The popularity of Korean movies has soared over the last few years. This is probably because they are both character and plot driven. They also offer an alternative to the usual western scripts. These movies cater for all tastes ranging from romance and fantasy to suspense and comedy. If you're lucky, you can also get a mashup of them, all in one package. If you have never tried watching a Korean movie, then here is a list of some of the best there is. Admittedly, this list of movies is according to the list provided by the Korean Film Council.
Top 10 Best Korean Movies
The Admiral: Roaring Currents (2014)
The South Korean movie The Admiral: Roaring Currents that stars Choi Min-sik was co-written and directed by Kim Han-min. This movie turned out to be a great success and one of the most watched Korean movies with over 17 million admissions. The movie is based on the so-called 1597 Battle of Myeongnyang circa. It is referred to as one of the legendary Joseon admiral. It’s the most remarkable naval victory for Yi Sun-sin. He went against an invading Japanese fleet of 330 ships with the only 12 ships and emerged victorious. The movie got remarkable reviews, and it spreads worldwide.
The Host (2006)
This movie had to make it to the list of top 10 Korean movies. Directed by Bong Joon-ho and starring Go Ah-sung, Park Hae-il, BaeDoona, ByunHee-bong, and Song Kang-ho, The Host has sold over 10 million tickets within 21 days. The movie is about a man trying to save his daughter who was kidnaped by a monster. The movie received several awards like the Best Film at the Blue Dragon Film Awards and at the Asian Film Awards.
The Thieves (2012)
The 2012 film The Thieves was directed by Choi Dong-hoon. This South Korean movie stars Lee Jung-jae, Kim Yoon-seok, Jeon Ji-hyun and Kim Hye-soo. The movie ranks as number 3 among the highest grossing movies in Korean film history. It sold over 12.9 million tickets. The film is about a South Korean gang that teams up with a Hong Kong group to steal a diamond necklace that is worth $20 million from a well-protected casino. The film is full of action and comedy mixed together with betrayal and double-dealings.
Miracle in Cell No. 7 (2013)
Miracle in Cell No. 7 was produced by Kim Min-ki and Lee Sang-hun. It stars Park shin-hye, Kal So-won, and Ryu Seung-ryong. This South Korean film has a funny plot, which made it among the best Korean movies. It is about a mentally impaired man who was charged and imprisoned wrongly for murder. In prison, he makes friends with hardcore criminals who help him to see his daughter by breaking her into the prison. It is filled with family drama and heartwarming comedy.
Masquerade was directed by Choo Chang-min, and it stars Lee Byung-hun who has a dual role both as a humble acrobat and the bizarre King Gwanghae. Masquerade is a South Korean historical film that ranks number 5 in terms of the highest grossing Korean film of all time with 12.3 million tickets sold. It also got awards for 15 categories in the Grand Bell Awards. The story is about a lowly acrobat who looks exactly like the king and is used as a double when the king faces the threat of being poisoned.
King and the Clown (2005)
King and the Clown is a South Korean historical film directed by Lee Joon-ik and staring Lee Joon-gi, Jung Jin-young, and Kam Woo-sung. It was adapted from a stage play performed in 2000 about Yeonsangun of Joseon. A court clown mocks a king from the Joseon dynasty. The film won an Academy award for Best Foreign Language Film. It is also among the best Korean movies ranking 6th in the list highest grossing films in South Korea with 12.3 million tickets sold.
Taegukgi: The Brotherhood of War (2004)
The South Korean war film was directed by Kang Je-gyu and starred Won Bin and Jang Dong-gun. The film is about two brothers who are forced into the Korean army at the outbreak of the Korean War. At the time, 2004, Taegukgi: The Brotherhood of War was the greatest success in the history of South Korean films. During the 50th Asia Pacific Film Festival, the Taegukgi was presented with the Best Film award. The film was able to amass USD 68.7 million in revenues worldwide.
Tidal Wave (2009)
Tidal Wave was the first South Korean disaster movie and among the best Korean movies ever. The movie starred Uhm Jung-hwa, Park Joong-hoon, Ha Ji-won and Sol Kyung-gu and was directed by Yoon Je-kyoon. The story is about a mega tsunami that occurs in the Sea of Japan similar to the one that had occurred in the Indian Ocean. The millions of people at the Korean beach ran for their lives to try and escape raging waters, the electrical shock and explosions. The two main characters survive from the chaos as their city is left in ruins.
The Attorney (2013)
The South Korean courtroom drama film The Attorney was co-written and directed by Yang Woo-suk and starred Kim Young-ae, Song Kang-ho, Kwak Do-won, Oh Dal-su and Yim Si-wan. The film is inspired by a real life story concerning the 1981 "Burim Case." During the reign of Chun Doo-hwan, 22 teachers, students and office workers belonging to a book club were arrested without warrants. Apparently, they were North Korea sympathizers. A team of lawyers lead by the tax lawyer, Busan, came together to defend the accused. Busan later ventured into politics after a successful human rights law career.
Based on the true story of Unit 684, Silmido was directed by Kang Woo-suk and it starred Sol Kyung-gu, Ahn Sung-ki, HeoJoon-ho, and Jung Jae-young.The film was a success, being the first South Korean movie to attract more than 10 million viewers to the box office. In 2004, the film received the Grand Prize for Film from the Baeksang Arts Awards. The film brings out the brutal happenings of the unit though some of the parts are based on imagination as the facts of what exactly happened are unknown.