10 best korean movies/films

What are the 10 Best Korean films?

Here is my list.  Some may question the inclusion of some of these films but they fulfill my requirements –

  • a compelling story
  • superb acting
  • captivating cinematography
  • a larger societal impact and message

I make these recommendations not simply because I’m Korean-American and have a healthy level of pride in Korean art & culture but because anyone that knows anything about film can attest how the Korean film industry is making some serious waves around the world.  Each year, you will see an increasing number of films being entered into international film festivals (and some that have walked away with notable prizes such as Oldboy in the 2004 Cannes film festival).  With the emergence of Asian film festivals in growing urban cities around the world,  you’ll be learning more and more about Korean actors, actresses, directors, and films.

While it helps to have Korean-Americans such as Yunjin Kim and Daniel Dae Kim as very visible characters in the ever slow moving drama series, ‘Lost,‘ there have been many incredible Korean films especially in the past 10 years.  It is significant to note that the top Korean blockbusters are earning higher ticket sales in comparison to Hollywood films being marketed in Korea at the same time [more on this later].  As crazy as this sounds, you’ll also see a growing trend of Hollywood films being adapted from Korean films such as The Lake House (starring Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock) from Il Mare, My Sassy Girl, Friend, among others.

Let me also say, that in my opinion, Koreans don’t do comedy and satire very well.  It’s also very possible that my Korean language capacity is at such a Junior High School level that I just don’t get the nuances of comedy.  This may make sense because my wife is laughing at a film and I’m laughing at her laughing at the film.  My other explanation is that Korea is a country and a people with an intense history of injustice, foreign occupation, a paralyzing Korean war, poverty, etc.  And technically, North and South Korea are still at war and remain separated and divided as two nations.  Painful.

These elements come out in films as dark, painful, melodramatic, and other emotions that can be summed up by the Korean cultural concept of ‘HAN. You will not see more gutwrenching, heartfelt, painful, and authentic tears and crying than in Korean films.  To better understand Korean people and culture, you must attempt to grasp this sense of HAN [and another concept called ‘Jung’]. To my knowledge, there is no fair equivalent translation that gives ‘HAN’ justice in the English language.  Only two comedies (and one is easily a melodramatic comedy that leaves you in tears] made it to my top 10 list and the rest are painful stories of divided families and loyalties, human depravity, the Korean War, and the North/South Korea separation.

Because I live in Seattle, I get exposure to these films about 12-24 months after they’re released in Korea.  There are several other well regarded films that are not on my list simply because I have yet to see them and this list is comprised of only films I have seen with my own eyes.

So, without further ado, here’s my version of the 10 Best Korean Movies/Films. If you have any interest in exposing yourself to the blossoming Korean cinema, catching these films will be worth your time.  I’m sure you’ll have your disagreement or your suggested additions.  Feel free to add your contributions to the comments list.

Honorable Mention:  200 pounds beauty, My Little Bride, Samaritan Girl, The King and the Clown.

#10 | Bin Jip [3 Iron] written and directed by kim ki duk. i have to be honest and say that the first time i saw this film, it just didn’t capture me.  it seemed to move too slow for my initial taste.  this is one of those films you just need to sit, relax, and enjoy the film.  each time i see this film, i enjoy it more and more.  the plot is simple:  a transient man who breaks into peoples’ homes but with no malicious intent.  to have a place to stay and in the process, he “fixes” things – broken devices, clocks, does their laundry, etc.  film takes a turn when he encounters an actress/model who is in an abusive marriage.  FYI, “Bin Jip” simply means ‘Empty House.’

#9 | sassy girl -one of the two comedies that crept into my top 10. but this film provides unpredictable surprises, good acting, and many laughs. such an influential film that it’ll be remade and released by hollywood in ’07. I enjoy this film but there are many that simply love this film.

#8 | sympathy for mr. vengeance – either you hate or ‘appreciate’ such films.  it is hard to use the word ‘enjoy’ because there are such twisted, complicated, and disturbing scenes and storylines.  this stars kang-ho song, an amazing actor who seems to churn out superb acting in everything he does.  this film involves loyalty – to siblings, children, friends and revenge – and everything in between.  the director does an incredible job painting a story about each person; warning you ahead of time that this film is violent and very disturbing.

#7 | the way home – many of the recent korean films have been so intense that this film was incredibly refreshing; it speaks to the heart and soul; speaks to the commitment of a grandmother who is ill, old, and frail and her love (without words as she’s a mute) to her grandson who has been left in this rural village by her mother who needs to return to seoul to find work.  gutwrenching and heartwarming story of generations, humility, tension between urban and rural, and the importance of family and devotion.  a must see film.

#6 | welcome to dongmakgol – it’s difficult to call this a straight comedy.  it’s certainly funny but it’s comedy, satire, and drama all rolled up into one.  it’ll make you laugh and cry and at times, simultaneously.  this is based on the korean war and involves the US army and a soldier coincidentally named ‘smith,’ and soldiers from both the North and the South.  it does not involve brutal violence and bloodshed.  circumstances bring them together to a village called DongMagGol and it is here, that we are given an image of ‘shalom’ – of hospitality, friendship, kindness, and forgiveness – and what could be.  particularly powerful in light of the fact that the lessons of true beauty come from villagers and a young girl who plays something equivalent to a Shakespearean ‘fool’ in the film.  beautiful film; classic east asian literature themes, and wonderful cinematography.  i want to see this again – right now.

#5 | joint security area – the tragedy of the korean war and the repercussions of that war is prominent in korean pain or HAN – and HAN, i mentioned in an earlier blog entry is critical to Korean Identity.  this film speaks to that pain and the possibility of a future where reconciliation can take place as it did amongst a handful of soldiers. a casual filmwatcher may not fully understand the substance of the film w/o understanding the nature of the separated countries.  having visited the DMZ on couple occasions and being a son to parents who were both born in what is now called ‘north korea’ – all of these films of the korean war speak to my heart.

