50 Best Korean Drama Films That Will Keep You Coming Back for More (2024)

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So many gems...

50 Best Korean Drama Films That Will Keep You Coming Back for More (1)

By Nakeisha Campbell

Published May 25, 2024

50 Best Korean Drama Films That Will Keep You Coming Back for More (2)

Climax Studio

Perhaps you checked out Bong Joon-ho's Parasite and it left you hungry for more. Or maybe you’ve already gotten a head start by binge-watching an endless stream of Korean shows and indie films. Either way, there are countless reasons to indulge in even more of these amazing films—which explains why I've got so many of them in my streaming queue as I speak.

If you're looking for new options to stream, but not sure where to start, I've got you covered with some of the best Korean drama films on Netflix, Prime Video and more. From poignant movies like House of Hummingbird to nail-biting thrillers like Mother, here are 50 of the best South Korean drama movies that’ll definitely keep you hooked.

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CJ Entertainment

1. Secret Sunshine (2007)

  • Who’s in it: Jeon Do-yeon, Song Kang-ho, Jo Young-jin, Kim Young-jae
  • Run time: 142 minutes

The poignant film, which was met with critical acclaim, follows a young Korean widow named Sin-ae. When she moves to a new town with her son to get a fresh start, she feels hopeful. But when her child suddenly gets abducted, it seems like tragedy is following her wherever she goes.

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CLIMAX STUDIO

2. Concrete Utopia (2023)

  • Who’s in it: Lee Byung-hun, Park Seo-joon, Park Bo-young
  • Run time: 130 minutes

Directed byUm Tae-hwa, this thoughtful disaster thriller follows the survivors of a deadly earthquake that occurrs in Seoul. They all seek shelter at a single apartment complex, but when resources start to dwindle, anew leader gets elected and outsiders get evicted, leading to total chaos. In my review, I wrote, "Concrete Utopiais so much more than a disaster film. The wreckage and corpses mostly serve as a backdrop while Tae-hwa zeroes in on social ethics and the mystery of human nature."

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Yong Film

3. The Beauty Inside (2015)

  • Who’s in it: Han Hyo-joo, Yoo Yeon-seok, Kim Dae-myung, Do Ji-han
  • Run time: 127 minutes

Guys, can you imagine waking up as a different person every day? When Woo-jin wakes up in the bodies of different people after his 18th birthday, he’s tasked with adjusting to a number of new environments. But regardless of who he turns into—whether it be an elderly grandparent or a little child—his goal still remains the same: to find and reunite with his one true love, Yi-soo.

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Pine House Film

4. Burning (2018)

  • Who’s in it: Ah-in Yoo, Jong-seo Jun, Steven Yeun
  • Run time: 148 minutes

Jongsu, a shy introvert, falls for a beautiful young woman from his past named Haemi. But after Haemi returns from a trip with the sophisticated Ben, she mysteriously disappears, causing Jongsu to question Ben’s secret hobby. Director Lee Chang-dong told The Hollywood Reporter, "The mysterious events of the film are very ambiguous, but I didn’t want this to become just a series of abstract questions thrown at the audience. I wanted the audience to have a very specific cinematic experience where they go inside a movie theater, sit down and sort of feel this movie as they watch it."

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LJ Film

5. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring (2003)

  • Who’s in it: Oh Yeong-su, Kim Ki-duk, Kim Young-min, Seo Jae-kyung
  • Run time: 103 minutes

After growing up under the guidance of a Buddhist monk, a young apprentice meets and falls in love with a girl who visits the monastery. Within the next few days, they start a secret romantic relationship, which eventually causes the young boy to leave the monastery and explore the outside world (which proves to be quite a challenge).

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The Lamp

6. A Taxi Driver (2017)

  • Who’s in it: Song Kang-ho, Thomas Kretschmann, Yoo Hae-jin
  • Run time: 137 minutes

Based on the real-life experiences of journalist Jürgen Hinzpeter during the Gwangju Uprising in 1980, this film follows Kim Man-seob, a taxi driver who gets booked for a trip with a foreign journalist. But when Kim takes his client to Gwangju, both men are stunned to see that the city is under siege by protesters and the military.

