Greatest Korean Films

Korean cinema has been one of the most underrated film industries for a long time. Korea has produced some of the most interesting, twisted, and fun films ever. They finally got the recognition they deserved when Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite won the Oscar for Best Picture. Parasite has now become a cultural phenomenon that has exposed the world to the beauty of Korean cinema. Some of the greatest Korean films are now being seen by the world. Global film fans are searching online for earlier Korean films and discovering the vast treasure they have to offer. Therefore if you are interested in South Korean films but don’t know where to start, here are some of the greatest Korean films of all time.


The greatest Korean film of all time is the only one to have been nominated for an Academy Award, let alone win Best Picture. Parasite landed 6 Oscar nominations overall and put Korean cinema on the global map. Parasite begins with the family of Ki-taek Lee, a poor man who lives in a run-down apartment with his wife and two children. The family is struggling to make ends meet, so when Ki-taek’s son, Ki-woo, is offered a job tutoring the daughter of a wealthy family, they see it as an opportunity to improve their situation.

Ki-woo starts work at the home of the Park family, and he soon observes that they live a very different life to his own. The Parks are rich and have all the material comforts that money can buy. Ki-woo can take advantage of his position in the household and start making money for his family.

However, Ki-woo’s sister, Ki-jeong, is not content to sit back and watch her brother make all the money. She hatches a plan to get a job with the Parks, and soon the whole family is working for the rich family.

But as the family becomes too comfortable in their new roles, they begin to forget their place in society. The line between servant and master starts to blur, and jealousy and greed start to take over. The situation spirals out of control as tensions rise, leading to tragedy.

The film Parasite is a scathing satire of classism and capitalism that highlights the growing divide between the rich and the poor. It is a dark and often brutal film but also extremely funny and entertaining.

Released: 2019

Old Boy 


Dae-su Oh is a businessman with a wife and daughter who lives happily until he is kidnapped and imprisoned for 15 years. When he is finally released, Dae-su begins a quest to discover who his captor is and why he was kept locked up for so long.

Old Boy is a Korean film by director Chan-wook Park that was released in 2003. The film stars Choi Min-sik as Dae-su Oh, a man kidnapped and imprisoned for 15 years without any explanation. When he is finally released, Dae-su is determined to find out who his captor is and why he was kept locked up for so long.

The film is a thrilling ride from start to finish and has one of the greatest Korean actors of all time giving the best performance of his career. The film will keep you guessing until the very end. Old Boy is a must-see for any fan of Korean cinema. Watch the Korean version of Old Boy, not the Spike Lee version. 

Released: 2003

The Admiral: Roaring Currents

This 2014 South Korean film is considered the greatest Korean war epic. The movie focuses on Admiral Yi Sun-sin (played by Choi Min-sik) and his legendary naval victory against a Japanese fleet of 333 ships with only 13 ships under his command. This battle is considered one of the greatest military victories in history and has been studied by military strategists worldwide.

The Admiral: Roaring Currents was a huge box office success in South Korea, becoming the country’s all-time highest-grossing film with over US$80 million in ticket sales. It was also a critical success, winning several awards, including Best Picture at the 52nd Baeksang Arts Awards.

If you’re a fan of historical dramas or action-packed films, then The Admiral: Roaring Currents is definitely worth watching. The movie is beautifully shot and expertly tells the story of an incredible military victory against all odds.

Released: 2014

My Sassy Girl 

My Sassy Girl is considered the best romantic comedy in Korea. It is a 2001 South Korean romantic comedy film directed by Kwak Jae-yong and based on a true story told in a series of blog posts written by Kim Ho-sik, who later adapted them into a novel. The film stars Jun Ji-hyun and Cha Tae-hyun.

The movie was extremely popular in South Korea and led to several spin-offs, including a television series, a video game, and a Chinese remake. My Sassy Girl has also been remade in India, Thailand, and Vietnam. My Sassy Girl broke several box office records in South Korea. On August 3, the film became the highest-grossing Korean film of all time, surpassing Avatar (2009). As of August 17, the film has grossed over US$83 million worldwide.

The film is long (over 2 hours) and has two halves. Will the two get together in the end? Their journey is what makes this film fun and interesting. It also doesn’t hurt that it stars one of the most beautiful Korean actresses of all time.