#4 | oldboy – it’s one of those films you wished you didn’t watch; easily one that didn’t have to be in my top 10 but after watching it, i was so disturbed that i couldn’t stop thinking about it. the tagline of the film is “15 years of imprisonment…5 days of vengeance.”  superb acting (choi min-sik is one of the finest actors that hollywood will never have the privilege of truly enjoying) and directing; earned honors at the Cannes film festival in ’04; one of the most intense, brilliant and disturbing psychological thrillers i have ever seen.  i usually watch most of these films with my wife but she wouldn’t even come in the same room when i was watching this from what she read on reviews.

#3 | shiri – the oldest film (1999) on this list.  an action packed thriller with the classic storyline of tension and espionage between north and south korea and a love story imbedded beautifully into the larger tension.  it made the top 3 on my list because of couple intangibles: 1) it introduced yunjin kim (lost) to the world and 2) surpassed cameron’s titanic as the biggest blockbuster in the history of korea.  this film empowered korean directors and investors to believe they could produce korean films and compete against western cinema.  that alone makes this a worthy #3 for me.  yunjin kim is the most prominent korean-american actor (she grew up in NYC) that has ‘made it’ in both the east and west.

#2 | friend – starring jang dong gun amongst a group of four friends.  he too is one of the finer actors in korea and is often seen as the chow yun fat of korean cinema.  i loved this film; it begins with the innocent story of four young boys growing up as friends and the choices they make as teenagers and later as adults that destroy their innocence but ultimately demonstrating, the significance of loyalty, devotion, and friendship.

#1 | taekukgi – the brotherhood of war – directed by the same person who filmed Shiri and starring jang dong gun again.  this is the story of two brothers – a shoemaker and his younger brother (an intellectual aspiring student) and their devotion to one another and their family.  they are forced into the army, to fight in the korean war that they have no idea why they’re fighting, and the rest of the film details the horrible war, the quest of the older brother to protect the younger brother, and stories of a divided brotherhood, family, and nation.  many literature, stories, film and other forms of art still focus on the korean war because there was never adequate time for the people to process what transpired.  this, in many ways, is part of the healing process of a nation.  technically, the countries are still at war and a people still remain divided.  this film makes saving private ryan look like a PG movie. my wife and i just wept during and after the film.  my father, who loves war films, simply cannot watch this film because of the pain it brings up for him.

There you have it folks.  My top 10 list of Korean films I’ve seen.

211 Replies to “10 best korean movies/films”

  1. Good morning, Eugene.
    My wife and I really enjoyed your Korean movie reviews.
    Wishing you and your family a very blessed Christmas anda wonderful new year.
    Will you be at the upcoming Midwinter?

  2. I’ve seen Old Boy, Shiri, Taeguki, Chingoo, and the way home. Old Boy was just crazy. Taeguki is the best war film I’ve ever seen as I relate so much better to it than Saving Private Ryan. Shiri was all right. Didn’t live up to the hype. I just can’t see that guy with the glasses on as a tough guy. the way home was just tough to watch as I felt so guilty for living the lifestyle I do yet there are these heartachingly good people like the grandma all over Korea that I so want to be there to help out. Maybe it’s because in some ways I see myself as the little kid.

  3. i just watched taekukgi the other night when sam was working late and cried my eyes out all by myself. it was a great movie. and i really wanted to wach welcome to dongmakgol as well. i think ill order it now since you gave it great reviews:) lol, thanks!

  4. I would have to say that I’m kind of disappointed that Windstruck or 200 Pounds Beauty isn’t even on your list.

    I’ll live.

  5. PE, you should know that this list has started my obsession with Korean cinema. First a couple of really good movies, then some TV shows and now I am a melodrama addict. I stayed up until 2am last night watching Pul Ha’asu.

    My favorites on the list were Sassy Girl (of course) and Shiri.

  6. I have watched many many great korean movies recently which I couldn’t recall all of the names but most I liked are probably made around 80s or 90s, some r really good in every sense, but I found many korean movies these days r being made centering love stories in which at the end someone has to die, I mean tragic is the trend, well, folks I also liked Kim ki duk movies, check out “birdcage inn” and “3 Iron”, and I have also found hollywood has made copy of some korean movie, like hollywood movie “Click”.

  7. Hihhih, I think you should see “Dasepo Naughty Girls” before you claim that Koreans don’t do satire and comedy well. I mean, even if you don’t like that movie, it’s certainly no worse than American Pie. 😛 Also I liked 200 pounds of beauty and My Tutor Friend… and the Beast and the Beauty was funny too… Oh, and The Legend of Seven Cutter. But maybe we just have a very different taste. 😛

  8. hi im a filipina but mim so obsessed with koren films..i have a collection of korean films,i dont care if its original or no t as long as i can wtch those..thse are my top picks
    * the classic *my sassy girl *windstruck *taegukgi *200 pounds beauty *my little bride *innocent steps *a moment to remember *the love tree *love me not *100 days with mr.arrrogant..

  9. Hi,
    I enjoyed your list and have seen them all except Friend and The Way Home. I would add Memories of Murder, Cruel Winter Blues, A Dirty Carnival (too long) and Public Enemy were it my list.
    A problem here in the UK is that whilst we have Tartan, who are a British company, licensing lost of Asian movies it takes so long as the US is a bigger market. We, like Japan are region 2 so I can order from YesAsia in region 1 or 3 and watch it on one DVD player but not the main one. I also think that UK retailers don’t see much of a market for World Cinema so their stock rarely changes and is overpriced to insulate them from loss.
    Oh well, sometime the best things aren’t so easy to get at.

  10. hello, im a Filipina and also loved to watch korean movies. the most unforgettable are The Sassy Girl, Windstruck, and A Moment to Remember.I loved this all.Try to watch these..

  11. I’ve seen about half these movies and seems a pretty good list. Yeah, like others, I would put My Sassy Girl much higher on the list, but still pretty good. Also, I thought the Way Home was just so-so, and Take My Cat could take its place. One movie that definitely needs to be on here is Failan. Don’t know if anyone else has seen it, but it’s a beautiful and amazing movie.

