Casablanca. Gone with the Wind. Bambi. Classic works of cinematic art that tell a complete, self-contained story. But you may be surprised to discover that these favorites, and many more, ended up with sequels. The reason for these terrible follow ups to classic movies isn't hard to guess - Hollywood has always had a desire to cash in on ideas that work. Unfortunately, these sequels to classic films are more likely to leave fans saying "WTF?" than applauding.
These forgotten sequels and poorly conceived spin-offs have a few things in common. A few of these crass cash grabs feature cameos or begrudging starring roles from the movie's original stars. Many skipped theaters entirely - they're low-budget TV movies banking on recognizable titles. And a handful decided to class up their names by adding a Roman numeral "II."
But the most important attribute these sequels share is how quickly they were forgotten, while the original masterpieces are still watched, and re-watched, to this day. Read on to discover which of your favorite movies were saddled with unnecessary follow ups.
Casablanca: The TV Show
While plans to make a film sequel to Casablanca have never come to fruition, there have been two television series about Humphrey Bogart's protagonist Rick Blaine. A short-lived series premiered in 1955, featuring the continuing adventures of Rick. And an even shorter-lived prequel series premiered in 1983, starring David Soul as Blaine, Hector Elizondo as Captain Renault, and Scatman Crothers as a much older Sam.
The Birds was a massive blockbuster released in 1963, starring Tippi Hedren and directed by the "master of suspense," Alfred Hitchcock.
In stark contrast, The Birds II: Land's End was a Showtime TV movie sequel released in 1994. It did feature a cameo by Tippi Hedren, though it was directed by Rick Rosenthal under the pseudonym Alan Smithee - a name that crops up when embarrassed directors request that their name be removed from a project.
What kind of person would take the 1960 counter-culture masterpiece Easy Rider, and give it a conservative, pro-military sequel nearly 50 years later? That would be filmmaker Phil Pitzer, who fought legal battles to make Easy Rider: The Ride Back.
Nathan Rabin at The Dissolve compared Pitzer to Tommy Wiseau, the supremely confident and notoriously bad director of The Room, often considered the worst film ever made. Rabin wrote:
"Easy Rider: The Ride Back suggests what The Room might be like if Wiseau decided he wasn’t just going to make a tribute to A Streetcar Named Desire, but rather a sequel to A Streetcar Named Desire that casts himself as Stanley Kowalski’s cooler brother Johnny, and litters the screenplay with nods to previous adventures."
#38 on The Best Movies of the '60s
"After all, tomorrow is another day." And after that line, the story of Gone With the Wind (1939) was complete.
Unless, of course, you count the 1994 TV miniseries Scarlett, starring Joanne Whalley-Kilmer as Scarlett O'Hara and Timothy Dalton as Rhett Butler. During the course of this long delayed sequel, "our heroine is raped, is accused of murder, vacations entirely too long in Ireland, and is forced to listen to Sir John Gielgud try out a Southern accent while playing Scarlett’s ailing grandfather."