There's a discussion on remakes in the Name That Film Flickr group. Here's my take on the topic. What do you think?
It looks from people's answers that most remakes that are better than the original could more accurately be called an adaptation of a pre-existing book or play. A book can be interpreted different ways to make for different movies. Wasn't the 1931 version of Dracula pretty much just a film version of the play, and therefore very static and once removed from the book? That leaves room for the 1979 and 1992 adaptations to go back to the book and take different things from it. The 1946 and 1964 movies of The Killers use Hemingway's story for the first 15 minutes, and everything after that is different.
That said, I really doubt that Tim Burton went back to Monkey Planet for Planet of the Apes or that Sergio Leone really based A Fistful of Dollars on Hammett's Red Harvest.
I love Thieves Like Us and have never seen They Live By Night--does anyone feel the latter is better? Are those two, You Only Live Once, Gun Crazy, The Bonnie Parker Story, and Bonnie and Clyde all remakes of each other? What is the relation of The Road to Perdition to Lone Wolf and Cub? Discuss amongst yourselves.