The best south korean films

List by john Last updated August 17, 2017


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best south korean films List order as defined by john

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Memories of Murder (2003)

Crime Drama Thriller
The worst of them will stay with you... forever

1986 Gyunggi Province. The body of a young woman is found brutally raped and murdered. Two months later, a series of rapes and murders commences under similar circumstances. And in a country that had never known such crimes, the dark whispers about a serial murderer grow louder. A special task force is set up in the area, with two local detectives Park Doo-Man and Jo Young-Goo joined by a detective from Seoul who requested to be assigned to the case.

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Vote count 322 Vote avg 78 Release date 2003-04-24

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I Saw the Devil (2010)

Thriller Horror
Abandon all compassion.

Kyung-chul (Choi Min-sik) is a dangerous psychopath who kills for pleasure. He has committed infernal serial murders in diabolic ways that one cannot even imagine and his victims range from young women to even children. The police have chased him for a long time, but were unable to catch him. One day, Joo-yeon, daughter of a retired police chief becomes his prey and is found dead in a horrific state. Her fiance Soo-hyun (Lee Byung-hun), 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.

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Vote count 441 Vote avg 75 Release date 2010-08-12

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The Chaser (2008)

Crime Drama Thriller

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.

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Vote count 202 Vote avg 76 Release date 2008-02-14

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Joint Security Area (2000)

War Drama Thriller
Eight shots! The truth is there

In the DMZ separating North and South Korea, two North Korean soldiers have been killed, supposedly by one South Korean soldier. But the 11 bullets found in the bodies, together with the 5 remaining bullets in the assassin's magazine clip, amount to 16 bullets for a gun that should normally hold 15 bullets. The investigating Swiss/Swedish team from the neutral countries overseeing the DMZ suspects that another, unknown party was involved - all of which points to some sort of cover up. The truth is much simpler and much more tragic.

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Vote count 97 Vote avg 76 Release date 2000-09-09

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Oldboy (2003)

Drama Thriller Mystery
15 years of imprisonment, five days of vengeance

With no clue how he came to be imprisoned, drugged and tortured for 15 years, a desperate businessman seeks revenge on his captors.

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Vote count 1,527 Vote avg 79 Release date 2003-01-01

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Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War (2004)

Action Adventure Drama

In 1950, in South Korea, shoe-shiner Jin-tae Lee and his 18-year-old old student brother, Jin-seok Lee, form a poor but happy family with their mother, Jin-tae's fiancé Young-shin Kim, and her young sisters. Jin-tae and his mother are tough workers, who sacrifice themselves to send Jin-seok to the university. When North Korea invades the South, the family escapes to a relative's house in the country, but along their journey, Jin-seok is forced to join the army to fight in the front, and Jin-tae enlists too to protect his young brother. The commander promises Jin-tae that if he gets a medal he would release his brother, and Jin-tae becomes the braver soldier in the company. Along the bloody war between brothers, the relationship of Jin-seok with his older brother deteriorates leading to a dramatic and tragic end.

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Vote count 116 Vote avg 73 Release date 2004-02-05

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Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (2005)

Drama Thriller
All she wanted was a peaceful life... they didn't give it.

After a 13-year imprisonment for the kidnap and murder of a 6 year old boy, beautiful Lee Guem-ja starts seeking revenge on the man that was really responsible for the boy's death. With the help of fellow inmates and reunited with her daughter, she gets closer and closer to her goal. But will her actions lead to the relief she seeks?

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Vote count 292 Vote avg 73 Release date 2005-07-29

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The Front Line (2011)

Drama Action War
Last Battle of the Korean War

In 1951 ceasefire is declared, but two remaining armies fought their final battle on the front line Towards the end of the Korean War, a South Korean battalion is fiercely battling over a hill on the front line border against the North in order to capture a strategic point that would determine the new border between two nations. The ownership of this small patch of land would swap multiple times each day. Kang is dispatched to the front line in order to investigate the tacit case that’s been happening there. But he gets spiraled into the war that’s more terrifying than death itself when he meets his friend Kim, who has transformed into a war machine, and his unit. As the countdown for ceasefire begins, both sides become more vicious, resulting in deaths of countless lives until the last man could claim the land.

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Vote count 38 Vote avg 73 Release date 2011-07-20

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The Man from Nowhere (2010)

Action Thriller Crime
Nothing to lose, nothing to compromise.

His only friend called him 'the man from nowhere'... Taesik, a former special agent becomes a loner after losing his wife in a miserable accident and lives a bitter life running a pawnshop. He only has a few customers and a friend named Somi, a little girl next door. As Taesik spends more and more time with Somi, he gets attached to her. Then Somi is kidnapped by a gang, and as Taesik tries to save Somi by becoming deeply associated with the gang his mysterious past is revealed...