  12. I agree, My Sassy Girl stands in #1, and yea i also liked the 200 Pound Beauty and now i’ve collected the lots of list from all you guys so i’ll watch them all. And i Wonder if i have understood the Korean language…….the movie watching experience would be more sizzling…

    Movies in my list are.
    JSA (Joint Security Area),Musa,TaeGukGi,My Sassy Girl,2009: Lost Memories,The Classic,Silmido,A Tale of Two Sisters,Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter … and Spring,Il Mare,Windstruck,Guns and Talk,Ditto,Failan,Too Beautiful to Lie,My Tutor Friend,Arahan,My Boss, My hero,Lovers’ Concerto,Untold Scandal,sex is zero
    ,brotherhood,old boy,la belle,taguekgi,the way home,symphaty of mr vengeance,the isle,chunyang,Friend,Shiri,Memories of Murder,Kick the Moon,Married to the Mafia,100 Days with Mr Arrogant,Guns n Talk,my wife is a gangster,BICHUNMOO,Old Boy, Shiri, Taeguki, Chingoo, and the way home,Dasepo Naughty Girls,The Legend of Seven Cutter,200 pounds beauty,my little bride,innocent steps,a moment to remember,the love tree,love me not,100 days with mr.arrrogant,Murder, Cruel Winter Blues, A Dirty Carnival ,Public Enemy

  13. I felt violated after watching Old Boy! My Corean wife has been making me watch films from her ummaland since we got married. I liked JSA, but I liked Natural City and Guns & Talk better! I also refuse, as a red-blooded man, to watch My Sassy Girl. Bwahahaha!

  14. personally i thought your list was fantastic, but i would include “a bittersweet life” memories of murder” & “the host” in that list as well 🙂 if you haven’t had the chance to see any of them (but im pretty sure you have lol) watch them asap their amazing 🙂

    junior aka samoan dragon ( the samoan born asian movie expert)

  15. My top 10 korean dramas “A moment to remember” Windstruck” Sassy Girl” A Millioners First Love” The Classic” Innocent Step” Daisy” Two Faces of my Girlfriend” Love me Not” 200 Pounds of Beauty” Sex is Zero 1 & 2 ” Miracle on 1st Street” Check this out !!!

  16. the only movie i had seen in korea movie are a moment to forget which courage me to see the other movies please tell me the best movies

    1. Boys over flower is nice but it is drama n about movie ‘more than blue’ is also nice n ‘hundred days with MR.allorent’ is good so go for it!!

  17. Hey Man! Thanks a lot with ur review. I really like Korean cinema, it captures an essance that’s not seen normally, it is in true sense one of the most important part of the world cinema fraternity. I like your review but i think “My Sassy girl” is the best Korean film that i have seen till date, its just that we tend to neglect comedy films and give more importance to serious films, but if you really notice comedy films are also very difficult to work on.
    PS: there is an Indian version of My Sassy Girl about to release. Check it out on youtube- “Ugly aur Pagli”

    Mumbai, India

  18. jundo,

    I can’t believe TAEGUKGI, the PEARL HARBOR of Korean movies (yea I went there), is your top choice. I’ve completely lost respect for you as a film critic. =P Kang Jegyu certainly deserves credit for ushering in a new era of Korean films that could not be ignored by the worldwide audience, but the man also proved their films can be just as loud, empty and obnoxious as the duds from Hollywood.

    MEMORIES OF MURDER is one of the best films to come out of Korea in the past 10 years.

    Seriously, if you tell me you’re a fan of the STAR WARS prequel trilogy, I’ll never talk to you again.

  19. My Sassy Gal is a great film, it was this film that hooked me into korean films. U say only hollywood copies your films well. Bollywood also copies korean films. Bollywood is the mainstream movie industry of india. My Sassy Gal is Ugli aur Pugli (Not eve quarter as good), Oldboy was also copied. Plus there are many that is copied.Sympathy for mr. vengence was variety reminded me of fargo . Saw The brotherhood of war (yesterday). Topped my all time war favourites. Will see the other ones on the list.

  20. Huwaw, great! As a big fan of “My Sassy Girl” I´m so happy hearing those people
    suggesting this film to be the numbero uno on their list. 😀
    Btw, why is “Windstruck” something relates on to My Sassy Girl… Hhmm… 😕

    LOVE SO DIVINE (stars Kwong Sang Woo, Ha Jiyon)
    My Girl and I ( Song Hye Kyo.)

    David Wong

  22. Hey,
    Everybody votes for My Sassy Girl to be No#1. Don’t be a communist man, just change the list and put My Sassy Girl #1.
    I am sure, you will get sunshine on a cloudy day.

  23. Our best Korean movies are:
    1) My Sassy Girl
    2) The Brotherhood of War
    3) Moments to Remember (Eraser in my Head)
    4) Windstruck

    You have to watch these films especially the first three. We watch these films with our families (around 30 people at a time). We are Filipino-Americans but appreciate the Korean movies. Another Korean movie (or mini-series) that is worth seeing is Autumn of my Heart.

  24. thank you for your reviews..i like it! i cried alot.im a filipino but i rili do appreciate korean movies! ive watch all the list from the site crunchyroll.com.your the best!!!!pls! if theres some more movies as interesting as this i hope you can send me info in my email.thank you!!!

  25. ooohhh,,,…… woooohhh,,, ooohhh,,,,,,,,,

    sa….aaad…….. movies……

    always …… make….. me……. cry…….

    @ #$%^*(&^^%$$$%%#$@

  26. Many people reacts about my sassy girl spotted number nine. Well, i agree with those people. But i certainly disagree that My sassy girl is number 1. I mean, Tae guk gi is far far away better than my sassy girl though they are both exceptional. I highly recommend people to watch Tae Guk Gi. It is better than Saving Private.

  27. To all of those who keep insisting that My Sassy Girl needs to be #1 on this list: Give the guy a break. This is his list and he can put whatever film he wants at whatever number he wants to. Everyone has different tastes and opinions.
    Personally, I feel that A Tale of Two Sisters is a true masterpiece of not only Korean cinema, but of cinema as a whole (albeit one that requires multiple viewings to fully appreciate). Still, I will not berate someone for not putting it on their top 10 Korean film list.
    Thank you for your reviews.

