40+ Best South Korean Films That You Should Definitely Watch

Last year one of the South Korean films named PARASITE made history in the Oscars by becoming the first Non-English and foreign-language film to win an Oscar of Best Picture. It was really a huge achievement for the makers of Parasite as well as for the South Korean Cinema. 

Winning an Oscar for Best Picture last year doesn't mean, it made South Korean films widely popular across the world overnight. Well before this moment too, the South Korean films had been making special places in the heart of movie lovers breaking all the language barriers. 

Why South Korean Films Are Worth Watching???


Hollywood is definitely the biggest film industry in the world and makes a number of good films in a year. And the thing for that Hollywood is most popular is the technology they used in the filmmaking either it is for rich visuals or awesome mindboggling effects. And this is almost impossible for other film industries in the world to match the level of Hollywood in terms of VFX and CGIs. Hollywood will be always best in this department. 

But there are many instances where South Korean films have even surpassed Hollywood when it comes to the presentation of storytelling. Of course, Hollywood is also better known for making films on new and unique concepts either it is on any genre. To be frank, if South Korean films can't surpass Hollywood in making new and high concept films, then also they(South Korean Films) aren't even behind Hollywood. South Korean films have also given a tough competition to Hollywood in making new concept movies. 

And there is one thing in which even Hollywood can't match South Korean films. That thing is violence in the movies. If you want to see violence in the movies that can give you real goosebumps, then you should always prefer South Korean films. There are many such South Korean films that have totally changed the perception of watching violence in the movies. Even they show brutality in the movies in a great way. 

40+ Best South Korean Films That Will Be Worth Watching For You

In this article, I am going to tell you about those South Korean films that are totally worth watching. After watching these films, you won't regret it. 

There may be some movies on the list that you may know about. Still, though, I am not going to list those movies that are quite popular that most of the people knew about. Most of you may have watched movies like Parasite, Snowpiercer, Memories Of Murder, Train To Busan, or Old Boy. 

I will try to give you at least more than 5 movies that you might not have heard off or have watched. Let's go to the list now. 

One thing I want to make clear first is that the movies in this list aren't in any order. So don't get confused in thinking this movie should be at that number and that movie in this number. 


1. Along With The Gods Series(2017-18)

The series has two films on it. The first Along With The Gods: The Two Worlds was released in 2017 and the second part Along With The Gods: The Last 49 Days in 2018. 


This is one of the best fantasy action films I personally have ever seen. Having died unexpectedly, firefighter Ja-hong is taken to the afterlife by 3 afterlife guardians. Only when he passes 7 trials over 49 days and proves he was innocent in human life, he's able to reincarnate, and his 3 afterlife guardians are by his side to defend him in the trial. This is the story of the first part of the series. 

The second installment follows the story left behind in the first installment of the series. Third and Fourth parts of the series are currently in development. 


2. Ode To My Father(2014)

The film shows us the story of a boy and his promise that he had made with his father during the chaos of refugees fleeing the Korean War in December 1950. A young boy, Duk-soo, sees his fate change in the blink of an eye when he loses track of his younger sister and he leaves his father behind to find her. 


Settling in Busan, Duk-soo devotes himself to his remaining family, working all manner of odd jobs to support them in place of his father. His dedication leads him first to the deadly coal mines of Germany, where he meets his first love, Youngja, and then to war-torn Vietnam in this generational epic about one man's personal sacrifices.

The film is quite emotional and leaves you in tears after you complete watching it. 


3. New World(2013)

It is an action crime drama film written and directed by Park Hoon-Jung. It is said that the film will be changed into a complete trilogy. Its sequels are yet to come. 


As Korea's biggest crime organization 'Goldmoon' expands its powers, Kang, the head of the police investigation planning department, orders the undercover cop Ja-Seoung to participate in the project "New World", that will take down 'Goldmoon'. Ja-Seong must choose either to follow Kang's orders as a cop or to keep his loyalty with Jeong Cheong, the under-boss of the 'Goldmoon' crime organization.