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Jeonwonsa Film

7. The Day He Arrives (2011)

  • Who’s in it: Yoo Jun-sang, Kim Sang-joong, Song Seon-mi, Kim Bo-kyung
  • Run time: 78 minutes

In this black-and-white film, film professor Sang-Joon travels to Seoul, expecting to meet a close friend who works as a film critic. But when that friend fails to show up or return Sang-Joon’s calls, he sticks around and aimlessly wanders around the city, turning it into his own adventure.

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Kim Ki-duk Film

8. 3-Iron (2014)

  • Who’s in it: Lee Seung-yeon, Jae Hee, Kwon Hyuk-ho
  • Run time: 87 minutes

Tae-suk goes from mediocre squatter to knight in shining armor when he breaks into a huge mansion and encounters an abused housewife. When she agrees to escape with him on his motorcycle, the two embark on a new adventure (and of course, fall for each other in the process).

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Dream Venture Capital

9. Peppermint Candy (1999)

  • Who’s in it: Sol Kyung-gu, Moon So-ri, Kim Yeo-jin
  • Run time: 130 minutes

Fair warning: You’ll probably need to keep a box of tissues handy for this one. In the beginning, a depressed and suicidal Yong-ho stands before an oncoming train and says, “I want to go back again!” Then, throughout the film, viewers gain some insight into how he got to this point, as major life events are recounted in reverse order. Director Lee Chang-dong told The Metrograpgh, "My films can be said to be stories about individuals fighting to find the meaning of their lives. They are the weak, yet they engage in a reckless and foolish fight with the absolute strong."

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HB Entertainment

10. Always (2011)

  • Who’s in it: So Ji-sub, Han Hyo-joo, Yun Jong-hwa, Kang Shin-il
  • Run time: 105 minutes

Former boxer and parking lot attendant Jang Cheol-min is perfectly content with being a quiet loner. However, that soon changes when he crosses paths with a blind and attractive telemarketer who mistakes him for a former employee.

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Movie Rock

11. Be With You (2018)

  • Who’s in it: Ye-jin Son, Ji-sub So
  • Run time: 132 minutes

Before she passes away, Soo-ah promises to return to her husband, Woo-jin, in a year. Somehow, she keeps her word and comes back to life a year later. However, she has lost her memories, and Woo-jin realizes that her return is only temporary.

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Hanmac Films

12. Ditto (2000)

  • Who’s in it: Yoo Ji-tae, Kim Ha-neul, Park Yong-woo, Shin Cheol-jin
  • Run time: 111 minutes

Yoon So-eun is a junior student at Silla University in 1979. Ji In is a sophom*ore at the same college in 2000. And yet, these two are somehow able to communicate with each other across time with an amateur radio. (If only I could get my hands on one of those…)

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Tube Pictures

13. The Way Home (2002)

  • Who's in it: Kim Eul-boon, Yoo Seung-ho, Dong Hyo-hee
  • Run time: 88 minutes

The biggest lesson of this story? Never take sweet grandmas for granted. When Sang-woo's mom sends him to live with his grandmother, he’s instantly put off by her old-fashioned home, which has no indoor plumbing or electricity. Though he takes his anger out on his grandma, she continues to treat him with compassion. And over time, he becomes so moved by her unconditional love that it starts to rub off on him.

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Little Big Pictures

14. Miss Baek (2018)

  • Who’s in it: Han Ji-min, Kim Si-a, Lee Hee-joon
  • Run time: 98 minutes

When Baek Sang-ah, an ex-convict who leads a solitary life, befriends a little girl who’s suffering from neglect and domestic abuse, she makes it her mission to save the child. I'll admit, the subject matter is heavy and at times unsettling, but this poignant story is necessary viewing.

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Good Choice Cut Pictures

15. My Annoying Brother (2016)

  • Who’s in it: Jo Jung-suk, Do Kyung-soo, Park Shin-hye
  • Run time: 110 minutes

After damaging his optic nerves during a sports event, Doo-young struggles to adjust to the fact that his eyesight is gone. To make matters even worse, he has to deal with his estranged brother, Doo-shik, who just got out of prison. But when the two finally start to mend their broken relationship, Doo-shik learns that he has terminal cancer.

