Best Korean Movies
Do you love watching all kinds of movies? Are you looking to enter the zone of watching Korean Cinema but are unsure of where to begin? If you have a positive answer, then look no further. Here is a compiled list of the best Korean movies that you can watch today, ranked by their ratings. Whether you like mysteries, comedy, thrillers, or action movies, this list has covered all of them. The movies in this list are some of the finest ones made in Korean Cinema, so all of them are definitely worth the time, and almost everyone is sure to like them. There might be some movies that might have low ratings, but you like them more. After all, people have different tastes, and the likability of a movie can be very subjective. So, make sure you do not underestimate any movie here. Whether ranked high or low, it is sure to make for a good experience. Let us get started.
1. Parasite (2019)
The parasite is a thriller and comedy film. Although you might like comedy movies, stay aware that this movie has some dark humor/ dark comedy within it which might make some people uncomfortable. The movie itself is a great one to watch and highly rated as well. The director of the film is Bong Joon-ho, and the producers of the film are Bong Joon-ho, Kwak Sin-ae, Moon Yang-Kwon, and Jang Young-hwan. The main cast of the movie consists of Song Kang-ho playing Kim Ki-taek, Lee Sun-kyun playing Park Dong-ik, Cho Yeo-Jeong playing Choi Yeon-gyo, Choi Woo-Shik playing Kim Ki-woo, Park So-dam playing Kim Ki-Jung, Jang Hye-jin playing Chung-sook, and Lee Jung-eun playing Gook Moon-gwang. The story revolves around a low-income family in Seoul who struggle on a regular basis to make ends meet. The family members then impersonate extremely well-qualified people and get jobs with a very wealthy family.
They form a symbiotic relationship for money; hence the movie is named parasite. The parasite was a highly successful film with very positive reviews. It also became the first Korean film to have over 1 million moviegoers in Japan in 15 years. The movie has brilliantly depicted social themes like class conflict, economic inequality, and social inequality. It holds the world record for being the International Feature Film with the most Oscar wins and the first film to have won both Best Picture and Best International Feature Film Oscar. The movie has also won an insane number of awards and even more nominations. If dark humor is fine with you, this movie is a must-watch.
2. A Taxi Driver (2017)
A Taxi driver is a historical drama and action film written by Eom Yu-na. The director of the film is Jang Hoon, and the producers of the film are Park Un-kyoung and Han Seung-ryeong. The film's main cast includes Song Kang-ho as Kim Man-seob, who is the lead role of a taxi driver, and Thomas Kretschmann as Jürgen Hinzpeter. The story is based on the real-life historical event of the 1980 - Gwangju Uprising. However, there are many inaccuracies regarding the taxi driver's life since it was mostly unknown other than during events. The interactions between German Reporter Jürgen Hinzpeter and the taxi driver Kim Sa-bok, who unwillingly ends up being involved with the Gwangju Uprising, are the main revolving point of the movie.
The movie succeeded and became the 12th highest-grossing South Korean Movie in its cinema history, as well as the 2nd highest-grossing South Korean film in 2017. The movie got highly positive reviews and was praised for the normal citizen perspective it provided to the historical event. The movie earned a lot of award nominations and scored a win in many of them. The film also earned the title of being the 10th most-watched local film ever in South Korea. It became the most-watched movie in 2017 in South Korea within 2 weeks of its release.
3. 1987: When the Day Comes (2017)
1987: When the Day Comes is a political and thriller film written by Kim Kyung-chan. The director of the film is Jang Joon-hwan, and the producers are Jung Won-chan and Jang Young-hwan. The main cast of the movie includes Kim Yoon-Seok playing Park Cheo-won (a Commissioner), Ha Jung-woo playing Choi Hwan (a Prosecutor), Kim Tae-Ri playing Yeon-hee, Lee Hee-Joon playing Yoon Sang-sam (a reporter), Park Hee-soon playing Jo Han-Kyung (a Lieutenant) and Yoo Hae-jin playing Han Byung-yong.
