Top 12 South Korean Movies Of All Time In 2023
Some of the world's best film filmmakers are from South Korea. In his statement at the Golden Globe Awards, Bong Joon-Ho, one of the most recent and prominent of them, remarked, "Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films." The stories delivered in a foreign nation that might seem like a different universe and in a different language will not only delight you, but their universal themes will also affect you.
Give these South Korean films a try and you will not regret it.
Here are top 12 greatest South Korean movies of all time!
As the first foreign picture to win the Best Picture Oscar, Parasite smashed barriers and introduced a whole new world of filmmaking to many. It is not just the most successful Korean film of all time, but it is also regarded as one of the greatest films ever created. The Kim family, who are essentially poor and reside in the slums, are the subject of Parasite, a dark comedy/drama with a few horror elements thrown in. Each member of the Kim family progressively integrates themselves into the affluent Park family's existence via an exceptional chance. The powerful themes that revolve around problems with family dynamics, contemporary capitalism, and overtly spotlighting wealth disparity are all present in this masterpiece.
2/12 Memories of Murder:
Although Bong Joon-ho won best picture for Parasite, Memories of a Murder is another of his masterpiece work. Depending on one's preference for police procedurals, Memories of a Murder may be South Korea's finest film ever and is frequently regarded as his best work. The plot of the movie is on two underachieving investigators who partner up with a big-city detective to catch a serial murderer. They learn they are looking for South Korea's first known serial murderer after trying to solve many killings. Memories of a Murder, Bong Joon-Ho's second feature film, expertly demonstrates the director's talent for weaving societal criticism and dark humour into a fascinating narrative.
3/12 Train to Busan:
Train to Busan isn't your typical zombie film. The plot is straightforward: amid a zombie outbreak, a father and his estranged little girl are stuck with other passengers on a train hurtling towards Busan. However, there are more victims in this gripping zombie movie than there are survivors. A unique, thought-provoking, and action-packed representation of the zombie apocalypse is created through the story's societal critique, unexpectedly amazing action sequences, and genre clichés. One of the most grossing South Korean films ever and one of the finest zombie flicks of all time, Train to Busan earned overwhelmingly positive reviews.
4/12 The Host:
Under the direction of Bong Joon-ho, The Host is more than just a monster movie. His unique approach breathes life into a monster movie that combines action, horror, and humour in a tale that is astonishingly complex, fascinating, and makes extensive use of genre clichés as well as much of insightful societal criticism. In The Host, a neighbourhood vendor's daughter vanishes. Even when the village is facing a river monster produced by American military forces discharging chemicals into South Korea's Han River, he and his family will do everything it takes to save her. The Host is a really original and powerfully themed monster movie that stands out from the competition so much that the low quality CGI is scarcely noticeable.
5/12 Peppermint Candy:
Peppermint Candy is a melodrama about a guy that the spectator follows through seven stages of his life over the span of 20 years. The guy commits suicide at the beginning of the movie, which then proceeds through seven different scenes going all the way back to the Gwangju massacre in the 1980s, when he unintentionally shoots an innocent girl. This film addresses important issues like fate, time, memory, the impact of murder on a man, and suicide in a gradual, in-depth, and tragic character study.
6/12 A Tale of Two Sisters:
An atmospheric horror tale based on a folktale, A Tale of Two Sisters is disturbing and terrifying. Su-mi, a teenager, is institutionalised in a mental health facility where she meets up with her sister, su-yeon. Their father has remarried, which makes it difficult for them to adjust to normal life when they return to it. The two sisters are upset about this. They experience strange happenings in their house as they attempt to adjust to their new normal. From the start to the astonishing end, A Tale of Two Sisters is an intriguing and potent horror movie.
Park Chan-wook's film Oldboy is nothing more than a true masterpiece. Not only was the film's brutality shocking to viewers at Cannes, but also how extraordinary and distinctive it was for the Korean cinema genre. An unsettling story of revenge, Oldboy has stylised action and horrifying brutality that one will never forget. The protagonist of the novel has been abducted and imprisoned in a chamber for fifteen years; upon his liberation, he embarks on a vengeful rampage to eliminate his oppressors. Oldboy created such a stir in the film industry that it inspired both a Bollywood version and an American remake. Park Chan-wook won the Cannes Grand Prix Award for this piece of art.
Burning is a superb character study and a depiction of loneliness that takes some time to get rolling, but it has a visually stunning plot that is so profoundly deep and compelling that you can't help but watch it. The narrative centres on youthful deliveryman Jong-Su and his childhood companion Hae-mi, who meet up by chance as adults. They eventually come upon the enigmatic young guy Ben, about whom Jong-su is suspicious and begins to worry that Hae-mi may be in danger. It is an odd and intriguing movie that investigates its characters in depth and leads to an unexpected conclusion. A masterwork of the modern era, Burning explores the premise that nothing is ever as it seems.
In the movie Mother, a widowed mother's mentally unstable son is implicated in a little girl's murder. The murder case is handled carelessly, so the Mother fights for her son and would go to any length to establish her son's innocence. Mother, Bon Joon-ho's fourth film, is packed with several genre cliches that have come to be expected in his work. Dark humour, a murder mystery, and family drama are all thrown together in one package in Mother. It is an intense tale of perseverance, love, the legal system, and the lengths to which a mother will go in order to guard their kid.
10/12 The Wailing:
The plot of The Wailing centres on a local investigator who is looking into a puzzling pattern of killings when a mystery Japanese guy appears in their remote Korean community. This atmospheric and dark horror/thriller captures your attention right away and doesn't let go, leading viewers on a trip from what initially appears to be a murder investigation to the paranormal. Fans argue about the big conclusion of The Wailing, and with good reason. Regardless of whether you enjoy horror or not, this narrative will stick with you long after it has ended and is well worth viewing for anybody who enjoys a good mystery.
Poetry analyses the ego through depicting ageing and death in a grim manner. A grandma begins going to weekly poetry readings after being told she has early-onset Alzheimer's. While adjusting to her new lifestyle, she finds herself involved in a conspiracy to pay a dead girl's family hush money since her grandson has been connected to her killing. The exploration of family and mortality in this movie is remarkable.
12/12 The Housemaid:
This is one of Bong Joon-Ho's favourite films, who is perhaps South Korea's greatest director ever. The first movie of a trilogy is The Housemaid (1960). Woman of Fire and Woman of Fire '82 are the other two films. The protagonists of the novel are a piano composer and his expectant wife who employ a maid who later becomes involved in an affair with the husband. As the Housemaid grows determined to murder the entire family, starting with their oldest son, the plot darkens. When it comes to family relationships, this movie and Parasite have a lot in common thematically. It is a really interesting and twisted tale that is worth watching.