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Withus Film

16. The Attorney (2013)

  • Who’s in it: Song Kang-ho, Kim Young-ae, Oh Dal-su, Im Si-wan
  • Run time: 127 minutes

Inspired by the real-life Burim case of 1981 (where students and workers were arrested on false charges), this movie follows a famous tax attorney who decides to represent an old friend after learning that his child has been kidnapped and tortured.

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Jeonwonsa Films

17. Right Now, Wrong Then (2015)

  • Who’s in it: Jung Jae-young, Kim Min-hee, Youn Yuh-jung, Gi Ju-bong, Choi Hwa-jung
  • Run time: 120 minutes

After a chance encounter, a film director and a shy young artist decide to spend the day together. After countless flirty exchanges and outings with friends, they realize that they just *might* be falling in love—but before things can go any further, they get a fresh start and the day begins again. But this time, things play out quite differently.

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Korea Pictures

18. Lovers' Concerto (2002)

  • Who’s in it: Cha Tae-hyun, Lee Eun-ju, Son Ye-jin
  • Run time: 106 minutes

The film is a testament to how complicated friendships can get when someone starts to develop feelings. When two girls, Soo-in and Gyung-hee, start to develop romantic feelings for their guy friend, this causes the three to drift apart as they grow older. But after several years pass by without them keeping in touch, Lee Ji-hwan decides to track them both down.

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C&I Entertainment

19. Asako I & II (2018)

  • Who’s in it: Masahiro Higashide, Erika Karata, Kōji Seto
  • Run time: 119 minutes

Asako’s love life comes to a halt when Baku, the free-spirited man that she’s been dating, suddenly disappears. But two years later, she meets Baku’s doppelganger—and he’s nothing like the man that she fell in love with two years ago.

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Epiphany Film

20. House of Hummingbird (2020)

  • Who’s in it: Park Ji-hoo, Kim Sae-byuk, Jung In-gi, Lee Seung-yeon
  • Run time: 133 minutes

Set in 1994, this coming-of-age drama centers on 14-year-old Eunhee, a struggling eighth-grade student who desperately wants to understand the meaning of true love. The movie earned a whopping 59 awards, including Best International Narrative Feature Award at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival.

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CJ Entertainment

21. Mother (2009)

  • Who’s in it: Kim Hye-ja, Won Bin, Jin Goo
  • Run time: 129 minutes

In this gripping, Oscar-nominated thriller, a widow's shy son is charged for the murder of a young girl. Believing that he must've been framed, the mother makes it her mission to prove his innocence. BTW, when the film got released in 2009, it actually became the sixth highest-grossing film in South Korea.

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CGV Art House

22. Tune in for Love (2019)

  • Who’s in it: Kim Go-eun, Jung Hae-in, Kim Gook-hee, Jung Yoo-jin
  • Run time: 122 minutes

Set during the IMF Crisis (a major financial crisis that affected East Asia and Southeast Asia in the late 1990s), Tune in for Love tells the heartwarming love story of two teenagers who, unfortunately, keep getting pulled apart. However, even with the ongoing challenges of adulthood and the crisis, they continue to find their way back to each other.

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Hancinema

23. A Man and a Woman (2016)

  • Who’s in it: Jeon Do-yeon, Gong Yoo, Lee Mi-so, Park Byung-eun
  • Run time: 116 minutes

Two strangers, Sang-Min and Ki-Hong, have a steamy one-night stand after a brutal snowstorm forces them to stay together at an inn. They walk away from each other the following morning, but when they reunite several months later, both are married to different people and have children.

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Hive Media Corp.

24. The Drug King (2018)

  • Who’s in it: Song Kang-ho, Jo Jung-suk, Bae Doona
  • Run time: 138 minutes

If you loved seeing Song Kang-ho in Parasite, then you're in for a treat with this intense crime drama. In the film, Song plays Lee Doo-sam, a Korean drug lord who builds his empire in the Busan underworld in South Korea. Meanwhile, prosecutor Kim In-goo is determined to bring him down.

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Drafthouse Films

25. Pietà (2013)

  • Who’s in it: Lee Jung-jin, Jo Min-su, Kang Eun-jin
  • Run time: 103 minutes

Kang-do is a cruel and heartless loan shark who demands exploitive high returns from his clients. But when he meets a middle-aged woman who claims to be his biological mother, Mi-sun, he bonds with her, and it seems to have a major effect on his cold personality. However, there’s more to Mi-sun than meets the eye.

