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Top 100 Best Korean Movies Of All Time

AishwaryaAishwarya-Posted Oct 18, 2021


Korean Movies

 

Recent times have seen South Korea emerge as a strong cultural center with a boom in the popularity of K-Pop, and K-drama.

 

Over the past decade, we have seen a steady increase in the fan base for Korean music and soap operas, TV serials, web series, and more.

 

There has also been a great improvement in the quality of entertainment these shows and songs provide.

 

However, more recently, there has been a resurgence of Korean movies among the popular film crowd.

 

Where Korean movies were once only silently winning critical acclaim at film festivals, we are now able to see them win popular audience approval too.

 

The rest of the world woke up to great Korean movies like Parasite, Train To Busan, Minari, A Tale Of Two Sisters, The Wailing, etc.

 

Only now has the western world realized the fine quality of movies South Korea has consistently put out since the 1950s and 60s.

 

While directors like Park Chan-wook, Bong Joon-ho, Kwak Jae-Yong created blockbusters that earned big money at the box office, we also have directors like Im Kwon-Taek and Hong Sang-soo, who have been a major draw at all major film festivals and award shows.

 

If one observes Korean films, one can see a great influence of the current socio-economic situation, cultural censorship, suppressed voices, and a desire to break free in most of their films.

 

One can observe the Japanese censorship and a brief period of freedom initiating the golden period of Korean film, the re-emergence of government censorship, and the later relaxation and revival of arthouse movies.

 

Today as the world is experiencing Hallyu (Korean wave) across major art forms like music, cinema, and drama, let us take a step back and look at the progression of Korean movies over the ages.

 

Let us appreciate its rise from melodramatic arthouse and revolutionary empowering movies to successful box-office blockbusters that can influence worldviews.

 

Here is ENTOIN’s list of 100 top movies from South Korea that will entertain you, influence you, move you, make you laugh, make you cry, and more.

 

Be prepared with a box of tissues, a big bowl of popcorn, snacks, and your streaming network.

 

This is a list of 100 top Korean movies that you cannot miss out on.

 

 

100. Hide and Seek

 

Hide and Seek

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Huh Jung
Written By Huh Jung
Music By Young-Wook Cho
Costume Design By Yoon Mira
Cinematography By Kim Il-Yeon
Year 2013
Run Time 107 minutes
Starring Son Hyun-Joo, Jeon Mi-Seon, Moon Jung-hee, Kim Won-Hae
IMDb 6.4

 

Hide and Seek (Korean: Sum-bakk-og-jil) is a psychological thriller that was later remade in Chinese.

 

The film marks the directorial debut of Huh Jung. It also went on to win Huh Jung the Best New Director award at the 33rd Korean Association of Film Critics Awards and multiple other nominations.

 

The story is about a successful family man plagued by the guilt of falsely accusing his stepbrother of a crime he did not commit.

 

When he discovers that the stepbrother is missing, he sets out to investigate and gets involved in a crime that could kill his entire family.

 

The film was a runaway hit, despite being made on a low budget by a debutant director.

 

The film clocked ticket sales of 1.35 million on the opening weekend itself. By the end of the month, it reached over 5 million ticket sales.

 

 

99. Daytime Drinking

 

Daytime Drinking

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Noh Young-Seok
Written By Noh Young-Seok
Music By Noh Young-Seok
Costume Design By Yang Mi-sook
Cinematography By Noh Young-Seok
Year 2008
Run Time 116 minutes
Starring Song Sam-dong, Yuk Sang-yeop, Kim Gang-hui, Tak Seong-jun 
IMDb 6.7

 

Daytime Drinking (Korean: Nat-sool) is a comedy-drama that is deeply based on the drinking etiquette and culture of South Korea.

 

This independent film comes from a new-age director, Noh Young-Seok, and marks a fine moment in the new era of filmmaking in Korea.

 

The story is about a heartbroken youngster who goes out with his friends for a drink after his split from his girlfriend.

 

After a drunken binge, the friends decide to go on an impromptu vacation to a rural resort.

 

While his friends all ditch him, the guy lands in a rural Korean town in the dead of winter as he tries to make the most of his vacation.

 

The film did the rounds at all the major film festivals. It won special jury awards at the Locarno International Film Festival 2009 and Vesoul Asian Film Festival 2009.

 

It was released in the United Kingdom and was appreciated for having a sharp script and great pacing.

 

 

98. Woman of Fire

 

Woman of Fire

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Kim Ki-young
Written By Kim Ki-young
Music By Han Sang-gi
Costume Design By --
Cinematography By Jung Il-sung
Year 1971
Run Time 100 minutes
Starring Namkoong Won, Jeon Gye-Hyeon, Youn Yuh-Jung, Choi Moo-Ryong
IMDb 6.7

 

Woman of Fire (Korean: Hwanyeo) is part of the Housemaid trilogy from Kim Ki-young. It was followed up by another movie with the same name in 1982.

 

The film is a crime drama. The story follows a music composer and his wife, who live on a chicken farm.

 

Their life is turned upside down when a maidservant joins them. She turns into a femme fatale who causes nothing but trouble.

 

The film was awarded a special mention at the Catalonian International Film Festival in 1971 for Best Actress for Youn Yuh-Jung.

 

At the Blue Dragon Film Awards, Kim Ki-young won the Best Director prize.

 

 

97. The Woman Who Ran

 

The Woman Who Ran

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Hong Sang-soo
Written By Hong Sang-soo
Music By Hong Sang-soo
Costume Design By --
Cinematography By Kim Su-min
Year 2020
Run Time 77 minutes
Starring Kim Min-hee, Seo Young-Hwa, Song Seon-mi, Kim Sae-Byeok
IMDb 6.7

 

The Woman Who Ran (Korean: Domangchin Yeoja) is a drama that is written, directed, produced, edited, and scored by Hong Sang-Soo.

 

The film was selected for the Golden Bear at the 70th Berlin International Film Festival.

 

The story is about a young lady whose husband has gone on a business trip.

 

She has a series of meetings with her pals. Although the conversations appear to be innocuous, there is an underlying current that is not connected to the topic discussed.

 

The film's cast and crew were highly praised. It won the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival.

 

It was also nominated for multiple other awards at the Korean Association of Film Critics Awards, Cahier Du Cinéma, Cine21, etc.

 

 

96. The Day a Pig Fell Into the Well

 

The Day a Pig Fell Into the Well

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Hong Sang-soo
Written By Goo Hyo-Seo
Music By Ok Kil-sung
Costume Design By Kwon Jeong-Hyun
Cinematography By Cho Dong-Kwan
Year 1996
Run Time 115 minutes
Starring Bang Eun-hee, Jo Eun-sook, Park Jin-sung, Lee Eung-kyung, Kim Eui-sung.
IMDb 6.7

 

The Day a Pig Fell Into The Well (Korean: Dwaejiga umul-e ppajin nal) is the film that marks the directorial debut of Hong Sang-Soo.

 

He won the Best New Director award at the Korean Association of Film Critics Awards, Asia-Pacific Film Festival, and more for his first film.

 

The film depicts four different characters and their hopes, desires, and life as they face diverse situations in life.

 

The four different characters are that of a germaphobe husband, a cheating wife, a ticket sales girl, and an out of luck novelist.

 

The film is a poignant tale of how we squander the good things in our life and focus only on the negatives.

 

The film accrued praise at the Blue Dragon Film festival and other festivals in Rotterdam and Vancouver.

 

 

95. Hahaha

 

Hahaha

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Hong Sang-soo
Written By Hong Sang-soo
Music By Jeong Yong-jin
Costume Design By Yoon Kwang-byeong
Cinematography By Park Hong-yeol
Year 2010
Run Time 115 minutes
Starring Kim Sang-kyung, Moon So-ri, Yoo Jun-sang, Ye Ji-won, Kim Kang-woo 
IMDb 6.7

 

Hahaha is a comedy written and directed by Hong Sang-Soo. It is a light-hearted sentimental movie that was well-received by the audience and critics.

 

The story is about a film director who is leaving Seoul for Canada. Before leaving, he meets up with an old friend for a few drinks.

 

They both sit down to recollect their tour to the same village and all the fun incidents they encountered along the way.

 

Through this, they realize that they have more in common in terms of acquaintances and experience.

 

The movie won the Un Certain Regard Award at Cannes Film Festival 2010. It also won awards for best actress, supporting actor, and best director awards at different award functions like Busan Film Critics Association, Buil Film Awards, Cine21, etc.

 

 

94. Nobody’s Daughter Haewon

 

Nobody’s Daughter Haewon

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Hong Sang-soo
Written By Hong Sang-soo
Music By Jeong Yong-jin
Costume Design By Ahn Ki-Song
Cinematography By Kim Hyung-koo, Park Hong-yeol
Year 2013
Run Time 90 minutes
Starring Jung Eun-chae, Lee Sun-kyun, Kim Ui-seong , Yoo Jun-sang , Ye Ji-won 
IMDb 6.8

 

Nobody’s Daughter Haewon (Korean: Nugu-ui ttal-do anin Haewon) is a romantic drama that is told through a series of events, diary entries, dreams, and real sequences.

 

The film had its world premiere at the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival. The story is about a film student who is depressed that her mother is leaving for Canada.

 

She runs into her ex-lover who is married and is also her college professor. They discuss their romance and argue about the fallout of their relationship.

 

The film was highly appreciated at all the film festivals that it entered. The Cahier Du Cinema listed the film at number 8 on its list of top films of 2013.

 

It also won awards and nominations at Busan Film Critics Awards, Korean Association of Film Critics, Buil Film Awards, Blue Dragon Film Awards, and more.

 

 

93. Chilsu and Mansu

 

Chilsu and Mansu

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Park Kwang-su
Written By Choe In-seok, Chi Sang-hak, Lee Sang-woo
Music By Kim Soo-chul
Costume Design By Lee Myung-soo
Cinematography By Yoo Young-gil
Year 1988
Run Time 108 minutes
Starring Ahn Sung-ki, Park Joong-hoon, Bae Jong-ok
IMDb 6.8

 

Chilsu and Mansu (Korean: Chilsuwa Mansu) is based on the short story by Chunming Huang.

 

Since his works were banned in South Korea, he did not get credit in the movie.

 

The movie is the first directorial venture from Park Kwang-Su, who went on to become a major influence for a generation of socially conscious filmmakers.

 

The story is about two out-of-work painters who are caught between the ideals of communism while facing the splendor of capitalism.

 

One of the painters dreams of a high life in America with his girlfriend who works at Burger King.

 

The other painter is dejected by a world where the rich reap the rewards of the economic boom while the poor stay the same.

 

The film was the second runner-up for the Golden Leopard prize at the Locarno International Film Festival.

 

At The Korean Association of Film Critics, the movie won the award for Best New Director, and Best Actor went to Park Joong-hoon.

 

 

92. The Man with Three Coffins

 

The Man with Three Coffins

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Lee Chang-ho
Written By Lee Chang-ho
Music By Jong-goo Lee
Costume Design By Wang Sook-young
Cinematography By Park Seung-bae
Year 1987
Run Time 117 minutes
Starring Lee Bo-hee , Kim Myung-gon , Ko Seol-bong , Chu Seok-yang , Sonn Yu 
IMDb 6.8

 

The Man With Three Coffins (Korean: Nageuneneun gileseodo swiji anhneunda) was written, directed, and produced by Lee Jang-ho.

 

It is based on a novel by Lee Ji-ha called Travelers Do Not Rest On The Road.

 

The film is an experimental piece based on the journey of a man who sets out to visit his dead wife’s hometown.

 

On the way, he encounters various people and incidents. The story can be viewed as a representation of the sense of loss and displacement that families suffered at the time of the split of Korea.

 

The film was shown at many different film festivals and it also won awards and nominations.

 

The movie won the Caligari Film Award at the Berlin International Film Festival, the FIPRESCI Prize at the Tokyo International Film Festival, and was nominated for the Tokyo Grand Prix Award.

 

 

91. The March of Fools

 

The March of Fools

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Ha Gil-jong
Written By Choi In-ho
Music By Geun-sik Kang
Costume Design By Kim Yu-Jun
Cinematography By Jung Il-sung
Year 1975
Run Time 105 minutes
Starring Yun Moon-seop, Ha Jae-young, Lee Young-ok, Kim Young-sook 
IMDb 6.8

 

The March Of Fools (Korean: Babodeuli haengjin) is based on a novel written by Choi In-Ho.

 

It is a comedy story that is set in a university during the time of military dictatorship.

 

The film was an instant hit, and it cemented the director, Ha Gil-jong as a leading filmmaker.

 

The story is about a group of university students during the extremely bleak period of military dictatorship.

 

Despite their uncertain future, university students often meet up for group meetings and blind dates.

 

The film had a successful run at the box office. It was well appreciated by the critics too.

 

This film was also featured in a 2013 KOFA poll of the top 100 Korean films.

 

 

90. Like You Know It All

 

Like You Know It All

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Hong Sang-soo
Written By Hong Sang-soo
Music By Yongjin Jung
Costume Design By Lee Seon-young, Yang Seon-young, Kim Joo-hee
Cinematography By Kim Hoon-kwang
Year 2009
Run Time 126 minutes
Starring Kim Tae-Woo, Go Hyun-Jeong, Uhm Ji-Won, Gong Hyung-Jin, Ha Jung-Woo 
IMDb 6.9

 

Like You Know It All (Korean: Jal aljido mothamyeon seo) is a comedy-drama that is written and directed by Hong Sang-Soo.

 

It is a reflection of what happens at film festivals between the filmmakers, participants, and the whole drama in between.

 

The story is about an arthouse filmmaker who makes critically acclaimed movies that bomb at the box office.

 

He is invited to be a judge at a film festival, and he gets caught up in the rigmarole of socializing, drinking, and late-night parties.

 

Hong Sang-soo was nominated at different film festivals for his direction and screenplay, including at Tokyo International Film Festival, Cine21, Cannes Film Festival, Asian Film Awards in 2009.

 

 

89. Village in the Mist

 

Village in the Mist

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Im Kwon-taek
Written By Song Gil-han
Music By Kim Jeong-gil
Costume Design By Lee Tae-woo
Cinematography By Jung Il-sung
Year 1983
Run Time 93 minutes
Starring Jeong Yun-hui, Ahn Sung-ki, Park Ji-hun, Jin Bong-jin 
IMDb 6.9

 

The Village in the Mist ( Korean: Angemaeul) is also known as Village of Haze, and the film has a typical Im Kwon-taek style of filmmaking.