4. Psychokinesis(2018)

Psychokinesis is the first superhero film written and directed by Yeon Sang-Ho, also the man behind the brilliant film Train To Busan. This was his second directorial film after Train To Busan. The film was released on January 31, 2018, in the theatres of South Korean and later was released on Netflix on April 25, 2018. 


The film is about Seok-Heon, a bank security guard who gains superpowers one day after drinking water from a mountain spring affected by a meteor. He then sets out to protect his estranged daughter Roo-mi and her neighborhood from a construction company controlled by the mafia, using his recently-arrived superpower: the power of psychokinesis, and in the process becomes a superhero.


5. The Witch Part 1: The Subversion(2018)

The Witch Part 1 will be one of the best action films in your list after you complete watching it. Simply speaking, this film is a perfect combination of movies like Wolverine, Man Of Steel, Blade, and John Wick. 


The film is about a high school student with amnesia tries to uncover what has happened to her. All leading her into deeper troubles ultimately revealing a darkness she could not have imagined.

The performances from the lead actors and the action and the thrill in the movie will give you a perfect experience while watching it. The second part of the film is also all set to release in 2021 and after watching the first part, you will be so excited for its second part. 


6. The Attorney(2013)

A snobbish tax lawyer Song Woo-Seok becomes an attorney of his old friend Jinwoo after seeing him being arrested by the military regime. The trial becomes a turning point of Song's life and he decides to devote himself to the democratization movement.


7. Il Mare(2000)

Eun-Joo moves out of her house "Il Mare", leaving behind a Christmas card for the eventual new owner of the house in 1999. In it, she asks him/her to forward any mail of hers to her new address in the city. 


It is 1997 and Sung-Hyun, the first owner of "Il Mare" is moving in and finds in his mailbox the Christmas card from Eun-Joo. Thinking it was a joke, Sung-Hyun leaves her a letter telling her so and reminds her that it's 1997, not 1999. 

Eventually, the two realize that they are separated by two years of time but can somehow communicate through the mailbox and begin to form a friendship through their letters. 


8. Inside Men(2015)

Lee Kang-hee is an editorialist of an influential newspaper in South Korea. With the power of the press, he makes the congressman Jang Pil-woo to one of the candidates of the next presidential election. 


That is the result of a secret deal between Lee and Ahn Sang-goo, a political henchman of Jang Pil-woo. But Ahn makes an almost fatal error when he gets caught pocketing the record on the Jang's slush fund. The prosecutor Woo Jang-hoon is about to investigate and becomes absolutely determined because the case would help him making big steps in his career. 

Ahn gets in real trouble, when he gets dropped by Jang and should have been killed, but is able to flee. Now a bitter war starts between one who is lusting for power, the one who wants vengeance, and the one who is eager for success.


9. Always(2011)

A love story centered on ex-boxer Chul-min (So Ji-sub) and telemarketer Jung-Hwa (Han Hyo-Joo). He has closed his heart to the world and she remains spirited despite slowly losing her vision. Their fate intertwines when their past are revealed in their blooming relationship.




10. Peppermint Candy(1999)

Yong Ho, a problematic guy, is walking alone at the riverside. He suddenly bumped with his friend's reunion. He joins them and after that go to the railway to commit suicide. Then, the train reverses back to show why he become like that from the beginning. Covers five phases of his life.



11. Breathless(2018)

A bitter loan shark strikes a friendship with a troubled schoolgirl as he faces his own troubled past with his abusive father.



12. Silenced(2011)

Gang In-ho, who is working to earn money for his daughter's surgery, is appointed to a school for hearing-impaired children in Gwangju. But what he discovers there is an ugly truth: the children are being physically and sexually abused by their teachers. 