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With Cinema

26. Treeless Mountain (2008)

  • Who’s in it: Hee Yeon Kim, Song Hee Kim, Soo Ah Lee, Mi Hyang Kim, Boon Tak Park
  • Run time:

In this heartbreaking movie, 7-year-old Jin and her younger sister, Bin, are forced to fend for themselves after their mother abandons them to search for their father. Keep the tissues handy.

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Finecut Co., Ltd.

27. Entangled (2014)

  • Who’s in it: Yeong-ae Kim, Ji-won Do, Il-guk Song, So-eun Kim
  • Run time: 93 minutes

Younghee, her husband Sangho, her sister Kkotnip and her mother Sun-im are beyond excited to welcome the family’s latest addition: Younghee’s newborn child. But things take a dark and disturbing turn when the baby unexpectedly passes away.

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Jin Pictures

28. The Poet and the Boy (2017)

  • Who’s in it: Yang Ik-june, Jeon Hye-jin, Jung Ga-ram, Won Mi-yun
  • Run time: 109 minutes

A married writer in his late 30s goes through life writing poetry while sponging off of his wife. But one day, while visiting a donut shop, he meets a teenage boy that he starts to develop romantic feelings for.

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CJ Entertainment

29. The Truth Beneath (2016)

  • Who’s in it: Son Ye-jin, Kim Joo-hyuk, Kim Soo-hee, Shin Ji-hoon
  • Run time: 102 minutes

The thriller film, which has won at least a dozen awards, chronicles the mysterious disappearance of Kim Min-jin, the young daughter of famous politician Kim Jong-chan and his wife, Kim Yeon-hong. Worse yet, the couple has to navigate a major scandal as they search for their daughter.

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CGV Movie Collage

30. Princess (2014)

  • Who’s in it: Chun Woo-hee, Jung In-sun, Kim So-young
  • Run time: 112 minutes

After experiencing a deeply traumatic event, Han Gong-Ju leaves her hometown and relocates to a new school. But unfortunately, it doesn't take very long for her dark past to catch up to her. The independent film was a major hit with critics, and it raked in a total of 223,297 viewer admissions, making it one of the most successful Korean independent films of all time.

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Nine films

31. An Affair (1998)

  • Who’s in it: Lee Mi-sook, Lee Jung-jae, Song Yeong-chang
  • Run time: 108 minutes

When Seo-hyun, a housewife and mother in her 30s, is asked by her little sister to help her fiancé find a new apartment, she gladly offers to assist. But when these two meet, their attraction to one another is instant and it leads to a secret affair. (Fun fact: An Affair was actually the seventh highest-grossing Korean film in 1998.)

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Cine-2000 Film Production

32. Addicted (2002)

  • Who’s in it: Lee Byung-hun, Lee Mi-yeon, Lee Eol, Park Sun-young
  • Run time: 113 minutes

If you've already seen Possession (the American remake), then this plot might sound a bit familiar. Two brothers, Dae-jun and Ho-jun, fall into comas after suffering injuries. When Dae-jun wakes up a year later, his brother's wife cares for him. But when he starts to act exactly like his brother, she suspects that her husband's spirit is actually in Dae-jun’s body.

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CJ Entertainment

33. Masquerade (2012)

  • Who’s in it: Byung-hun Lee, Seung-ryong Ryu, Hyo-joo Han, In-kwon Kim
  • Run time: 131 minutes

At the request of King Gwang-hae, the ruler of Korea's Joseon Dynasty in the 17th century, Secretary of Defense Heo Gyun secretly hires a common doppelgänger to take the monarch’s place and avoid the king's assassination. The popular period drama led to over 12.3 million tickets sales and was named the ninth highest-grossing South Korean film.

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Jeonwonsa Films

34. In Another Country (2012)

  • Who's in it: Isabelle Huppert, Yu Jun-sang, Kwon Hae-hyo, Moon So-ri
  • Run time: 88 minutes

The film focuses on three different women who all visit the same resort—except all of them are named Anne, and they're all played by the same actress (Huppert). Allow us to break it down: These three Annes are introduced through three separate stories. In the first, she’s a well-known filmmaker who visits a fellow Korean director, Jong-soo. In the second, she's a wife who’s involved in an affair with a Korean filmmaker, and in the third, she's a divorced housewife whose husband has left her for a younger, Korean secretary.

