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Top 10 Korean Movies to Watch before you Die

Korean Movies

Korean movies are popular for their romantic and love subject stories. That isn’t all about Korean films. Starting with Romance, Korean movies have more to add such as action, drama with their unique interesting mind ticking story lines. Korean movies are a little bit more special with its portrayal of in-depth love feel.

Special Mention- Greatest Korean Movies of all Time

Some of the favorite movies not included in the Top 10 Korean Movies to Watch before you Die but requires a special reference is

  • My Sassy Girl (2001)
  • The Thieves (2012)
  • Sunflower(2006)
  • Take Off(2009)
  • The Chaser(2008)
  • Masquerade (2012)
  • Public Enemy (2002)
  • Save the Green Planet(2003)
  • No Blood No Tears(2002)
  • Silmido
  • The Berlin Files

Our top 10 Korean movie-list is just indicative and not exhaustive.

1

Old boy

Rating: 5.00/5 (1 votes)
old-boy
imdb    Imdb:    8.4/10
meta    Metacritic:   
rt    Rotten tomatoes:   80%
Release Date: 21 November 2003(South Korea), 15 May 2004(Cannes Film Festival)
Director: Park Chan-wook
Cast: Choi Min-sik, Yoo Ji-tae, Kang Hye-jung
Distributed By: Show East (KR), Tartan Films (US/UK)
Music By: Jo Yeong-wook
Language: Korean
Country: South Korean
Running Time: 120 minutes
Awards: Asia Pacific Film Festival
Budget: $ 3 million
Box Office: $15 million
Available at: Amazon Netflix Youtube

Old boy (Oldŭboi) is a mystery thriller movie in the Korean language with some nail biting moments. This movie released in the year 2003 under Park Chan Wook’s direction.It is a movie based on Japanese manga written during the same time period by Nobuaki Minegishi and Garon Tsuchiya.

Oh-Dae-Su is released from captivity after 15 years and how he finds his captors in a span of just 5 days forms the plot.The movie was awarded the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film festival and was highly appreciated by the jury. It is also ranked as one of the best films in the 2000’s by several rating agencies.

2

Taegukgi

Not rated yet
taegukgi
imdb    Imdb:    8.1/10
meta    Metacritic:    64%
rt    Rotten tomatoes:   80%
Release Date: February 6, 2004
Director: Kang Je-gyu
Cast: Jang Dong-gun, Won Bin
Distributed By: Samuel Goldwyn Films (United States), Showbox/Mediaplex (South Korea)
Music By: Lee Dong-jun
Language: Korean
Country: Korea
Running Time: 148 minutes
Awards: Baeksang Arts Awards
Budget: US$12.8 million
Box Office: $69,827,583
Available at: Amazon Netflix Youtube

Taegukgi: The Brotherhood of war was originally titled in Korean as Taegukgi Hwinallimyeo. The movie released in the year 2004. Kang Je Gyu directed the movie which had Jang Dong-gun and Won Bin in the lead roles. The movie is centered on the storyline where two siblings are compelled to join the South Korean army when the Korean War breaks out.

Watch this movie for the war sequences and for fine acting performances from the lead roles.

3

The Host

Not rated yet
host-kill
imdb    Imdb:    5.9/10
meta    Metacritic:   
rt    Rotten tomatoes:   8%
Release Date: July 27, 2006
Director: Bong Joon-ho
Cast: Song Kang-ho, Byun Hee-bong, Park Hae-il, Bae Doona, Go Ah-sung,
Distributed By: Showbox (SK) Magnolia Pictures
Music By: Lee Byung-woo
Language: Korean, English
Country: South Korea
Running Time: 119 minutes
Awards: Asian Film Awards
Budget: ₩11.8 billion (US$11 million)
Box Office: US$89.4 million
Available at: Amazon Netflix Youtube

The Host, titled as “Monster” Korean is a South Korean movie which released in the year 2006. The movie was made under Bong Joon’s direction. Song Kang-ho, Byun Hee-bong, Park Hae-il, Bae Doona and Go Ah-sung played the lead roles in this movie. The movie is centered on a monster that kidnaps a child and how the child is saved from the monster. The director states that the inspiration to make such a movie came to him from an article published in the local media. It was also given the top position by Meta-critic as one of the top movies of 2007 in Korea.

