AMP's 100+1 Essential South Korean Movies

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Created by Melvelet.

Favorited 11 times, disliked 0 times, added to 14 watchlists.

"South Korean cinema, and particularly the mainstream part, has been developing at an uncanny pace since the beginning of the New Wave, which started during the last years of the 90s, and resulted in the renewed interest of local audiences for local movies. “Shiri” (1999) kickstarted the phenomenon by becoming the first film in South Korean history to sell more than two million tickets in Seoul alone. The success continued with a number of other blockbusters while by the 2000s, and particularly after “Oldboy”, the country’s cinema started to attract significant international attention. The “trend” continued during the next years, and currently, S. Korean film industry is considered among the top in the world, with directors that have shot movies in Hollywood (Park Chan-wook, Bong Joon-ho) actors that have become international stars (Bae Doona, Lee Byung-hun) and awards from most of the top festivals in the world (Lee Chan-dong for “Burning” and Bong Joon-ho for “Parasite”)

However, in terms of inspiration and actual context, the roots of this trend can be traced in the 80s, when the end of the long period of dictatorship resulted in the release of almost two decades of compressed creativity, in another surge that continued until the beginning of the 90s.

Further back, the Golden Age of S. Korean cinema is placed between 1955 and 1972, when a number of films that are considered still among the best (“The Housemaid”, “Aimless Bullet”) were released.

With all that in mind, and on the occasion of the anniversary of 100 years of Korean cinema, we decided to list 100+1 S. Korean films that we believe are among the most notable the local industry has ever produced.

Thankfully, the Korean Film Archive has given us the opportunity to watch a number of films that were produced before the New Wave, dating back to the 1930, thus expanding our view of Korean cinema quite significantly. Unfortunately, we have not managed to watch movies that were produced before the split, and thus, this list is by no means complete regarding the whole history of Korean cinema. Furthermore, 101 is not an adequate number to present every noteworthy film since the 50s and thus, a number of excellent productions were not included (we will not tell you which).

In our effort, we included films not only for their sheer cinematic quality but also for their significance, while a number of titles were included just because we like them (they call it personal taste, I think). At some degree, we also tried to have diversity in the selection, both in terms of directors and context.

Without further ado, here are 101 films that we believe every cinephile should watch."

