Do you believe in life after death? It’s often said as well as believed in many faiths that if someone dies with desires unfulfilled, they get another shot to fulfill it by being born again. Science does not have a foolproof explanation of why suddenly a 10-year-old kid starts behaving like an old man or he gets nightmares about past life. Neither does the miraculous scar mark known as stigmata make sense to the intelligentsia. Whatever may be the cause but the theme of reincarnation and rebirth have been topcis of much interest and debate.
We bring you ten such movies where the dead came back as the living, sometimes for the unrequited love and sometimes, for revenge. Here is the list of top rebirth movies ever made. You can watch some of these best reincarnation movies on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.
10. Audrey Rose (1977)
A family of three suddenly have an old man stalking them, while showing a keen interest in the young daughter. He claims her to be her dead daughter, born again. To the parents horror, she responds to his calling. Is she really his reincarnated daughter? Why she has the fear of fire? Anthony Hopkins plays the father who sees her dead daughter in a 10-year-old. Incidentally the movie ends in India where the daughter’s urn is strewn across the Ganges to free her soul.
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9. Chances Are (1989)
A man who dies untimely, comes back as someone else looking for the love he could not claim as his own. A young, pre-cocaine Robert Downey Jr stars in this romantic comedy. The movie rises to its zenith where the father’s soul is in love with the mother where as the person he’s reborn again, is in love with the daughter! After many hilarious mix ups, sanity prevails as the father puts his family’s happiness before his.
8. The Reincarnation of Peter Proud (1975)
A professor gets nightmares every night. In it, he gets killed by a woman, on a boat. While he investigates the connection of his dreams, he falls for the local beauty Ann. Soon he discovers that it was Ann’s mother who killed him in his previous birth. Is he Ann’s father? Why did she kill him ? A haunting score by Jerry Goldsmith, the movie originally released to mixed reviews, but turned out to be a cult classic over the years.
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7. Heaven Can Wait (1978)
On his way to a game of football, Joe Pendelton gets into an accident and an angel on his first job, mistakenly hauls his soul back to heaven. By the time the mistake is realised, his body’s gone. Joe gets another chance to live, albeit in another man’s body who was drowned by his wife. Thus, the comedy of errors starts. Based on Harry Seagall’s play of the same name, this movie garnered nine academy awards nominations, winning one.
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6. Reincarnation (2005)
This Japanese horror movie uses reincarnation as the primary theme. A crew plans to shoot a film based on a massacre at the same location where a professor killed eleven people, including his family. The lead actress starts to believe she’s the reincarnation of the professor’s daughter. Soon other people also emerge, who seem to be the reincarnated from the massacre. But when the ghosts start tormenting her, the truth dawns upon her. Is she really the one she believes to be reincarnated?
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5. Dead Again (1991)
A music composer is found guilty of killing his wife with a pair of scissors and promptly executed for this crime. Many years after this, a detective who resembles the composer meets an amnesic woman resembling the composer’s wife and has a deadly fear of scissors! If you think the husband’s back to kill the wife, let me slip you a secret. This time, the husband’s reincarnated as wife and the wife’s reincarnated as the husband. But why did the murder occur? Kenneth Branagh directed and acted in this mystery neo noir, along with Emma Thompson.
4. I Origins (2014)
A man who believes in science falls for a woman who’s into spiritualism. Despite the ideological differences, they decide to get married. Suddenly calamity strikes and the woman is killed in an accident. Years after the incident, the man gets to know about a girl in India, whose eyes are identical to that of the deceased woman. Are these the same pair of eyes with which he fell in love ? Are there forces which conspire to bring people together? Winning many accolades, ‘I-Origins’ manages to achieve a delicate balance between the ever going feud between science and religion.
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3. Cloud Atlas (2012)
Probably one of the most radical movies to have been directed by The Wachowskis, this one is a masterpiece of the colossal order and needs to be watched multiple times to be in awe of it. Describing it in words won’t be enough to feel its grandeur. Told through six stories, spanning across generations and leaping through times, it speaks of one thing – ‘Our lives are not our own; from womb to tomb, we are bound to others, past and present, and by each crime and each kindness we birth our future’.
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2. The Fountain (2006)
Can true love bring back someone from being dead ? Darren Aaronfsky directed this epic story of love and fantasy across different times. Consisting of three story lines, each enacted by Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz, in three different eras, this visually rich and thoroughly layered film talks about love and its meaning, beyond the grasp of death. Released to very poor reviews, over the years this has become a cult favourite of fans, worldwide. Read our explanation of the complex film, here.
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1. Madhumati (1958)
Bimal Roy’s finest and topping this list is ‘Madhumati’. Mr. Roy was primarily known to be a champion of social realism cinema such as ‘Do Bigha Zameen’ and ‘Biraj Bahu’ where as ‘Madhumati’ was a commercial entertainer with heavy dosages of song and dance. So, for the director it was first of its kind. It tells a story where lovers get separated due to an evil scheming man and are reborn again to take their revenge. Technically well made, this movie was well appreciated by the audience and was selected to be India’s official entry in the foreign movies category that year.
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