake, when the original is Thai.
  • Solaris (2002) — Solaris (Russia, 1972)
  • Some Like It Hot (1959) — Fanfaren der Liebe (West Germany, 1951)
  • Sorcerer (1977) — The Wages of Fear (France/Italy, 1953)
  • Speed (1994) — Shinkansen Daibakuha (Japan, 1975)
  • Swept Away (2002) — Swept Away (Italy, 1974)
  • Taxi (2004) — Taxi (France, 1998)
    • Hollywood of course had to export their remake around the world. Wherever the original Taxi had been released before, the remake was renamed something like New York Taxi.
  • The Thirteenth Letter (1950) — Le Corbeau: The Raven (France, 1943)
  • Three Fugitives (1989) — Les fugitifs (France, 1986)
  • Three Men and a Baby (1987) — Trois hommes et un couffin (Three Men and a Cradle) (France, 1985)
  • True Lies (1994) — La Totale (France, 1991)
  • 12 Monkeys (1995) — La Jetée (France, 1962) : A borderline example, since the original was a short film made up of mostly still images, and the "remake" was a fully fleshed out story. Also, Gilliam's movie is more of an Inspired by... / Spiritual Successor of the original.
  • Under Suspicion (2000) — Garde à vue (France, 1981)
  • The Upside (2019) — Intouchables (France, 2011)
  • Vanilla Sky (2001) — Abre los Ojos (Spain/France, 1997)
  • The Vanishing (1993) — Spoorloos/The Vanishing (The Netherlands, 1988); Both the original and the remake had the same director.
  • Victor/Victoria (1982) — Viktor und Viktoria (Germany, 1933)
  • Welcome to Collinwood (2002) — I soliti ignoti (Italy, 1958)
  • White Dwarfnote  (1995 Made for TV) — Red Beard (Japan, 1965)
  • Widows (2018) — based on the 1983 ITV miniseries, relocated from London to Chicago.
  • The Woman in Red (1984) — Un éléphant ça trompe énormément/Pardon Mon Affaire (France, 1976). The Trope Maker, in fact.

     Non-American foreign film remakes 
  • Aatishbaaz, Agneepath, and SaathiScarface (1983)
  • The Anthropophagus Beast (Italian) — Anthropophagous 2000 (German).
  • Bachke Rehna Re BabaHeartbreakers
  • Bells Are Ringing was remade for German television as Hallo - Mr. Moss.
  • A Better Tomorrow (Hong Kong, 1986) — A Better Tomorrow (South Korea, 2010)
  • The Hindi Bhool Bhulaiyaa, a remake of the Tamil and Telugu Chandramukhi, which was a remake of the Kannada Apthamitra...which was a remake of the Malayalee Manichitratazadu. Apparently, there's another remake in Bengali called ''Rajmohol". And yes, all of those are from the same country.
  • ChloeNathalie...
  • Compulsion (Canada, 2013) — 301, 302 (South Korea, 1995)
  • Daraar, Agnisakshi and YaraanaSleeping with the Enemy
  • Italian È già ieri (It's Already Yesterday) — Groundhog Day
  • Ek AjnabeeMan on Fire
  • Ek The Power Of One (Hindi), a remake of the Telugu assassin flick Athadu.
  • A Fistful of Dollars (Italy/Spain, 1964) — Yojimbo (Japan, 1961). The story was plagiarized and Kurosawa had to sue for royalties.
  • GhajiniMemento
  • Ghost: I Want to Hold You in My Arms Again - Japanese-Korean version remake of Ghost (1990) with a Gender Flip thrown in for some originality.
  • GhulamOn the Waterfront
  • God Tussi Great HoBruce Almighty
  • Joheunnom nabbeunnom isanghannom/The Good, the Bad, the WeirdIl buono, il brutto, il cattivo