 

The story deals with the taboo topic of sexual hypocrisy in society through the eyes of a remote Korean village.

 

In the story, a young and unmarried lady comes to a small village as a school teacher.

 

Here she meets a questionable young man. Initially, she is intrigued by the stories surrounding this man.

 

Yet, she sets out to find the truth in the matter. The film story is based on a short story called the Island of Anonymity, written by Lee Mun Yeol.

 

The film showcases excellent performances from all the main cast, especially by Ahn Sung-ki. He won the Best Actor award at the Korean Association of Film Critics.

 

 

88. Pursuit of Death

 

Pursuit of Death

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Im Kwon-taek
Written By Song Gil-han
Music By Kim Young-dong
Costume Design By Lee Hae-yoon
Cinematography By Jung-mo Ku
Year 1980
Run Time 110 minutes
Starring Kim Hee-ra, Choi Yun-seok, Bang-hui, Kim Jeong-ran
IMDb 6.9

 

Pursuit of Death (Korean: Jagko) is a drama about two different ideologies that have dominated Korean society in the early days.

 

The movie is one of Im Kwon-taek’s finest movies, although it did not receive much recognition.

 

The story is about an old former cop who is sent to a rehabilitation center.

 

He destroyed his career and his life in the pursuit of a communist guerilla fighter called Chakko.

 

He finds the same Chakko in the rehabilitation center along with him. The rest of the story is about how they try to reconcile their past and if they are successful.

 

The film was praised for its anti-communist stance and won the Best Anti-Communist Film Award for its screenplay at the 19th Daejong Film Festival.

 

 

87. Hill of Freedom

 

Hill of Freedom

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Hong Sang-soo
Written By Hong Sang-soo
Music By Yongjin Jung
Costume Design By Yang Seon-young
Cinematography By Park Hong-yeol
Year 2014
Run Time 67 minutes
Starring Ryo Kase, Moon So-ri , Seo Young-hwa , Kim Ui-seong , Youn Yuh-jung 
IMDb 6.9

 

Hill Of Freedom (Korean: Jayuui Eondeok) is a short film of just over an hour that is directed by Hong Sang-Soo.

 

It has subtle humor with a simple love story that is presented in a very interesting style through a series of letters that are in a jumbled chronology.

 

The story follows a Japanese man who comes to Seoul in search of his lover, an ex-student.

 

He communicates with her through letters, but they all reach her at a later date.

 

We get an impression of the Japanese man's troubled past and unclear future through the letters.

 

He also embarks on an affair with a worker at a cafe that he frequents.

 

The film premiered at the 71st Venice International Film Festival. It won the Best Film at the 34th Korean Association of Film Critics.

 

Apart from this, it also won awards at the Three Continents Festival and the Wildflower Film Awards.

 

 

86. A Petal

 

A Petal

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Jang Sun-woo
Written By Choi Yoon
Music By Il Won
Costume Design By Kim Jin-mook, Lee Ji-hye
Cinematography By You Young-gil
Year 1996
Run Time 101 minutes
Starring Lee Jung Hyun, Moon Sung-keun, Sol Kyung-gu
IMDb 6.9 minutes

 

A Petal (Korean: Kkonnip) is directed by Jang Sun-woo, and it highlighted the long-standing impact of turbulent times during the military dictatorship.

 

The film led to a social movement that forced the government to declassify files about the massacre.

 

The film portrays the struggle of a young girl of 15 years who lived through the Gwangju uprising.

 

She was a witness to the brutal killing of many people, particularly her mother. The film highlights the continued impact of these events on the life of the girl.

 

The movie won the Best Film at the Asia Pacific Film Festival and the Bangkok International Film Festival.

 

It also won awards for Best Actress (Lee Jung-hyun) and Best Actor (Moon Sung-keun) at other festivals.

 

 

85. A Girl At My Door

 

A Girl At My Door

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Jung Joo-ri
Written By Jung Ju-ri
Music By Jang Young-gyu
Costume Design By Kim Ha-kyung
Cinematography By Kim Hyun-seok
Year 2014
Run Time 119 minutes
Starring Bae Doo-na, Kim Sae-ron, Song Sae-byeok, Kim Jingu, Son Jong-hak 
IMDb 6.9

 

A Girl at my Door (Korean: Dohui-ya) is a Korean drama that raises pertinent concerns about child abuse, illegal use of emigrants, alcoholism, and more.

 

The film was funded by the Korean Film Council, and actresses Bae Doo-na and Kim Sae-ron did not take their pay for this film.

 

The story is about an abused girl child who stays with her stepfather. She is bullied regularly, but the authorities overlook her because of the power of her stepfather.

 

A young lady cop who is newly transferred to the town takes things into her own hands and tries to help the child.

 

Both Bae Doona, Kim Sae-ron won Best Actress awards at different film festivals like the 30th Golden Rooster and Hundred Flowers Awards, 35th Blue Dragon Film Awards, and 9th Asian Film Awards.

 

Director Jung Joo-ri also won the Best New Director award at 23rd Buil Film Awards and the 2nd Wildflower Film Awards.

 

 

84. My Mother and Her Guest

 

My Mother and Her Guest

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Shin Sang-ok
Written By Im Hee-jae
Music By Jeong Yoon-ji
Costume Design By Kang Seong-beom
Cinematography By Choe Su-yeong
Year 1961
Run Time 103 minutes
Starring Choi Eun-hee, Jeon Young-seon, Kim Jin-gyu, Han Eun-jin
IMDb 7

 

My Mother and Her Guest are also known as The Houseguest and My Mother ( Korean: Sarangbang sonnim wa eomeoni).

 

The film was South Korea's official entry to the 35th Academy Awards. The story is about the budding romance between a young school teacher and a young widow.

 

The teacher comes to stay as a houseguest at the house of a family of widows and a child.

 

Society frowns upon the relationship as it is not filial. The film earned the director, Shin Song-ok, two Best Film awards at the Asia Pacific Film Festival and the Buil Film Awards.

 

 

83. Mist

 

Mist

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Kim Soo-yong
Written By Kim Seung-ok
Music By Jeong Yoon-ju
Costume Design By Park Seok-in
Cinematography By Yoo Young-gil, Han Yong-woon, Kim Jin-ki
Year 1967
Run Time 79 minutes
Starring Shin Seong-il, Yoon Jeong-hee, Kim Jong-chul, Lee Nak-hoon, Ju Jeung-ryu 
IMDb 7

 

Mist (Korean: Angae) is a romance drama between a married man and a girl from his hometown.

 

The film by Kim Soo-yong highlights the inner conflict of a man who struggles with his reality, ambitions, and ideals.

 

The film tells the story of a young man who comes to Seoul in search of his livelihood.

 

He joins a company and ends up married to the boss’s widowed daughter in the hope of fast growth.

 

He soon loses his focus and his drive towards work. He visits his mother’s grave in his hometown at the suggestion of his wife.

 

In his hometown, he meets his old school teacher and ends up falling for a young girl.

 

With this film, Kim Soo-yong won the Best Director award at the Asia Pacific Film Festival.

 

 

82. Moonlit Winter

 

Moonlit Winter

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Lim Dae-Hyung
Written By Lim Dae-Hyung
Music By Kim Hae-won
Costume Design By Choi Eui-Young  
Cinematography By Moon Myung-hwan
Year 2019
Run Time 105 minutes
Starring Kim Hee-ae, Nakamura Yuko, Kim So-hye, Sung Yoo-bin, Kino Hana
IMDb 7

 

Moonlit Winter (Korean: Yunhui-ege) is a Korean romance drama that highlights the relationship between a grown teenage daughter and her widowed mother.

 

The film premiered as part of the closing ceremony at the Busan International Film Festival.

 

The film is about a mother and daughter. The daughter finds a letter from her mother's ex-lover and sets out to reunite them, in hopes of a father figure and some companionship for her mother.

 

This touching tale of familial love wowed the audience and the critics. It was nominated for multiple awards.

 

It won the awards for Best Director and Best Screenplay at the Blue Dragon Film Awards.

 

Kim So-Hye won the Best New Actress at the Busan Film Critics Awards and more.

 

 

81. Attack The Gas Station

 

Attack The Gas Station

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Kim Sang-jin
Written By Park Jung-woo
Music By Son Moo-hyun
Costume Design By Seunghyun Lee, Eunsook Kim
Cinematography By Seok-Hyun Lee 
Year 1999
Run Time 120
Starring Seongjae Lee, Kang Sung-jin, Yoo Ji-tae, Yu Oh-seong, Park Yeong-gyu 
IMDb 7

 

Attack The Gas Station ( Korean: Juyuso seubgyuksageon) is a comedy crime drama made by Kim Sang-jin.

 

At the Vancouver International Film Festival, the director accepted that the film created a string of copycat crimes after its release.

 

Most of the actors in the movie were small-timers who shot to fame after the success of this movie.

 

The story is about four jobless youth who are affected by the economic downturn in Korea.

 

After losing their jobs, they plan to rob a gas station that they previously robbed.

 

When they find the cash counter empty, they hold the gas station hostage and collect money from the visitors to the station.

 

They unwittingly end up infuriating the wrong crowd and face backlash for it. The film was inspired by the IMF Crisis in South Korea, which led to massive layoffs in the automobile industry.

 

The jobless youth were faced with a bleak future that could have instigated a rise in crime of the same kind depicted in the movie.

 

 

80. The Coachman

 

The Coachman

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Kang Dae-jin
Written By Im Hee-jae
Music By In-Kwon Lee
Costume Design By Seo Pan-Su
Cinematography By Lee Mun-baek
Year 1961
Run Time 97 minutes
Starring Kim Seung-ho, Shin Young-kyun, Hwang Jeong-soon
IMDb 7

 

The Coachman (Korean: Mabu) is one of the earliest Korean films to win a major international award.

 

It is a family drama set during the period of modernization when the old methods and lifestyles were becoming obsolete.

 

The film is about a coachman who is a widower with four children. The eldest son is a responsible man who wants to clear the bar exams and get a job.

 

The eldest daughter is deaf and mute. She is abused by her alcoholic husband. The two younger children are irresponsible and want to take the easy route to fame and glory.

 

The Coachman was nominated for the Golden Bear Award at the Berlin International Film Festival.

 

It came second and won the Silver Bear extraordinary award. It was the first-ever international award for a South Korean film.

 

 

79. The Surrogate Woman

 

The Surrogate Woman

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Im Kwon-taek
Written By Song Gil-han
Music By Shin Byung-ha
Costume Design By Lee Hae-yoon
Cinematography By Ku Jung-mo
Year 1987
Run Time 100 minutes
Starring Kang Soo-yeon, Lee Gu-sun, Yun Yang-ha
IMDb 7

 

The Surrogate Woman or The Surrogate Mother (Korean: Ssibaji) is a historical drama about a nobleman and his need for a male heir to carry forward his family name.

 

The film was highly appreciated at all film festivals that it toured and won many awards.

 

The film has a married nobleman, but his wife is unable to give him a male heir.

 

She agrees to him taking a surrogate woman to give birth to his heir. They decide to use one of the maidservants for this, but the nobleman ends up falling in love with her.

 

They secretly continue their affair that is then discovered by his wife and family. Despite stiff opposition, the maidservant continues to support the nobleman and eventually becomes pregnant.

 

Both of them are punished for their infraction and now the maid is worried that the nobleman will just take the child and abandon her.

 

The film won many awards at the Asian Film Festival, including Best Film, Best Director, Best Actress, and Best Supporting Actress.

 

The lead actress won the Best Actress awards at the Venice Film Festival.

 

 

78. I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK

 

I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Park Chan-Wook
Written By Jeong Seo-kyung   Park Chan-wook
Music By Youngwook Cho
Costume Design By Jo Sang-kyung
Cinematography By Chung-hoon Chung
Year 2006
Run Time 107 minutes
Starring Rain, Im Soo-jung, Choi Hee-jin, Lee Yong-nyeo 
IMDb 7

 

I’m a Cyborg, But That’s OK (Korean: saibogeujiman gwaenchana) is a romantic comedy that is set in a mental institution.

 

The film is directed by the renowned filmmaker Park Chan-wook. The film had a very successful opening weekend collection of close to $ 2.5 million, but the sales slumped by 76% in the second week.

 

The story is about a young girl who is institutionalized because she thinks she is a cyborg and refuses to eat human food.

 

She regularly tries to recharge herself by trying to electrocute herself. In the same place, another patient is admitted, who has sociopathic and schizophrenic tendencies.

 

He thinks he can steal people’s souls. Surprisingly, both these patients form a bond with one another, and he saves her many times while indulging in her wild imaginations.

 

The film was met with mixed reviews. A writer for Asian Cinema Drifter described the movie as a mix of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest and Amelie.

 

Another critic disparaged the movie as being a confusing mess where the scenes veer between comedy, violence, and tragedy.

 

 

77. The Isle

 

The Isle

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Kim Ki-duk 
Written By Kim Ki-duk
Music By Jeon Sang-yoon
Costume Design By Eunjung Joo
Cinematography By Na Seung-yong, Park Jae-hyung, Yoon Myung-shik, 
Year 2000
Run Time 90 minutes
Starring Kim Yu-seok, Suh Jung, Park Seong-hui, Son Min-seok, Cho Jae-hyun 
IMDb 7

 

The Isle (Korean: Seom) is a love story with a very violent and gruesome setting.

 

The film was written and directed by Kim Ki-duk. It garnered him international recognition and cemented his style of filmmaking.

 

The story is set in an idyllic resort where guests can hire floating cottages to stay in.

 

The resort is managed by a mute girl who supplies and takes care of all the needs of her customers.

 

One day, a fugitive arrives at the resort and slowly builds a relationship with her, despite his troubled past.

 

When this film was played at the film festival, there were reports of audience members fainting and vomiting at some of the gruesome scenes.

 

The film was described as a haunting and compelling combination of brutal and beautiful imagery.

 

 

76. Virgin Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors

 

Virgin Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Hong Sang-soo
Written By Hong Sang-soo
Music By Ok Gil-seong
Costume Design By Ji-hyang Kang, Yu-sun Kim
Cinematography By Choi Yeong-taek
Year 2000
Run Time 126 minutes
Starring Lee Eun-ju, Moon Sung-keun, Jeong Bo-seok
IMDb 7

 

Virgin Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors (Korean: Oh! Soo-jung) is an erotic-comedy-drama by Hong Sang-soo.

