From its traditional art and music to its modern K-pop culture. South Korean culture (K-culture) has become increasingly popular worldwide, especially in music, dramas, films, entertainment, and delicious Korean foods.
Korean cinema has gained global recognition and praise for its dynamic characters, gripping storyline, superb acting, and stunning visuals. It also has impressive and unique plots that differ from other films, including Hollywood.
Korean filmmakers have prestige for creating unpredictable and thought-provoking movies, which sets them apart from other films.
If you are a fan of K-movies, there is no better option than Netflix. With hundreds of Korean films across genres, there is something for everyone. Netflix’s K-films are addictive, and you can get hooked on them!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- How does watching K-movies on Netflix help you learn Korean?
- 31 Must-Watch Korean Films on Netflix Right Now
- 1. Sweet & Sour (새콤달콤, 2021)
- 2. Tune in For Love (유열의 음악앨범, 2019)
- 3. The Call (콜, 2020)
- 4. Silenced (도가니, 2011)
- 5. Forgotten (기억의 밤, 2017)
- 6. Alive (살아있다, 2020
- 7. Along with the Gods – The Two Worlds (신과함께: 죄와 벌, 2017)
- 8. Space Sweepers (승리호, 2021)
- 9. Miss Granny (수상한 그녀, 2014)
- 10. Lucid Dream (루시드 드림, 2017)
- 11. High Society (상류사회, 2018)
- 12. Steel Rain (강철비, 2017)
- 13. Pirates: The Last Royal Treasure (해적: 도깨비 깃발, 2022)
- 14. OKJA (옥자, 2017)
- 15. Time to Hunt (사냥의 시간, 2020)
- 16. The Bros (부라더, 2017)
- 17. Svaha: The Sixth Finger
- 18. Pandora (판도라, 2016)
- 19. The Host (괴물, 2006)
- 20. The Chase (반드시 잡는다, 2017)
- 21. Unlocked (스마트폰을 떨어뜨렸을 뿐인데, 2023)
- 22. Jung_E (정이, 2023)
- 23. Veteran (베테랑, 2015)
- 24. 20th Century Girl (20세기 소녀, 2022)
- 25. Wish You (나의 마음속 너의 멜로디, 2020)
- 26. The Fortress (남한산성, 2017)
- 27. What Happened to Mr. Cha? (차인표, 2021)
- 28. Illang: The Wolf Brigade (인랑, 2018)
- 29. The Drug King (마약왕, 2018)
- 30. Psychokinesis (염력, 2018)
- 31. Night in Paradise (낙원의 밤, 2020)
- Wrapping Up on Netflix’s Korean movies
How does watching K-movies on Netflix help you learn Korean?
Do you have a reason to learn Korean? Perhaps to help you understand and appreciate the rich culture of Korea. Also, South Korea is a significant player in the global economy, so it expands your job opportunities in various industries.
Regardless, enjoying Korean films on Netflix is one excellent way to enhance and take your Korean language skills to the next level.
Watching movies and dramas in the Korean language on Netflix can be a great way to improve language skills. It can expose you to authentic, natural language usage.
This can help you become more comfortable with the rhythms and idioms of the language. Besides, seeing movies and TV shows in a foreign language with subtitles can help reinforce what you hear and make it more concrete.
31 Must-Watch Korean Films on Netflix Right Now
Netflix has a fantastic selection of Korean films that are available for streaming. There is something for everyone, from thriller to drama and romance to comedy.
Here are 31 Korean movies on Netflix to help you understand the Korean language and simultaneously entertain you.
1. Sweet & Sour (새콤달콤, 2021)
“Sweet & Sour” is a 2021 South Korean romantic comedy flick based on the novel Initiation Love by Kurumi Inui.
This rom-com movie is about a man named Jae-Hyeok and a woman named Dong-Jin, who are in a ‘push-pull’ relationship. Their relationship is complicated by their distinct personalities and the fact that they are in various stages of their lives.
It is a light-hearted romantic comedy movie that is perfect for those interested in learning more about contemporary South Korean culture and the experiences of young people in modern South Korea.
2. Tune in For Love (유열의 음악앨범, 2019)
Directed by Jung Ji-woo and starring Kim Go-eun and Jung Hae-in, “Tune In for Love” is a South Korean romantic drama.
The movie is about the love story between two young people, Hyun-woo and Mi-soo, who meet in the late 1990s, and the fate that brings them together over the years.
The flick is well-known for its beautiful cinematography, as the film is set in the past, in the late 1990s and early 2000s. It depicts the difficulties of communication and the longing of the two main characters.
The film is a good choice for those interested in learning more about contemporary South Korean culture and the experiences of young people in modern South Korea.
3. The Call (콜, 2020)
This suspenseful Korean time-travel thriller will keep you at the edge throughout the film.
This film is about a high school girl, Soo-yeon, who receives a mysterious phone call from her friend, Min-jung, who died 20 years ago.