When he decides to fight for the children's rights and expose the crimes being committed at the school, In-ho teams up with human rights activist Seo Yu-jin. But he and Yu-jin soon realize the school's principal and teachers, and even the police, prosecutors, and churches in the community are actually trying to cover up the truth.


13. Pieta(2012)

A loan shark is forced to reconsider his violent lifestyle after the arrival of a mysterious woman claiming to be his long-lost mother.



14. A Dirty Carnival(2006)

Byung-du is a 29-year-old career criminal, working for the middle-rank enforcer Sang-Chul. Burdened with a terminally ill mother and taking care of younger siblings, Byung-du is feeling financial pressure as a substitute patriarch. 


When the big boss President Hwang is cornered by a corrupt prosecutor, Byung-du volunteers for a whack job and wins the big man's trust. However, his real trouble begins when friend Min-ho, an aspiring movie director, asks him to be a consultant for the latter's debut film.


15. 3-Iron(2004)

A young drifter enters strangers' houses - and lives - while owners are away. He spends a night or a day squatting in, repaying their unwitting hospitality by doing laundry or small repairs. His life changes when he runs into a beautiful woman in an affluent mansion who is ready to escape her unhappy, abusive marriage.



16. Mother(2009)

A mother lives quietly with her twenty-eight-year-old son, Do-Joon, providing herbs and acupuncture to neighbors. One day, a girl is brutally murdered, and Do-Joon is charged with the killing. Now, it's his mother's call whether to prove him innocent or to leave him imprisoned.



17. I Saw The Devil(2010)

What to say about this South Korean action thriller masterpiece. Personally, this film is very close to me. It's the Korean film that I had watched for the first time. Since this movie, I totally fell into the love of South Korean films. 


The film mainly shows us the revenge story of Kim Soo-Hyun played by Lee Byung-Hun whose fiancĂ©e is being brutally murdered by a psychopathic serial killer. The story seems simple revenge drama but the real thing in the movie can't be simply explained in words. Don't miss this masterpiece. 

18. Extreme Job(2019)

A team of narcotics detectives goes undercover in a fried chicken joint to stake out an organized crime gang. But things take an unexpected turn when the detectives' chicken recipe suddenly transforms the rundown restaurant into the hottest eatery in town.



19. The Admiral: Roaring Currents

The film mainly follows the famous 1597 Battle of Myeongryang during the Japanese invasion of Korea (1592-1598), where the iconic Joseon admiral Yi Sun-sin managed to destroy a total of 31 of 133 Japanese warships with only 13 ships remaining in his command. The battle, which took place in the Myeongryang Strait off the southwest coast of the Korean Peninsula, is considered one of the greatest victories of Yi.



20. The Tiger(2015)

While the Kingdom of Korea is under occupation by the Japanese, an old and experienced hunter is challenged by the hunt of the last tiger.




21. War Of The Arrows(2011)

Two children Nam-Yi and Ja-in are being chased by King Injo's guards and saved by their father Choi Pyeong-Ryung, an officer of King Gwanghae and a skilled archer. He sends his own children to find a place of refuge with his best friend Kim Mu-Seon. 


As they escape crying, Ja-in begs her brother to go back to their father but their father is killed in front of Nam-Yi. Nam-Yi, though bitten by the guard dogs, kills them and escapes with Ja-in. Nam-Yi becomes the only family Ja-in has. 13 years later Nam-Yi is now a skilled archer and hunter. He learns from Mu-Seon's son Seo-goon that he and Ja-in plan to get married, with the approval of Mu-Seon who is also Jae-in's godfather. 

During the wedding, Nam-Yi is up in the mountains hunting deer. He hears the rumble of the invading forces. When Nam-Yi makes it back to the village, he finds his step-father slaughtered and his sister taken away. Nam-Yi then sets out to find the Qing army and take out their army with his bow.