 

The film was written and directed by him. The film was screened in the ‘Un Certain Regard’ section at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival.

 

The story is about a scriptwriter who is in a relationship with her program producer.

 

She is introduced to a potential financier of the show, and he takes an interest in her.

 

Both the producer and the financier express their interest in her, and it is up to the scriptwriter to decide her fate.

 

The film was very successful and won awards for Best Screenplay at the Asia Pacific Film Festival and the Busan Film Critics Association awards.

 

The actress Lee Eun-ji, also won the award for Best New Actress at the Grand Bell Awards for her role.

 

 

75. The Day He Arrives

 

The Day He Arrives

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Hong Sang-soo
Written By Hong Sang-soo
Music By Yongjin Jung
Costume Design By --
Cinematography By Kim Hyung-koo
Year 2011
Run Time 79 minutes
Starring Yoo Jun-sang, Kim Sang-joong, Song Seon-mi, Kim Bo-gyeong, Kim Ui-seong 
IMDb 7

 

The Day He Arrives (Korean: Bukchon Banghyang) was written and directed by Hong Sang-soo. If you translate the Korean name, it means 'in the direction of Bukchon', which is a district in Seoul.

 

The whole movie takes place here. The story is a sequence of events that occur in the life of a professor of Film Studies, who goes to meet his close friend in Bukchon.

 

Since the day he arrives in Bukchon, he runs into different people and ends up drunk.

 

He meets different people, including his friend who is a film critic, another professor, his ex-girlfriend, and more.

 

The film was screened at the Cannes Film Festival under the category of Un Certain Regard.

 

The whole film was shot in black and white. It was nominated at many film festivals.

 

Yoo Jun-sang won the Best Actor award at the Busan Film Critics Association awards.

 

 

74. The General's Mustache

 

The General's Mustache

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Lee Seong-gu
Written By Kim Sung-ok
Music By Kim Hee-jo
Costume Design By Lee Moon-hyun
Cinematography By Kim Sang-hee
Year 1968
Run Time 103 minutes
Starring Sin Seong-il, Yoon Jeong-hee, Kim Seung-ho, Kim Seong-ok, Kim Dong-won 
IMDb 7

 

The General’s Mustache (Korean: Janggun-ui Suyeom) is a suspense crime thriller. This film directed by Lee Seong-gu is based on a novel by Lee Eo-ryeong and was adapted by Kim Sung-ok.

 

The story is an investigation into the death of a photo-journalist. His body is discovered without any clues about the murderer.

 

A senior detective and a young upstart detective start digging into the life of the dead person for any clues.

 

At the 7th Grand Bell Awards Film Festival, the movie won the Best Screenplay and Best Production awards.

 

It also won Best Direction, Best Music, and Best Picture at the Baeksang Arts Awards.

 

 

73. A Single Spark

 

A Single Spark

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Park Kwang-su
Written By Lee Chang-dong, Kim Jeong-hwan, Lee Hyo-in, Heo Jin-ho, Park Kwang-soo
Music By Song Hong-seop
Costume Design By Jang Ki-ok
Cinematography By You Young-gil
Year 1995
Run Time 96 minutes
Starring Moon Sung-keun, Hong Kyung-in,  Kim Seon-jae , Ju-shil Lee
IMDb 7

 

A Single Spark (Korean: Areumdaun cheongnyeon Jeon Tae-il) is a biographical tale of the worker’s rights activist Jeon Tae-il.

 

This South Korean drama is a moving tale of the human spirit against oppression. The story moves in two parts, one in black and white and the other in the present.

 

The past story tells us about the life and struggle of Jeon Tae-il, a garment factory worker who highlighted the substandard working conditions in factories.

 

The second story is a present-day fight of a couple who are facing the same struggle.

 

The husband is attempting to publish a book about the life of Jeon Tae-il as a protest against the oppressive regime.

 

The film won the Best Film award at the Blue Dragon Film Awards. It was nominated for a Golden Bear at the 46th Berlin International Film Festival.

 

It also won the Best Actor and Best Director awards at the Cine21 and the Chunsa Film Art Awards.

 

 

72. Cafe Noir

 

Cafe Noir

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Jung Sung-il
Written By Jung Sung-il
Music By Jiyeon Lee 
Costume Design By Eunjin Lee, Sumin Hyun
Cinematography By Kim Jun-young
Year 2009
Run Time 198 minutes
Starring Shin Ha-kyun, Moon Jung-hee, Kim Hye-na, Jung Yu-mi, Lee Sung-min 
IMDb 7

 

Cafe Noir (Korean: Kape-neuwareu) is a romantic melodrama that draws inspiration from Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther and Dostoevsky’s White Nights.

 

Jung Sung-il wrote and directed the movie. The story is about a young music teacher who seems to be unlucky in love every time.

 

The first time he falls in love with a woman, her husband comes back and his lover goes back to her husband.

 

The second chance he has at romance also fails when her first lover returns. The film debuted at the 66th Venice Film Festival to great critical acclaim.

 

The director won the Best New Talent award at the Copenhagen International Film Festival. Critics praised the movie as a truly astounding picture that is an examination of unrequited love.

 

 

71. Snowpiercer

 

Snowpiercer

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Bong Joon Ho
Written By Bong Joon-ho, Kelly Masterson
Music By Marco Beltrami
Costume Design By Catherine George
Cinematography By Hong Kyung-pyo
Year 2013
Run Time 126 minutes
Starring Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, Tilda Swinton, Ed Harris
IMDb 7.1

 

Snowpiercer ( Korean: Seolgungnyeolcha) is a South Korean-American film that is based on the novel Le Transperceneige by Jacques Lob.

 

It is a climate change apocalypse movie that predicts a bleak future for humans. In the film, a climate experiment has gone badly wrong and results in an ice-age-like situation.

 

All humanity has been bundled up into a train that circumnavigates the earth. On this train, there is a very strict class divide with only the rich getting any education, food, and amenities while the poor are starved to death.

 

The director Bong Joon-ho, the lead actors and actresses like Octavia Spencer, Tilda Swinton, Chris Evans, etc. received critical praise for their work.

 

The movie won multiple awards and nominations at film festivals like Blue Dragon Film Festival, Busan International film Critics Awards, Boston Online Film Critics Association awards, and more.

 

 

70. One Fine Spring Day

 

One Fine Spring Day

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Hur Jin-ho
Written By Ryu Jang-Ha, Lee Sook-Yeon, Shin Jun-Ho, Huh Jin-Ho
Music By Jo Seong-woo
Costume Design By Choi Yoon-jung
Cinematography By Kim Hyung-koo
Year 2001
Run Time 114 minutes
Starring Yoo Ji-tae, Lee Young-ae, Baek Seong-hui, Park In-hwan, Shin Shin-ae 
IMDb 7.1

 

One Fine Spring Day (Korean: Bomnaleun ganda) is a sad romance film that showcases the start of a love story, its complete course, and the end of it.

 

The director has used the season of spring as a blossoming of love and beauty.

 

The story revolves around a sound engineer who falls in love with a DJ while recording the wonderful sounds in nature during the springtime.

 

As their relationship progresses, so do the complications and differences. By the end of the movie, their love has run its course and the couple breaks up.

 

The movie has become a part of popular culture with many of the dialogues becoming pickup lines.

 

One such example is "Do you want to eat Ramyeon?". The film also won multiple awards and nominations at the Busan Film critics awards, Tokyo international film festival, Blue Dragon awards, and more.

 

 

69. Night and Day

 

Night and Day

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Hong Sang-soo
Written By Hong Sang-soo
Music By Yongjin Jung
Costume Design By Lee Se-hoon
Cinematography By Kim Hoon-kwang
Year 2008
Run Time 144 minutes
Starring Young Ho Kim, Park Eun-hye, Hwang Soo-jung, Gi Ju-bong, Kim Yu-jin
IMDb 7.1

 

Night and Day (Korean: Bam-gwa Nat) is written and directed by Hong Sang-soo. The film is a slow-moving film that showcases human emotions and relations.

 

An artist in South Korea is caught smoking marijuana. To escape his jail sentence, he goes to Paris, leaving behind his wife.

 

In Paris, he meets his ex-girlfriend who introduces him to the Korean art community. From this, he starts many romantic and random encounters with different people.

 

The film was nominated for the Golden Bear at The Berlin International Film Festival. It won the Best Film award at Buil Film Awards, Busan Film Critics Association, Cine21, and more.

 

Park Eun-hye, won the Best New Actress award at the BCFA.

 

 

68. A Day Off

 

A Day Off

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Lee Man-hee
Written By Baek Gyeol
Music By Jeon Jong-kun
Costume Design By Jung Su-Kwan
Cinematography By Lee Suk Kee
Year 1968
Run Time 73 minutes
Starring Shin Seong-il, Jeon Ji-yeon, Kim Seong-ok, Kim Sun-cheol, An Eun-suk 
IMDb 7.1

 

A Day-Off (Korean: Hyu-il) is a South Korean drama that has a very sad ending.

 

The film was made in 1968, yet it was censored and banned in the Korean film archives.

 

It was accidentally found in 2005 and released. The film is about a young couple who are penniless.

 

When the wife is pregnant, the couple decides to opt for an abortion due to financial problems.

 

The husband reaches out to all his friends for help, but none help, so he steals money from one of them.

 

Later, in his guilt, he goes out to drink and spends the night with prostitutes while his wife is admitted to the hospital.

 

Eventually, she dies before the husband can return and his friends and family spurn him.

 

He ends up alone in the dark alley with memories of his dead wife. The film is regarded as one of the masterpieces of Korean cinema from the 1960s.

 

The actors of the film were also greatly praised and they went on to have illustrious careers.

 

 

67. On the Beach at Night Alone

 

On the Beach at Night Alone

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Hong Sang-soo
Written By Hong Sang-soo
Music By Franz Schubert
Costume Design By --
Cinematography By Kim Hyung-koo, Park Hong-yeol
Year 2017
Run Time 101 minutes
Starring Kim Min-hee, Seo Young-hwa, Moon Seong-gun, Karl Feder, Brigitte Skerra 
IMDb 6.8

 

On the Beach At Night Alone (Korean: Bamui Haebyeoneseo Honja) is a drama that was written, directed, and produced by Hong Sang-soo.

 

Many people who have watched the film describe the movie as art imitating real life.

 

The story is about a washed-up actress who had an affair with a married director.

 

She breaks up with him, yet all the film is about how she spends her time trying to cope with his loss and wondering whether he misses her as much as she does.

 

The irony about the film is that the lead actress, Kim Min-hee was having an affair with Hong Sang-soo and they broke it off.

 

The film story was well appreciated by the international film community. The film was nominated for a Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival and Kim Min-hee won a Silver Bear for her acting role.

 

 

66. Hometown in My Heart

 

Hometown in My Heart

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Yoon Yong-Kyu
Written By Kwak Il-byeong
Music By Park Hye-il
Costume Design By --
Cinematography By Park Kyung-won
Year 1949
Run Time 76 minutes
Starring Byeon Gi-jong, Oh Heon-yong, Choi Eun-Hee, Kim Seon-Young 
IMDb 7.2

 

Hometown in My Heart (Korean: Maeumui gohyang) is a drama about a young widow. She regularly visits a Buddhist temple and meets with the young Buddha child.

 

She entreats the elder monks to allow her to raise the child as her son.

 

The film is about the relationship between the childless widow and the young child. Despite being the early days of filmmaking, the movie was shot using the hand-cranked Parvo camera.

 

 

65. Little Forest

 

Little Forest

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Yim Soon-rye
Written By Hwang Seong-gu
Music By Jun-oh Lee 
Costume Design By Jo Hee-ran
Cinematography By Lee Seung-hoon
Year 2018
Run Time 103 minutes
Starring Kim Tae-ri, Ryu Jun-yeol, Moon So-ri, Jin Ki-joo
IMDb 7.2

 

Little Forest (Korean: Liteul Poleseuteu) The film is based on the Japanese novel Little Forest by Daisuke Igarashi.

 

The film was a major box office draw with 686,000 ticket sales by the end of the first week, and by the end of three weeks, the ticket sales grew up to 1.35 million.

 

The story is about a young girl who fails to clear the exams for a post of teacher in the big city.

 

When this big dream of hers fails, she returns to her hometown but finds that her mother has left.

 

She starts her life all over again by cooking, using the produce from her small farm.

 

She gradually turns to agriculture in her own little forest. The film was critically and commercially successful.

 

It won many nominations for Best Actress for Kim Tae-ri and Jin Ki-joo. The director Yim Soon-rye won the best director award at Korean Film Producers Association Award too.

 

 

64. Take Care of My Cat

 

Take Care of My Cat

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Jeong Jae-eun
Written By Jae-eun Jeong,   Ji-sung Park
Music By Jo Seong-woo 
Costume Design By Go Hye-young,   Yoo Young-sook
Cinematography By Choi Young-hwan
Year 2001
Run Time 112 minutes
Starring Bae Doona, Lee Yo-won, Ok Go-woon, Lee Eun-sil, Lee Eun Joo 
IMDb 7.2

 

Take Care of My Cat (Korean: Goyangireul Butakhae) is a coming-of-age film. The movie is the first film directed by Jeong Jae-eun.

 

Although the movie was not a commercial hit, it garnered a large following and critical acclaim.

 

The film story is about a group of 5 young friends who have graduated high school.

 

While one friend moves to Seoul after getting a job, the rest of them struggle with unemployment and an unstable family environment.

 

Finally, by the end of the movie, two friends break free from their shackles and set off on a holiday to an unknown destination.

 

The cat is a constant thread that binds the friends and it gave rise to the ‘Save the Cat Movement.’ Los Angeles Times praised the film for raising pertinent female concerns without being preachy about it.

 

The film won awards at Blue Dragon Film Awards, Busan Film Critics Awards, Baeksang Arts Awards, and more.

 

 

63. A Dirty Carnival

 

A Dirty Carnival

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Yoo Ha
Written By Yoo Ha
Music By Jo Young-wook 
Costume Design By Kim Si-jin
Cinematography By Choi Hyeon-gi
Year 2006
Run Time 141 minutes
Starring Jo In Sung,Nam Gung-min, Chun Ho-jin, Lee Bo-young, Jin Goo 
IMDb 7.3

 

A Dirty Carnival (Korean: Biyeolhan geori) is a crime-gangster film. This neo-noir film is the director's fourth film.

 

It was very successful at the box office and also appeased the critics. The story is about a small-time thug who aspires to grow and become a gangster.