Watch it for some mind-boggling visual presentation and treatment.

4

The good the bad the weird

Not rated yet
the-good-the-bad-the-weird
imdb    Imdb:    7.3/10
meta    Metacritic:    69%
rt    Rotten tomatoes:   83%
Release Date: May 24, 2008 (Cannes Film Festival), July 17, 2008 (South Korea)
Director: Kim Jee-woon
Cast: Song Kang-ho, Lee Byung-hun, Jung Woo-sung
Distributed By: CJ Entertainment (South Korea), IFC Films (US)
Music By: Dalparan, Jang Young-gyu
Language: Korean, Japanese, Mandarin
Country: South Korean
Running Time: 139 minutes
Awards: 2008 Sitges Film Festival
Budget: US$10 million
Box Office: US$44,261,209
Available at: Amazon Netflix Youtube

The Good the Bad the Weird was directed by Kim Jee Woon and released in the year 2008. The movie stars Song Kang-ho, Lee Byung-hun, and Jung Woo-sung in the major roles. The movie is said to be inspired from the iconic Hollywood venture The Good, the Bad and the Ugly which was written by Sergio Leone.

The story primarily focuses on two outlaws and a treasure hunter who go in search of a treasure map and adding to that they are chased by Chinese bandits and the Japanese army.

At 2008 Cannes film festival this movie featured in the premier show segment.

5

Memories of Murder

Not rated yet
memories-of-murder
imdb    Imdb:    8.1/10
meta    Metacritic:   
rt    Rotten tomatoes:   89%
Release Date: 2 May 2003
Director: Bong Joon-ho
Cast: Song Kang-ho, Kim Sang-kyung, Kim Roi-ha, Park Hae-il, Byun Hee-bong
Distributed By: CJ Entertainment
Music By: Tarō Iwashiro
Language: Korean
Country: South Korea
Running Time: 127 minutes
Awards: Grand Bell Awards
Budget: US$2.8 million[1]
Box Office:
Available at: Amazon Netflix Youtube

Memories of Murder (Salinui chueok) released in the year 2003. Bong Joon Ho had directed and written this movie. The movie is based on a true life incident which speaks about the continuous serial murders which rocked Korea from the year 1986 to 1991. The lead characters of Detective Park and Detective Seo were played by Song Kang-ho and Kim Sang-Kyung respectively.

The is Bong’s  second movie after his directorial debut “Barking dogs never bite” in the year 2000. The screenplay of the movie is based on a stage play that handles the same topic which was scripted by Bong and Shim Sung Bo and was known as “Kim Kwang”. The movie was highly appreciated for its cinematography and for the amazing performance by Song Kang Ho. It is a must watch crime thriller that rocked Korea.

6

I saw the Devil

Not rated yet
i-saw-the-devil
imdb    Imdb:    7.8/10
meta    Metacritic:   
rt    Rotten tomatoes:   80%
Release Date: 12 August 2010
Director: Kim Jee-woon
Cast: Lee Byung-hun, Choi Min-sik
Distributed By: Showbox/Mediaplex
Music By: Mowg
Language: Korean
Country: South Korea
Running Time: 141 minutes
Awards: Asian Film Awards
Budget: US$6 million
Box Office: US$12,773,990
Available at: Amazon Netflix Youtube

I saw the Devil (Hanja) is an action crime movie in a typical South Korean film style. Released in the year 2010, it is a thriller by Kim Jee Woon. Park Hoon Jun’s script is ably supported by some riveting screen performances. Lee Byung-hun and Choi Min-Sik playing the lead role, this movie is a treat to watch.

This movie traces the travel of a secret agent who wants to exact revenge on a killer. Watch this movie for good story line and screenplay.

7

The Man From no Where

Not rated yet
the-man-from-nowhere
imdb    Imdb:    7.8/10
meta    Metacritic:   
rt    Rotten tomatoes:   100%
Release Date: August 4, 2010
Director: Lee Jeong-Beom
Cast: Won Bin, Kim Sae-ron
Distributed By: CJ Entertainment
Music By: Shim Hyun-Jung
Language: Korean
Country: South Korea
Running Time: 119 minutes
Awards: Blue Dragon Film Awards
Budget:
Box Office: US$43 million
Available at: Amazon Netflix Youtube

The man from nowhere (Ajeossi) is a Korean satire movie directed by Lee Jeong-beom. The script was written by Lee Jeong beom. The movie was screened in Canada and United States on October 1, 2010.