22. The Host(2006)

The film revolves around Park Hee-bong, a man in his late 60s. He runs a small snack bar on the banks of the Han River and lives with his two sons, one daughter, and one granddaughter. The Parks seem to lead a quite ordinary and peaceful life, but maybe they are a bit poorer than the average Seoulite. 


Hee-bong's elder son Gang-du is an immature and incompetent man in his 40s, whose wife left home long ago. Nam-il is the youngest son, an unemployed grumbler, and daughter Nam-Joo is an archery medalist and member of the national team. 

One day, an unidentified monster suddenly appears from the depths of the Han River and spreads panic and death, and Gang-du's daughter Hyun-Seo is carried off by the monster and disappears. All of the family members are in great agony because they lost someone very dear to them. But when they find out she is still alive, they resolve to save her.


23. The Ganster, The Cop, The Devil(2019)

After barely surviving a violent attack by an elusive serial killer, crime boss Jang Dong-Su (Don Lee) finds himself forming an unlikely partnership with local detective Jung Tae-Seok (Kim Moo Yul) to catch the sadistic killer simply known as "K".



24. Nameless Gangster(2012)

On the verge of being fired, a corrupt customs official finds a haul of drugs and teams up with a vicious gangster to become the most powerful crime partnership in Busan.



25. A Moment To Remember(2004)

A Korean love story about a young couple's enduring love, which is tested when 27-year-old Sun-jin is diagnosed with a rare form of Alzheimer's disease.



26. Oasis(2002)

Jong-du, a young man just out of prison for manslaughter, is a social misfit: fidgety, snuffling, laughing inappropriately, without a superego. When released, he calls on the family of the victim; they send him away, but not before he has seen Gong-Ju, a young woman disabled severely by cerebral palsy. 


Both are abused by their families, and both are used by them as well. Although their relationship begins with Jong-du's criminal behavior, a friendship develops. They talk of favorite things; he washes her hair; they go out; in late-night phone calls, he helps her past her fears of the dark. Is there a place in the world for these two inarticulate people?


27. A Bittersweet Life(2005)

Things go wrong for a high ranking mobster when he doesn't proceed by his boss's orders.



28. A Tale Of Two Sisters(2003)

Two sisters who, after spending time in a mental institution, return to the home of their father and cruel stepmother. Once there, in addition to dealing with their stepmother's obsessive and unbalanced ways, an interfering ghost also affects their recovery.



29. The Outlaws(2017)

Based on real events that occurred in 2007 dubbed the "Heuksapa Incident". The story follows a turf war that grows between a local gang that runs Garibong-dong in Guro District, Seoul, and the Heuksapa gang from Yanbian, China; the police are called in to attempt to bring peace to the neighborhood.



30. Pandora(2016)

Jae-Hyeok (Kim Nam-Gil) lives with his mother (Kim Young-Ae), his sister-in-law (Moon Jeong-Hee), and nephew Min-Jae (Bae Gang-Yoo) in a small Korean town. He is dating Yeon-Joo (Kim Joo-Hyun), while working at the local nuclear power plant. 


Meanwhile, Pyung-Sub (Jung Jin-Young) works at the same nuclear power plant. He is worried about conditions there, but nobody in the government listens to him. An earthquake strikes the small town where Jae-Hyeok lives and causes explosions at the nuclear power plant. 

The situation quickly spirals out of control, leading the entire nation to panic. To prevent another nuclear disaster, Jae-Hyeok and his co-workers return to the nuclear power plant.


31. The Chase(2017)

Sim Deok-soo is a grumpy landlord running a run-down apartment complex. Suddenly his tenants begin disappearing under suspicious circumstances. A retired ex-detective shows up, claiming a serial murderer from 30 years back has returned.



32. Confession Of Murder(2012)

After the statute of limitations expires on the murders he has committed, Lee Du-Seok publishes an autobiography describing all his murders in great detail. Detective Choi, who investigated Lee's murders 15 years ago starts the chase once again and Han Ji-soo, who lost her daughter to Lee, pledges vengeance. 