 

Although he starts to achieve his goal, he has to sacrifice his family and love.

 

In the end, he is double-crossed by his own team in the same way that he double-crossed his boss.

 

The film won awards at Chunsa Film Art Awards and Korean Film Awards, while it was nominated for many more awards at Blue Dragon Film Awards, Baeksang Arts Awards, Grand Bell Awards, and more.

 

 

62. Han Gong-Ju

 

Han Gong-ju

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Lee Su-jin
Written By Lee Su-jin
Music By Kim Tae-sung
Costume Design By Kim Eun-sook
Cinematography By Hong Jae-sik
Year 2013
Run Time 112 minutes
Starring Chun Woo-Hee, Jeong In-seon, Kim So-young, Lee Young-ran, Kwon Beom-taek  
IMDb 7.3

 

Han Gong-Ju is a film based on a real-life case of gang rape in South Korea.

 

The film was written and directed by Lee Su-jin and was his first film. The story is based on a real-life gang rape incident that occurred in a high school.

 

The police and the perpetrators severely bullied and intimidated the victims in a gross travesty of justice.

 

The incident created wide public outrage and protests for the mishandling by the cops and the city at large.

 

Han Gong-ju won critical praise and several top awards including the Golden Star at the Marrakech International Film Festival, the Tiger Award at International Film Festival Rotterdam, the Jury Prize, the Critics' Prize, and the Audience Award at the 2014 Deauville Asian Film Festival.

 

 

61. Okja

 

Okja

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Bong Joon Ho
Written By Bong Joon-ho and John Ronson
Music By Jaeil Jeong
Costume Design By Kang Dong-ryul
Cinematography By Darius Khondji
Year 2017
Run Time 120 minutes
Starring Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano, Ahn Seo-hyun, Jake Gyllenhaal, Steven Yeun, 
IMDb 7.3

 

Okja is an international co-production between America and South Korea. This action-adventure is directed by Bong Joon-ho and he co-wrote it along with John Ronson.

 

The story is about a unique, genetically modified pig called Okja (super pig). For 10 years, the pig was taken care of by a young girl in the mountains of South Korea.

 

Its idyllic life is disrupted when a ruthless and money-minded CEO of an MNC captures Okja with the intention to earn back billions in profits.

 

The young caretaker has to fight the MNC, media, and different corporate groups to rescue her friend.

 

The film was a critically praised film that can be viewed on Netflix. The film competed for  Palme d'Or in the main competition section at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival.

 

The film was listed among the 10 most influential films of the decade by the New York Times.

 

 

60. Aimless Bullet

 

Aimless Bullet

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Yu Hyun-mok
Written By Lee Beom-sun
Music By Kim Seong-tae
Costume Design By Lee Su-jin
Cinematography By Kim Hak-seong
Year 1961
Run Time 110 minutes
Starring Kim Jin-kyu, Choi Moo-ryong, Moon Jeong-suk, Kim Hye-jeong, Seo Ae-ja 
IMDb 7.3

 

Aimless Bullet or Stray Bullet (Korean: Obaltan) is considered the best movie made in South Korea.

 

The film is a tragedy based on a story written by Lee Beom-sun. The story follows the struggle of a public accountant, whose salary is insufficient to take care of his malnourished wife and children, insane mother, and a war veteran brother.

 

The film highlights the struggles of a family in a newly liberated South Korea. The film was banned by the government for its stark portrayal of life and being downbeat in South Korea, post-armistice.

 

The film was described as a remarkable tale by Variety magazine. The film was released only in Seoul to allow the film entry to the San Francisco International Film Festival.

 

 

59. Microhabitat

 

Microhabitat

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Jeon Go-woon
Written By Jeon Go-woon
Music By Kwon Hyun-jung
Costume Design By Jiyeon Ji
Cinematography By Kim Tae-soo
Year 2017
Run Time 106 minutes
Starring Esom, Ahn Jae-hong, Kim Gook-hee, Lee Sung-wook, Choi Deok-moon
IMDb 7.4

 

Microhabitat (Korean: So-gong-nyeo) is a drama written and directed by Jeon Go-woon. The film was praised for being vibrant and fun despite telling a very poignant tale.

 

The story is about a young woman who has to give up her accommodation as she cannot keep up with living costs.

 

She chooses to spend money on whiskey, cigarettes, and her out-of-work boyfriend rather than her house.

 

The film won many awards at film festivals including Busan International Film Festival, Seoul Independent Film Festival, New York Asian Film Festival, Fantasia International Film Festival, and more.

 

The direction of Jeon Go-woon and the acting of Esom were highly praised.

 

 

58. Insect Woman

 

Insect Woman

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Kim Ki-young
Written By Kim Ki-young
Music By Han Sang-gi
Costume Design By Park Seok-il
Cinematography By Jung Il-sung
Year 1972
Run Time 110 minutes
Starring Youn Yuh-jung, Jeong Gye-hyeon, Nam Koong-won, Kim Ju-mi, Park In-chan 
IMDb 7.4

 

Insect Woman (Korean: Chungnyeo) is a psychological film directed by Kim Ki-young. It is about a young schoolgirl who is forced into prostitution by her mother.

 

The girl becomes the lover of a married professor. Initially, the professor’s wife is shocked to find the truth but when it cures his impotence, she accepts the arrangement.

 

However, this affair causes a mental breakdown for the professor and lands him in the psychiatric ward.

 

The film earned the director, Kim Ki-young and Namkoong Won, an award each at the Baeksang Arts Awards in 1973.

 

 

57. Mandala

 

Mandala

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Im Kwon-taek
Written By Lee Sang-hyon, Song Kil-han
Music By Kim Chong-gil
Costume Design By Kim Yoo-jun
Cinematography By Jeong Il-seong
Year 1981
Run Time 117 minutes
Starring Jeon Moo-song, Ahn Sung-ki, Bang-hui, Gi Jeong-su, Yoon Yang-ha 
IMDb 7.4

 

Mandala (Korean: Mandara) is the movie that made Im Kwon-taek a name to reckon with in the South Korean film world.

 

This movie is considered one of his finest movies and it is rumored to be based on the life of the Buddhist monk Wonhyo.

 

The film follows the journey of two Buddhist monks. One has been a staunch believer and follower of the scriptures, although he has difficulty applying them in the real world.

 

The other is a deposed monk who tries to find Buddha in the real world, although he refuses to strictly follow the tenets.

 

This movie earned a Korean Association of Film Critics award for Jeon Moo-song and the cinematographer, Jeong Il-seong.

 

The film also won the Best Director award at the Grand Bell Awards.

 

 

56. House of Hummingbird

 

House of Hummingbird

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Kim Bora
Written By Kim Bora
Music By Matija Strniša
Costume Design By Yang Hee-hwa
Cinematography By Kang Gook-hyun
Year 2018
Run Time 138 minutes
Starring Park Ji-hoo, Kim Sae-byeok, Jung In-gi, Lee Seung-yeon, Park Su-yeon 
IMDb 7.4

 

House Of Hummingbird (Korean: Beol-sae) is a family drama directed by Kim Bora. This is the debut film of the director and has received rave reviews and praise internationally.

 

The story is about a young 14-year-old girl who feels neglected by her father and is abused by her brother.

 

At school, she has few friends. At this time, she meets a free-spirited teacher who guides and mentors her through her tough times.

 

The film is about the growth of the girl from immaturity to a calm and mature young girl.

 

The film collected over 50 international and national accolades including the Best International Narrative Feature Award at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival, Grand Prix of the Generation 14plus International Jury for the Best Film at the Berlin International film festival and more.

 

 

55. Il Mare

 

Il Mare

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Lee Hyun-seung
Written By Kim Eun-jung,  Kim Mi-young
Music By Kim Hyun-cheol
Costume Design By Can no   Jinwoo Kim   jojiyeon
Cinematography By Hong Kyung-pyo
Year 2000
Run Time 96 minutes
Starring Jun Ji-hyun, Lee Jung-jae, Kim Mu-saeng , Jo Seung-yeon , Min Yun-jae 
IMDb 7.5

 

Il Mare (Korean: Siworae) is a love story that transcends time. It was remade by Warner Brothers in 2008 with the name Lake House.

 

The film is set in a seaside house called Il Mare. It is Italian for The Sea.

 

The movie progresses in two timelines with the protagonists communicating through a mailbox in Il Mare.

 

The girl realizes that the guy would meet with an accident and die before they can even meet.

 

However, she has already fallen in love with him based on the letters that they exchange through the magical mailbox.

 

The film was released in 2000 and it faced tough competition from Ditto and Lies.

 

Although since then, the film has garnered a minor cult following. It was also remade twice, once by Warner Brothers and the second was the Kannada language film (Minchagi Nee Baralu).

 

 

54. Why Has Bodhi-Dharma Left for the East?

 

Why Has Bodhi-Dharma Left for the East?

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Bae Yong-kyun
Written By Bae Yong-kyun
Music By Jin Kyu-young
Costume Design By --
Cinematography By Bae Yong-kyun
Year 1989
Run Time 145 minutes
Starring Yi Pan Yong, Sin Won seop, Hwang Hae-jin, Ko Su-myong
IMDb 7.5

 

Why Has Bodhi-Dharma Left For The East? (Korean: Dalmaga dongjjok-euro gan ggadakeun?) is a meditative film on Seon Buddhism.

 

The director, Bae Yong-kyun, is a professor at Dongguk University. He used just one camera to capture the entire film and spent editing the film by hand.

 

The story is about 3 monks at a monastery, an old Zen master, a young orphan boy, and a young man who becomes a monk to seek meaning.

 

All through the film, we see different sequences and events that allude to the two Zen koans, What are we before we are born? and Where will we go after we die?

 

The film was screened under the category of Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival.

 

At the Locarno International Film Festival, it won the Golden Leopard (Best Film) and Prize for the Ecumenical Jury.

 

 

53. Secret Sunshine

 

Secret Sunshine

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Lee Chang-dong
Written By Lee Chang-dong
Music By Christian Basso
Costume Design By Cha Seon-young
Cinematography By Jo Yong-gyu
Year 2007
Run Time 142 minutes
Starring Jeon Do-yeon, Song Kang-ho, Jo Young Jin, Kim Young-Jae
IMDb 7.3

 

Secret Sunshine (Korean: Miryang) is a drama based on the short story The Story Of A Bug by Lee Cheong Jun.

 

The film is about a woman that is faced with tragedy, and questions her faith and madness.

 

The film starts with a young mother and son moving to the town of Miryang, after the death of the husband.

 

While the mother struggles to cope with life after the loss, she is faced with another crisis.

 

Her son is abducted and slowly descends to madness and starts questioning God and her faith.

 

The film met critical praise for the acting and direction. It received several nominations and awards for Best Actress, Best Actor, and Best Director at film festivals like Cannes Film Festival, Asian Film Awards, Baeksang Arts Awards, Grand Bell Awards, Blue Dragon Film Awards, and more.

 

 

52. Christmas in August

 

Christmas in August

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Hur Jin-ho
Written By Seung-wook Oh, Dong-hwan Shin, Jin-ho Huh
Music By Jo Seong-woo
Costume Design By Park Sang Hun
Cinematography By Yoo Young-gil
Year 1998
Run Time 97 minutes
Starring Han Suk-kyu, Shim Eun-ha, Oh Ji-Hye, Lee Han-wi 
IMDb 7.6

 

Christmas in August (Korean: Palwolui Keuliseumaseu) is a romance melodrama by first-time director Heo Jin-ho.

 

He was inspired to make the film after viewing the funeral portrait of the folk singer, Kim Kwang-seok.

 

The story is about a single photo-shop owner who lives with his extended family. He meets a young parking agent and slowly falls in love with her.

 

However, he realizes that he has a terminal illness and is bound to die soon.

 

To save his loved ones from heartache, he breaks up with his girlfriend, teaches his father to manage a photo-printing shop, and spends time with all his friends.

 

The film is highly acclaimed for its acting talents and direction. It won multiple awards at Baeksang Arts Awards, Blue Dragon Film Awards, Grand Bell Awards, and more.

 

The film is listed among the top 10 best Korean romance/melodrama films.

 

 

51. Seopyeonje

 

Seopyeonje

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Im Kwon-taek
Written By Kim Myung-gon
Music By Kim Soo-cheol
Costume Design By Lee Hae-yoon
Cinematography By Jeong Il-seong
Year 1993
Run Time 112 minutes
Starring Kim Myung-gon, Oh Jeong-hae, Kim Kyu-chul, An Byeong Gyeong 
IMDb 7.7

 

Seopyeonje is a Korean musical masterpiece from Im Kwon-taek. The film is about the dying Korean art form of Pansori, where the singer is accompanied by a sole drummer playing the pansori gosu.

 

A traditional pansori artist adopts two orphans and teaches them the traditional pansori style of singing.

 

While the adopted daughter stays with her father and continues to keep the tradition alive, despite the hardships.

 

The son runs away, unable to live in the impoverished conditions. The film is considered as a revival of the various dying Korean music, arts, and traditions.

 

The film won accolades both in Korea and abroad by getting screened in Cannes Film Festival, winning six Grand Bell Awards, an honorary Golden Bear Award at Berlin Film Festival, and six Korean Film Critics' Awards.

 

 

50. Peppermint Candy

 

Peppermint Candy

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Lee Chang-dong
Written By Lee Chang-dong
Music By Jaejin Lee
Costume Design By Cha Seon-young
Cinematography By Kim Hyung-Koo
Year 1999
Run Time 130 minutes
Starring Sol Kyung-gu, Moon Sori, Kim Yeo-jin, Se-beom Park
IMDb 7.7

 

Peppermint Candy (Korean: Bakha Satang) is a tragic drama by Lee Chang-dong. It is his second film and he wrote and directed the movie.

 

The film starts with the suicide of the protagonist and in the flashback, we are shown 6 different events that have led to his depressive state of mind and ultimately his suicide.

 

We are shown the way his life progressed from the Gwangju Demilitarization movement to his career as a police officer and then his business venture.

 

The film received many awards for Best Film, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Direction and more at prestigious award shows like Blue Dragon Film Awards, Grand Bell Awards, Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, and more.

 

 

49. Sunny

 

Sunny

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Kang Hyeong-cheol
Written By Kang Hyeong-cheol
Music By Junseok Kim
Costume Design By Chae Kyung-wha
Cinematography By Lee Hyung-deok
Year 2011
Run Time 124 minutes
Starring Yoo Ho-Jeong , Jin Hee-kyung, Go Soo-hee, Min Hyo-rin, Kang Sora
IMDb 7.8

 

Sunny (Korean: Seo-ni) is a heartwarming tale of childhood friendship. The film is written and directed by Kang Hyeong-cheol.

