53 Best Korean Movies to Watch in 2023

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53 Best Korean Movies

Korean entertainment has been flourishing in recent years. They have been a source of enjoyment in every media form, Kpop, Kdrama, Movies, and even Korean webtoons. At the same time, the different types of genres keep the variation with these contents alive. However, in the race of these contents, Korean Movies have also brought a lot of attention to the industry.

Being acknowledged to be the home of one of the finest movies in the world, the Korean movie industry has introduced us to a lot of plots, actors, and the genuine nature behind them. The genres are well-rounded, from heart-racing thrillers to absolute tear-jerking dramas.

They have it all. Most of its cinematography and acting have been awarded the most renowned awards, and we bring you some of the best Korean Movies that you can’t miss at all.

1. Parasite (2019)

The first Korean movie to win the Academy Award for best picture is added to this list. Parasite shows us the great depths of the rich and poor worlds. The film expresses the needs of a heavily deprived family as they feed off the rich family. This movie becomes the first non-English movie to get the best picture awards and has made its worth in the world of cinema.

Parasite (2019)
Parasite (cr. HULU)

2. Train To Busan (2016)

South Korea has given some of the best apocalyptic movies that have sent shivers down our spines. Given to be the first and most known zombie movie of all, Train to Busan comes to this list for the heavy popularity it has gained over the years. Once the zombie apocalypse starts spreading through the train full of people, a father, a husband, and a bunch of students try to fight for their lives.

Train To Busan (2016)
Train to Busan (cr. IndieWire)

3. Oldboy (2003)

Let’s stumble upon the world of thrillers that South Korea is very well famous for. Telling us the story of the world of crime and betrayal. After living in prison for 15 years, Dae Soo comes to try to take revenge for the plot that was taken against him. In a world full of violence, this story brings us to the life in which Dae Soo tries to balance out both romance and thriller.

Oldboy (2003)
Oldboy (Cr. VOI)

4. Handmaiden (2016)

Handed down to the rising popularity of the movie, Handmaiden is based in the times of Japanese-occupied Korea. The story is about a girl who is set off as bait in the elite house of Japanese. The movie gives out all the thriller aspects in the movie in the form of revenge, affection, sensuality, and betrayal. The movie is based on Fingersmith by Sarah Waters.

Handmaiden (2016)
Handmaiden (Cr. Amazon)

5. Along With The Gods (2017)

Giving a brief knowledge of the world that lies after a person’s death, Along with the god, is a movie series that shows it all. Justifying the death of the person, the three guardians of death cross through different gods to prove the soul’s worth, which also becomes the path to their past. The movie series has two movies, and a third movie has been confirmed.

Along With The Gods (2017)
Along With The God (cr. The New York Times)

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6. My Sassy Girl (2001)

This Korean movie remains to be ever iconic from the people’s point of view. My Sassy Girl has generated a lot of interest among its viewers, increasing its reference through the history of the Korean industry. It is the story of a boy who lives his life a little bit too recklessly until he finds himself landed in a terrible situation with a girl, who is later acknowledged as his girlfriend. The movie has also brought down several sequels.

My Sassy Girl (2001)
My Sassy Girl (cr. IMDb)

7. #Alive (2020)

Landing on another zombie apocalypse movie, #Alive brings us to a new horror of such an apocalypse. An unknown source of the virus has spread around the people, which makes it impossible for people to breathe in their houses turned into a prison. To escape from this, two individuals fight through the living dead and save each other calamity of zombies. This movie is based on Matt Naylor’s 2020 movie, Alone.

#Alive (2020)
#Alive (cr. KINCIR)

8. The Pirates: The Last Royal Treasure (2022)

How about a movie that is full of sea bandits and pirates? The Pirates: The Last Royal Treasure can be seen as a spiritual sequel to The Pirates (2014). The story of a group of pirates and sea bandits who make their way to the lost treasure. Their paths promise a lot of danger, darkness, betrayal, and thriller, along which they also offer their viewers laughter, romance, and tremendous fun.

The Pirates: The Last Royal Treasure (2022)
The Pirates: The Last Royal Treasure (cr. Filmy Hype)

9. Swing Kids (2018)

Putting up a rebellious soldier, a man looking for love, a true artist, and a wanderer in need of money creates the Swing Kids. This movie is set in the time of the Korean war when these four people fall in love with the art of Tap Dancing and create their little world in the middle of the warfare. The movie stars Do Kyung Soo, Park Hye Su, and Oh Jung Se.

Swing Kids (2018)
Swing Kids (cr. Letterboxd)

10. 200 Pound Beauty (2006)

A typical cliché makes its way to the list that too astonishes the viewers. The girl has been shamed for her appearance yet has been very talented by the people around her. She comes to the decision to go through plastic surgery, which changes her life throughout. The movie gives us general romance, jealousy, and comedy fixed in the plot.

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200 Pound Beauty (2006)
200 Pound Beauty (cr. Amazon)

11. The Beauty Inside (2015)

Having a different face every time you wake up? Isn’t it scary? Well, that’s what happens to Woo Jin in his everyday life. Beauty Inside is a movie that introduces the big stars in the Korean industry, but they live as the same character, or you can say the different alternation of Woo Jin himself. Despite his unknown “supernatural” physical condition, Woo Jin falls in love. Will his love come true?

The Beauty Inside (2015)
The Beauty Inside (cr. Viki)

12. The Outlaws (2017)

The ruthless violence is here with a known concept of gangs and police. The Outlaws signifies the Chinese gang leader who tries to keep his worth as the ever-powerful man in the Chinatown of the city of Seoul as his opponents stand the Korean loan sharks or the gang and the Korean investigators who try to maintain peace in the neighborhood. Watch this movie for a high adrenaline rush and the max thriller!

The Outlaws (2017)
The Outlaws (cr. CatchPlay)

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13. Miracle In Cell No. 7 (2013)

Build up in the eyes of misunderstanding and powerplay, a mentally challenged man is taken into prison for crimes he had never committed. After going to cell no. 7, the most violent cell in the entirety of the prison, the man finds himself locked up with his daughter, who came after her father. As much as this movie gives us laughter, it also gives us enough tears through the end of the story.

Miracles In Cell No 7 (2013)
Miracles In Cell No 7 (cr. Netflix)

14. Midnight Runners (2017)

After running through a rough time in the police academy, we see two boys coming together as friends, for they share the same idea of friendship and fun. Midnight Runner gives a big boost of fun and friendship in the first half of the movie. While we proceed further into the movie, it gives a complete thrill of a cop’s life, but in this case, they are not cops yet. Interesting right?

Midnight Runner (2017)
Midnight Runners (cr. Netflix)

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

Jumbled in the world of experiments and laboratories, a lifelong war continues to harm many lives in the name of science. This story gives a brief of a living weapon or, can be said, laboratory children subjected to the adults’ experiments. When Ja Yoon tries to help her family, she gets backtracked from the past she once forgot. The Witch Part 1: The Subversion continues with a second movie, The Witch Part 2: The Other One.

The Witch Part 1: The Subversion (2018)
The Witch Part 1: The Subversion (cr. Disney Plus)

16. Burning (2018)

A movie that is full of mysteries and plots that remain unknown till the very end isn’t it interesting? The life of a young author turns into a complete mess when he meets his childhood friend. Once his life gets engaged with his friends, unknown circumstances start happening around them. Watch the movie to see how their life turns up by the end of the film.

Burning (2018)
Burning (cr. SBS)

17. The Great Battle (2018)

The Great Battle is a movie that shows us the famous eighty-eight days of battle for the Ansi Fortress. The movie depicts the war between the two sovereigns and how the game of betrayal and abandonment starts. This war not only shows the actions that look obvious from the plot but also the drama behind each character and their role in the movie. The movie casts Jo In Sung, Nam Joo Hyuk, and Park Sung Woong.

The Great Battle (2018)
The Great Battle (cr. The Korea Herald)

18. 20th Century Girl (2022)

A very high school-centric movie, the 20th Century Girl brings us to the life of a normal teenager lives. Keeping tabs on her famous classmates, Bo Ra starts investing in the lives of two boys for her best friend and observes their everyday activities in the middle, where she also acts like a cupid. The movie creates a good sense of happiness, friendship, and love between friends.

20th Century Girl (2022)
20th Century Girl (cr. Netflix)

19. My Annoying Brother (2016)

Coming to the world of brotherhood, this movie has brought many smiles along with tears. Born in the same family, the two brothers, one a reckless older brother and the other a young taekwondo athlete, turned blind under some inevitable situation. Once they lived in each other’s presence, they finally understood each other’s value. The movie centers around the two brothers and how they support each other throughout their lives.

My Annoying Brother (2016)
My Annoying Brother (Cr. AsianWiki)

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20. Tune In For Love (2019)

Coming to a pure and sweet romance like this, Tune in for Love depicts the perfect definition of “Right person, Wrong time.” Coming to know each other for the first time, the two individuals bond over their love for music and radio. Coming to each other’s path on different occasions, but never once does the time work for them to be together. Watch them falling in and out of the love they wanted to be in.

Tune In For Love (2019)
Tune In For Love (cr. Digital Mafia Talkies)

21. Salut D’Amour (2015)

Join the sweet love of the two lovers who found each other even after they are old. The story tells us about an old man who finds himself falling in love with an old lady. Despite their age, we see the two of them enjoying every second of love for each other, just like a young couple. Their love brings out most of the plot, which makes the movie more enjoyable and lovable.

Salut D'Amour (2015)
Salut D’Amour (cr. HanCinema)

22. A Werewolf Boy (2012)

Rambling through the bushes and the branches in the forest, we find love between a human and a wild boy who is willing to fight the whole world who are against them. The journey of Sun Yi and Chulsoo, a fetal boy shown in the movie, is more than just love. It also gives us a sense of loyalty, possession, and affection is the main theme of the movie.

A Werewolf Boy (2012)
A Werewolf Boy (cr. IMDb)

23. Exit (2019)

Falling into the dangers of the building on fire, a group of people tries to escape the fire throughout the movie. Coming down to the wedding of his relatives, a mount climber comes to a state of being stuck in a building that is set on fire. Along with a good laugh, we see the whole party escaping and going through a series of events. The movie casts Jo Jung Suk and Im Yoona.

Exit (2019)
Exit (Cr. Far East Films)

24. The Present (2019)

The Present is the only short movie on the list. Looking into the bunch of youngsters who are determined enough to start their start-up in the broken-down factory. By the time they come to the brink of their downfall with low resources and financial help, they find a strange man in their workplace. A man who claims the factory to be his. This movie stars Shin Ha Kyun, Suho, and Kim Seul Gi.

The Present (2019)
The Present (cr. GOKPOP)

25. Time To Hunt (2020)

Centered around a dystopian South Korea, four friends from the most poverty part of the slum, Jun Seok, plans for a big heist that includes his three other friends. Joining the operation, the four of them come across a lot of dangerous and life-threatening deals. Watch this movie to see if they get close to their dream of riches and a peaceful vacation or if they get stuck in the depths of the devastating slum of reality.

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Time To Hunt (2020)
Time To Hunt (cr. IMDb)

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26. Memories Of The Sword (2015)

In the times of the great Joseon Dynasty, when the world falls and breaks into betrayal, power, and greed, that is the time when revenge surfaces. Living among the locals and noticed as the best swordsman among the people, Sul Hee gains attention, eventually bringing her to the notice of the powerful man. After knowing the truth behind her parents’ death, Sul Hee plots revenge.

Memories Of The Sword (2015)
Memories Of The Sword (cr. Viki)

27. Love And Leashes (2022)

Who doesn’t love to see two people falling in love who are completely different from each other? Coming down to two people with different personalities, Love and Leashes shows us the fun and drama between the two people. Rumbled in a huge misconception, they get into an intimate relationship, which eventually becomes a secret contract for them. We find Seo Hyun and Lee Jun Young in the movie starring in the movie.

Love And Leashes (2022)
Love And Leashes (cr. IMDb)

28. Space Sweepers (2021)

South Korean are known to be big contributors to the visions of a better future, and they have also depicted these visions in the movies as well. That’s how we get Space Sweepers. When the literal meaning behind the title becomes the true motive of the movie, we see Song Joong Ki and Kim Tae Ri becoming one of the most competitive space travelers. The movie gives us a perfect blend of thriller and action.

Space Sweepers (2021)
Space Sweepers (cr. The Jakarta Post)

29. The Call (2020)

The fantasies of reconnecting to the past have been one of the favorite concepts that the Korean industry has produced in this long race. The Call yet again becomes one of the stories where we see Seo Yeon, a girl from the present, and Yeong Sook, who lived in the same house as Seo Yeon but 20 years ago. Watch them reconnecting and bonding over a phone call which would eventually turn their worlds upside down.

The Call (2020)
The Call (cr. Auralcave)

30. Pandora (2016)

Running down with the dystopian vision, Pandora shows us the calamity that is caused and how much more it can damage the living people in the story. Against his will, Jae Hyuk works in the nuclear plant, which has done wonders for the people of the town where it was located. Yet after the unexpected disasters, the same plant becomes their doom, and Jae Hyuk takes the burden of stopping it from spreading out.

Pandora (2016)
Pandora (cr. MUBI)

31. The 8th Night (2021)

Let’s bring horror to part take in this list with this movie. When the unexpected happens so suddenly, the world breaks under the horrors of an evil spirit. Reawaken from its sleep, the old spirit gets unleashed and brings death to the living form. To stop the spirit from causing such a maverick, a group of people comes together to put a stop to this vengeful spirit within the next eight days.

The 8th Night (2021)
The 8th Night (cr. Netflix)

32. A Hard Day (2014)

The things for our detective here get more and more tangled up as the story of A Hard Day moves on. The movie shows the wreckage of a man who has allegations to be corrupted police, proclaimed hit-and-run culprit, and a devastated son and father.

The movie becomes more and more complicated as we see him move through the web of such circumstances. Watch the movie to see how the man meets the end of such a hard day.

A Hard Day (2014)
A Hard Day (cr. HUBI)

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33. Forgotten (2017)

Mysterious things and happenings have become a regular thing in the land of Korean movies. Hence the movie Forgotten has been placed on the list after high recommendations. After the abduction of the elder son in a rich family, the story takes a turn when the son comes back unharmed and safely back to his family within 19 days. However, from the perspective of the younger son, something is different, and he tries to reach its depths.

Forgotten (2017)
Forgotten (cr. IMDb)

34. Night in Paradise (2020)

The times of all escaping and plotting revenge, and this movie comes to us with a similar vibe given to us by the characters. After killing his opponent’s boss out of rage, Tae Gu finds himself entangled with a girl with a terminal illness on Jeju Island. For a short time, he finds himself in a small paradise. Which eventually came to an end leading him and the girl to a series of bloodbaths.

Night in Paradise (2020)
Night in Paradise (cr. GQ Italia)

35. The Battleship Island (2017)

Warming up people’s minds by giving bits of history, the Korean industry has thus brought a new movie that interestingly depicts history. Based on real events in history, during the Japanese colonial era, people were forced into a huge ship for manual labor asked by the authorities. With roughly 400 people with them, our main protagonist tries to find a way to get out of such captivity.

The Battleship Island (2017)
The Battleship Island (cr. Korseries)

36. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… And Spring (2003)

The movie shows us the circle of life that a Buddhist goes through during his life. The movie is divided into five parts, representing the five seasons mentioned in the title. It may sound a bit odd, but the concept of this movie shows the incredible meaning that it leaves behind. From concerning to growth, desires, acceptance, and growing old, it has everything in it.

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... And Spring (2003)
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… And Spring (cr. Big Picture Zen)

37. Always (2011)

After drowning in the sadness and greys of the world he once lived in, he was rescued, and he learned to love as well. Always comes down to one of the classic romances that the industry has seen. After quitting his life as a boxer, Chul Min finds himself tangled up with a blind girl. They fall in love after confronting their imperfections after the constant bonding.

Always (2011)
Always (cr. Netflix)

38. Student A (2018)

Trapped in the world that was meant to save her from the damage of reality, Student A brings us to face the ideal concept of the hardships of reality.

After going through several harassments in both schools and at home, Mi Rae finds herself writing a piece of novel that keeps her out of the reality she lives. But after a constant confrontation with the people around her, she gets the courage to face the hard time she has been facing all this time.

Student A (2018)
Student A (cr. Korean Film Council)

39. Psychokinesis (2018)

What do you think about a supernatural-themed movie? Just by the name of the movie, we get to see a man who gets the powers of the water with meteor matters in it. Through these powers, he gets the chance to make things right for the things he has done in the past. He fights for his daughter, who was on the verge of losing her restaurant to the big rich people.

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Psychokinesis (2018)
Psychokinesis (cr. Moria Reviews)

40. Sweet & Sour (2021)

Based on the Japanese novel named Initiation Love, this movie has brought sweet and soft romance to your screen. The story turns into a good rom-com when the three people involved in it suffer from three different types of emotions. While two of them are already in an existing relationship, the addition of one more creates a love triangle. Watch this movie to get a good laugh and drama.

Sweet & Sour (2021)
Sweet & Sour (cr. Netflix)

41. Little Forest (2018)

This movie has brought softness with it to this list. Not all movies are always plotted with heavy action and revenge ideas, but this time we see a light-hearted drama with a slice of life. After running low in her life in a hectic city, Hye Won decides to move to her house in the countryside to bring back the girl she once was. Along with her friends, she enjoys every bit of life in their small little world.

Little Forest (2018)
Little Forest (cr. Filmed in Ether)

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42. The Wailing (2016)

This movie becomes the bridge between the two beliefs this world works on. The circumstance either has a disastrous outbreak of poisonous mushrooms or from the unseen evil spirits that bring in the exorcism in the scene. While the police try to find out who is behind the attacks, several others seem to think of the supernatural forces attacking them all.