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Studio Box

35. Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance (2002)

  • Who’s in it: Song Kang-ho, Shin Ha-kyun, Bae Doona, Ji-Eun Lim
  • Run time: 129 minutes

Ryu, a deaf and mute man who works in a factory, is stuck between a rock and a hard place when he suddenly loses his job. In an attempt to help his sick sister, who desperately needs a new kidney, he turns to a group of black-market organ dealers for help. But when he’s conned, he resorts to kidnapping a wealthy man's daughter for ransom money.

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Moho Film

36. Thirst (2009)

  • Who’s in it: Kang-ho Song, Ok-bin Kim, Hee-jin Choi, Dong-soo Seo
  • Run time: 134 minutes

Loosely based on Émile Zola's 1867 novel, Thérèse Raquin, Thirst centers on Sang-hyun, a Catholic priest who turns into a ruthless vampire after an experiment goes horribly wrong. The former priest also gives into his desires and starts an affair, completely abandoning his old lifestyle.

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Now Film

37. A Brand New Life (2009)

  • Who’s in it: Sae-ron Kim, Do Yeon Park, Ah-sung Ko
  • Run time: 92 minutes

In this moving coming-of-age story, 9-year-old Jin-hee is abandoned by her father, who leaves her at an orphanage after he remarries. While there, she struggles to adjust, but she remains hopeful that her father will come back for her. The film was not only met with critical acclaim, but it also won a number of awards, including the Best Asian Film Award at the 22nd Tokyo International Film Festival.

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Next Entertainment World

38. Sea Fog (2016)

  • Who’s in it: Yoon-seok Kim, Yoo-chun Park, Yeri Han, Lee Hee-joon, Moon Sung-keun
  • Run time: 110 minutes

Based on the true story of Korean-Chinese immigrants who suffocated to death on a fishing boat in 2001, Sea Fog follows a crew that smuggles over 30 illegal immigrants from China to Korea. However, they're forced to deal with a number of obstacles along the way, including heavy fogs and being constantly pursued by the South Korean Maritime Police.

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Pan Media & Entertainment

39. Believer (2018)

  • Who’s in it: Cho Jin-woong, Ryu Jun-yeol, Kim Sung-ryung, Park Hae-joon
  • Run time: 123 minutes

In this remake of Johnnie To's Drug War, a detective goes after a dangerous kingpin named Mr. Lee, with the help of a vengeful gang member. From solid performances to nail-biting suspense, this has all the makings of a compelling crime drama. (P.S., when you're done, check out the sequel, Believer 2.)

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815 Pictures

40. My Lovely Angel (2021)

  • Who’s in it: Jin Goo, Jung Seo-yeon
  • Run time: 100 minutes

Following the death of his colleague, Jae-Shik starts to take care of her only daughter, Eun-Hye, who is blind and lives with a hearing disability. Initially, he struggles to understand her, but he slowly adjusts to her way of communicating. This touching drama has quite a few tear-jerker moments, and you can't help but root for little Eun-Hye.

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Korean Academy of Film Arts

41. Aloners (2021)

  • Who’s in it: Gong Seung-yeon,Jung Da-eun,Seo Hyun-woo
  • Run time: 90 minutes

Hong Sung-eun's directorial debut deftly explores isolation, grief and how they relate to the use of technology. In the movie, Jina leads a secluded life, chatting with customers at a call center by day and using her headset to avoid interactions with people after work. Her routine is disrupted, however, when she's asked to train a new employee.

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Zip Cinema

42. Broker(2022)

  • Who’s in it: Song Kang-ho, Gang Dong-won, Bae Doona, Lee Ji-eun
  • Run time: 129 minutes

When a young mom leaves her baby at a church drop box, she catches two men stealing newborns in order to sell them on the adoption black market. Intrigued by the system, she joins them on a road trip to find new customers. There's just one hiccup: The cops are on their trail. Beauty Director Jenny Jin said, "It stars IU, who is one of the biggest K-Pop female artists. I've seen her act in TV series before, but was completely floored by her performance in this."