 

The film was very successful commercially and it became the 13th best-selling movie of all time.

 

A middle-aged woman runs into her school friend in a hospital. She soon realizes that her friend is terminally ill and wishes to meet all her high school friends.

 

From here starts the journey to reunite friends and reminisce about the good old days.

 

The film garnered several acting and directing awards. It won awards at Baeksang Arts Awards, Korean Culture, and Entertainment Awards, Blue Dragon Film Awards, Mnet 20's Choice Awards, and more.

 

It also won style awards for Best Content of the year at the 4th Style Icon Awards.

 

 

48. Oasis

 

Oasis

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Lee Chang-dong
Written By Lee Chang-dong
Music By Jaejin Lee
Costume Design By Cha Seon-young
Cinematography By Choi Young-taek
Year 2002
Run Time 132 minutes
Starring Sol Kyung-gu, Moon So-ri, Ahn Nae-sang, Chu Kwi-jung
IMDb 7.9

 

Oasis (Korean: Oasiseu) is a heartrending tale of love and friendship between a partially retarded man and a woman with cerebral palsy.

 

This film is written and directed by Lee Chang-dong, who also made Peppermint Candy. A partially retarded man is released from jail after a sentence of involuntary manslaughter.

 

He meets a young woman with cerebral palsy while he tries to reconcile with the family of the manslaughter victim.

 

They slowly become inseparable friends after facing the discrimination and ridicule of society and family.

 

While their love blossoms and they accept their affections, things go wrong and the man is again jailed, but he can only promise his lover to return to her.

 

The film met critical praise from international film festivals. It won the  Silver Lion for Best Direction at the Venice Film Festival.

 

The Special Director's prize was given to Lee Chang-dong and the Marcello Mastroianni Award for Emerging Actress was given to Moon So-ri at the same event.

 

 

47. My Sassy Girl

 

My Sassy Girl

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Kwak Jae-yong
Written By Jaeyong Kwak
Music By Kim Hyung-seok
Costume Design By Codyline Co.,Ltd.
Cinematography By Kim Sung-bok
Year 2001
Run Time 123 minutes
Starring Cha Tae-hyun , Jeon Ji-hyun, Kim In-mun , Song Ok Suk , Han Jin-hee
IMDb 8

 

My Sassy Girl (Korean: Yeopgijeogin Geunyeo) is a romantic comedy. It was inspired by the true story from a blog that was later fictionalized into a novel by Kim Ho-sik.

 

The film went on to become a major commercial success in not just South Korea, but also Japan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, etc.

 

A guy meets a girl in a train station and saves her from falling onto the tracks.

 

But, the antics of the girl end up making him look like her boyfriend. Since the guy feels a sense of responsibility towards her, he bears with all her abusive and ridiculous behavior to make a great comedy film.

 

This film is one of the top five highest grosses of all time in Korea.

 

It is also the highest-grossing comedy film ever causing remakes of the film in Japan, the USA, China, etc.

 

The film won awards at the Blue Dragon film awards, Baeksang Arts awards, HongKong film awards, Hochi film awards, and more.

 

 

46. Castaway on the Moon

 

Castaway on the Moon

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Lee Hae-jun
Written By Lee Hae-jun
Music By Kim Hong-jip
Costume Design By Choi Eui-young
Cinematography By Kim Byeong-seo
Year 2009
Run Time 115 minutes
Starring Jung Jae Young, Jeong Ryeo Won, Park Young-Seo, Yang Mi-kyung 
IMDb 8

 

Castaway on The Moon (Korean: Kimssi Pyoryugi)  is a romantic comedy that is written and directed by Lee Hae-jun.

 

The film was critically acclaimed and set to be remade for the American audience. The story is about a suicidal young man who jumps off a bridge but washes up on an island in the center of the river.

 

From here, he is unable to contact anyone, but he can see the cityscape of Seoul.

 

Only a young girl who suffers from Hikikomori locates him and communicates through messages in a bottle.

 

From here blossoms their unlikely love story. The film won multiple awards for Hawaii International Film Festival, Golden Cinematography Awards, New York Asian Film Festival, Fantasia International Film Festival, and more.

 

 

45. A Moment to Remember

 

A Moment to Remember

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Lee Jae-han
Written By Jaehan Lee
Music By Park Kyung-jin
Costume Design By Kim Seong-il
Cinematography By Lee Jun-gyu
Year 2004
Run Time 144 minutes
Starring Jung Woo-Sung , Son Ye-jin, Jong-hak Baek, Lee Seon-jin, Park Sang - Kyu 
IMDb 8.2

 

A Moment To Remember (Korean: Nae Meorisokui Jiugae) is a love story that endures and overcomes a debilitating early on-set Alzheimer’s disease.

 

The film was remade in multiple languages and countries. A young fashion designer runs into a budding architect and after many chance encounters, they fall in love.

 

With the blessing of the family, they get married and start a new life. However, through a series of events, they detect that the girl is suffering from early-onset AD.

 

Although her condition deteriorates, the husband continues to love her and continues to stay by her side.

 

The film was the fifth highest-grossing movie of the year. It was a major success in Korea, and also became one of the biggest hits in Japan.

 

The film was remade in Hindi, Telugu, Malaysian, Turkish and more languages.

 

 

44. Secret Reunion

 

Secret Reunion

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Hun Jang
Written By Jang Min-seok
Music By Hyungwoo Noh 
Costume Design By Chrysanthemum
Cinematography By Lee Mo-gae
Year 2010
Run Time 116 minutes
Starring Kang-ho Song, Dong-won Gang, Seung-ik Baek, Choi Jeong-woo
IMDb 6.9

 

Secret Reunion (Korean: Uihyeongje) is a South Korean spy thriller made by Hun Jang. It is his second movie and it was immensely popular with ticket sales of over 5 million.

 

The movie is listed among the all-time greatest hits in Korean cinema. The film follows a NIS agent and a North Korean spy who is working undercover in Seoul.

 

After a botched case, they are both discharged from their organizations and labeled as traitors.

 

After many years, they have a chance encounter that again leads to another assassination incident.

 

This time, they clarify that neither of them is a traitor and there was another double-crosser involved.

 

The film won awards for Best Film at Blue Dragon Awards. It also won Best Actor for Gang Dong-won and Best Director for Hun Jung at the Korean Association of Film Critics Awards.

 

 

43. Voice of a Murderer

 

Voice of a Murderer

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Park Jin-pyo
Written By Park Jin-pyo
Music By Byung-Woo Lee 
Costume Design By Seunghee Shin
Cinematography By Kim Woo-hyung
Year 2007
Run Time 122 minutes
Starring Sol Kyung-gu, Nam-ju Kim, Dong-won Gang, Yeong-cheol Kim
IMDb 6.8

 

Voice of a Murderer (Korean: Geunom moksori) is based on a real-life kidnapping and murder case that took place in Seoul.

 

This crime-drama thriller is written and directed by Park Jin-pyo. The son of a prominent news reporter is kidnapped and a ransom demand is made.

 

Despite the warning by the kidnapper, police are called in and a full investigation is carried out.

 

Despite 87 ransom calls and 44 days after the kidnapping, the boy was found dead with no more leads on the case.

 

The film received many nominations for the acting of Sol Kyung-gu and the direction of Park Jin-pyo.

 

The fact that the case continues to be unsolved and the statute of limitations has also expired on the crime, makes it a compelling film.

 

 

42. No Mercy

 

No Mercy

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Kim Heyong-jun
Written By Kim Heyong-jun
Music By Park Ji-man
Costume Design By Jihyun Ahn
Cinematography By Kim Woo-hyung
Year 2010
Run Time 125 minutes
Starring Sol Kyung-gu, Ryoo Seung-bum, Hye-jin Han, Ji-ru Sung
IMDb 7.5

 

No Mercy (Korean: Yongseoneun Eupda) is an action thriller, written and directed by Kim Heyong-jun.

 

The film was an audience favorite and did well at the box office. The film starts with the murder of a young lady.

 

A retired forensic pathologist is requested to stay back for this last case before he can rest with his daughter who is returning from overseas.

 

As the case progresses, the pathologist encounters a dilemma. The killer contacts him and asks him to fake the forensic evidence, or else the agent’s daughter would be killed.

 

The film is a tense and nerve-wracking tale to save his daughter. Watch the movie to find the final twist.

 

The film did good business with ticket sales of over 1 million. The movie grossed almost $7.6 million at the box office.

 

The critics also loved it and Sol Kyung-gu won the Best Actor award at the Chunsa Film Arts Awards

 

 

41. The Yellow Sea

 

The Yellow Sea

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Na Hong-jin 
Written By Na Hong-jin
Music By Jang Young-gyu, Lee Byung-Hoon 
Costume Design By Chae Kyung-wha
Cinematography By Lee Sung-jae
Year 2010
Run Time 140 minutes
Starring Ha Jung-woo, Kim Yoon-seok, Jo Sung-ha, Cheol-min Lee
IMDb 7.3

 

The Yellow Sea (Korean: Hwanghae) is a crime-action thriller that brings back the trio of Na Hong Jin as director and Ha Jung-woo and Kim Yoon-seok as actors.

 

This action-packed movie did well commercially and critically. The film starts with a taxi driver who is buried neck-deep in gambling debts.

 

As a way out, a local gangster offers him a job to kill a professor in South Korea.

 

As he goes to kill the professor, he sees someone else killing him. From here on, it is a game of cat and mouse between the real killers, the taxi driver, and the police.

 

The film gathered multiple nominations and awards. The film won awards at Grand Bell Awards for costume and cinematography.

 

It also won Best Actor (Ha Jung-woo) at the Baeksang Arts Awards, Korean Association of Film Critics Awards, and Asian Film Awards.

 

At the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival, they won the Best Director for Na Hong-jin.

 

 

40. Rough Cut

 

Rough Cut

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Hun Jang
Written By Kim Ki-duk
Music By Noh Hyung-woo 
Costume Design By Ma Yeon-hee
Cinematography By Kim Gi-tae
Year 2008
Run Time 113 minutes
Starring So Ji-sub, Kang Ji-hwan, Jang Hee-jin, Soo-Hyun Hong, Man-sik Jeong
IMDb 7

 

Rough Cut (Korean: Yeonghwanun Yeonghwada)  is an interesting movie written by Kim Ki-duk. It was Hun Jung’s first film.

 

The story is about a gangster who has a secret wish to become a movie star and a movie star is haughty enough to be a gangster.

 

They both meet and join hands to work on a film. Yet, both of them cannot escape their arrogant attitude to push each other, often blurring the lines between movie fights and real fight scenes.

 

The film was nominated for multiple awards. It won many awards, including Best Actors for So Ji-sub and Kang Ji-hwan at the Busan Film Critics Awards, Baeksang Arts Awards, Korean Association of Film Critics Awards,  Blue Dragon Film Awards, and more.

 

 

39. Confession of Murder

 

Confession of Murder

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Jung Byung-gil
Written By Jung Byung-gil
Music By Kim Woo-geun
Costume Design By Chae Kyung-wha
Cinematography By Kim Ki-tae, Jeong Yong-geon
Year 2012
Run Time 119 minutes
Starring Jae-yeong Jeong, Shi-hoo Park, Hae-Kyun Jung, Yeong-ae Kim
IMDb 7.1

 

Confessions of a Murder (Korean: Naega Salinbeomida) is a psychological action thriller that was written and directed by Jun Byung-gil.

 

This film is his first mainstream movie, as he only directed a documentary before this.

 

The film is about a 15-year-old case where a serial killer escaped from the grasp of the investigating detectives with a bullet wound to his shoulder.

 

For all these years the officer was haunted by his failure in the case. Now, after the statute of limitations has expired on the case, a book is published detailing the murders.

 

When the author claims to be the serial killer, a fresh interest is generated in the case again.

 

Is the author the real killer? If it is a lie, What is his purpose?

 

Who is the real killer? Watch the film for a nail-biting end to a gripping tale.

 

The movie won Best Screenplay at Baeksang Arts Awards and Best Director at Grand Bell Awards.

 

 

38. Sympathy for Mr Vengeance

 

Sympathy for Mr Vengeance

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Park Chan-Wook
Written By Lee Moo-young, Lee Jong-yong, Lee Jae-soon, Park Chan-wook
Music By Baek Hyun-jin, Jang Young-gyu
Costume Design By Seunghee Shin
Cinematography By Kim Byung-il
Year 2002
Run Time 129 minutes
Starring Kang-ho Song, Shin Ha-kyun, Bae Doona, Ji-Eun Lim
IMDb 7.6

 

Sympathy for Mr Vengeance (Korean: Boksuneun Naui Geot) comes from the renowned Korean director Park Chan-wook.

 

The movie is a part of the Vengeance trilogy and includes Oldboy and Lady Vengeance.

 

The story is about a factory worker whose sister needs a kidney transplant in order to survive.

 

He holds the daughter of a wealthy man at ransom, but the plan goes awry.

 

He is now out to get vengeance for this. The film was not a commercial hit.

 

It only earned an approximate gross of $2 million at the box office. Although, it was highly acclaimed by the critics and awards panels.

 

The film won multiple awards for Best Film, Best Screenplay, Best Direction, and more.

 

 

37. New World

 

New World

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Park Hoon-jung
Written By Park Hoon-jung
Music By Youngwook Cho
Costume Design By Jo Sang-kyung
Cinematography By Chung Chung-hoon, Yu Eok
Year 2013
Run Time 134 minutes
Starring Jung-jae Lee, Choi Min-sik, Jung-min Hwang, Park Sung-woong
IMDb 7.6

 

New World (Korean: Sinsegye)  is a crime-action thriller that is written and directed by Park Hoon-jung.

 

The film sold 4.67 million tickets and made decent box office earnings. The story is about an undercover cop who is sent to infiltrate a major crime house.

 

The cop has a tough time balancing the growing suspicion from the gangsters and lack of support from the police.

 

Finally when the time of reckoning comes, which path will he choose and what will be his fate.

 

Makes up the rest of the movie. The acting of Hwang Jung-min was highly praised and it won many awards and nominations.

 

The film was nominated several times for Best Direction, Best Film, Best Screenplay, and more at all major award functions.