The simple plotline of the movie is about a silent pawn shop owner with a criminal past in trafficking body parts and drug. The film creates an unpalatable tension for the viewers and the violent scenes are just incidental in nature.

Watch it for top class action stunts, direction, and good screenplay.

8

J.S.A Joint Security Area

Not rated yet
j.s.a-joint-security-area
imdb    Imdb:    7.9/10
meta    Metacritic:    58%
rt    Rotten tomatoes:   75%
Release Date: September 9, 2000
Director: Park Chan-wook
Cast: Lee Young-ae, Lee Byung-hun, Song Kang-ho
Distributed By: CJ Entertainment
Music By: Jo Yeong-wook
Language: Korean, English, French, German
Country: South Korea
Running Time: 110 minutes
Awards: Blue Dragon Film Awards
Budget: US$3 million
Box Office:
Available at: Amazon Netflix Youtube

Joint Security Area is also widely known as JSA.The movie has Lee Young-ae, Lee Byung-hun and Song Kang-ho in the lead roles. Park Chan Wook has directed this movie which got released in the year 2000. The movie was made based on the novel, DMZ; which was written by Park Sang-Yeon. The movie was filmed in various locations across South Korea based on the brutal shooting episode at the DMZ, the highly protected border which divides North and South Korea.

It is a movie which holds pride in being the highest earning movie with a huge box office success. It is considered as the highest grossing movie in the history of Korean cinemas at that time. The movie also bagged the Best Film award at the Blue dragon film festival in the year 2000.

9

Now Here to Hide

Not rated yet
nowhere-to-hide
imdb    Imdb:    8.2/10
meta    Metacritic:   
rt    Rotten tomatoes:   44%
Release Date: July 31, 1999
Director: Lee Myung-se
Cast: Park Joong-hoon, Ahn Sung-ki, Jang Dong-gun, Choi Ji-woo
Distributed By: Taewon Entertainment
Music By: Jason Bradley Livesay
Language: Korean
Country: South Korea
Running Time: 90 minutes
Awards: Greg Gund Memorial Standing Up Award
Budget:
Box Office:
Available at: Amazon Netflix Youtube

“Injeong sajeong bol get eobtda” is the Korean title of the movie “Nowhere to Hide”. It is a cat and mouse game between a police detective and an underground drug mafia. This movie can be described as an action thriller, one should be bright enough to spot that the director’s penchant for movement in the action is less compared to the action per se. Lee’s brilliantly crafted, a clinical approach can best be described as the best of Korean cinema at its violent best.

This is an aesthetically made violent action movie which is a must watch for all cinema loving public.

10

A Bittersweet Life

Not rated yet
a-bittersweet-life
imdb    Imdb:    7.7/10
meta    Metacritic:   
rt    Rotten tomatoes:   100%
Release Date: April 1, 2005
Director: Kim Jee-woon
Cast: Lee Byung-hun, Kim Yeong-cheol, Shin Min-ah, Hwang Jung-min, Kim Roi-ha, Lee Ki-young
Distributed By: CJ Entertainment
Music By: Jang Young-gyu, Dalparan
Language: Korean, Russian, Filipino
Country: South Korea
Running Time: 120 minutes
Awards: 42nd Grand Bell Awards
Budget:
Box Office: US$7,582,393
Available at: Amazon Netflix Youtube

A Bittersweet Life is a Korean movie released in the year 2005. It is a gangster flick with satire inter-twinning in the screenplay. This South Korean film was directed by Kim Jee Woon who has also written the script. Lee Byung Hun played the lead role in the movie.

The plot of the movie is such that a mobster fails to listen to his boss’s instruction and ends up paying price for the same.

Kim Jee-Woon’s liking for humor is well known and this movie is no exception.This movie was released in two version; the original version for theatrical release and the director’s cut.

Watch this movie for its commendable performance by all the lead actors in their respective roles.

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