Best Korean movies of all time

Dramas aren’t South Korea’s only big export product. Their movies are amazing too. After the success of Parasite in the Oscars of 2021, we bring you a list (which, of course, includes it) of the Best Korean movies of all time, going through all possible genres. We hope you like them!

1. Parasite (2019)

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Thriller

Available on: Netflix, Amazon Prime

In this black comedy about social differences, we meet Kim, a four-year-old family who longs for their moments of glory and is going through a difficult financial situation. When the older brother of the family is allowed to enter an honest job as a tutor, he falsifies his credentials and, noticing that the employer is a wealthy but short-minded woman, hatches a plan to bring in his entire family in different jobs, taking advantage of them and lying to get what they want.

2. Oldboy (2003)

Genre: Action, Drama, Mystery

Available in: Filmin

On his daughter’s birthday, Dae-Su Oh decides to get drunk without much thought and ends up bothering the police enough to get arrested. His best friend bails him out of the police station, but he completely loses track of him, and Dae-Su disappears during a distracted moment. It turns out that he was kidnapped and will remain locked in a room for 15 years. Soon after, he is released, and that day they give him clothes, money, and a cell phone. On his way out, he meets the Japanese chef Mido, with whom he immediately falls in love, but his true goal now that he is free is to take revenge on his captors.

3. The Handmaiden (2016)

Genre: Drama, Romance, Thriller

Available in: N / A

The story takes place in the 1930s when a young Korean woman, Sook-Hee, begins working as a servant for Lady Hideko, a Japanese heiress who owns a fortune. But Sook-Hee’s motives are not entirely honest, as he intends, together with a con artist, to cause Lady Hideko to lose her entire fortune. But when the young maid develops an appreciation for her employer, the plan begins to be jeopardized.

4. Train to Busan (2016)

Genre: Action, Horror, Thriller

Available on: Netflix

An absent father tries to connect with his daughter by fulfilling her birthday request: he wants to travel to Busan to see her mother. Although they are separated, the father wants to please her, and together they go on a train journey. But soon after, the journey turns into a nightmare when an infected woman sneaks in among the passengers and creates chaos inside the train, which has already left the station …

5. The Host (2006)

Genre: Action, Drama, Horror

Available on: Netflix

When the youngest member of a family is abducted by a mysterious monster that rises from the depths of the Han River, they will have to join forces and skills to rescue her alive.

6. Memories of Murder (2003)

Genre: Action, Thriller, Crime

Available in: N / A

In 1986, in the province of Gyunggi, in South Korea, the corpse of a young and beautiful woman was found. She has been sexually abused and is found tied up in her underwear. Known for being stupid and lacking investigative techniques, Detective Park Doo Man and Cho Yong Koo set out to torture the only suspects, to no avail. When Detective Tae Yoon Seo arrives from Seoul to help them, he gives them the idea that he could be a serial killer, and upon finding a third victim, they begin to find his trail.

7. The Age of Shadows (2016)

Genre: Action, Thriller

Available on: Youtube Premium, Google Play

The story takes place in the 1920s. The Age of Shadows follows the chase between the Korean resistance, who are trying to destroy important Japanese facilities in Seoul, and Japanese agents who will try to prevent it. A Japanese policeman, born in Korea, who was once a member of the independence movement, finds himself between a rock and a hard place, not knowing which side to support, whether to face the reality surrounding him or to support a greater cause.

8. Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War (2004)

Genre: War, Drama

Available in: N / A

June 1950. The peaceful existence of a Seoul family is shattered by North Korea’s attack on the South and the Korean War. The two sons of the family, Jin-tae and Jin-seok, are recruited and end up in the same unit. The older brother, Jin-tae, is on a mission to make sure his brother survives the war, even if it means putting himself in danger. Over time, Jin-tae becomes more aggressive, creating a distance between himself and the shy Jin-seok.

9. Miss Granny (2014)

Genre: Comedy, Fantasy

Available on: Amazon Prime

When a 74-year-old widow realizes that she is becoming a burden on her family, she wakes up one day looking like she was in her twenties, but with her memories intact.

10. The King and the Clown (2005)

Genre: Drama, Thriller

Available in: N / A

A pair of minstrels get into trouble when they perform a satire on the king and are brought to trial before him. They are threatened with execution but could save their lives if they can make the king laugh.

11. Secretly, Greatly (2013)

Genre: Action, Comedy

Available in: N / A

The 5446 spy corps were trained by North Korean special forces to unify the country and are sent to South Korea under false identities as a student, an aspiring singer, and a mere fool. After not receiving orders for a long time, they begin to get used to living normally in the small town to which they were assigned. Still, after the events of the Battle of Yeonpyeong, South Korea presents an arrest warrant for thirty North Korean spies located in the South, promising financial aid to the North. What they do not say is that they intend to execute them.

12. I Saw the Devil (2010)

Genre: Suspense, Drama

Available in: N / A

A woman is injured far from the city with a flat tire, and a stranger offers to help her. She refuses while calling her boyfriend on the phone, who is a secret agent. The stranger turns violent, threatens her, and eventually kidnaps and kills her. Now, the girl’s fianc√© must convince the authorities to let him handle the case, despite being deeply involved.

13. A Taxi Driver (2017)

Genre: Action, Drama

Available in: YouTube Premium, Google Play Movies

In May 1980, a Seoul taxi driver named Man-seob found an offer too good to be true. If you take a foreign passenger from Seoul to Gwangju and return before curfew, they will be paid enough to cover several months of unpaid rent. Without stopping to ask for details, he picks up German reporter Peter and sets off. Some protests gradually turn violent in the streets, and the taxi driver, with a heart of gold, begins to doubt whether it is a good idea to leave a foreigner in a rural area with no way to return.

14. The Man from Nowhere (2010)

Genre: Action, Thriller, Drama

Available in: YouTube Premium, Google Play Movies

Tae-Shik used to be a government special agent, and his only connection to the rest of the world in the lonely life he leads is a little girl named Somi. Somi’s mother is irresponsible with her care and is involved in a shady smuggling business. One day, he delivers drugs to Tae-Shik, and when the gang finds out, they kidnap both the mother and the little girl, threatening Tae-Shik and telling him that they will release the request if he fulfills the request Amabas. Tae-Shik is willing to help them, but he will soon discover that he is involved in something bigger than he thought.

15. The Face Reader (2013)

Genre: Drama, Historical Fiction

Available in: N / A

A renowned “face reader,” Nae-Kyung, the son of a ruined noble family, travels through Joseon reading people’s faces. Using this art, he can predict people’s habits, mental state, and personality, and due to his range of hits, he has gained a certain reputation in the realm. When a geisha contact him to do a job, the least expected is to end up in the royal palace, embroiled in one of the most recognized power struggles in Korean history.

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Post Author: Nelson Russell