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  1. 1 new

    Eunmyeongui son

    1954 — a.k.a. The Hand of Destiny, in 1 top list Check
  2. 2 new

    Piagol

    1955, in 1 top list Check
  3. 3 new

    Jayu buin

    1956 — a.k.a. Madame Freedom, in 3 top lists Check
  4. 4 new

    Jiokhwa

    1958 — a.k.a. Flower in Hell, in 2 top lists Check
  5. 5 new

    Hanyo

    1960 — a.k.a. The Housemaid, in 8 top lists Check
  6. 6 new

    Obaltan

    1961 — a.k.a. The Stray Bullet, in 6 top lists Check
  7. 7 new

    Gaetmaeul

    1965 — a.k.a. Seashore Village, in 2 top lists Check
  8. 8 new

    Janggun-ui suyeom

    1968 — a.k.a. The General's Mustache, in 2 top lists Check
  9. 9 new

    Choyeon

    1966 — a.k.a. An Early Rain, in 1 top list Check
  10. 10 new

    Mullebanga

    1966 — a.k.a. The Water Mill, in 1 top list Check
  11. 11 new

    Sanbul

    1967 — a.k.a. Flames in the Valley, in 1 top list Check
  12. 12 new

    Hwanyeo

    1971 — a.k.a. Fire Woman, in 3 top lists Check
  13. 13 new

    Chungyo

    1972 — a.k.a. The Insect Woman, in 3 top lists Check
  14. 14 new

    Sampoganeun kil

    1975 — a.k.a. Road to Sampo, in 3 top lists Check
  15. 15 new

    Babodeuli haengjin

    1975 — a.k.a. March of Fools, in 3 top lists Check
  16. 16 new

    Iodo

    1977 — a.k.a. Io Island, in 3 top lists Check
  17. 17 new

    Choihui jeungin

    1980 — a.k.a. Last Witness, in 1 top list Check
  18. 18 new

    Balambuleo joheun nal

    1980 — a.k.a. A Windy, But Pleasant Day, in 2 top lists Check
  19. 19 new

    Ggobangdongne saramdeul

    1982 — a.k.a. People of the Slum, in 2 top lists Check
  20. 20 new

    Angae maeul

    1983, in 1 top list Check
  21. 21 new

    Yeoin janhoksa moulleya moulleya

    1984, in 1 top list Check
  22. 22 new

    Babo seoneon

    1983 — a.k.a. Declaration of Fools, in 1 top list Check
  23. 23 new

    Golae sanyang

    1984 — a.k.a. Whale Hunting, in 2 top lists Check
  24. 24 new

    Jangnam

    1985, in 0 top lists Check
  25. 25 new

    Gilsoddeum

    1986 — a.k.a. Gilsodom, in 2 top lists Check
  26. 26 new

    Ticket

    1986, in 1 top list Check
  27. 27 new

    Chilsu wa Mansu

    1988 — a.k.a. Chilsu and Mansu, in 4 top lists Check
  28. 28 new

    Dharmaga tongjoguro kan kkadalgun

    1989 — a.k.a. Why Has Bodhi-Dharma Left for the East?, in 6 top lists Check
  29. 29 new

    Keduldo urichurum

    1990 — a.k.a. The Black Republic, in 1 top list Check
  30. 30 new

    Hayan chonjaeng

    1992 — a.k.a. White Badge, in 1 top list Check
  31. 31 new

    Seopyeonje

    1993 — a.k.a. Sopyonje, in 6 top lists Check
  32. 32 new

    Jeon tae-il

    1995 — a.k.a. A Single Spark, in 2 top lists Check
  33. 33 new

    Ggotip

    1996 — a.k.a. A Petal, in 3 top lists Check
  34. 34 new

    Chorok mulkogi

    1997 — a.k.a. Green Fish, in 1 top list Check
  35. 35 new

    Swiri

    1999, in 3 top lists Check
  36. 36 new

    Injeong sajeong bol geot eobtda

    1999 — a.k.a. Nowhere to Hide, in 1 top list Check
  37. 37 new

    Bakha satang

    1999 — a.k.a. Peppermint Candy, in 5 top lists Check
  38. 38 new

    Seom

    2000 — a.k.a. The Isle, in 2 top lists Check
  39. 39 new

    Juyuso seubgyuksageun

    1999 — a.k.a. Attack the Gas Station!, in 1 top list Check
  40. 40 new

    Siworae

    2000 — a.k.a. Il Mare, in 2 top lists Check
  41. 41 new

    Gongdong gyeongbi guyeok JSA

    2000 — a.k.a. J.S.A.: Joint Security Area, in 3 top lists Check
  42. 42 new

    Failan

    2001, in 0 top lists Check
  43. 43 new

    Chingoo

    2001 — a.k.a. Friend, in 1 top list Check
  44. 44 new

    Go-yang-i-leul boo-tak-hae

    2001 — a.k.a. Take Care of My Cat, in 3 top lists Check
  45. 45 new

    Yeopgijeogin geunyeo

    2001 — a.k.a. My Sassy Girl, in 2 top lists Check
  46. 46 new

    Oasiseu

    2002 — a.k.a. Oasis, in 5 top lists Check
  47. 47 new

    Chihwaseon

    2002 — a.k.a. Painted Fire, in 3 top lists Check
  48. 48 new

    Keulraesik

    2003 — a.k.a. The Classic, in 0 top lists Check
  49. 49 new

    Boksuneun naui geot

    2002 — a.k.a. Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, in 4 top lists Check
  50. 50 new

    Nabbeun namja

    2001 — a.k.a. Bad Guy, in 1 top list Check
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Last updated on Feb 13, 2021; source