  28. I see that just 1 or 2 have mentioned DAISY.

    IT”S A SHAME!!!!!!!!!

    IT IS A MUST SEE !!!!!!! serieusly.. in the beginning I thought.. well.. this might be a stupid movie.. but in the end.. I loved it..

    I’ve seen a few korean movies.. including: 200 pounds beauty, a moment to remember, the brotherhood of war, daisy…

    I like movies.. like love stories.. that makes you cry.. can anyone recomend me a few ??

    1. I’ve watched this shows and these are beautiful hope that you will watch and like it to..
      Crazy First love
      Jenny and Juno
      A millionaire’s first Love

  29. try HERB…

    u’ll be touched on how a 20years old girl who has a brain of 7 years old, try so hard to learn about life, love and death… i was amazed on how good the girl brings her character, its so pure and tell me if ur not crying when she said “i’ll write it on ur palm so that when u forget just look at ur palm and u’ll remember that im ur daughter…”

  30. Hi!
    I am a fanatic of top 10 lists. This one i like very much and will try watch all the movies. If just started a top list blog, listing all kinds of funny stuff. Check it out if you’re looking for new inspiration for another top list.



  31. hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

    i am very fond of korean movie.

    they always make me cryyyyyyyyyyyyy

    i have only my girl and i and windstruck………………

    that change my mind windly

  32. if you want to cry. .
    try dis. .
    -the classic
    -sad movie
    -a moment to remember
    -my sassy girl
    -a millionaires first love
    -lovers concerto
    -100 days w/ mr. arrogant
    -. . .ing
    and if you really want to cry. .
    1 liter of tears is the best. .
    but its a japanese series. .
    just try it. . .

  33. the way you put the sypnosis. like you are not making pll like it but just skip to the next one..i think you must be a guy..!! you really dont have the love story kind of type.

  34. I really like korean movie..i also love korean song like never say goodbye..sarangeun himdeungabwa..sang uh reul sarang han in uh (OST MY GIRL)..my favorites movies;

    1) My Girl
    2) Sassy Girl
    3) Little Bridge
    4) Full House

    Check it out…

  35. hey i think windstruck [was really good],my little bride [funnie],a moment to remember(really sad and romantic made me cry),100 days with mr arrogant[hilarous],daisy(sweet), my tutor friend[comady], my sassy girl [was the greatest of all] as well as the clasic

    and i agree different ppl have diffrent oppion this is mine ^_^
    hope u enjpy i think everyoe should watch these ;]

  36. “Taegukgi” is my #1, as well, but I’m going to go out on a limb. I loved “Save the Green Planet,” but that is a really obscure film. It’s my #2.

    “The Island” is also very good, although it is bizarre. Maybe, I like it because it was the first Korean movie where I could understand the language. Hint: there is almost no speaking.

  37. can anyone suggest me a good romantic comedy movie..? like MSG,windstruck??? ive already watched the classic,200 pounds of beauty,beast nd the beauty,100 days wd mr.arrogant,sex is zero,oh happy day,my little bride,innocent steps,a millionaires first love,…this movies are really gud too….can anyone suggest me other gud kmovies??? im filipino..but i really love korean romantic comedy movies….pls anyone…

  38. hey pastor,
    enjoyed your list a lot. Korean movies are a hidden gem and among the ones that are not so available across the pond there are some other good ones. Looking over the list, i got a good idea of what kind of movies you like so i wanted to suggest a few others that you might have seen:

    Silmido (Silmi Island) – an amazing story about a bunch of convicts that were “executed”, but actually were secretly sent off to an island where they trained for one single mission, to assassinate the North Korean leader. and it is a completely true story! sort of like Taegukgi and JSA, but the reality of the story makes it more attractive

    Bakha satang (Peppermint Candy) – a slightly older movie, but one of the greatest and underrated korean movies of all-time. Starring Seol Gyung Gu, arguably the greatest korean actor in what i think is his greatest acting performance, it’s a story that weaves the tragic and emotional life of a man with the tragic and emotional modern social and political korean history in the 1980’s. Although you may need a little korean Wiki to understand some of the history (the Gwangju Uprising of May 19, 1980), it reminds me of another favorite movie, Farewell My Concubine, in how it is able to weave culture, history, and emotions of a country in the life of one man.

    Christmas in August – another oldie, i didn’t love this movie, but a lot of people swear by it. stars han suk yu and shim eun-ha, it’s a love story of a man in impending death. but it’s not exactly one of those typical korean dramas. has it’s sort of korean simplicity and beauty about it.

    i also loved “The Way Home”. Truly a deep korean emotion about family. you know none of the main actors were “actors”. They found the grandmother in some village, she had never acted before.

  39. ummm… im touched in my sassy girl…
    all korean romantic movies makes me cry
    the best among the all”:
    my sassy girl
    my girl and I….

    i hope that someday i can meet a girl
    like in my sassy girl!!!^_^

  40. Hi,

    I stumbled upon the DVD of OldBoy and was awe-struck after seeing it. I must admit, that is the first Korean movie I’ve watched. That makes me think of watching few others on the list u’ve mentioned..

  41. A very good list. I never try to put an order to my top 10 because I find it changes depending on what mood I’m in. Personally I’d put The Quiet Family in there and remove The Way Home. Everybody seems to love The Way Home but it didn’t really strike a chord with me. I think I might need to give it another viewing as I might have just not been in a receptive mood when I watched it.

    The only one on your list I haven’t seen is Chingoo so I’m going to make sure I watch that.

    I’d also probably try and put Mr Vengeance and Bittersweet Life in there but I don’t know which ones I’d swap it for. Actually lots of films are coming back to me now…. Marathon, Oasis, Memories Of Murder. I need to rewatch some of these, I can’t remember them well enough.