 

 

36. Bedevilled

 

Bedevilled

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Jang Cheol-soo
Written By Kwan-Young Choi
Music By Kim Tae-sung
Costume Design By Jinsuk Lee
Cinematography By Kim Gi-tae
Year 2010
Run Time 115 minutes
Starring Yeong-hee Seo, Hwang Geum-hee, Min-ho Hwang, Min Je
IMDb 7.3

 

Bedevilled (Korean: Kim Bok-nam Salinsageonui Jeonmal) is a sad psychological thriller about a woman and her need for vengeance.

 

The film premiered as the official selection at International Critics' Week at the Cannes Film Festival.

 

The story is about an ambitious woman whose only goal is to grow high on the corporate chain at her bank.

 

To enjoy a stress-free vacation, she goes to her hometown to visit her childhood friend.

 

Although she ignored her friend all these years, her friend warmly accepts her. During her stay in her hometown, she witnesses the struggles and difficult life that her friend leads.

 

Despite all that she witnesses, she does not help her friend. Finally, when her daughter is killed, her friend snaps and goes on a killing spree.

 

The film is the first movie of Jang Cheol-soo and it won multiple awards at Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival,  AFI Fest, Grand Bell Awards, Korean Association of Film Critics Awards, Gerardmer International Fantastic Film Festival, and more.

 

 

35. A Bittersweet Life

 

A Bittersweet Life

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Kim Jee-woon
Written By Kim Jee-woon
Music By Dalparan,  Jang Young-gyu
Costume Design By Jo Sang-kyung
Cinematography By Kim Ji-yong
Year 2005
Run Time 119 minutes
Starring Lee Byung-hun, Shin Min-a, Yeong-cheol Kim, Jung-min Hwang
IMDb 7.5

 

A Bittersweet Life (Korean: Dalkomhan insaeng) is crime- action movie that was written and directed by Kim Jee-woon.

 

The film was a commercial hit and it was screened out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival.

 

The story is about a hitman for a crime boss. He is given the task to shadow the crime boss’s mistress to check if she is having an affair.

 

While shadowing her, the hitman is enamored by her and he hides the affair of the mistress from the boss, while also warning the mistress against the affair.

 

As a result, the mistress, her lover, and the crime boss are all upset with him and set out to torture and kill him.

 

He takes his revenge on all of them, but also ends up dead. The film won many awards and nominations and the acting of Lee Byung-hun was particularly praised.

 

The distribution rights were sold in Japan for $3.2 million, which was the highest price at that time.

 

The movie was set to be remade in the US by 2017.

 

 

34. The Chaser

 

The Chaser

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Na Hong-jin 
Written By Na Hong-jin, Shinho Lee, Hong Won-chan
Music By Kim Jun-seok, Choi Yong-rak
Costume Design By Chae Kyung-wha
Cinematography By Lee Sung-jae
Year 2008
Run Time 123 minutes
Starring Kim Yoon-seok, Ha Jung-woo, Yeong-hie Seo, Kim Yoo-jeong
IMDb 7.8

 

The Chaser (Korean: Chugyeokja)  is the story of the real-life serial killer, Yoo Young-chul. The film is the directorial debut film of Na Hong-jin.

 

The film recorded over 5 million ticket sales and it was the third highest-selling movie of 2008.

 

The story is about a former dishonest police officer who turned into a pimp. When his prostitutes go missing, he gets suspicious and uses his old task force colleagues to investigate the customers.

 

How the case is solved and the serial killer is apprehended makes up the rest of the plot.

 

The film won multiple awards including Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Screenplay at Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival, Cine 21 Awards, Director's Cut Awards, Korean Film Awards, and more.

 

 

33. The Man from Nowhere

 

The Man from Nowhere

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Lee Jeong-beom
Written By Lee Jeong-beom
Music By Shim Hyeon-jeong
Costume Design By Joo-hee Jang
Cinematography By Lee Tae-yoon
Year 2010
Run Time 119 minutes
Starring Won Bin, Kim Sae-ron, Kim Tae-hoon, Kim Hee-won
IMDb 7.8

 

The Man From Nowhere (Korean: Ajeossi) is an action thriller by the acclaimed director, Lee Jeong-beom.

 

This film was the highest-grossing film of Korea with an admission of over 6.2 million.

 

The film is about the mysterious and lonely pawnshop owner who is attached to a young girl from his neighborhood.

 

One day, after a drug deal has gone bad, a few thugs come and kidnap the young girl and her mother.

 

After the mother is killed, the crime is pinned on the man. He now has to find the young girl and save her from the thugs, while escaping the police.

 

While investigating the case, the police discover that he is a retired military intelligence officer.

 

Subsequently, he brings down the drug dealer's gang and rescues the girl. The film was the biggest commercial hit of 2010.

 

Even the critics loved the acting of Won Bin. The film won multiple awards for acting, direction, cinematography, visual effects, and more at award shows like Philadelphia Film Festival, Buil Film Awards, Blue Dragon Film Awards, Grand Bell Awards, Director's Cut Awards, Korean Film Awards, and more.

 

 

32. A Taxi Driver

 

A Taxi Driver

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Hun Jang
Written By Um Yuna
Music By Youngwook Cho
Costume Design By Jo Sang-kyung, Choi Yun- seon 
Cinematography By Go Nak-seon
Year 2017
Run Time 137 minutes
Starring Song Kang-ho, Thomas Keurechwiman, Yoo Hae-jin, Park Hyuk-kwon 
IMDb 7.9

 

A Taxi Driver (Korean: Taeksi Unjeonsa) is a real-life tale of a Taxi driver and the German news journalist during the Gwangju Uprising.

 

The film was positively received in South Korea for its perspective on the reporting style of the uprising that was a very sensitive topic in the nation.

 

The story tells us about the journalist, Jürgen Hinzpeter, and his interaction with the Taxi driver, Kim Sa-bok.

 

During the period of the uprising, he was able to get an understanding of the events and their impact through his interaction with the taxi driver.

 

The film was a major box office hit. It was the second highest-grossing film of 2017.

 

The movie was the official South Korean entrant at the Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film.

 

The film won many awards at the festivals such as the Baeksang Arts Awards, Blue Dragon Awards, Korean Association of Film Critics Awards, Grand Bell Awards, and more.

 

 

31. Joint Security Area

 

Joint Security Area

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Park Chan-Wook
Written By Kim Hyun-seok, Lee Moo-young, Seong-san, Lee Sang-soo, Park Chan-wook
Music By Cho Young-wook, Bang Jun-seok
Costume Design By Park Sang-hoon
Cinematography By Kim Seong-bok
Year 2000
Run Time 110 minutes
Starring Lee Yeong-ae, Lee Byung-hun, Kang-ho Song, Kim Tae-Woo
IMDb 7.8

 

Joint Security Area (Korean: Gongdong Gyeongbi Guyeok jeniese uei) is a mystery thriller. It is based on the Korean novel, DMZ, written by Park Sang-yeon.

 

The movie sold over 5.8 million tickets across Korea. The film is based on a fatal shooting incident that took place in the Demilitarized zone.

 

This Demilitarized Zone is a heavily fortified border area that separates North and South Korea.

 

The film covers the investigation done. The film was one of the highest-grossing Korean films and it won the Best Film at many film festivals including Blue Dragon Film Awards and Grand Bell Awards.

 

Lee Byung-hun and Song Kang-ho won Best Actor awards at Busan Film Critics Awards,  Deauville Asian Film Festival, Director's Cut Awards, and more.

 

 

30. Hotel by the River

 

Hotel by the River

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Hong Sang-soo
Written By Hong Sang-soo
Music By Moon Blue
Costume Design By --
Cinematography By Kim Hyung-koo
Year 2018
Run Time 96 minutes
Starring Gi Ju-bong, Kim Min-hee, Song Seon-mi, Kwon Hae-Hyo, Yoo Jun-sang 
IMDb 6.7

 

Hotel By The River (Korean: Gangbyeon hotel) is a heart-rending tale of the interaction between a dysfunctional family of a father and his two sons.

 

The film is written and directed by Hong Sang-soo and it premiered at the Locarno Film Festival.

 

An aging poet invites his two sons to meet him at a hotel. Although both the sons are estranged from each other, they come to meet their father.

 

At the same hotel, two friends come to meet and stay for a while. The poet interacts with both the pairs and dies by the end of his stay there.

 

What happens and how the meeting proceeds make up the film. For the movie, Kwon Hae-hyo was nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the Asian Film Awards.

 

Gi Ju-bong won the Leopard for Best Actor award at the Locarno Film Festival.

 

 

29. Pieta

 

Pieta

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Kim Ki-duk
Written By Kim Ki-duk
Music By Park In-young
Costume Design By Jiyeon Ji
Cinematography By Cho Young-jik
Year 2012
Run Time 102 minutes
Starring Jo Min-soo, Lee Jung-jin, Rainy Hong, Kang Eun-Jin, Jo Jae-ryong 
IMDb 7.2

 

Pieta is a Korean drama that is written and directed by Kim Ki-duk. It has an Italian name, which means pity.

 

The poster of the film is fashioned to represent the sculpture by Michaelangelo, called Pieta.

 

The film is about a brutal money collector who works for a loan shark. A mysterious woman approaches him saying that she is his mother.

 

Soon he realizes that she is not his mother but in fact the mother of one of his victims that he has crippled.

 

He repents his brutal life and commits suicide. The film has been described as being a sickeningly violent film with high sexual content.

 

It received mixed reviews, but it won the prestigious Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival.

 

It also won awards for Kim Ki-duk, Jo Min-su and Lee Jung-jin at major film festivals in Korea and Asia.

 

 

28. Lady Vengeance

 

Lady Vengeance

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Park Chan-Wook
Written By Jeong Seo-kyung, Park Chan-wook
Music By Youngwook Cho
Costume Design By Jo Sang-kyung 
Cinematography By Chung Chung-hoon
Year 2005
Run Time 115 minutes
Starring Nam-mi Kang, Jeong-nam Choi, Hye-Sook Go, Bok-hwa Baek
IMDb 7.6

 

Lady Vengeance (Korean: Chinjeolhan geumjassi) is the third and final installment of the Vengeance trilogy from Park Chan-wook.

 

There were two versions of the film, the standard version and a version where the film fades into black and white.

 

The latter version began with full color and gradually as the film progresses, the color scheme fades into black and white.

 

The story of the film is a tale of vengeance by a wrongly convicted prisoner.

 

The protagonist was a schoolgirl who fell pregnant and went to her teacher for help.

 

He misuses her situation to kidnap a 5-year-old child and kill him. He later snatches her newborn child and forces her to take the blame for the kidnapping.

 

The film competed for the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. It later won the Young Lion Award, the Cinema Of The Future, and The Best Innovated Film Award.

 

It also won the Best Film award at The Blue Dragon Film Awards.

 

 

27. I Saw the Devil

 

I Saw the Devil

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Kim Jee-woon
Written By Park Hoon-jung
Music By Mowg
Costume Design By Haein Entertainment
Cinematography By Lee Mo-gae
Year 2010
Run Time 141 minutes
Starring Lee Byung-hun, Choi Min-sik, Jeon Gook-hwan, Ho-jin Chun
IMDb 7.8

 

I Saw The Devil (Korean: Angmareul boatda) is an action thriller starring Lee Byung-hun and Choi Min-sik.

 

The film was initially given a rating of R for the amount of violence shown, but there were seven cuts made to reduce the violence before it was cleared for release.

 

The film starts with a serial killer, killing a pregnant lady driver that he kidnapped.

 

When the body is dumped, the Squad chief recognizes the body as his daughter and immediately her fiance starts a covert investigation to find the real killer and tortures him to death.

 

The film has been described as a pulverizing thriller that descends into depravity yet does not lose its real emotions.

 

There is an undercurrent of unrelenting tragedy and sadness. The film was nominated for several awards and won many of them for Best Actor, Best Director, Best Editor, and more.

 

 

26. Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War

 

Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Kang Je-gyu
Written By Kang Je-gyu, Han Ji-hun, Kim Sang-don
Music By Lee Dong-jun
Costume Design By Lee Ja-young, Kim Jung-won
Cinematography By Hong Kyung-pyo
Year 2004
Run Time 148 minutes
Starring Jang Dong Gun, Won Bin, Lee Eun Joo, Gong Hyung-jin, Yi Young-ran 
IMDb 8

 

Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War ( Korean: Taegukgi Hwinallimyeo) is a wartime action drama film that was widely appreciated and praised.

 

The film is one of the biggest South Korean films ever made. The film sold over 11.7 million tickets.

 

The story is about a pair of brothers who were drafted into the army during the Korean war.

 

The elder brother tries his utmost to win the medal of Taeguk Cordon of the Order of Military Merit so that he can request his brother's discharge from the army.

 

Although he gets the award, his wife is branded as communist and arrested. For trying to stop her arrest,  the brothers are also arrested and the wife is killed.

 

Later during the Chinese incursion of Korea, the brothers are separated and the elder brother ends up on the North Korean side with the younger one left behind in South Korea.

 

The film is a heart-rending tale of survival, revenge, love, and struggle. The film won multiple awards for acting, art direction, technical awards, and direction at Blue Dragon Film Awards, Baeksang Arts Awards, Grand Bell Awards, and more.

 

 

25. Thirst

 

Thirst

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Park Chan-Wook
Written By Jeong Seo-kyung   Park Chan-wook
Music By Young-Wook Cho
Costume Design By Jo Sang-kyung 
Cinematography By Chung Chung-hoon
Year 2009
Run Time 134 minutes
Starring Kang-ho Song, Kim Ok-bin, Hee-jin Choi, Dong-soo Seo
IMDb 7.1

 

Thirst (Korean: Bakjwi) is a horror film by Park Chan-wook and Jeong Seo-kyung. The film was named Bats, but later, the English title was revised to Thirst.

 

The film follows the story of a Christian priest who is well-loved and appreciated by his parishioners.

 

He offers to become a test subject for a new drug to cure a fatal disease.

 

The test goes wrong and the priest starts displaying Vampiric behaviors. At the same time, his old friend enters his life and the priest feels attracted to his friend's wife.

 

While the priest knows that it is wrong, he cannot help but sin and drink blood.

 

Under the influence of the wife, the priest murders his friend and turns her into a vampire too.

 

Although the priest can control his urges and stay sane, the wife turns evil and kills indiscriminately.

 

How the priest stops the wife and ends the logjam makes up the rest of the movie.

 

The film won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Apart from being a commercial hit, the film also won acting and direction awards.

