After the unexpected and huge success of Netflix’s latest project, ‘Squid Game,’ in the international market, finally the K-drama and Korean movie fans can rest well in peace. Some people out there never stopped bullying and looking down upon others who are into Korean movies and series. Thanks to films like ‘Parasite,’ ‘The Handmaiden’ and ‘Minari,’ the magic of the Korean entertainment industry is reaching out even to people who have never before cared about knowing a little about the quality of content produced by them. It’s late than never, isn’t it? However, it isn’t really an easy task to differentiate quality content from common ones.
It doesn’t really matter whether you are a beginner having trouble looking for worth-watching Korean dramas or movies, or you are already a fan trying to find additional highly-rated options, we are here to provide you with a list of ten best Korean movies that you can easily stream on Netflix right now. If you are here to binge-watch some of the most popular K-dramas of various genres, you are free to check out our other articles.
Space Sweepers (2021)
Screenwriter & Director: Jo Sung Hee
Starring: Song Joong-ki, Kim Tae-ri, Jin Sun-kyu, Richard Armitage, Yoo Hai-jin, Park Ye-rin
‘Space Sweepers’ is a sci-fi movie, set in 2092 during which people are free to go out in space to live, while the Earth has become a wasteland and almost non-livable. A huge corporation named UTS has begun a project of establishing an orbiting structure that would allow rich and wealthy citizens to live in the constructed utopia. On the other side of the coin, are people who work as a close-knit crew of space sweepers, collecting debris from the space and selling them on Earth to survive. When they happen to find a humanoid robot girl named Dorothy, who is said to be a weapon of mass destruction, the crew cannot decide if they should sell her to UTS, where she is highly desired, or take care of it as a little girl, protecting her from UTS.
The movie casts Song Joong-ki as Kim Tae-ho, Kim Tae-ri as Captain Jang, Jin Seon-kyu as Tiger Park and Richard Armitage as the evil James Sullivan.
Tune in for love (2019)
Director: Jung Ji Woo
Screenwriter: Lee Sook Yun
Starring: Jung Hae In, Kim Go Eun, Park Hae Joon, Kim Gook Hee, Jung Yoo Jin, Choi Jun Young
The movie features a youth-melancholy story following two individuals during the 90s and the early 20s. Mi Soo meets Hyun Woo in a bakery in 1994, on the first day when the new DJ of a popular radio show ‘Music Album’ goes on air. They gradually begin to get along with each other, having their frequencies in sync, just like the songs from the radio. The radio show brings them together by the flow of events arising from inevitability and pure coincidence as they stick with each other during the hardest of times before reality pulls them apart. However, they meet again in 1997, during the IMF crisis and fall in love all over again while exchanging stories on a radio program, before realising that they need to part again.
The love story between the hard-working Mi Soo and the optimistic Hyun Woo is cross-fated as even though life makes them cross paths, they never get to have the timing in their favour.
Screenwriter & Director: Hwang Dong Hyuk
Starring: Gong Yoo, Jung Yu Mi, Kim Hyun Soo, Jung In Seo, Baek Seung Hwan, Jang Gwang
‘Silenced’ is the movie adaptation of Gong Ji-young’s novel titled, ‘The Crucible’ that tells the real tale of the deaf students in Gwangju Inhwa School. The new art teacher, Gang In Ho is glad to be able to take care of the hearing-impaired children at the school, but for some reason or the other, they maintain a distance from him. After a while, when the children get comfortable around him, he discovers an ugly and unacceptable secret about the school. He comes to know about the physical torture and sexual assaults by the staff which the children have been facing for five long years.
The movie discusses a sensitive subject that most people back in 2010 were not willing to talk about. It is a dark and violent movie that induces a sense of empathy, numbness and anger. After the movie’s release, people began to protest against the act of letting the teachers free with minimal punishment after everything they did. The investigations reopened in 2011 and eventually, complete justice was delivered.
Screenwriter & Director: Jang Hang Joon
Starring: Kang Ha Neul, Kim Mu Yeol, Na Young Hee, Moon Sung Geun, Jung Taek Hyun, Lee Sung Woo
‘Forgotten’ aka ‘Night of Memory’ is a mystery thriller movie following Jin Seok, a person who suffers from hypersensitivity, who moves into a new house with his mother, father and older brother, Yoo Seok. One day, all of a sudden, a group of men forces Yoo Seok into a van and abducts him in front of Jin Seok. After about 19 days, he suddenly comes back as a whole different person who has no idea of his disappearance or his whereabouts in the past days. Jin Seok gets suspicious of his brother’s changed personality and starts doubting whether he is the real Yoo Seok. Meanwhile, he cannot ignore the sounds coming from a locked room that has been storing the belongings of the previous homeowner. Jin Seok decides to dive into the depth of the kidnapping and disclose everything that happened to his brother during the 19 days.
Midnight Runners (2017)
Screenwriter & Director: Jason Kim
Starring: Park Seo Joon, Kang Ha Neul, Sung Dong Il, Park Ha Sun, Lee Ho Jung, Go Jun
‘Midnight Runners’ is an action-comedy movie that revolves around two male students training at Korean National Police University, who decide not to follow the rules and regulations in order to fulfil their jobs as future police officers of the country. Ki-Joon and Hee-Yeol become best friends soon after they join the university. While Ki-Joon is known for his physical strength, Hee-Yeol is very sharp-minded. One evening as the two of them decide to go out for fun, they witness a young woman on the road being abducted. At first, they try to involve the police in it but without any evidence or solid clue, they are left with no help. In spite of their shortcomings, they work together as one and dive into the depth of the kidnapping, only to realise things are worse than what they seem. You can watch it on Netflix along with English subtitles.