    All those films like Windstruck and Classic “sentimental melodramas with a hint of ditsy comedy”?? 😀 I started to get annoyed with. They’re just too predictable and seem to try too hard to tug at the heart strings. Although some people would call me a hypocrite because one of my favourite films is Ima Ai Ni Yukimasu/Be With You, haha.

    Anyway, that was me trying to do a sensible reply to a blog post.

  42. LOL, if it weren’t for My Sassy Girl, I wouldn’t watch Korean films!!! Man, they are so great…And like above there’s a Filipina who’s obsessed with Korean films…and I am a Filipino…Well, since I am a “young Korean movie buff”, so far these are the films I have watched:
    My Sassy Girl
    Il Mare
    My Little Bride

    Can you please offer me any other Korean movies with similar genre that I may enjoy?

  43. i started watching korean films cause my girlfriend is Korean. anyway i find in a way they have a similarity with french films which i am also ver aware of, they ignore the holliwood happy ending thing, they prefer to create emotions. i love them, so far I have seen:

    taekukgi – the brotherhood of war
    my sassy girl
    Il mare
    welcome to dongmakgol
    200 pound beauty
    spring, summer, fall, winter, and spring (amazing poetry!!!)
    one or two more i think.

    but soon to be watched are 3 iron, daisy, shiri, a tale of two sisters, oldboy, and joint security area and sympathy for mr vengeace.

    i would recommend all those ive seen.

  44. 안녕
    my list:

    My Sassy Girl
    He Was Cool
    Welcome to Dongmakgol
    200 Pounds Beauty
    Brotherhood of War
    A Moment to Remember
    Shadowless Sword

  45. 1. i’m sorry i love you
    2. a day of dog and wolf
    3. my girl
    4. princess hours
    5. fASHION 70’S
    8. SHIRI

  46. My list in no particular order

    Peppermint Candy (1999)
    Secret Sunshine (2007)
    Save The Green Planet (2003)
    The Good, The Bad, The Weird (2008)
    3-Iron (2004)
    Spring, Summer, Fall…and Spring (2003)
    Turning Gate (2002)
    Virgin Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors (2000)
    Chaser (2008)
    Barking Dogs Never Bite (2000)
    Memories Of Murder (2003)
    The Host (2006)
    Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance(2002)
    Oldboy (2003)
    Sympathy For Lady Vengeance(2005)
    Joint Security Area (JSA)(2000)
    A Tale Of Two Sisters (2003)
    A Bittersweet Life (2005)
    Public Enemy (2002)
    Crying Fist (2005)
    The Quiet Family (1998)
    Oasis (2002)
    My Sassy Girl (2001)
    Attack The Gas Station (1999)
    Failan (2001)
    A Dirty Carnival (2006)
    Welcome To Dongmakgol (2005)

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  48. first time i saw a korean film name my little bride. it was the best movie i had never seen. then i started watching korean movie. and now i really to watch korean movie. there are many movie which my best movie they my sassy girl, babo, creazy first love.

  49. Ok – a couple on my list:

    1. Lady Vengeance- actually my favorite of the whole trilogy.
    2. Attack the Gas Station. Cant say why but I love this movie. It’s one of my all time favorites. My more mainstream friends think I am nuts.
    3. Chiwaseon
    4. Spring, Summer, Winter and Spring Again
    5. Memories of Murder

    One I would like to see- Woman is the future of man

    I was disapointed by Taegukgi as a film- but it taught me lot about the Korean War that you aren’t told about in the US.

  50. I really love to watch Korean Movie but some of them are really show off.
    Shiny Day
    Seducing Mr. Perfect
    My sassy girl
    are relly good films to be watched.
    Please if anybody wants recommend good Korean Movies. cause we don’t have korean channels and radio in Nepal.

  51. I really love to watch Korean Movie but some of them are really show off.
    Shiny Day
    Seducing Mr. Perfect
    My sassy girl
    The classic
    are relly good films to be watched.
    Please if anybody wants recommend good Korean Movies. cause we don’t have korean channels and radio in Nepal.

  52. taeguki wins me over hands down. my sassy girl was so-so to me(don’t kill me!) it just didn’t have that emotional oomph; it was funny at times but it didn’t touch a part of me like taeguki, i go with you man, taeguki all the way (i watched it so many times and i bawl my eyes out like a kid, its just so beautiful)…and maybe its a guy thing to like ‘blood, missing limbs, guns and brotherhood’ movies over ‘cute, sassy?,funny, chick flicks…?…just me?…’

  53. hey where is da do re mi fa so la si da…yar i just love that movie….i lop korean movies and specially korean heroes……..i love rain so so much.ur full house was supeb man.i lop daisy innocent steps,a moment to remember,tree of heaven,i am sorry i love u,princess hour,the classic,he was cool,lure of the wolf,.etc…..i love RAIN..very very much……..miss u so so much and lov u so so much…………i love u and only u RAIN,RAIN,RAIN……

  54. anyong ha seo….i really really love korean movies..ive been watching sassy girl and windstruck several times…it’s really funny and romantic.. I really really love to watch it even a hundred times or a thousand times maybe..hahaha

  55. korean movies r my bestmovies tjebest movie i have ever sen n will remain in my heart r as follows
    my mighty princess
    dead friend
    my sassy girl
    millionares first love
    my little bride
    my wife is a gangster
    she’s on duty
    and many more but not enough space to write

  56. rain is my favourite korean actor i love u rain and ur movie full house,a love to kill. i have seen ur movies several times ………

  57. well my first korean movie was my little bride..n den i started watching it more n more…n my hit list are as below n i bet everyone will luv it..
    1:my little bride
    2:moment to remember
    3:jeni juno
    4:the classic
    5:millionares first luv
    6:full house
    7:my girl
    9:my tutor fren part 1 n 2..
    10:i am sorry i luv u..
    11:sad story
    12:my sassy gal
    aahhhh…..deres lot of my fav …korean movie rocks..

  58. aanyong hasse yo!!!!!!!!!!
    na nan erum e sayuri ibnida….
    na nan hangug ye movie sarang habnida….
    hehehhee!!! aza aza…basya….

  59. Agree that Tae-Guki is a sensational film but like you said without the understanding of the Korean mentality it might miss the mark. Below I have listed movies that work without a specific Korean cultural context:

    Chaser (realler than the movie SE7EN)
    Oldboy (Psycho Thriller)
    Joint Security Area (Crime Thriller)
    A Tale Of Two Sisters (Horror)
    My Sassy Girl (RomCom)

    1. Could not agree more with ranmah12 that Speed Scandal is very entertaining and comedical movie. Quite alot of amusing scenes that make you laugh more. 🙂

  60. 1.oldboy
    2.sympathy for mr.vengeance
    3.sympathy for lady vengeance
    5.a moment to remember
    6. 3-iron
    7.Itchi the killer
    8.suicide circle
    9.spring summer,fall winter and spring

    i just wonder how u guys missed the movie “audition”…itz fucking disturbing…u highly recomment it..thanks for the list…i m downloading few of them…bt i m afraid i m nt getting all the korean movies on internet…

    1. audition, sucide circle and itchi the killer aren’t korean. I wouldnt like us to take responsibility for those lol. If you are into gore go for it. No plot, just people dying.

    2. Audition & ‘Ichi The Killer’ are japanese…actually by a BRILLIANT japanese director called Takashii Miike…of whom i’m a HUGE fan in world’s director list…NOT to be confused with korean movies..japanese are a culture & a world apart in history as well as moviemaking!

  61. Just a quick answer to Mayur, but if we’re talking about the same Audition, the movie is japanese (Miike) and while I agree it is an excellent movie, that explains the reason why it is not in any of the lists. Itchy the killer is also japanese and from the same director Takeshi Miike. Pretty much all Miike movies I’ve seen are quite good so even tho it has little to do with the subject here, I recommend watching these movies.

  62. As for korean movies, I pretty much recommend Kim Ki Duk movies. I’ve heard he is not that popular in Korea but his movies are in my opinion pure poetry.

  63. am a newbie in watching Korean movies but i can say i haven’t been very well entertained in such a long time until I’ve had my first glimpse of Korean TV series,.my loss!! my loss ,.really where am i all those years,.now i am frantically searching every Korean movie or TV series that I can lay my hands on. thanks for recommending your top 10 movies,.although actually am going to watch any Korean movie even if it is not top or anything as long as it is Korean hahaha,.funny the other day i was looking thru some TV ,am supposed to buy SONY but decided against it and instead buy SAMSUNG,.that is korean right? it seems to me that everything korean is good ,.am even thinking of ordering soju online though i wonder if it is possible,.soju looks so delicious because it is being drank by a lot of koreans then it must be good,.oh and how about that kimchi,.i wanna taste that,.anyway thanks a lot i will check out all your recommended movies.

  64. my tutor 1&2 were really good movies..actually all the korean movies ive seen..non of them came out bad yet..ah, theres one! “King & the Clown”..but i heard this movie was at one point no.1…

  65. @ Pame…

    Dude,U r right !! after reading your comment i did some R & D..
    Well,i dont stay in korea or japan..n dont understand their language..so i dont know the difference in japanese or korean language…
    bt 1 thing more…i love japanese as well as korean movies..ending is always weird n unexpected in korean stuff..n i love dat thing..

    recently i’ve seen my sassy girl n i loved it alot..at the end i couldnt hold my tears into my eyes..i think dis movie shud b on #1.

  66. Daisy was my first korean movie which is one of my personal favourite.A moment to remember is the best one for me.I would be happy to have list of top korean lovestory movies to watch in the future. Hoping to hear from u soon

  67. The Beast and the Beauty seems underrated, seriously.. its really a great romantic comedy.

    kmovies to watch:
    Sex is Zero 1 & 2
    My Sassy Girl
    Lover’s Concerto
    Once Upon A Time in High School -kickass movie
    The Classic
    My Little Bride

    200 pounds beauty is overrated. i dunno but i find it very predictable.

  68. taekukgi – the brotherhood of war was the first korean movie that i bought. i liked it very much even though im more into comedy movies. Though i must say its one of the best films ive ever seen. i think my sassy girl is overrated, i didnt like it very much. welcome to dongmakgol, i couldnt find the subbed version so i didnt watch it. as for other movies im looking into it right now.

  69. taegukgi was amazing… brought such a mix of emotions. While I was watching it, It just seemed so real, like I was actually in it. Saving Private Ryan was good, but I just knew it was a movie.

  70. My top romantic comedies
    – My Boyfriend is Blood Type B
    – Sassy Girl
    – Windstruck
    – Sex zero
    – 100 pounds beauty
    – 100 days with Mr Arrogant
    – My wife is a gangster – Korean (also action genre)

    Heavy drama
    – A moment to remember
    – A miracle on 1st street (this is a great movie!!)
    – Sad movie

    – Taegukgi
    – Joint Security Area

    Mini Series
    – HONG GIL DONG – an action/comedy/drama with great and profound storyline. This is an award winning mini-series.

    I actually seen a lot, but forgot their titles. I even seen a great old movie (an awardee) about loyalty (something like you can’t serve 2 masters at the same time)..

  71. After reading your post, I never paid much attention as to why Korean’s love melodramas. In fact, I shouldn’t stop at Korean’s as it seems my G/F and all these generation y kids love this stuff.
    But why?

  72. I read the above article and disagree with the comment “Let me also say, that in my opinion, Koreans don’t do comedy and satire very well”, have you not seen – Welcome to Dongmakgol? it’s got hilarious comedy scenes in it. Such as when the south korean and north korean soldiers have a stand off. They are falling asleep and then one of them drops a grenade. They throw a grenade and blows up the villagers food supply.
    There are ven hilarious bits in Old boy. Such as when he is staring at the scary painting and his face and hair look practically the same.

    I honestly think korea are ahead of the game when it comes to films, probably the best in the world at the moment.

  73. WINDSTRUCK! what is the matter with this guy. Windstruck was atleast twice as good as MY sassy Girl. And i also agree that my sassy girl was better than FRIEND and MUSA. MY SASSY GIRL has better replay quality but WINDSTRUCK made me cry the first time i watched it and i was a 16 year old boy, i didnt even cry at A wALK TO REMEMBER OR NOTEBOOK but windstruck is the best romance movie in existence

  74. I have watched Taegukgi many times and I always love every moment I concentrate and stare at the TV screen. I also have my personal favorites:

    – Maundy Thursday (Our Happy Times)
    – A Moment to Remember
    – Baby and Me

    and a lot more!!!

    Thanks for sharing your TOp 10 Korean movies ^^

  75. Yes, I completely agree with your Hallyuwood list except I feel that “The Host”, “The Good, the Bad, and the Weird” and “The King and the Clown” should’ve been there as well. Hallyuwood films have completely come a long way and 2010 looks interesting as well!

  76. Hi there, I agree with many of your selections….I’m african-american and a lover of all cinema.

    however I do have a bone to pick with you…..no mention of the great film-noir “A Dirty Carnival”?….wow…..one of the best eerily melancholic endings in any film of any time.

  77. I love Korean movies and soaps on tv. My all time favorite Korean Filmmaker is Chanwook Park (Old Boy). This guy’s a genious. OldBoy really ranks higher. I also enjoyed “Shiri” it was one of the biggest box office draw in Korea when it was first released. And it even beat out “Titanic”-Wow!!!


  79. I’m so disappointed with the list..
    Il Mare, Daddy long Legs, My sassy Girl, 2oo pounds beauty, windstruck, portrait of a beauty, frozen flower, the king and the clown, etccccc….. isnt here,…

  80. i SIMPLY ♥ KOrea .. :))

    my favorite korean movies are :
    ► he was cool
    ► windstruck
    ► my sassy girl
    ► my little bride
    ► my wife is a gangster 3
    ► millionaire’s first ♥

    dramas are :
    ► ENDLESS LOVE:I. autumn in my ♥
    ► ENDLESS LOVE:II. winter sonata
    ► ENDLESS LOVE:III. summer scent
    ► memories in bali
    ► boys over flowers

    as of now, that’s all i remember .

    — loids ♥

  81. I have seen all the movie as your order. But i can’t accept The way home is one of those. IT is very special movie. Still i am watching the movie atleast once in a week. Usually we fix ourself with some carecter. but in this movie it make me thing as a grandson and the grandmother, especially at the ending i feel the pain in two ways.

    the director express 100% what he feel. It is my life time best movie

  82. I don’t know if anyone would read this with a list so long. But Silmido, Memories of murder, the Chaser and the big swindle was some I liked that I don’t think has come up yet. (not family movies by the way). ‘Han’ is regret (easy enough to understand) and ‘jung’ is affection. Koreans and Asians in general find it natural to share everything with others so they have a more ‘sticky’ definition of relationships. So lingering ‘jung’ is a more relevant topic in Asian media. Hope that helped~

  83. no gyz i think dat TAEGUKGI desrve to b in 1,…its juz awesum maan….i juz cryd….specially da last scene….its da bst war movie i hav evr seen

  84. Attack the gas station
    a bittersweet life

    and since its the most fun movie i have ever seen….

    the good, the bad, the weird.

  85. Hi all,
    My name is Mahesh and am from India and from a movie loving part called Kerala. Now I love Korean movies.
    The first korean movie which I have seen is Oldboy. After watching this movie, I have decided to watch more Korean movies.
    Then I saw ‘Memories of Murder’ and ‘The Chaser’ , which made a korean movie fan. Then I was really stunned with the movie and performance of ‘TaeGukGi’ …… Then I saw ‘My sassy girl’ , another korean masterpiece.

    I have seen here lotta ppl saying ‘My sassy girl’ is no.1 and lot of ppl agreeing to ‘TaeGukGi’ as no.1….In my opinion, both the films are totally different and its vey difficult to say which one is best because both of them are best.
    But if I have to make a choice between the two movies, then its obviously ‘TaeGukGi’ just because the movie is very different and acting is absolutely stunning. If you have to go make a choice one to watch one korean movie, then go for ‘TaeGukGi’ 🙂

  86. hey guys Wat ab “a moment to remember” its also a wonderful movie i ever seen……….. and i like my sassy girl these films touched my heart………..

  87. Great list! These are some of my favorite Hallyuwood movies! Speaking of love stories, a movie you can’t turn down is the film FAILAN starring Hallyuwood actor Choi Min-sik… I’m sure you’ll love it!

  88. hi eugune, i’m memo from indonesia, a big fans of korean movie as well,..
    have u watched korean movie “Memories of murder”??
    well if u have,..i think it should be in top 5 in your list,..
    in my opinion, it’s a very good korean movie with
    beautiful and unpredictable ending.

  89. Hi .. Thank you so much for listing the films out here . I had watched The Way Home long time back but forgot the name i was so happy to find it here . May existence bless you .. Thank you again . you made my day , night and life cause i just love movies and i wanted to share it with my Friends . I love korean cinema . Its too good . love from India

  90. hello, i think you’ve got a decent list there, but as others have pointed out, memories of murder is exceptional. old boy is my 3rd favorite film of all time and i never tire of showing it to friends. a girl i used to date used to love korean rom/coms that i didn’t really appreciate. particularly ones with that girl from my little bride. i did enjoy teach me english as far as rom/coms go. shilmido was terrific. gwemuel was very fun as well.

  91. “The game of their lives” is about the North Korean Soccer team at the 1966 World Cup, the way the director splices the dance with the game is exciting. There may be a slight propaganda angle to the movie. So, I can’t say look past that propaganda. All I can say is the film has some redeeming features and is basically a documentary film though not altogether neutral.

    Not a real Korean movie so would not belong on the list but I think a lot of people would enjoy it. I have the DVD with Korean subtitles.

    I also saw the movie “The Champion” I believe about that Korean boxer that got killed. Probably not a top 10 movie but okay. “Brotherhood” is a great movie but I never sat through it a 2nd time since it is hard hitting but did rewatch plenty of scenes more than once, like the part with the Chinese army moving up the mountain with all of their flags and they were so massive. Unbelievable cinematography.