The call from the past tries to change the course of history. It follows Soo-yeon as she tries to uncover the truth behind the phone call and the events that led to Min-jung’s death.
Watching “The Call” offers an opportunity to expose to natural language, acquire new vocabulary in context, and practice listening comprehension. This is one of the fantastic K-movies for Korean learners.
Also, the movie is a thriller genre that requires the viewer to pay attention to the dialogue and subtitles to follow the story. This can be a superb way to enhance listening comprehension and understanding of the language.
4. Silenced (도가니, 2011)
“Silenced” is a South Korean crime drama flick based on the novel The Crucible by Gong Ji-young. It tells the story of the struggles and abuse of children with hearing impairments at a school for deaf students.
The film follows a new teacher, Kang In-ho, who is assigned to teach at the school. Soon, he discovers the abuse and corruption occurring there. Finally, he takes action to expose the truth and protect the children.
The movie is a drama genre which can be an emotional and powerful way to understand the language and culture.
5. Forgotten (기억의 밤, 2017)
“Forgotten” is a well-known South Korean psychological thriller. The renowned Jang Hang-jun is the writer and director of this film.
The movie tells the story of Jin-Seok, who is searching for his missing brother. After discovering that his brother may have been kidnapped, Jin-Seok sets out to find the truth. Still, as he delves deeper into the mystery, he questions his sanity.
This is one of the best Korean suspense films that need viewers to see the dialogue and subtitles to follow the story. This can be an incredible way to improve listening comprehension and understanding of the language’s idiomatic expressions.
6. Alive (살아있다, 2020
This is a South Korean zombie and horror film directed by Cho Il-hyung.
The film tells the story of a man named Oh Joon-woo trapped in his apartment building when a mysterious virus outbreak turns the city into a zombie-infested area. As he struggles to survive, Joon-woo must escape the facility and reach safety.
“Alive” is a suspenseful film that deals with themes of survival and the human condition in the face of crisis.
Korean Thriller movies often include fast-paced and intense dialogue, exposing you to a wide range of idiomatic expressions and colloquial language not typically covered in language textbooks.
7. Along with the Gods – The Two Worlds (신과함께: 죄와 벌, 2017)
This is a 2017 South Korean fantasy action film. The film tells the story of a firefighter who dies in the line of duty and is escorted to the afterlife by three afterlife guardians.
He must face seven trials in the afterlife in 49 days to be reincarnated. The film deals with themes of death, the afterlife, and redemption. The movie is a fantasy genre which can be a fabulous way to learn more about the culture and mythology of South Korea.
Also, the genre’s fantastical and often epic nature requires characters to use figurative language and idiomatic expressions to convey complex emotions and thoughts.
8. Space Sweepers (승리호, 2021)
“Space Sweepers” is a 2021 South Korean science fiction film. The movie is set in 2092 and tells the story of a group of misfits who are part of a spaceship crew called “The Victory” that makes a living by salvaging space debris.
The crew comes across a humanoid robot named Dorothy, considered a weapon of mass destruction. The film deals with themes of space travel, humanity, and the future.
The genre often includes technical and precise dialogue, exposing you to a wide range of specialized terminology and scientific language.
9. Miss Granny (수상한 그녀, 2014)
Looking for some light comedy? Miss Granny is the one that can hook you for the entire 124 minutes.
This South Korean comedy-drama film narrates the fantastic story of a 74-year-old widow named Oh Mal-soon who is transformed into her 20-year-old self after taking her picture at a mysterious photo studio.
The film deals with themes of aging, family, and regrets. Comedy-drama movies often include humorous yet emotionally rich dialogue, exposing you to idiomatic expressions.
10. Lucid Dream (루시드 드림, 2017)
This South Korean science fiction thriller film was released in 2017.
The movie is about a father searching for his son, who went missing three years earlier. After three years of fruitless searching, Dae-ho learns about lucid dreaming, a technique that allows people to control their dreams.
With the help of a skilled lucid dreamer and a detective, Dae-ho enters the dream world to search for clues about his son’s whereabouts. This cinema was well-received by critics and audiences and was a box-office success in South Korea.
The expressions and idioms used in the dialogue can give a glimpse into the beliefs and values of the people who speak the language.
11. High Society (상류사회, 2018)
High Society is a South Korean romantic comedy-drama film released in 2018. The story follows a wealthy businessperson who falls in love with a woman from a lower-class background.
The movie follows the lives of two very different women from different social classes. It revolves around the challenges they face as they navigate their relationship in the face of societal expectations and class differences.
Jang Yoon-ha is the youngest daughter of a wealthy family who has everything money can buy. Still, she is unhappy with her life and the pressure to conform to her family’s expectations. Meanwhile, Lee Ji-yi is a hardworking part-time worker who dreams of a better life.
12. Steel Rain (강철비, 2017)
“Steel Rain” is a South Korean action-thriller film. It is set in the aftermath of a coup d’état in North Korea. It follows the story of two North Korean soldiers trying to prevent a nuclear war.