  • Taken Serial Escalation by High School Musical—the book Battle of the Bands was adapted three times in Latin America—once each in Argentina, Mexico and Brazil. The latter two count as this.
  • Home Run (Singapore) — Children of Heaven (Iran)
  • If.... (technically an American production, but with a largely British cast, crew and setting), based on the French short film Zéro de conduite.
  • Jindabyne (Australian) — Short Cuts (American), though more accurately they're both adaptations of the short story So Much Water So Close to Home.
  • Main Aisa Hi Hoon (2005), Deiva Thirumagal (2011) - I Am Sam.
  • Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya (2005) is a Bollywood remake of Cactus Flower. (The play the American movie is based on was itself an Americanized version of a French farce.)
  • Mean MachineThe Longest Yard: A British remake of the 1973 American film (the Sandler remake came out in 05), substituting football for football.
  • O stragalistis tis sygrou is apparently a Greek remake of Maniac!.
  • Danish Olsen-banden remade in Norway as Olsen-banden and in Sweden as Jönssonligan.
  • Norwegian film The Bus from 1961 was remade for a Danish audience in 1963, essentially using the same script, but bowdlerized it to smooth out some plot points and tie up some loose threads.
  • The Italian film Perfect Strangers (Perfetti sconosciuti) was remade within only a couple of years in Greece, Spain, Turkey, France, South Korea, and China.
  • Pusher, the influential Danish crime thriller, was remade in Britain in 2012 under the same name. The actor playing the Serbian villain Milo reprises his role, as he is a Ruthless Foreign Gangster in both settings.
  • Rafoo ChakkarSome Like It HotFanfaren der liebeFanfares d'Amour... making this a foreign remake of a foreign remake of a foreign remake.
  • The Ring Virus (1999) — A Korean remake of Japanese Ringu (1998).
  • Saathiya (Hindi) — "Alaipayuthey'' (Tamil). Even the musical numbers were the same.
  • Saidoweizu (2009) — Sideways (2004): A Japanese remake, with the wine-country locale changed from Santa Barbara to Napa.
  • Satte Pe SattaSeven Brides for Seven Brothers
  • Sauda and JudaaiIndecent Proposal
  • Silent Night, Bloody Night: The Homecoming (UK, 2013) — Silent Night, Bloody Night (US, 1974)
  • A Simple Noodle StoryBlood Simple.
  • Summertime (2001) — Scorpio Nights (1985): A South Korean remake of an Erotic Film from the Philippines.
  • Sunday (Hindi) — Anukokunda Oka Roju (Telugu)
  • Sunny (2011, Korean) — Go Go Sisters (2018, Vietnam) Sunny: Strong Mind Strong Love (2018, Japan)
  • Tees Maar Khan - After The Fox
  • Unforgiven (2011) — Japanese remake of Unforgiven
  • Wo Zhi Nü Ren XinWhat Women Want
  • Witness was remade as Paap (Sin) in Bollywood and as Wild Chase (starring Chow Yun-fat) in Hong Kong.
  • Yaraana (India (Bollywood, specifically), 1995) — Sleeping with the Enemy (1991)
  • ZindaOldboy (2003)
  • Er ist wieder da (Germany, 2015), from the book of the same name (meaning "He's back"), was remade in Italy in 2018 with Sono tornato ("I'm back"). The main difference is that in the German film Adolf Hitler is the one who's back, while in the Italian one it's Benito Mussolini.
  • Other:

     TV Shows 

     Other Media Remakes 
  • The Captain Future series of novels were adapted in the 1960s into a tokusatsu series in Japan titled Captain Ultra, which was unrelated to Tsuburaya's Ultra Series despite the name, although it was treated by the network as such since it was picked up as a filler series between the finale of Ultraman and the premiere of Ultraseven. There was also a straight anime adaptation in the 1970s.
  • Elite Beat Agents is an interesting variant, as it's a remake of the Japanese game Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan made specifically for American audiences by the same development team.
  • The NES game Flying Warriors by Culture Brain is a remake of the Famicom game Hiryu no Ken 2 developed on the Hiryu no Ken 3 engine, rather than just being a straight localization of either game (in contrast to its predecessor Flying Dragon, which was just an English version of the original Hiryu no Ken).
  • From 1991 to 1993, Japanese software development company SystemSoft attempted to revive the Interactive Fiction genre by porting four of Infocom's games and remaking them for the PC-9801. The first game, Zork I, was released on March 29, 1991; the second, Planetfall, was released on February 28, 1992, followed by Moonmist on September 11, 1992 (under the title Moonmist: Shiroki Kifujin no Nazo [ムーンミスト ~白き貴夫人の謎~; Moonmist: The Mystery of the Noble White Lady]); the final game, Enchanter, was released on March 26, 1993 under the title Enchanter: Wakaki Madōshi no Shirén (エンチャンター ~若き魔導士の試練~; Enchanter: The Trial of the Young Sorcerer). Unlike the original games, all four of these remakes have some of the most common verb commands ("look", "take", etc.) that can be accessed by pressing a corresponding button (the player still has to type the name of an object, though), and enhanced graphics, especially in the list of objects (and, in the case of Moonmist and Enchanter, for the unique background pictures) on which the text is super-imposed. A bit more info on these four remakes can be found here.
  • In Nomine is an American remake of French tabletop roleplaying game In Nomine Satanis/Magna Veritas.
  • There was recently an American comic-book remake of the Japanese Visual Novel Saya no Uta. And, unlike in the original, they actually decide to show her true form.
  • As a kind of homage to this trope, the very Japanese-style PS2 Survival Horror game Siren was remade as Siren: Blood Curse on PS3, along with all the changes that normally get applied to Hollywood remakes of Japanese horror (though the original Siren and its sequel did both get English releases first time around). While Siren: Blood Curse is still set in a Japanese village, the all-Japanese cast of the original has been replaced with a mix of Japanese characters and an American TV crew sent in to do a documentary about the legends surrounding the area.
  • Marvel's Spider-Man got his own tokusatsu series in Japan courtesy of Toei as well as a four-issue limited series in India published by Gotham Entertainment. Both versions went on to appear in the Spider-Verse storyline.
  • Hayao Miyazaki's Manga title A Trip To Tynemouth is his version of British author Robert Westall's short story collection Break of Dark.
  • "The Wizard of the Emerald City" is a loose Russian translation of The Wizard of Oz. After the first novel the book series follows its own direction.
  • In the early 20th century, many musical shows from London, Vienna and Berlin were imported to New York with the scores largely or completely replaced. The most successful Americanizations included Madame Sherry (1910) and Maytime (1917), though the German source of the latter (Wie einst im Mai) went unadvertised due to the anti-German hysteria of the time. In the case of Blossom Time (1921), the American version of Das Dreimäderlhaus, the score was newly adapted from the same source (Franz Schubert).
  • Everybody Loves Raymond was adapted to the Israeli sitcom You Can’t Choose Your Family that lasted for one season, fairing very poorly and ending when the actress who played Rosa (Israeli Marie), Rozina Cambos, died of cancer.
  • At the height of the popularity of the 1960s Batman TV show, a licensed Batman manga was published in Japan. Some stories were loosely based on DC characters, but the plots, art, and dialogue were largely new.
  • The Scottish play Yer Granny is a remake of the Argentinian play and film La Nona, relocated to a Glaswegian chip shop.
  • A 90s Scottish touring production of The Odd Couple, starring Gerard Kelly and Craig Ferguson, relocated the whole thing to Glasgow. The Pigeon sisters remained English.
  • An interesting variant of this happened in the United States in the 90's. Prior to the boom of scheduling shows as quarter hour shorts, American channels scheduled every show as a 30-minute program. This created a problem for countries from other nations who wanted to import their 10-minute programs into the United States. To solve this problem, companies created 30-minute versions of these shows, usually with an all-new Framing Device that was usually based on the topic of the original show. Examples included Shining Time Station, Salty's Lighthouse, the 1997 version of The Mr. Men Show, The Noddy Shop and the original US version of Caillou.
  • The Italian comic book series W.I.T.C.H. got a manga adaptation during the height of the brand's mid-2000s popularity. The manga shared the same exact plot and roughly the same script as the original. The biggest change came with the art now being done by Haruko Iida, in order to better appeal to the Japanese market, but even that closely mirrored the style of the original artists Barbucci and Canepa. The end result was basically a black-and-white version of the comics that was cancelled before it could even finish the first story arc.

     Not Quite Remakes 
  • Black Swan is not exactly a remake of Perfect Blue, though it's almost the same plot—but with the setting changed from idol singing to ballet. It is so similar, however, that the director actually did license Perfect Blue in order to include a scene taken from the anime.
  • A persistent rumor is that Aaron Spelling tried to license Degrassi Junior High but created Beverly Hills, 90210 after he was rebuffed by the Canadian show's producers.
  • In the early years of talking pictures, a number of movies were filmed simultaneously in different languages, using the same sets but mostly different casts and crews. Perhaps the most famous is the Spanish version of Dracula, whose direction by George Melford is widely reckoned to be superior to Tom Browning's direction of the English version.
    • Another good example is the 1932 German film F. P. 1 antwortet nicht starring Hans Albers and Peter Lorre, which was simultaneously produced in English (as Flying Platform 1 Doesn't Answer) with Conrad Veidt and in French with Charles Boyer.
    • Otto Preminger revived this practice by simultaneously filming The Moon Is Blue in two languages. The foreign version, titled Die Jungfrau auf dem Dach, used a cast of well-known German actors led by Hardy Krüger as Donald Gresham.
  • Comic example: DC Comics has made several attempts to launch a Judge Dredd comic in America, but none of them lasted very long.
  • An inverted Pinball example: Chicago-based Stern Pinball's Striker Xtreme (a soccer-based game) was re-released a year later as NFL for an American Football audience.
    • Also reversed with NBA, which was originally intended to be released only in China, but was later updated and released to western markets.
  • Sid and Marty Kroft's DC Follies may have been based on the British series, Spitting Image.
  • Belarus had a sitcom titled The Theorists which was their version of The Big Bang Theory. It was also completely unauthorized. CBS had begun legal proceedings when the cast of The Theorists discovered their show was a rip-off and quit en masse, forcing its cancellation.


Example of: