Best Korean movies of all time

I started watching Korean movies an year back and since then I have fallen in love with them. I have complied a list of 10 best Korean movies of all time, which you should add to your must watch list.

1. Old Boy (2003)

Old Boy - Best Korean movies of all time

Oh Dae-Su is an average working class man who was kidnapped and imprisoned for 15 years in a cell without any explanation. He is then released with money, expensive clothes and a cell phone. He now has only 5 days to find his captor to get his revenge.

This movie is a masterpiece directed by Chan-wook Park which deserves to be in IMDB top 250 list and one of the most badass South Korean movie ever. The pace is quick enough that you never get bored and the dark and nasty with enough twists and turns to keep you glued to your chair. If you have what it takes to recognize masterpiece and enjoy a brutal dark mystery-thriller I can guarantee you that you won’t be disappointed. I personally believe that Old Boy is one of the best Korean movie ever.

P.S : This movie is R Rated for violence, sex and nudity.


2. The Chaser (2008)

chaser_movie_poster-Best Korean movies of all time

Chugyeogja aka “The Chaser” is a story of Joong-ho is a dirty detective turned pimp in financial trouble as several of his girls have recently disappeared without clearing their debts. While trying to track them down, he finds a clue that the vanished girls were all called up by a same client whom one of his girls is meeting with right now. “The Chaser” is based on the real life serial killer Young-cheol Yoo who was convicted in 2005 of murdering 20 people.

This is a stunning movie with superb performance by both lead actors. The suspense just keeps intensifying at a steady pace until you call time. This film is definitely not for the squeamish or faint of heart. I Saw the Devil is one of the most morbidly delightful films from the Korean Film industry. A Must Watch.

P.S : This movie is R Rated for violence, sex and nudity.


3. I Saw The Devil (2010)

i_saw_the_devil_movie_poster-Best Korean movies of all time

Akmareul boatda aka “I Saw The Devil” is a revenge thriller. Jang Kyung-chul (Choi Min-sik of Old Boy fame) is a dangerous psychopath who kills for human meat. He has committed several murders in a way no one can imagine. One day, Joo-yeon, daughter of a retired police chief becomes his prey and is found dead in a horrific state. Her fiancé Soo-hyun (Lee Byung-hun of G.I Joe fame), a top secret agent, decides to track down the murderer himself. He promises himself that he will do everything in his power to take bloody vengeance against the killer, even if it means that he must become a monster himself to get this monstrous and inhumane killer.

I Saw the Devil is an unforgettable thriller. Top notch performance by both the leading actors. Don’t miss it.

P.S : This movie is R Rated for violence, sex and nudity.


4. Memories of Murder (2003)

memories-of-murder-Best Korean movies of all time

Salinui chueok aka “Memories of Murder” is a Serial Killer Drama movie. In Gyunggi village of South Korea happens a series of rapes and murder all under similar circumstances. Two local detectives Park Doo-Man and Jo Young-Goo starts the investigation of the case. Memories of Murder is a dark and disturbing movie. The climax of the movie is brilliant. Both the actors have done an amazing job. Highly Recommended.

Note : “Memories of Murder” is based on a true story that occurred in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province over the course of six years (1986 – 1991). 10 women were raped and murdered in a 2km radius ranging from a 71 year-old grandmother to a 13 year old schoolgirl. Over 3,000 suspects were interrogated and at least 300,000 police took part in the massive investigation. Not a single person was indicted for the crimes.


5. My Sassy Girl (2001)


Yeopgijeogin geunyeo aka My Sassy Girl is one of the best romantic comedy I have ever seen. The story starts with Kyun-woo (Tae-hyun Cha) meeting an unknown drunk girl Ji-hyun Jun (Gianna Jun) on a subway. Kyun-woo soon finds himself in a relationship which needs to be ended soon but unable to forget this sassy girl. Both the actors have done a fantastic job. As the movie progresses you will surely fall in love with Ji-hyun Jun.

Note : My Sassy girl is based on a series of true stories posted by Ho-sik Kim on the Internet describing his relationship with his girlfriend. These were later transformed into a best-selling book and the movie. The Hollywood remake version of this movie with the same title starring Elisha Cuthbert and Jesse Bradford din’t do justice to this movie and the same goes to the Bollywood version Ugly Aur Pagli which was terrible.


6. Mother (2009)


Madeo aka Mother is story of widowed women living with her 28 year old son who is a bit mentally slow with bad memory. The movie takes a turn when her son Yoon Do-joon (Bin Won) is framed for brutally killing a school girl. Even a plea bargain would require Yoon Do-joon to spend four years in detention which isn’t an option for the mother and her only son. Faced with no other options, she takes the initiative to prove her son’s innocence.

Madeo is an amazing movie packed with full of surprises. Hye-ja Kim  who played the mother did a tremendous job.  The story is complex and dark, with serious characters and awesome cinematography.


7. J.S.A.: Joint Security Area (2000)


Gongdong gyeongbi guyeok JSA aka J.S.A.: Joint Security Area is an murder investigation story of 2 North Korean soldiers who have been allegedly killed by a South Korean soldier at Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Korea. The reason behind the killing is too simple and tragic.

This movie is one the best South Korean movies of all time, wonderfully crafted masterpiece that evokes the strongest emotions in a person’s heart. J.S.A delicately depicts North-South Korean relations and their ideologies. All the lead actors have done a tremendous job. I think the movie excellently describes the military life and how friends are forced into killing each other for no good reason.


8. A Moment to Remember (2004)


Nae meorisokui jiwoogae aka A Moment to Remember is a love story of 2 young couple Cheol-su (Woo-sung Jung) and Ye-jin Son (Su-Jin) happily married and madly in love with each other. The story takes a tragic turn when Ye-jin Son is diagnosed with a rare form of Alzheimer’s disease.

A Moment to Remember is an awesome love story with excellent acting and perfect pace.  If you are looking for a great romantic drama that is uplifting and heartbreaking in equal measures then this is the film for you.

P.S : Make sure you have enough water to drink next to you just in case of dehydration along with lots of tissues, this movie will probably make you cry.

Highly recommend for couples hopelessly in love with each other and make sure you watch it together.


9. The Man from Nowhere (2010)


Ajeossi aka The Man From Nowhere is story of a quiet pawnshop owner Cha Tae-sik (Bin Won of Madeo fame) whose only real connection to the outside world is a little girl So-Mi who often comes to his pawn shop. So-Mi’s mother is a drug junkie who doesn’t care about her daughter. The story takes a violent turn when So-Mi is kidnapped by a criminals. Cha Tae-sik vows to himself to do whatever it takes to bring her back.

Its not just another “man on a mission”  kind of a movie. The story line is good and the action scenes are brilliantly shot. One of the best action movie from South Korean film industry. The movie is dark and complex but well executed. All the “Taken” fans out there must watch this once.


10. Oasis (2002)


Jong-Du Hong (Kyung-gu Sol of Peppermint Candy fame) is a social misfit and mildly retarded. He was sentenced for 3 years imprisonment for a hit and run accident is now released. He decides to visit the family of the victim from the hit and run accident. The son of the victim has moved out of the house and left her sister Gong-ju Han (So-ri Moon) alone who is suffering from Cerebral Palsy while cashing on her disability checks. Jong-Du hong forms an unusual bond with Gong-ju Han.

Oasis is one of the most painfully beautiful movie ever made. Both the actors have done an amazing job, So-ri Moon deserves an Oscar for her performance in this movie. Oasis is one of those movies which will leave a long and lasting effect on you. This is film makes you believe in love, makes you sad, angry and happy.