Most film fans shudder at the very idea of a remake. Sure, some actually improve on the original by tweaking what didn't work the first time. Others are fine enough without doing anything novel, but a majority simply aim to make a buck off an audience that isn't especially interested in seeking out the original version of what's being presented as new. [Hey, Ben-Hur!]

The Magnificent Seven, however, is a perfect example of a film that redefines its original [Kurosawa's Seven Samurai] for a different time and place. It doesn't sound like Antoine Fuqua's remake of the remake—2016's The Magnificent Seven—is quite as ambitious, but most who've reviewed it place it more in the "fine enough" category of remakes than the "Ben-Hur" sub-hell category.

If you're looking for remakes along the lines of the original Magnificent Seven—our essential of the week—you don't need to go too far. Various streaming services feature these five titles that are rather excellent and make for every interesting counterpoints to their originals. And in some cases, you might not even know these movies were remakes at all!

Good Morning [Yasujiro Ozu, 1959]
Available on Hulu Plus

Right along side Akira Kurosawa as one of the titans of Japanese cinema is Yasujiro Ozu, but where Kurosawa is best known for his samurai epics and Hitchcockian thrillers, Ozu is a humanist—the king of the gentle and dignified family drama. Good Morning is a 1959 remake of his own 1932 silent film, I Was Born, But... It tells the story of two boys who silently protest in order to get their family to buy a television set. If you've seen an Ozu film, you probably know how gracefully the story unfolds. If you haven't, you're in for a treat. 

The Man Who Knew Too Much [Alfred Hitchcock, 1956]
Available for Digital Rental

Hitchcock's only remake was an attempt to improve an already fantastic earlier film of his. The original Man Who Knew Too Much starred, among others, Peter Lorre and told the story of a married couple whose child is kidnapped by a group of international assassins. Hitch cast James Stewart and Doris Day as the starring couple in his 1956 remake. He also moves the action from Switzerland to Morocco. Both films feature jaw-dropping climaxes from the king of the suspense set-piece. Together, they make for a fascinating study.

Ali: Fear Eats the Soul [Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1974]
Available on Hulu Plus

We'll have more to say about this spectacular German melodrama from wunderkind director Rainer Werner Fassbinder in a few weeks. A remake of an upcoming "essential," Douglas Sirk's All That Heaven Allows, it tells a beautiful story of an older German widow falling in love with a much younger Moroccan immigrant. 

Hamlet [Michael Almereyda, 2000]
Available for Digital Rental

The Bard’s most famous play has been made and remade so many times, including from beloved actor-directors Laurence Olivier and Kenneth Branagh. This particular remake, from director Michael Almereyda, is unquestionably one of the lesser known Hamlet films, but in bringing the medieval Danish story to modern day New York City, Almereyda crafts something that’s essential, something that proves the text’s universality [if it wasn’t already apparent]. Ethan Hawke is a solid Hamlet, but the star of the film is its helmer, whose eye for angles, meaningful mis-en-scene, and a deliciously cool palette make this film an underseen gem. 

To Be or Not to Be [Alan Johnson, 1983]
Available on Netflix

Speaking of Hamlet... If you haven't seen Ernst Lubitsch's 1942 comedy titled after that play's most famous line, stop reading this and go watch it. If you have seen it [or if you've just finished watching and are coming back to finish this article], imagine that movie with Mel Brooks as the lead. It exists. Now go watch it.