The movie is based on a true story and, as the name suggests, is set in the year 1987 and shows the events which led to the June Democratic Uprising. It follows the oppressive military regime and how a student is killed during an unlawful police interrogation which leads the common citizens to get enraged and fight for rights. The movie earned praise for the storytelling, where it shifted through multiple characters in order to portray their efforts.
4. Be With You (2018)
Be With You is a romantic Korean film for those interested in love stories. The film is a Korean remake of the Japanese movie Be with You (2004). The Director of the movie is Lee Jang-hoon, and the producer of the movie is Yang Soo-Jung. The main characters of the love story are So Ji-sub, Jung Woo-jin, and Son Ye-jin, as Im Soo-ah. In the movie, Woo-jin is a father taking care of his son. His wife Soo-ah has passed away, but in her last moments, she promised to return during the rainy season exactly one year later. When a year passes by, Soo-ah appears before her small family, but she does not have any memories of them. Sadly, it is later found out that she cannot stay once the rainy season is over.
The story was originally written by Takuji Ichikawa in his novel Be with You. On its opening day, it achieved first place at the local box office and, by the end of the first weekend, was the first place holder at the weekend box office. The film is sad but lovely at different times and beautifully represents a fictional story. The film was very well received and praised by the audience for the delivery of scenes.
5. Train to Busan (2016)
Train to Busan is a horror and action film written by Park Joo-suk. This movie is for those interested in horror and life-or-death survival movies, and then you are sure to like this one a lot. The director of the movie is Yeon Sang-ho, and the producer is Lee Dong-ha. The main cast of the film comprises Gong Yoo playing Seok-woo, Jung Yu-mi playing Seong-kyeong, Kim Su-an playing Su-an, Ma Dong-Seok playing Yoon Sang-Hwa, Choi Woo-Shik playing Min Yong-guk, Ahn So-hee playing Kim Jin-hee, and Kim Eui-sung playing Yon-suk.
The movie starts with Seok-woo, who is a father with little time for his daughter, whose wife also left him due to his selfishness. The father and daughter board a train from Seoul to Busan, where the zombie apocalypse breaks out, turning people on the train into blood-lusted zombies. The movie then follows the survival of the remaining people inside the train for the rest of the journey, where they have to fight for their lives. The film gained heavily positive reviews from the audience and critics.
On the 7th of August 2016, the movie broke the record with over 10 million moviegoers as the first Korean film in 2016 to do so. It later had a sequel called Peninsula on 15th July 2020. The movie even currently has an American remake in the works with the title "The Last Train to New York".
6. Burning (2018)
Are you a fan of psychological thrillers? Then Burning is for you. The film's story is based upon a short story from Haruki Murakami's "The Elephant Vanishes," along with some elements based upon "Barn Burning," a short story by William Faulkner. The movie's director is Lee Chang-Dong, and the producers are Lee Chang-dong and Lee Joon-dong. The main cast of the film consists of Yoo Ah-in playing Lee Jong-su, Steven Yeun playing Ben, and Jeon Jong-Seo playing Shin Hae-mi. The movie revolves around Jong-su taking care of Hae-mi's cat while she is away. Upon coming back, she introduces him to Ben, who is a very mysterious guy. One day, Ben tells Jong-su about his strange hobby. Jong-su becomes wary of Ben and is suspicious of him, too. He believes his friend Hae-mi is in danger.
The rest of the movies covers how the events unfold and what Jong-su does, which we cannot spoil. The movie makes the audience wait patiently as the story progresses and rewards it with what happens later. The film has enigmatic elements and is one of those which, once you watch, can not be forced out of your head. The film became the first-ever Korean movie to have ever made it to the final nine-film shortlist at the 91st Academy Awards. The film's direction was well appreciated, and the vibe it sets with the viewers when watching it only adds to the entertainment.