 

 

24. Oldboy

 

Oldboy

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Park Chan-Wook
Written By Jo-yoon Hwang, Jun-hyung Lim, Chan-wook Park
Music By Youngwook Cho
Costume Design By Jo Sang-kyung 
Cinematography By Chung Chung-hoon
Year 2003
Run Time 120 minutes
Starring Choi Min-sik, Yoo Ji-Tae, Kang Hye-jeong, Kim Byeong-Ok
IMDb 8.4

 

OldBoy (Korean: Oldeuboi) is the second film in the Vengeance trilogy by Park Chan-wook. The film is an adaptation of the Japanese manga novel with the same name, written by Garon Tsuchiya.

 

The film tells us the story of a man who was held in a private prison for 15 years without any knowledge about the crime he committed.

 

Finally, when he is free, he sets out to find his family and seek revenge.

 

Along the way, he finds a chef and falls in love with her. Finally, when the truth is revealed, he ends up a broken man.

 

The film has been compared to the tale of King Oedipus. It won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival.

 

The acting of Choi Min-sik and the direction of Park Chan-wook won multiple awards.

 

 

23. The Housemaid

 

The Housemaid

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Kim Ki-young
Written By Kim Ki-young
Music By Han Sang-gi
Costume Design By Park Seok-in
Cinematography By Kim Deok-jin
Year 1960
Run Time 108 minutes
Starring Kim Jin-kyu, Ju Jeung-ryu, Um Aing-ran, Go Seon-ae 
IMDb 7.3

 

The Housemaid (Korean: Hanyeo) is considered to be one of the top three greatest films in South Korean history.

 

The film is the first movie in the Housemaid trilogy by the director Kim Ki-young.

 

The film was remade in 2010 by Im Sang-soo. The story is about a household that hires a new maid.

 

Until then the relatively peaceful life is turned upside down with the entry of a femme-fatale as the housemaid.

 

She schemes her way into the life of the composer and gets pregnant. She slowly destroys the family and finally convinces the husband to commit suicide along with her.

 

The film was described by the editor-in-chief of Cahier Du Cinema as a shocking film that was disturbing and also pleasurable.

 

He regretted discovering the movie after 40 years of being released. He praised the director Kim Ki-young as an extraordinary image-maker.

 

 

22. The Good the Bad the Weird

 

The Good the Bad the Weird

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Kim Jee-woon
Written By Kim Jee-woon   Kim Min-seok
Music By Dalparan,  Jang Young-gyu
Costume Design By Haein Entertainment
Cinematography By Lee Mo-gae
Year 2008
Run Time 139 minutes
Starring Kang-ho Song, Lee Byung-hun, Jung Woo-sung, Je-mun Yun
IMDb 7.3

 

The Good The Bad The Weird ( Korean: Jo-eun nom nappeun nom isanghan nom) has a title that is inspired by the old spaghetti western film, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

 

The story is vaguely similar, yet different in its own way. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.

 

The story follows a quest for a hidden treasure map that the Japanese are transporting across Manchuria.

 

This treasure map is coveted by the Bad, the Weird, and the Manchurian bandits. The Good enters the scene as a bounty hunter to apprehend the Bad.

 

The critics gave a positive review of the film and praised the action, cinematography, and direction.

 

The film was also loved by the audience, making it the second-highest-grossing Korean movie of 2008.

 

The film also won multiple awards and nominations.

 

 

21. Minari

 

Minari

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Lee Isaac Chung
Written By Isaac Jeong
Music By Emile Mosseri
Costume Design By Susanna Song
Cinematography By Lachlan Milne
Year 2020
Run Time 115 minutes
Starring Steven Yeun, Han Ye-ri, Youn Yuh-jung, Kim Allen, Joe Noel
IMDb 7.5

 

Minari (Korean: Minari) is Korean water celery. The film is a heartwarming tale of a Korean family that emigrated to the United States in the 1980s.

 

It is said to be a semi-autobiographical tale of the director, Lee Isaac Chung’s childhood.

 

A family of Koreans moves from California to midwestern Arkansas to start farming Korean vegetables.

 

They face all the difficulties of skepticism, health problems, family discord, and survival. The film was nominated for over 200 awards and won 108 of them including an Academy Award for Youn Yuh-jung.

 

The film was nominated at the Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Steven Yuen), Best Original screenplay, and more.

 

 

20. The Villainess

 

The Villainess

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Jeong Byung-gil
Written By Jeong Byung-gil, Jeong Byung-sik
Music By Jawan Koo
Costume Design By Chae Kyung-wha
Cinematography By Park Jung-hun
Year 2017
Run Time 129 minutes
Starring Ok-bin Kim, Shin Ha-kyun, Sung Joon, Kim Seo-hyung, Jo Eun-ji 
IMDb 6.7

 

The Villainess (Korean: Ak Nyeo) is an action crime thriller that premiered at the 70th Cannes Film Festival.

 

This film by Jeong Byung-gil got a four-minute standing ovation from the audience and generally favourable reviews.

 

The story is about a female assassin who worked for the Korean government for 10 years.

 

After the service ended, the agent became an actress and began her new life. But, the past catches up when two strangers start uncovering deep and hidden secrets from her past.

 

The film was also screened at the New York Asian Film Festival and received the Daniel E.

 

Craft Award for Excellence in Action Cinema. It also won awards at the Grand Bell Awards, Blue Dragon Awards, Bil Film Awards, Busan Film Critics Awards, and more.

 

 

19. Chihwaseon

 

Chihwaseon

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Im Kwon-taek
Written By Kim Yong-ok and Im Kwon-taek
Music By Kim Young-dong
Costume Design By Hyeran Lee
Cinematography By Jeong Il-seong
Year 2002
Run Time 117 minutes
Starring Choi Min-sik, Ahn Sung-ki, Yoo Ho-jeong, Kim Yeo-jin, Son Ye-jin 
IMDb 7.2

 

Painted Fire is the English name of the Korean film Chwi-hwa-seon. This Korean drama is based on the life of the Korean painter and artist Jang Seung-eop.

 

He is the 19th-century painter who changed the face of art in South Korea. The story is about the growth and progress of the Korean artist Jang Seung-eop.

 

He started off as a casual artist who could imitate art done by others. His journey to recognize his own definitive style puts him on a collision course with all his well-wishers, those who want to help him and love him.

 

The film is set against the backdrop of political and social unrest in Korea when it struggled between Chinese and Japanese influence.

 

The film won many national and international awards at film festivals like the Chicago International Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival, César Awards, Belgian Syndicate of Cinema Critics, Korean Association of Film Critics Awards.

 

 

18. A Tale of Two Sisters

 

A Tale of Two Sisters

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Kim Jee-woon
Written By Kim Jee-woon
Music By Byung-Woo Lee
Costume Design By Chrysanthemum
Cinematography By Lee Mo-gae
Year 2003
Run Time 114 minutes
Starring Lim, Yum Jung-ah, Kim Kap-soo, Moon, Bak mi hyun
IMDb 7.2

 

A Tale Of Two Sisters (Korean: Janghwa, Hongryeon) is a psychological horror drama that gained international notoriety for its gruesome depictions.

 

The film was inspired by a Joseon Dynasty folklore called Janghwa, Hongryeon Jeon. The film starts in a mental asylum where two sisters are being released after receiving treatment.

 

They are taken home, where their father and stepmother stay. There are a series of strange and unexplained events in the house.

 

They make us believe that the house is haunted. The film is the highest-grossing Korean horror film.

 

It is also the first film to be screened in American theatres upon release. The film won Best Picture, Best Actress, Best art direction awards, and more at film festivals, including Screamfest Horror Film Festival, Gérardmer Film Festival, Busan film festival, Grand Bell Awards, Blue Dragon Awards, and more.

 

 

17. Chunhyang

 

Chunhyang

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Im Kwon-taek
Written By Kim Myung-gon
Music By Kim Jeong-gil
Costume Design By Hyun-suk Bong
Cinematography By Jung Il-sung
Year 2000
Run Time 133 minutes
Starring Yi Hyo-jeong, Jo Seung-woo, Yi Jeong-heon, Kim Seong-nyeo, Kim Hak-yong 
IMDb 7.1

 

Chunhyang is a Pansori film that narrates the most famous pansori story of Chunhyangga. The film was directed by Im Kwon-taek, and he presents a new interpretation of the oral tradition of storytelling.

 

The film depicts the story of Chunhyung, who is the daughter of a courtesan. The Governor's son falls in love with her and marries her without informing his father.

 

Soon he leaves for Seoul to attend the officers' exams. A new governor comes to town, and he covets Chunhyung for himself.

 

When she rebuffed his advances, he decided to flog her to death. In the meantime, Chunhyung's husband becomes an officer and comes to that town on the king's duty and saves his wife.

 

The film entered the Cannes Film Festival, Telluride film festival,  Asia Pacific Film Festival,  Hawaii International Film Festival, and more.

 

It won awards at most of the festivals it attended.

 

 

16. 3-Iron

 

3-Iron

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Kim Ki-duk
Written By Kim Ki-duk
Music By Sylvian
Costume Design By Goo Ji-hyeon
Cinematography By Jinwoo Shin
Year 2004
Run Time 88 minutes
Starring Lee Seung-yeon, Jae Hee, Kwon Hyeok-ho, Joo Jin-mo, Choi Jeong-ho 
IMDb 8

 

3-Iron (Korean: Bin-Jip) is a Korean romantic drama written, directed, and produced by Kim Ki-duk.

 

The film title was decided as 3-iron from the kind of golf club used and mentioned, predominantly, throughout the film.

 

The film is about the relationship that develops between a drifter and an abused housewife that he rescues.

 

The drifter moves from one place to another, living in the homes of other people.

 

Yet, he is an honest man who cares deeply about the abused woman. The abusive husband returns and takes the wife back.

 

At this point, he decides to stealthily pursue the woman and continue to save her from abuse.

 

The film won Little Golden Lion, SIGNIS Award - Honorable Mention, Silver Lion for Best Direction, and FIPRESCI Prize at Venice International Film Festival.

 

It also won the Golden Spike Award at the Valladolid Film Festival. Apart from this, it also won the Best Screenplay at the Korean Association of Film Critics Awards.

 

 

15. Treeless Mountain

 

Treeless Mountain

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Kim So-yong
Written By Kim So-yong
Music By Eric Offin
Costume Design By --
Cinematography By Anne Misawa
Year 2008
Run Time 89 minutes
Starring Kim Hee-yeon, Kim Seong-hee, Kim Mi-hyang, Lee Soo-ah, Park Bun-tak 
IMDb 7

 

Treeless Mountain (Korean: Namueopneun San) is a short film based on a story about two sisters trying to survive without their mother.

 

The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and had a limited release in America.

 

The story is about two children who live with their mother, and the father is absent.

 

One day, the mother sends the children to their paternal aunt to go looking for their father.

 

The kids face difficulties and uncertainty but persevere in the hope of meeting their mother again.

 

The film received, generally, positive reviews upon release. The critics described the film as being difficult to watch but worth sticking till the end.

 

The Boston Globe described the film as a sad tale of life from the eyes of a hardened 6-year-old child.

 

 

14. Memories of Murder

 

Memories of Murder

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Bong Joon Ho
Written By Bong Joon-ho and Shim Sung-bo
Music By Iwashiro Taro
Costume Design By Kim Yoo-sun
Cinematography By Kim Hyung-koo
Year 2003
Run Time 131 minutes
Starring Song Kang-ho, Kim Sang-kyung, Kim Roi-ha, Song Jae-ho, Byun Hee-bong 
IMDb 8.1

 

Memories of Murder (Korean: Sarinui chueok) is based on the short play called, Come to see me, written by Kim Kwang-rim.

 

The film is a true story about the first-ever serial murders that occurred in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province.

 

The film follows two detectives who are sent to solve a series of crimes where the victims are young girls who are raped and killed by the culprit.

 

While the lead detective is unaccustomed to such crimes and depends on his eye-contact method to find the culprit, the other detective from Seoul is a younger, more professional one who collects the evidence correctly.

 

The film is only the second film by Bong Joon-ho. The picture was critically praised for its editing, tone, cinematography, direction, screenplay, and acting.

 

The acting of Song Kang-ho was especially commended. It won up to 30 awards from hundreds of nominations.

 

 

13. Save The Green Planet!

 

Save The Green Planet!

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Jang Joon-hwan
Written By Jang Joon-hwan
Music By Lee Dong-jun
Costume Design By Geun-young Jang, Kim Kyung-hee
Cinematography By Hong Kyung-pyo
Year 2003
Run Time 117 minutes
Starring Shin Ha-kyun, Baek Yoon-sik, Hwang Jung-min, Lee Jae-yong, Lee Ju-hyun 
IMDb 7.3

 

Save The Green Planet! (Korean: Jigureul Jikyeora!) is a sci-fi comedy-drama. It is about a man trying to save earth from an alien invasion.

 

The story is written and directed by Jang Joon-hwan. The story is about a man and his girlfriend who kidnap a top executive of a pharmaceutical company on the suspicion that he is the leader of the alien race from Andromeda and that he can contact the prince on that planet.

 

While the police investigate the disappearance of the pharma exec, we get to know that the man is mentally unstable.

 

His mother is in a coma because of an experiment by the pharma company. This results in the man going mad.

 

The film won the Golden Raven at the Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Films. It also won awards at Busan Film Critics Association Award, Cine21, Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema, etc.

 

 

12. Right Now, Wrong Then

 

Right Now, Wrong Then

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Hong Sang-soo
Written By Hong Sang-soo
Music By Yongjin Jung
Costume Design By Lee Je-han
Cinematography By Park Hong-yeol
Year 2015
Run Time 121 minutes
Starring Jung Jae-young, Kim Min-hee, Youn Yuh-jung, Gi Ju-bong
IMDb 7.2

 

Right Now, Wrong Then (Korean: Jigeumeun-matgo-geuttaeneun-teullida)) is a film written and directed by Hong Sang-soo.

 

The film presents the same day from different perspectives with different outcomes. The first part shows the director of a film arriving early for a film festival.

 

He spends the day sightseeing and meets a young lady who left her modeling career to pursue painting.

 

By the end of the day, although he likes the girl, their friendship turns sour.

 

In the second part, the same day repeats, but the reactions and words are spoken are more sensible and produce a better outcome.

 

The director and the young lady part ways on a positive note with a promise of good friendship.

 

The film won the Golden Leopard prize at the Locarno International Film Festival. At the same event, Jung Jae-hyun won the Best Actor award.