A Taxi Driver (2017)
Director: Jang Hoon
Screenwriter: Jo Seul Ye, Uhm Yoo Na
Starring: Song Kang Ho, Thomas Kretschmann, Yoo Hae Jin, Ryu Joon Yeol, Park Hyuk Kwon, Choi Gwi Hwa
‘A Taxi Driver,’ as the name suggests, follows the story of a widowed taxi driver who lives a hard life with his young daughter. He is struggling to make his ends meet, especially when he has to pay off the hospital bills left behind by his deceased wife. One day, as he overhears another taxi driver saying that a foreigner wants to pay a total of 100,000 won for taking him to Gwangju city from Seoul and back, he rushes to the location for stealing the client. The foreigner is none but a German journalist, Peter, who was suspicious about the whereabouts of Gwangju city. As they set off on the journey together, they realise things are not like what they should have been as violent riots are taking place everywhere in the city with soldiers beating the protesters mercilessly.
The plot has been based on real-life incidents of the Gwangju Uprising in 1980 during which a German journalist, Jürgen Hinzpeter and driver Kim Sa-bok interact with each other for a great cause.
Be With You (2018)
Screenwriter & Director: Lee Jang Hoon
Starring: So Ji Sub, Son Ye Jin, Kim Ji Hwan, Ko Chang Seok, Lee Yoo Jin, Kim Hyun Soo
‘Be With You’ is a romantic melodrama following the death of Soo Ah, who makes a promise to her husband that she will return after a year. While, Woo-Jin takes care of their son, Ji-Ho, wishing to meet his wife again, unexpectedly Soo Ah returns, exactly a year later, on a rainy day. Although she has no memory of her past, she manages to find a place in Woo-Jin and Ji-Ho’s hearts and re-establishes her family. Little did she know that her happiness has come with an expiry date. She realises that she will have to leave her husband and son once again and this time it would be forever. She pulls herself up and decides to bid farewell in a proper manner this time around. The story is extremely heart-warming with a bittersweet ending.
Train to Busan (2016)
Screenwriter: Park Joo Seok, Yeon Sang Ho
Director: Yeon Sang Ho
Starring: Gong Yoo, Jung Yu Mi, Ma Dong Seok, Kim Soo An, Kim Eui Sung, Choi Woo Shik
One of the best zombie apocalypse movies out there, ‘Train to Busan’ follows a single father named Seok Woo who, although loves his daughter Soo-An, cannot spend much time with her being busy with his works. Soo-An insists on spending her birthday with her mother in Busan leaving Seok-Woo with no alternative. As they board the KTX train at Seoul Station the next morning, a girl jumps onto the train, infected with a horrific virus that is about to engulf the entire town. Seok-Woo, Soo-An along with the other passengers on the train need to fight for their lives till they reach Busan, the only safe city in the country. While some are kind enough to save others, others look out only for themselves, even if they have to sacrifice someone else’s life.
Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds (2017)
Screenwriter & Director: Kim Yong Hwa
Starring: Ha Jung Woo, Cha Tae Hyun, Joo Ji Hoon, Kim Hyang Gi, Kim Dong Wook, Oh Dal Soo
Inspired by a webtoon by Joo Ho Min of the same title, ‘Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds’ is a hilarious fantasy tale that revolves around a fireman named Kim Ja Hong, after his death, and his three guardian angels, Hae Won Maek, Deok Choon and Kang Rim, who are responsible to help him through different trials. According to the rule of the afterlife, the dead soul is supposed to face trials of murder, deceit, indolence, injustice, violence, betrayal and filial impiety for a span of 49 days and get punishment for the same if found guilty. However, a vengeful spirit is wreaking havoc in the other world, making Kim Ja Hong’s exploration of the afterlife difficult. He is helped by his guardians to clear the accusations as they journey through his emotional past and find reasons to prove that he was a noble man.
Miracle in Cell No. 7 (2013)
Screenwriter: Yoo Young Ah, Kim Young Suk, Kim Hwang Sung
Starring: Ryu Seung Ryong, Gal So Won, Oh Dal Soo, Park Won Sang, Kim Jeong Tae, Jung Man Shik
The story is about Lee Yong Gu, a mentally impaired father who loves his daughter, Ye Seung more than anything, but a careless mistake from the police officers’ ends changes his life completely. While going shopping with his daughter, Lee Yong Gu happens to witness a freak car accident of the daughter of the police commissioner. Without wasting any time, he tries to resuscitate her, not realising that she is already dead. However, his kind gesture comes back as a stab to him as a woman misunderstands him to have kidnapped, molested and murdered the girl. Without much investigation, he is thrown to prison where he is forced to admit to committing the allegations.
Yong Gu is sentenced to imprisonment within the walls of the harshest cell shared among five other inmates. As Yong-Goo manages to win the favour of his cell mate, he asks him to make him meet his daughter, Ye-Seung. The five inmates end up teaming up together to make a miracle happen. One of the best Korean movies out there, you should definitely watch it on Netflix.