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Top Korean Movies

Marlene Alphonse
There are many top Korean movies that have a beautiful storyline and awesome cinematography. Read on to know about some of the popular Korean movies of all time.
Though the Korean movie industry encompasses the North and South Korean cinema, it is the movies produced in South Korea that have acclaimed world wide popularity. These movies have a different genre from the Hollywood movies and the plots have a different flavor that leave the audience wanting more.

Top Korean Movies

There are a number of Korean movies, with their intriguing plots, awesome direction and amazing cinematography, that have garnered accolades among the masses. Since it is not possible to mention all the movies, here are some of the best Korean movies that have earned critical acclaim and have tasted success at the box office.

My Sassy Girl (2001)

This is one of the classics that has been produced in the history of the Korean cinema. This mega blockbuster is based on a true story that is told in love letters, later adapted into a novel. It is also considered as one of the most romantic movies and was successful in South Korea.
My Sassy Girl received the same acclaim as in South Korea from its audience when it was released in other countries like China, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan. An American remake of this movie by the same name, starring Jesse Bradford and Elisha Cuthbert was released in the year 2008. This movie was directed by the famous director Yann Samuell.

Oasis (2002)

The plot of this movie encircles around a prisoner who is arrested for manslaughter, a crime actually committed by his elder brother and serves a three year prison sentence. After his tenure in jail, the man tries to reconcile with the family of the deceased but is rejected. He is attracted towards the dead man's daughter, who is a victim of cerebral palsy.
This is one of the films that tends to linger in the thoughts long after watching it. This movie also shows the attitude of the Korean society towards the disabled. This film was written and directed by Lee Chang-dong.

Silmido (2003)

This is one of the top action movies that grips the attention of its viewers right from the beginning till the end. Also known to be one of the best Korean movies, this action movie is based on the true life incidents of the secret ROK military commandos, who revolt and plan to murder Park Chung-hee, the dictator of South Korea.

Tae Guk Gi (2004)

Tae Guk Gi is one of the best war movies based on the famous Korean war and how it affects the lives of two brothers. This movie attracted a large audience and many of them loved this touching story. It was also released in other countries under the names Brotherhood Taegukgi (the United Kingdom) and Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War (the United States).

Welcome to Dongmakgol (2005)

This is another top Korean movie that is based on the Korean war. This is also one of the top grossing South Korean movies of all time. The story revolves around the two warring armies (from South and North Korea) and an American pilot who find themselves in a remote village. The villagers are completely unaware of the war that is raging around them.

Old Miss Diary (2006)

This is one of the best comedy movies adapted from the sitcom of the same name. Plot is taken from the sitcom itself and has the same popular hilarious scenes from the sitcom. The story is about a 30 year old woman who fails in everything she does. Though this movie had no big stars, it run long in the theaters and sold approximately a million tickets.

Secret Sunshine (2007)

This is a tragic story of a woman who loses her husband and relocates to her husband's town, Miryang, to start life afresh. But another tragic event in the form of her son's kidnapping and murder overturns her life. A local man helps her in coping with this double tragedy and offers solace and hope to her.
The movie was screened at the Cannes Film Festival won the appreciation of the critics. The movie stars Song Kang-ho and Jeon Do-yeon, who won the Best Actress Award at the Cannes film festival.

Forever the Moment (2008)

This movie, which is the first film that is based on the sport of handball, is a fictionalized narration of the South Korea women's handball team. The story revolves around the women's national handball team who are competing in the Japan Handball League.
Kim Hye-kyeong, a retired handball player is appointed as a coach for the women's team, which is group of undisciplined players. There is a clash between the players and the coach and Ahn Seung-pil, the star of the former men's handball team. The things begin to take a bad turn when the women's team loses to the high school boys team.

Private Eye (2009)

One of the all time best movies, Private Eye released in 2009 had a very interesting storyline. This gripping detective story is about Jin-ho Hong, a private detective who helps solve petty family disputes and saves the money for a trip to the US. His life takes a turn when he is appointed to solve the murder of the son of the most influential man of Seoul.
The son's corpse is found in the woods and discovers another corpse murdered in the same manner and in the same place. The pair of Jin-ho and Gwang soo, medical students, stumble upon a piece of evidence, a piece of cloth in the victim's mouth, lead them to the actual murderer. The way in which the case is solved is gripping and exciting.

Sooni, Where are You (2010)

One of the top Korean movies released in 2010, Sooni, Where are You is yet another movie from the comedy genre. The story is based on a family struggling to make ends meet. They compete for a 5 billion-won diamond with the Choon-bae clan, who try to sabotage their efforts. A rib tickling movie that will keep the audience roaring with laughter till the end.