 

The film won many more accolades at the Korean Association of Film Critics Awards, Gijon International Film Festival, Busan Film Critics Awards, and more.

 

 

11. War of the Arrows

 

War of the Arrows

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Kim Han-min
Written By Kim Han-min
Music By Kim Tae-seong
Costume Design By Kwon Kwon
Cinematography By Kim Tae-seong, Park Jong-chul
Year 2011
Run Time 122 minutes
Starring Park Hae-il, Seung-ryong Ryu, Mu-yeol Kim, Moon Chae-Won
IMDb 7.2

 

War Of The Arrows ( Korean: Choejongbyeonggi Hwal) is a Korean period action film. It is set in the time of the second Manchu invasion of Korea.

 

The film drew an audience of 7.48 million viewers and became the highest-grossing film of 2011.

 

The film also uses the endangered language of Manchu to create authenticity. The film is about a brother and sister pair who lived in Korea during the Manchu invasion.

 

They get separated as the sister is abducted and taken away. The brother is a skilled archer.

 

He tracks down his sister in the enemy camp and faces many battles to save her and her fiance.

 

The film was a critical and commercial success. It won many prestigious awards, including the Korean Association of Film Critics Awards, Grand Bell Awards, Blue Dragon Film Awards, Korean Culture and Entertainment Awards, and more.

 

 

10. Train to Busan

 

Train to Busan

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Yeon Sang-ho
Written By Park Joo-suk
Music By Jang Young-gyu
Costume Design By Kwon Kwon, Im Seung-hee 
Cinematography By Lee Hyung-deok
Year 2016
Run Time 118 minutes
Starring Gong Yoo, Yu-mi Jung, Ma Dong-seok, Su-an Kim
IMDb 7.6

 

Train to Busan (Korean: Busanhaeng) is an action horror film directed by Yeon Sang-ho. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival at the 12-midnight screening section.

 

It was very successful with the audience and became the first film of the year to sell over 10 million tickets nationwide.

 

The film follows a bunch of different passengers who board the train to Busan. Along the way, they become aware that there has been a biochemical virus leak, which causes most of the population to become zombies.

 

The group has to survive till they can get to safety in Busan. The film was very successful commercially and earned over $98 million worldwide.

 

Even the critics appreciated the action-horror flick and gave it 98% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

 

It was nominated for several awards and won many technical awards for sound and visual effects and more.

 

 

9. The Host

 

The Host

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Bong Joon Ho
Written By Bong Joon-ho, Ha Jun- won, Baek Cheol-hyeon
Music By Lee Byung-woo
Costume Design By Jo Sang-kyung 
Cinematography By Kim Hyung-koo
Year 2006
Run Time 119 minutes
Starring Song Kang-ho, Byun Hee-bong, Park Hae-il, Bae Doona, Go Ah-sung 
IMDb 7.1

 

The Host (Korean: Gwoemul) is an action-packed horror film that made Bong Joon-ho a household name across the globe.

 

The film sold over 13 million tickets across Korea, making it the highest-grossing film at that time.

 

The film also tasted success with the limited release it got in the USA. The film is about a river monster created because of all the chemicals dumped into the river.

 

This monster attacks the park goers, small businesses, and restaurants set up along the riverside.

 

To prevent any panic and chaos, the government tries to suppress any information leak to the media.

 

However, to a father who runs a small restaurant along the river, the safety of his family is the most important.

 

He rebels against the government to rescue his daughter and kill the monster if possible.

 

The film won several awards, including Best Film at the Asian Film Awards, Asia Pacific Film Festival, the Blue Dragon Film Awards, Korean Film Awards, etc.

 

 

8. Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter… and Spring

 

Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter… and Spring

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Kim Ki-duk
Written By Kim Ki-duk
Music By Park Ji-yong
Costume Design By Minhee Kim
Cinematography By Baek Dong-hyun
Year 2003
Run Time 103 minutes
Starring O Yeong-su, Kim Young-min, Seo Jae-kyung, Kim Jong-ho
IMDb 8

 

Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter... Spring (Korean: Bom yeoreum gaeul gyeoul geurigo bom) is a drama about the life of a Buddhist monk as he passes the various phases of life.

 

The film was written and directed by Kim Ki-duk. The story follows the life of a young boy who comes as an apprentice at a monastery until he becomes a senior Buddhist monk.

 

We see him learn from his mistakes. Buddhist symbols and animal representations depict joy, anger, sorrow, jealousy, repentance, etc.

 

The film is a poignant tale that was well received. It was rated 95% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

 

Kim Ki-duk received great praise for his style of direction that uses less dialogue, with minimal explanation or speeches on the message he intends to convey.

 

The film won multiple international awards like the Best Foreign film at the Argentinean Film Critics Association Awards, Association of Polish Filmmakers Critics Awards, many awards at Locarno International Film Festival, and more.

 

 

7. The Handmaiden

 

The Handmaiden

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Park Chan-Wook
Written By Park Chan-wook, Jeong Seo-kyung
Music By Youngwook Cho
Costume Design By Jo Sang-kyung 
Cinematography By Chung Chung-hoon
Year 2016
Run Time 144 minutes
Starring Kim Min-hee, Ha Jung-woo, Cho Jin-woong, Moon So-ri
IMDb 6.1

 

The Handmaiden (Korean: Agassi) is a psychological thriller that is set in Japanese occupied Korea.

 

The story is adapted from a novel called Fingersmith that was written by the Welsh writer Sarah Waters.

 

The film is listed among the All-time top ten movies compiled from over 30 international film critics.

 

The story is about an elaborate con played out by different people. They all try to doublecross each other.

 

We have a Korean book collector and dealer who uses his niece to auction different prized books.

 

His niece is a Japanese heiress who wants freedom from the oppressive men around her.

 

She falls in love with her handmaiden, who is in turn set up to lure her into marrying a fake Japanese nobleman.

 

This fake nobleman is after the money of the heiress. The film won over 60 awards, including Best Foreign language film at the BAFTAs, Saturn Awards, Austin Film Critics Association awards, and more.

 

It also won many national awards like Grand Bell Awards, Blue Dragon Awards, BaekSang Arts Awards, and more.

 

 

6. Burning

 

Burning

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Lee Chang-dong
Written By Oh Jeong- mi, Lee Chang-dong
Music By Mowg
Costume Design By Choongyeon Lee
Cinematography By Hong Kyung-pyo
Year 2018
Run Time 148 minutes
Starring Yoo Ah-in, Steven Yeun, Jeon Jong-seo
IMDb 7.5

 

Burning (Korean: Beoning) is a psychological thriller by Lee Chang-dong. He came back with this film after a long hiatus of eight years.

 

The film is based on the short stories, The Elephant Vanishes by Haruki Murakami and Barn Burning by William Faulkner.

 

The film story is about a young man who runs into his old friend while making a delivery.

 

They both become close to each other. When she needs to travel abroad, she trusts her old friend to take care of her cat.

 

However, she returns with an enigmatic young man. Soon, the young man becomes suspicious of her friend, who has the strange hobby of burning down greenhouses.

 

In the end, when the girl goes missing, the young man starts stalking the friend and finds disturbing things.

 

The film competed for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and received the FIPRESCI International Critics' Prize.

 

It was widely praised by many critics as one of the best films of the 21st century.

 

It was also shortlisted to top 9 films for the Best Foreign language films at the Oscars.

 

 

5. Mother

 

Mother

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Bong Joon Ho
Written By Park Eun-kyo,  Bong Joon-ho
Music By Lee Byung-woo
Costume Design By Seyeon Choi
Cinematography By Hong Kyung-pyo
Year 2009
Run Time 128 minutes
Starring Hye-ja Kim, Won Bin, Jin Goo, Je-mun Yun
IMDb 7.8

 

Mother (Korean: Madeo) is a suspense thriller that was directed and co-written by Bong Joon-ho.

 

It premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in the category of Un Certain Regard. The story is about a mother who is very poor but dotes on her only son.

 

He is intellectually challenged and gets very upset when he is called a retard. Her biggest worry is when he starts hanging out with the local thug.

 

One day, a young girl is found murdered on an abandoned rooftop. Based on circumstantial evidence, the son is arrested.

 

The mother has to run from pillar to post to conduct her own investigation and find the actual killer.

 

Who turns out to be the killer is the main suspense. The film got a 96% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

 

The New York Times described the performance of Kim Hye-ja as alternatively dazzling and frustrating as the mother.

 

The film won multiple awards at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards, Asian Film Awards, Blue Dragon Awards, BaekSang Arts Awards, and more.

 

 

4. The Wailing

 

The Wailing

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Na Hong-jin 
Written By Na Hong-jin 
Music By Jang Young-gyu, Dalpalan
Costume Design By Chae Kyung-wha
Cinematography By Hong Kyung-Pyo
Year 2016
Run Time 156 minutes
Starring Jun Kunimura, Jung-min Hwang, Kwak Do-won, Woo-hee Chun
IMDb 7.5

 

The Wailing (Korean: Gokseong) is a horror suspense movie. It takes place in rural South Korea.

 

The film was a commercial and critical success that had everyone praising the story, the direction, and the acting throughout the film.

 

The story takes place in a small town called Gokseong, where a strange Japanese man comes to live.

 

Soon the villagers start to experience an unexplained illness, and families are brutally murdered. A local police officer investigates and finds that all the cases are linked to the stranger in town.

 

The man has been described as a demon with red eyes. Although the officer takes the help of a local shaman, his daughter, too is affected by the illness.

 

A woman in white tries to warn the officers and help them. She is confused with the actual demon, and her warnings are ignored.

 

If you want to know in the end, who survives, who wins, and who is the demon, watch the movie.

 

Na Hong-jin won the Best Director and Best Film award at several film festivals like Asian Film Awards, BaekSang Arts Awards, Blue Dragon Awards, BloodGuts UK Horror Film Awards, Bucheon International film Awards, Buil Film Awards, and more.

 

 

3. Parasite

 

Parasite

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Bong Joon Ho
Written By Bong Joon-ho, Han Jin-won
Music By Jaeil Jeong
Costume Design By Seyeon Choi
Cinematography By Hong Kyung-pyo
Year 2019
Run Time 132 minutes
Starring Kang-ho Song, Sun-kyun Lee, Yeo-jeong Cho, Woo-sik Choi
IMDb 8.6

 

Parasite (Korean: Gisaengchung) is a black comedy thriller directed by Bong Joon-ho. He also co-wrote the film along with Han Jin-woo.

 

The film won four Academy Awards and several more nominations. The story is about two different families on the opposite ends of the wealth spectrum.

 

While the wealthy family looks down upon the poor with disgust and disdain. The poor family aspires to become rich by any means possible.

 

The poor family executes an elaborate scam to infiltrate the home of the rich and slowly take over their lives and wealth.

 

In the end, both the families face irrecoverable losses. Yet, the poor family vows to one day avenge their loss and take over the house.

 

The film was given a score of 98% on Rotten Tomatoes. The film won over 305 awards at many major film festivals and awards like the Academy Awards, BAFTAs, Screen Actors Guild Awards, Asia Pacific Screen Awards, Asian Film Awards, Bui Film Awards, Blue Dragon Awards, AFI Awards, BaekSang Art Awards, and more.

 

 

2. The Age of Shadows

 

The Age of Shadows

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Kim Jee-woon
Written By Kim Jee-woon
Music By Mowg
Costume Design By Jo Sang-kyung 
Cinematography By Kim Ji-yong
Year 2016
Run Time 140 minutes
Starring Lee Byung-hun, Kang-ho Song, Zach Aguilar, Gong Yoo
IMDb 7.1

 

The Age Of Shadow (Korean:  Miljeong) is a period drama set in the 1920s when Korea was a Japanese colony, and China was secretly assisting the Koreans to fight back.

 

This action thriller is spread across Shanghai and Seoul. The film was a major commercial and critical success.

 

The story follows a Korean police captain who betrays most of his fellow countrymen to the Japanese in the hopes of gaining promotions and wealth from them.

 

The Japanese trust him to get all the information on the Korean resistance forces. Initially, the captain is willing to do the job.

 

However, he sees his childhood friend, who was a resistance fighter, being killed. This causes him to change his heart.

 

Meanwhile, the leader of the Korean resistance observes the Korean captain and recognizes him as a turncoat.

 

He sees potential in the captain to turn to the Korean camp and betray the Japanese.

 

From here starts the game of spies, lies, and betrayal. The film was Korea’s official entry to the Best Foreign Film category at the Academy Awards.

 

The film was also rated 100% fresh at the Rotten Tomatoes. The critics described the movie as a patriotic film that delivers superb action scenes in a stylish cloak and dagger film.

 

The film won multiple awards at the Korean Association of Film Critics Awards, Grand Bell Awards, Baeksang Art Awards, Austin Fantastic Fest, etc.

 

 

1. Poetry

 

Poetry

 

Entity Detail
Directed By Lee Chang-dong
Written By Lee Chang-dong
Music By --
Costume Design By Lee Choong-yeon
Cinematography By Kim Hyun-seok
Year 2010
Run Time 139 minutes
Starring Yoon Jeong-hee, Kim Hee-ra, Lee David, Ahn Nae-sang
IMDb 7.8

 

Poetry (Korean: Si) is a drama inspired partly by a real-life incident and partly from the director's interpretation while watching a Japanese music show.

 

It was written and directed by the famed director Lee Chang-dong. The story is about an elderly lady of over 60 years.

 

She stays alone with her grandson, who is an ill-mannered young lad. She lives on government aid and works part-time as a care worker for a stroke patient.

 

When she starts to have a problem with her forgetfulness, she gets herself checked and is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

 

In the meantime, the grandson has mixed with a bad crowd. He is involved in the rape of a schoolgirl, who later committed suicide.

 

The group of boys comes to the lady to collect compensation to pay off the victim’s mother.

 

As her problems compound, the old lady can only find solace in poetry that she has taken up recently as a hobby.

 

The film was rated 100% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. The critics have described the story as a poignant tale with no easy solution to the central conflict of the film.

 

The film won the Best Screenplay Award at the Cannes Film Festival. The film also won the Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actress at the Grand Bell Awards, Blue Dragon Film Awards, Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress, the Asia Pacific Screen Award, etc.

 

This list is the 100 top Korean movies that Entoin recommends that we should watch.

 

All the movies on the list might not be to your taste, but this is a comprehensive list of movies that represent the best of what South Korean cinema has to offer the world.