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CJ Entertainment

43. Silenced (2011)

  • Who’s in it: Gong Yoo, Jung Yu-mi
  • Run time: 125 minutes

This heartbreaking drama depicts real-life events that occurred at Gwangju Inhwa School for the Deaf, where young students were sexually assaulted by staff members for over five years. When Kang In-ho, the new art teacher, discovers what's been happening, he embarks on a mission to fight for the children's rights. The movie sparked so much public outrage that authorities reopened investigations into the incidents.

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A24

44. Past Lives (2023)

  • Who’s in it: Greta Lee,Teo Yoo,John Magaro
  • Run time: 105 minutes

In Past Lives, which is Celine Song’s directorial debut, Nora Moon reunites with her childhood crush in New York and starts to reconsider her choices. In her review, Associate SEO Editor Marissa Wu wrote, "Fundamentally,Past Livesis a universal human story. It’s about ambition, sacrifice, regret, fate, entertaining 'what could have been,' being OK with the choices you’ve made and letting go of the temptation to throw away the life you have now for the one you think you might have wanted."

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Goldmoon Film

45. Night in Paradise (2021)

  • Who’s in it: Uhm Tae-goo, Jeon Yeo-been, Cha Seung-won, Lee Ki-young
  • Run time: 131 minutes

When Tae-gu, a mobster, declines an offer to join a rival gang, they retaliate by murdering his family. Tae-gu gets his revenge by brutally killing their leader and then goes on the run, meeting a terminally ill woman along the way. Park Hoon-jung's crime drama is dark and intense, featuring stunning cinematography and solid performances.

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CJ Entertainment

46. The Unjust (2010)

  • Who’s in it: Hwang Jung-min, Ryoo Seung-bum, Yoo Hae-jin
  • Run time: 119 minutes

In this gritty drama, the police are out to catch a serial killer who's been targeting elementary school girls. However, when their prime suspect suddenly dies, they decide to use a fall guy so they can quickly close the case. Talk about a corrupt justice system....

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CJ Entertainment

47. Ode to My Father (2014)

  • Who’s in it: Hwang Jung-min, Yunjin Kim, Dal-su OhJin-young Jung, Jang Young-Nam
  • Run time: 127 minutes

Fans of Forrest Gump will find familiarity in this inspiring drama, which chronicles the remarkable life of Deok-soo as he experiences a number of historical events. While fleeing the Korean War with his family, Duk-soo loses track of his baby sister and heads to Germany, where he works as a coal miner. Though he manages to get a fresh start, he's still determined to reunite with his sister.

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B.A Entertainment

48. Tunnel (2016)

  • Who’s in it: Ha Jung-woo, Bae Doona, Oh Dal-su
  • Run time: 126 minutes

While heading home to celebrate his daughter's birthday, Lee Jung-soo, a car salesman, drives through a poorly constructed tunnel that collapses, leaving him trapped in his car with two bottles of water and his daughter's birthday cake to survive on. The tension and emotion in this survival film will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat. But if you're claustrophobic, then maybe skip this one.

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Jeonwonsa Film Co. Production

49. The Woman Who Ran (2020)

  • Who’s in it: Kim Min-hee, Seo Young-hwa, Song Seon-mi
  • Run time: 77 minutes

While her husband is away on a business trip, Gamhee has multiple encounters with a few of her friends in Seoul and reflects on her life. Thought-provoking and compelling, this film highlights the experiences of women, exploring identity, companionship and the importance of engaging in meaningful dialogue.

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CJ E&M

50. Keys to the Heart (2018)

  • Who’s in it: Lee Byung-hun, Youn Yuh-jung, Park Jeong-min
  • Run time: 120 minutes

Keys to the Heart tells the story of Jo-ha, a former boxer who moves back in with his mom and reunites with his estranged brother, a pianist withautismandDown syndrome. Zanjoe Marudo, who stars as the boxer, told Phil Star Global, “The theme about family, I could relate to that. The story is about dysfunctional family members who got separated and got back together. I think those are the topics that are close to me.”

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Nakeisha Campbell

Associate Editor, News and Entertainment

Nakeisha has been interviewing celebrities and covering all things entertainment for over 8 years, but she has also written on a widerange of topics,like career...

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50 Best Korean Drama Films That Will Keep You Coming Back for More (2024)

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Introduction: My name is Chrissy Homenick, I am a tender, funny, determined, tender, glorious, fancy, enthusiastic person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.