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Vote count 294 Vote avg 75 Release date 2010-08-04

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Train to Busan (2016)

Action Horror Thriller
Life-or-death survival begins

Martial law is declared when a mysterious viral outbreak pushes Korea into a state of emergency. Those on an express train to Busan, a city that has successfully fended off the viral outbreak, must fight for their own survival…

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Vote count 545 Vote avg 76 Release date 2016-07-20

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The Host (2006)

Horror Drama Science Fiction
Monsters are real.

Gang-du is a dim-witted man working at his father's tiny snack bar near the Han River. One day, Gang-du's one and only daughter Hyun-seo comes back from school irritated. She is angry at her uncle, Nam-il, who visited her school as her guardian shamelessly drunk. Ignoring her father's excuses for Nam-il, Hyun-seo is soon engrossed in her aunt Nam-joo's archery tournament on TV. Meanwhile, outside of the snack bar, people are fascinated by an unidentified object hanging onto a bridge. In an instant, the object reveals itself as a terrifying creature turning the riverbank into a gruesome sea of blood¡¦ Amid the chaos, Hyun-seo is helplessly snatched up by the creature right before Gang-du's eyes. These unforeseen circumstances render the government powerless to act. But receiving a call of help from Hyun-seo, the once-ordinary citizen Gang-du and his family are thrust into a battle with the monster to rescue their beloved Hyun-seo.

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Vote count 439 Vote avg 67 Release date 2006-07-27

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The Admiral: Roaring Currents (2014)

Adventure War
12 ships against a fleet of 330

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 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.

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Vote count 54 Vote avg 69 Release date 2014-07-30

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Thirst (2009)

Drama Horror Thriller

Sang-hyun (Song Kang-ho), a respected priest, volunteers for an experimental procedure that may lead to a cure for a deadly virus. He gets infected and dies, but a blood transfusion of unknown origin brings him back to life as a vampire. Now, Sang-hyun is torn between faith and bloodlust, and has a newfound desire for Tae-ju (Kim Ok-vin), the wife of his childhood friend.

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Vote count 156 Vote avg 69 Release date 2009-04-30

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A Bittersweet Life (2005)

Action Drama Crime

Kim Sun-woo is an enforcer and manager for a hotel owned by a cold, calculative crime boss, Kang who assigns Sun-Woo to a simple errand while he is away on a business trip; to shadow his young mistress, Heesoo, for fear that she may be cheating on him with another, younger man, with the mandate that he must kill them both if he discovers their affair.

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Vote count 126 Vote avg 74 Release date 2005-03-31

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Masquerade (2012)

Drama

During the confusing and conspiratorial Joseon Dynasty King Gwang-hae orders his councilor, HEO Kyun, to find him a double in order to avoid the constant threat of assassination. HEO Kyun finds Ha-sun, a jester who looks remarkably like the king, and just as feared, Gwang-hae is poisoned. HEO Kyun proposes Ha-sun fill the role as the king until Gwang-hae recovers fully and grooms Ha-sun to look and act every bit the king. While assuming the role of the king at his first official appearance, Ha-sun begins to ponder the intricacies of the problems debated in his court. Being fundamentally more humanitarian than Gwang-hae, Ha-sun’s affection and appreciation of even the most minor servants slowly changes morale in the castle for the better. However, his chief opposition, PARK, notices the sudden shift in the king’s behavior and starts to ask questions.

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Vote count 29 Vote avg 72 Release date 2012-09-12

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The Handmaiden (2016)

Thriller Drama Romance

Korea, 1930s. A con man hires a pickpocket to become the maid of a mysterious and fragile heiress, in an attempt to seize her wealth. But not everything goes according to plan.

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Vote count 256 Vote avg 80 Release date 2016-06-01

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New World (2013)

Thriller
Three Men Three Ways To A Different

A detective infiltrates into one of the biggest gang organizations in the country and gets involved in a fight for the heir to the gang after the boss dies and in between the second in charge who trusts him with his life and the high police officials who think of him only as bait.

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Vote count 97 Vote avg 71 Release date 2013-02-21

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The Wailing (2016)

Comedy Fantasy Horror
Never be tempted.

A stranger arrives in a little village and soon after a mysterious sickness starts spreading. A policeman is drawn into the incident and is forced to solve the mystery in order to save his daughter.

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Vote count 183 Vote avg 72 Release date 2016-05-12

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