The Wailing (2016)
The Wailing (cr. Netflix)

43. A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)

Very familiar with the horror feels in the list, we yet come again with the movie A Tale Of Two Sisters. This tale tells us the two sisters have suffered from the sickness, and yet again, they get tormented by their stepmother. But the story doesn’t come to an end like this. When uncertain supernatural situations start occurring in the house and mostly target the two sisters, the movie turns an unexpected turn.

A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)
A Tale of Two Sisters (cr. Netflix)

44. Memories Of Murder (2003)

A full cop-centric movie, Memories of Murder starts with a murder investigation led by two not-so-experienced cops. Their ways of the investigation become the cause of how the killer has been on the loose for such a long time. However, when a detective from Seoul comes down to the countryside, he helps the other two to solve the case that has turned into a serial murder case.

Memories Of Murder (2003)
Memories of Murder (cr. The Criterion Collection)

45. A Taxi Driver (2017)

When life becomes a little too hard to find a way to get through the course, people find some other way to fight it. That’s what happens to a driver who is trying his best to raise his daughter and try to pay back the bill of his late wife. However, when he is in desperate need of money, he accepts a foreigner who has offered him a huge sum of money. Watch the movie to find out what this road trip will bring him.

A Taxi Driver (2017)
A Taxi Driver (cr. Netflix)

46. Poetry (2010)

Aging into a 60-year-old caretaker, Mi Ja finds her life to be coming to a void with no meaning behind it. As she raised her grandson on her own, she also suffered through the path of rough Alzheimer’s disease. After going through a lot of things in her life, Mi Ja tries to become the poet she always wanted to become. Watch her as she makes some of the most beautiful poems you have ever heard.

Poetry (2010)
Poetry (cr. Amazon)

47. The Host (2006)

A little more disastrous and dangerous comes to this list when we introduce you to this movie. After ruining a peaceful day by the Han River, a monster kills thousands of people after resting for years under the negligence of the citizen. Being the victim’s family, Park Gang Du and his family try to fight the giant monster who has taken his daughter.

The Host (2006)
The Host (cr. Amazon)

48. My Little Bride (2004)

For our next movies, My Little Bride comes with a cliché of marriage promises and two different lives of our main protagonists. After being forced into a marriage they never wanted to be in, Bo Eun gets herself stuck in two different life, where she is a girlfriend in school and a wife at home. The chaos that comes in her life following that is amusing and interesting.

My Little Bride (2004)
My Little Bride (cr. AsianWiki)

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49. Peppermint Candy (1999)

A story of tremendous horror and suspense that people become all curious about when they see this movie. A group of long-time friends decides to come together for a reunion when they see their lost friend, Yong Ho who runs up to the train track and commits suicide. Following this, what comes to the group of friends becomes a mysterious stance. Watch the movie to see the motives behind the person who jumped to death.

Peppermint Candy (1999)
Peppermint Candy (cr. The Hans India)

50. I Saw The Devil (2010)

A race of blood, thirst, and revenge flows through the entire plot of this movie. A serial killer who kills people for pleasure has committed several murders that the whole country has been shaken by. But when the matters reach a girl’s death, her fiancé becomes vengeful and tries to find the murderer at any cost and measure to reach him.

I Saw The Devil (2010)
I Saw The Devil (cr. 25YL)

51. Mother (2009)

The power of a mother can never come close to any other power or force in the world. Depicting the same meaning, Mother becomes the movie that shows true love between a mother and a son. When the police come in to take her son away in charge of a mystery murder, the mother does everything in her power to prove her son’s innocence. The movie promises a good thriller, action, and suspense that one needs to see.

Mother (2009)
Mother (cr. Robert Ebert)

52. The Age Of Shadows (2016)

A world of war, betrayal, and action never fails in the Korean industry. Thus, this movie is yet again based on the Japanese colonial era, where we see two men trying to get into the battle for power and ruining each other’s motives to get stronger. The genres that the movie is centered around are mystery, historical, thriller, and action, which makes the movie interesting.

The Age Of Shadows (2016)
The Age Of Shadows (cr. DramaPanda)

53. The Spy Gone North (2018)

Lastly, coming to the movie, The Spy Gone North describes the tension between the two parts of Korea. While the cold war continued between the two nations of Korea, a game of spies came in who would interfere and bring in the nuclear codes.

The Spy Gone North (2018)
The Spy Gone North (cr. Netflix)

A trusted businessman who earns his worth among the North Koreans tries to succeed in breaking through the military. Will it be successful, or will he face terrible consequences?

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By Shreya Pattanaik

Writing is fun and writing about movies and tv shows is just like cherry on top!!

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