    On the topic of languages, note, “Seven years in Tibet”, they Englishcized the language but it was clear that Chinese was being broadcast over the loud speakers. I don’t know what I’m trying to say, it kind of ties into the “Ching Chong conversation” in a way because you knew it was suppose to symbolize the Chinese language, like in War movies when you see Germans speaking English or something.

  92. hi!!!im starting to like korean movies,and i really liked windstruck,and i,m a bit disappointed that this one is not on your list’,so far im enjoying to watch my girlfrriend is a gumiho,,koreans are really the best in movie making,,,thank you for the list i’ll try to find them,,,

  93. here are the list of really good Korean movies:
    1. the classic
    2. my sassy girl
    3. he was cool
    4. my little bride
    5. my tutor friend
    6. do re mi fa sol la ti do
    7. 100 days with Mr.arrogant
    8. millionaire’s first love
    9. a moment to remember
    10. my mighty princess
    11. baby and i
    12. daisy
    13. love phobia
    14. innocent steps
    15. windstruck
    16. A tale of two sisters (thriller/horror)
    17. sad movies
    18. 200 pounds beauty
    19. now and forever
    20. the chaser (crime/drama/thriller)

  94. i’ll admit i’m a HUGE korean movie addict…i’m an Indian who’s a linguist as a bit of a hobby!i watch movies from all over the world & there are a very few countries that ever attract me as korea does! i learnt a lot of korean by watching movies & k-dramas..so i’ll rate the movies as i’ve seen from a neutral-perspective,horror & comedy fan:-
    1)Old boy (PURE genius & my no.1)
    2)My sassy girl (best rom-com I’ve seen at least..& i dont watch many)(loved the acting of guy who played Gyan-woo in this esp.)
    3)my wife is a gangster(1rst movie was great but sequels kinda sucked)
    4)3-iron (what can i say?..kim-ki-duk style of silence to show “Han” rocks..even in a simplistic “The isle’)
    5)tale of 2 sisters(good psychological thriller rather than horror)
    6)welcome to dongmakjoel (’nuff said)
    7)Sex is Zero (this is best under-rated korean comedy on ur list..i loved it simply for the pain it shows of being just a regular guy)
    8)The Wayward Cloud(its erotic..its virtually a silent movie..& it’s dead heart-wrenching…one of the 1rst korean movies i saw & it did make me sad and acquainted to concept of Han)
    9)Sympathy for Mr. vengeance (remember..’sympathy for LADY vengeance’ sucked bigtime!)
    10) Shiri (action flick which didnt live up to my expectations either..but appeals to koreans)
    I’m yet to watch “friend” and “taegukgi” but im sure they’ll make my list too! comment back with ur views on this list!cheers!

  95. oh! i believe someone also mentioned k-dramas above!my favs:-
    Hong Gildong (historical,fab acting,great action, my fav)
    The Unstoppable wedding(made me laugh a lot)
    Crazy Love(this is not exact translation,but its something like it..its gotta single dad & musician love interest whom the small son in drama brings togather..good comedy)

  96. For me:
    1. Endless Love 1 ( autmn tale)
    2. Fashion 70’s
    3. Fullhouse
    4. My princes —> cutest movie i think
    5. Secret Graden

    The Most i like in Endless Love…….

  97. Korean movies are perfect…

    i’ll admit i’m a HUGE korean movie addict…i’m an Indian who’s a linguist as a bit of a hobby!i watch movies from all over the world & there are a very few countries that ever attract me as korea does! i learnt a lot of korean by watching movies & k-dramas..so i’ll rate the movies as i’ve seen from a neutral-perspective,horror & comedy fan:-
    1)Old boy (PURE genius & my no.1)
    2)My sassy girl (best rom-com I’ve seen at least..& i dont watch many)(loved the acting of guy who played Gyan-woo in this esp.)
    3)my wife is a gangster(1rst movie was great but sequels kinda sucked)
    4)3-iron (what can i say?..kim-ki-duk style of silence to show “Han”

    1. I’m not sure what you wanted to say but i more or less agree..when a korean movie comes good, it has EVERY emotion in it perfect! consequently,movie is also not just simply good,but an instant classic! like i said,i’m addicted to them!

  98. hi..my second comment here..HAD to come back to check on reviews & this list..so great work Peter Cho :)…now..to set MY record straight & recommend more movies that i’d missed last time & 3 that i’ve seen since but am surprised didnt make it to YOUR list Peter…here goes :-
    *Silmido (badass!),
    *The Chaser (2008)..(India did it again by copying it’s story in “Murder 2″ & guys..it IMPROVED upon The Chaser..”The Chaser” s director was chief guest at movie fest here & he took home “Murder 2″ DVD)
    *”Memories of Murder” (good thriller..AND based upon real events..except that they didnt show that serial killer used to cut out victim’s vulva out & show it to them in movie)
    *”Hanyo” (the Housemaid)..kinda oldie..1960 i think & i’d seen it a long time back but had almost forgot about it.
    *The Isle (Kim-Ki-Dook again :D)
    *Spring,Summer,Fall,Winter And Spring Again (saw it a LONG time back but had forgotten…sorry everyone!)
    *He was Cool (actually rather good)
    *Attack at Gas station ( havent really seen it yet coz it isnt loaded fully yet..but acting looks terrific judging my previews 🙂 )
    *”I’m a Robot..but That’s Ok” (weird, funny, quirky, bizarre..but it touched MY heart…i almost DID had a cry at this one..& THIS WAS A COMEDY..but my god..what an irony..& this is why i LOVE korean “Han”..remember..i DONT WATCH MELODRAMAS..on principle..but this was great!)
    *The Good, The Bad, The Weird ( Recently seen.Peter..you REALLY did mess up on missing this one!)
    Also..”Windstruck” was just barely watchable for me & only redeemed itself to me in the end when it proved to me that it was a prequel to “My Sassy Girl”…otherwise i just thought it a good comedy & LOTS of drama!

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