Released: 2001

The Way Home

The Way Home is one of the most touching films ever seen. It is a 2002 South Korean film directed by Lee Jeong-hyang. The film tells the story of a young boy named Sang-woo who is sent to live with his grandparents in the countryside after his mother can no longer care for him.

Sang-woo is initially resentful towards his grandmother, who he views as old-fashioned and unkind. However, as he spends more time with her, he understands her better, and the two form a deep bond. The film explores the themes of family, love, and forgiveness.

The Way Home was a critical and commercial success, winning several awards and becoming one of the highest-grossing films in South Korean history.

Released: 2002


Some might consider Mother on par with Parasite. It was also directed by Bong Joon-ho, who has multiple appearances in this life of the greatest Korean films ever. The Korean film Mother 2009 is about a mother who will do anything to protect her child. The film follows the mother as she tries to find her son’s killer and bring them to justice. The film is a thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The acting by Kim Hye-ja is amazing, and she brings the character to life. She is one of the greatest Korean actresses of all time. The film is a must-see for fans of Korean cinema.

Released: 2009

The Host

Another film by Bong Joon-ho makes a list! This time it is a film about a monster living in the Han River. It is a 2006 South Korean monster film directed by Bong Joon-ho and starring Song Kang-ho, Byun Hee-bong, Park Hae-il, Go Ah-sung, and Yoon Je-moon. The film tells the story of Park Gang-du, a man working at his father’s small snack bar near the Han River, whose life changes after his daughter Hyun-seo is abducted and taken away by a monstrous creature that emerges from the river.

Gang-du is an ordinary man in his early 40s with an immature daughter, Hyun-seo. She loves him but finds him exasperating. One day, while working at his father’s food stall beside the Han River, a huge and hideous creature emerges from the water and starts attacking people. Gang-du’s daughter is among those taken by the creature.

Gang-du is frantic to find her and enlists the help of his father, Nam-il; his brother, Nam-joo; and Nam-joo’s girlfriend, Seo-hyun. They eventually discover that the creature is sensitive to light and sound and can be killed with fire. With this information, they set out to save Hyun-seo before it’s too late.

The Host is an entertaining film with horror, comedy, and social commentary elements. It is considered one of the best Korean horror movies of all time. The creature itself is both horrifying and sympathetic, and the film does a good job of building suspense and tension. The acting is also quite good, particularly Song Kang-ho as Gang-du. The Host is worth checking out if you want a fun and different monster movie.

Released: 2006

Memories of Murder

One of Bong’s first films is Memories of Murder. It is a 2003 Korean film that tells the story of the investigation into Korea’s first serial murders. The film is based on true events and follows detectives trying to solve the case. The murders took place in 1986, and the film was released in 2003, so it looks at how the criminal investigation was conducted in Korea in the past. The film has been praised for its realistic portrayal of the detectives’ work and plot.

The film offers many breathtaking set pieces and great chase scenes. Those that liked Parasite will enjoy Memories of Murder.

Released: 2003

The Handmaiden

Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden is set in Japanese-occupied Korea in the 1930s. It tells the story of a young woman hired as a handmaiden to a Japanese heiress. The film is set in the 1930s, during the Japanese occupation of Korea. The handmaiden, Sookee, is tasked with helping her employer, Lady Hideko, to marry a wealthy Japanese man. However, Sookee has ulterior motives, and she soon begins to plot against Lady Hideko. The film is a thriller, and it features many twists and turns. Therefore, The Handmaiden is an excellent film that will keep viewers on the edge of their seats.

Released: 2016

Secret Sunshine

One of the most powerful Korean films of all time is Secret Sunshine, a 2007 Korean film directed by Lee Chang-dong. The film tells the story of a widow, Shin-ae (played by Jeon Do-yeon), who moves to the small town of Miryang with her son to start over. However, Miryang holds dark secrets that will change Shin-ae’s life forever.

Secret Sunshine is a deeply moving and affecting film that explores grief, loss, and redemption. Jeon Do-yeon gives an incredibly powerful performance as Shin-ae, and the film features stunning cinematography of the Korean countryside. Secret Sunshine is a must-see for fans of Korean cinema. Furthermore, the film stars one of the greatest female Korean actresses of all time Jeon Do-yeon.

Released: 2007

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