7. The Wailing (2016)
The Wailing is a horror movie from South Korea written as well as directed by Na Hong-Jin. The producers of the film are Suh Dong-Hyun and Kim Ho-sung. The main cast of the film consists of Kwak Do-won playing Jong-goo, Hwang Jung-min playing II-gwang, and Chun Woo-hee playing Moo-Myung. In the story, Jong-hoo is a police officer who investigates the mysteries behind all the killings and a strange illness spreading in a remote village in order to save his daughter, who gets caught up in the events and gets sick. The movie shows how the events unfold and unveils the mysteries behind the illness & how it is cured, which is a very thrilling and entertaining experience.
The movie was especially praised for following old-style mythology and rituals it has shown while being unpredictable and causing suspense in the audience throughout the course of the film. It received nominations for a lot of different awards and managed to win several of them.
8. Forgotten (2017)
Forgotten is a psychological thriller movie written by Jang Hang-jun and directed by him as well. The main cast of the film stars Kang Ha-neul as Jin-Seok, Moon Sung-Keun as Father, Na Young-hee as Mother, and Kim Mu-yeol as Yoo-Seok. The story revolves around a family consisting of a Father, a Mother, and their two sons - elder brother Jin-Seok and younger brother Yoo-Seok. The family moves into a new home, but Jin-Seok is suspicious of the place. He thinks that the place is very strange. Yoo-Seok gets kidnapped one day, but after 19 days, he returns home without any recollection of the kidnapping. Things seem fine from the outside, but Yoo-Seok seems different than before and shows some changes which get noticed by his elder brother. Later on, the movie uncovers some unexpected secrets and mysteries. The entire movie will keep you on your toes, wondering what will happen next. Highly recommended to watch if you are a fan of psychological thrillers.
9. House of Hummingbird (2019)
Thriller movies might not be the cake for your plate, and if so, then House of Hummingbird might please you. It is a drama film with Kim Bora as director, writer, and co-producer. The other producer for the film is Zoe Sua Cho. The main cast of the film includes Park Ji-hu playing Eun-hee, Kim Sae-byuk playing Young-Ji, Jung In-gi playing Eun-hee's father, Lee Seung-Yeon playing her mother, and Park Soo-Yeon as Soo-hee. The story of the movie takes place in Seoul in 1994, following a 14-year-old schoolgirl, Eun-hee, who gets subjected to bad treatment at home and seeks to find answers to life in love, friendship, and compassion for her friends. She eventually meets a teacher and forms an irreplaceable bond with her.
The drama in her life unfolds with a series of events, how she grows out of her wish to seek love and becomes someone mature and at peace with her mind. The film has a strikingly good portrayal of the turning point present in a young girl's life depicting the transformation of Eun-hee learning to confront the reality of the world and live by herself without the need for emotional support from anyone. In October 2018, at Busan International Film Festival, the film won NETPAC Award and KNN Audience Award. The film continued to win a total of 59 awards, along with many nominations.
10. Swing Kids (2018)
A highly rated musical and drama Korean movie based upon Roh Ki-Soo. The film's director is Kang Hyeong-Cheol, and the producers of the film are Lee An-na and Yoo Sung-kweon. The main cast of the film consists of Doh Kyung-soo playing Roh ki-soo, Park Hye-su playing Yang Pan-rae, Jared Grimes as Jackson, Oh Jung-se playing Kang Byung-sam, and Kim Min-ho playing Xiao Pang. The movie is set in 1951 during Korean War. The rebellious Korean soldier Roh ki-soo who is in love with tap dancing, along with an American officer who was formerly a Broadway dancer, led a dance company. Three misfits initially join their company, but later they all lead other prisoners into finding freedom with their dance.
The amazing choreography in the movie and the movie's style of adding some humor while showing collective effort for freedom is mind-blowing and makes up for one hell of a time. After its release, it acquired 2nd place in Korean theatres. It then acquired the first rank at the box office on December 25 and had a score of over a million viewers by 27th December.