Meanwhile, another killer appears, casting doubt on whether Lee is the real serial killer. The key here is how well the story juggles the truth and how solid the description of the characters' tangled relationships is.


33. Steel Rain(2017)

A coup in North Korea forces an agent to defect to the South with unconscious "Number One". While operatives from North hunt for both of them, the agent has to work with South Koreans to stop the nuclear war.



34. Be With You(2018)

Woo Jin takes care of his son Ji Ho alone after his wife Soo A passed away. Before she passed away, she promised she would be back on a rainy day one year later. One year later, Soo A appears again, but she does not remember anything.



35. The Handmaidan(2016)

1930s Korea, in the period of Japanese occupation, a new girl (Sookee) is hired as a handmaiden to a Japanese heiress (Hideko) who lives a secluded life in a large countryside estate with her domineering Uncle (Kouzuki). But the maid has a secret. 


She is a pickpocket recruited by a swindler posing as a Japanese Count to help him seduce the Lady to elope with him, rob her of her fortune, and lock her up in a madhouse. The plan seems to proceed according to plan until Sookee and Hideko discover some unexpected emotions.


36. A Hard Day(2014)

Detective Go Geon-soo is having a hard day, and the following events happen to him in less than 24 hours: He receives a divorce notice from his wife. His mother passes away. He and his coworkers are investigated by police inspectors over alleged embezzlement. 


Then on his way to his mother's funeral, he drives recklessly and commits a fatal hit and run. He tries to cover-up the accident by hiding the man's corpse in his deceased mother's coffin. But someone has been watching all along, and Geon-soo gets a mysterious call from a person claiming that he was the sole witness to the crime, who now begins to threaten him.


37. The Man From Nowhere(2010)

An ex-special agent CHA Tae-Shik's only connection to the rest of the world is a little girl, So-mi, who lives nearby. Her mother, Hyo-Jeong smuggles drugs from a drug trafficking organization and entrusts Tae-Shik with the product, without letting him know. 


The traffickers find out about her smuggling and kidnap both Hyo-Jeong and So-mi. The gang promises to release them if Tae-Shik makes a delivery for them, however, it actually is a larger plot to eliminate a rival drug ring leader. 

When Hyo-jeon's disemboweled body is discovered, Tae-Shik realizes that So-mi's life may also be in danger. Tae-Shik becomes enraged at the prospect that So-mi may already be dead and prepares for a battle, putting his own life at risk.


38. Assaisination(2015) 

Korea in the year 1933, the country is occupied by the Japanese army. Many warriors of the resistance where forced into exile in China. Now they are trying to organize the fight from the distance. Now the resistance has learned that the highest commander of the Japanese army is going to visit Korea. 


They decide to take the chance and kill him by assassination. But the only sniper who is able to make that shot is Ahn Ok-Yun, who is serving her time in the prison of Shanghai. 

The resistance agent Yem Sek-jin is set to get her and her comrades out, but his plan is offered to the Japanese by a traitor. Now, Ok-Yun and her warriors not just have to flee from the Chinese prison, she also must face the Japanese army and a very special hit-man, assigned to take her down.


39. Fabricated City(2017)

After Kwon, an exceptional gamer, is wrongly framed for murder, he along with his allies decides to find the real culprit and prove his innocence.



40. 1987: When The Day Comes(2017)

In 1987 Korea, under an oppressive military regime, a college student gets killed during a police interrogation involving torture. Government officials are quick to cover up the death and order the body to be cremated. 


A prosecutor who is supposed to sign the cremation release raises questions about a 21-year-old kid dying of a heart attack and begins looking into the case for the truth. Despite a systematic attempt to silence everyone involved in the case, the truth gets out, causing an eruption of public outrage.



These are 40 South Korean films that should definitely watch if you love watching films. If I have missed some movies that should have been added here, you can let me know in the comment box.  

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