Sector 7 (2011)

Sector 7, directed by  Kim Ji-hoon is an action packed film about the lives of oil rig workers who set in the depths of the sea looking for obscure oil following which they breed a species whose fluids can be used as a fuel that can burn for more than 30 hours. But their life takes a different turn when the breed becomes destructive. A must watch film!

In Another Country (2012)

Directed by Hong Sang-soo, 'In Another Country' is a dramatic story about a filmmaking student, 'Won-joo' and her mother, 'Park Sook'. This movie deals with certain real-life issues.

Man On The Edge (2013)

Man on the edge, directed by Jo Jin-Gyu, is a story about Gwang-Ho, a member of a dominant gangster group who eventually leads a dual life as a gangster and a fortune teller, while his enemies try to unveil his dual personality.

The Admiral: Roaring Currents (2014)

The Admiral: Roaring Currents, directed by Kim Han-min is a story about senior naval officer  Yi Sun-sin and his undaunted victory over 300 enemy (Japanese) ships with just 13 ships on his side. This film is inspiring and one of its kind for sure. This film broke several box office collection records on the very day it released.

The Priests (2015)

The Priests, directed by Chae-hyŏn Chang, is a story about two priests who try to solve the mystery about how the girl was being harmed and try every possible way to bring her back to normal. Not only that, this film is also about being courageous and determined.

The Tunnel (2016)

The Tunnel, directed by Kim Seong-hun is a dramatic thriller about Lee Jung-soo, finds himself confined in his car due to the crumbling of the tunnel while returning home for his daughter's birthday. People rush and take various measures taken to rescue people trapped in the collapsed tunnel. Must watch!

One Day (2017)

One Day, directed by Lee Yoon-ki is a dramatic film about a widow insurance investigator who experiences the spirit of the woman, eventually realizing that he is the one who can see her.

The Princess and the Matchmaker (2018)

The Princess and the Matchmaker, directed by Hong Chang-pyo, is a comedy yet dramatic story about Princess Songhwa who flees away from her palace to find an ideal match for herself.
Here are some of the other popular Korean movies, in no particular order.
  • Millionaire's First Love
  • Everybody Has Secrets
  • The Perfect Couple
  • Now and Forever
  • A Moment To Remember
  • 100 Days with Mr. Arrogant
  • The Good, the Bad, the Weird
  • Typhoon
  • Hearty Paws
  • Friend
  • Gangster High
  • The City of Violence
  • Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring
  • Sympathy for Lady Vengeance
  • Tale of Two Sisters
  • The Way Home
  • The Chaser
  • Crazy First Love
  • My Girl and I
  • He Was Cool
  • Innocent Steps
  • My Little Bride
  • Moby Dick
  • White: The Melody of the Curse
  • Miracle on Jongno Street
  • The True-taste Show
  • Mama
  • Sunny
  • Finding Mr. Destiny
  • The Warrior's Way
  • Yeouido
  • Petty Romance
  • Oldboy
  • JSA
  • Thirst
  • The Host
  • Try to Remember
  • Villain on the Second Floor
  • Ghost: In Your Arms Again
  • Festival
  • Love, in Between
  • Haunters
  • Rolling Home with a Bull
  • No Doubt
  • Bad Man and Woman
  • The Unjust
  • Come, Closer
  • Natalie
  • Loveholic
  • Midnight FM
  • Delighted? Delighted!
  • The 8 Sentiments
  • Cyrano Agency
  • Grand Prix
  • Quiz King
  • The Invincible
  • Troubleshooter
  • Break Away
  • Bedevilled
  • Desire To Kill
  • I Saw the Devil
  • Death Bell 2: Bloody Camp
  • The Man From Nowhere
  • Heart is... 2
  • Man of Vendetta
  • Barefoot Dream
  • 71-Into the Fire
  • Bang-ja Chronicles
  • On the Pitch
  • My Dear Desperado
  • The Housemaid
  • Republic of Korea 1%
  • 200 Pounds Beauty
  • The Host
  • My Love, My Bride
  • Windstruck
  • Little Forest
  • A Tale of two Sisters
  • Memories of Murder
  • The Berlin File
  • Time
  • Mother
  • The Suspect
  • The Handmaiden
  • Train to Busan
  • The Classic
  • Snowpiercer
  • Secret Reunion
  • No Breathing
This was just a glimpse of some of the Korean movies which have been top grossers. These movies are famous for their unique and interesting plots. So choose your favorite movies from the top Korean movies mentioned here and enjoy watching them. But don't forget to grab a bucket of popcorn. Have fun!