The language authenticity in the movie is excellent. The characters in the film speak in a believable North Korean accent and use appropriate language for their backgrounds and social status.
The film also includes real-life North Korean political terms and jargon, adding to the realism. The language used in the movie is realistic and accurate to the setting and context of the story.
13. Pirates: The Last Royal Treasure (해적: 도깨비 깃발, 2022)
Kim Jeong-hoon directed this Korean period adventure movie. It features notable actors, such as Kang Ha-neul, Han Hyo-joo, Lee Kwang-soo, and Kwon Sang-woo.
A recently released Korean movie is a period adventure film that follows a crew of pirates from the Joseon Dynasty as they embark on a quest to find the lost royal gold at sea.
This action-packed film is currently one of the top-rated Korean movies of 2022, known for its thrilling story and non-stop adventure. The film has positive reviews for its exciting action, breathtaking cinematography, and compelling performances by the lead actors.
14. OKJA (옥자, 2017)
Bong Joon Ho directs another gem, Okja, an adventure-drama film featuring Korean and English. The movie received mixed reviews from critics, but science fiction and action fans will enjoy this entertaining flick.
A heartwarming and thought-provoking adventure film that follows a young girl and her super-pig as they try to evade the clutches of a multinational corporation. It includes American actors such as Tilda Swinton and Jake Gyllenhaal.
A Korean girl is determined to save her beloved pet from being taken away by a powerful corporation. Okja is both a whimsical fable and a dark, compelling satire.
15. Time to Hunt (사냥의 시간, 2020)
Time to Hunt” is a South Korean dystopian action thriller written and directed by Yoon Sung-hyun.
The film is set in a near-future dystopian South Korea, where friends plan a heist that could change their lives forever.
The film is known for its intense action sequences and exploration of themes such as poverty, inequality, and the effects of technology on society.
16. The Bros (부라더, 2017)
The Bros is a South Korean comedy-drama film. The movie follows the story of two brothers, Hyun-soo and Hyun-Tae, who are estranged but are brought back together when their father is hospitalized.
The movie explores themes of family, love, and forgiveness. It has been praised for its performances and its portrayal of the relationship between brothers.
17. Svaha: The Sixth Finger
“Svaha: The Sixth Finger” is a South Korean mystery-thriller film starring Ma Dong-seok, Lee Dong-hwi, and Lee Hanee.
The movie follows a Christian pastor and a detective who team up to investigate a series of bizarre deaths that seem linked to a religious cult.
The film explores themes such as religion, cults, and the nature of belief. It has been praised for its performances and its suspenseful storyline. “Svaha.”
18. Pandora (판도라, 2016)
Pandora is a 2016 South Korean disaster film directed and written by Park Jung-woo. It stars popular names like Kim Nam-Gil.
This Korean drama follows a story of a crisis at a nuclear power plant in South Korea and its aftermath on the people who live in the surrounding area.
The film focused on power, corruption, and the human cost of technical advances. It was praised for its intense and realistic portrayal of a nuclear disaster and the actors’ performances.
19. The Host (괴물, 2006)
A genre-defying monster movie that combines horror, comedy, and social commentary as a family tries to rescue their daughter from a giant mutant creature in the Han River.
This thriller-horror movie on Netflix follows the story of a family that must come together to save their youngest member from a mutant creature that emerges from the Han River. The flick was a commercial and critical success, receiving many accolades and awards.
The Host is known for its blend of horror, comedy, political satire, and powerful performances, particularly by lead actor Song Kang-ho.
20. The Chase (반드시 잡는다, 2017)
The Chase is a South Korean crime-thriller film. The movie follows the story of a detective hunting a ruthless serial killer.
The flick is known for its intense action sequences and exploration of themes such as justice, corruption, and the cost of vengeance. The film uses a standard South Korean dialect, spoken with the accent and intonation commonly used in the country.
This was the first flick by the filmmaker Na Hong-jin. Yet, he creates suspense that binds you on the screen for the entire film. Unsurprisingly, it won many awards, like Best Film and Best Director in South Korea.
21. Unlocked (스마트폰을 떨어뜨렸을 뿐인데, 2023)
Unlocked is a 2023 South Korean thriller film directed by Kim Tae-joon. It features Chun Woo-hee, Kim Hee-won, and Im Si-wan.
The plot of Unlocked revolves around a girl who loses her smartphone and hacks her phone to the max. With access to all her personal information, the person with it can spin her life upside down.
You will clutch your phone extra tightly as soon as you finish watching this movie. The film has full of roller coaster emotions from the beginning until the end! It educates viewers to be mindful of digital spying and never click the fishy link!
22. Jung_E (정이, 2023)
Jung_E is a sci-fi South Korean film that’ll have you terrified of AI when the credits roll. During a post-apocalyptic near-future, an AI lab researcher clones her mother’s brain to end a civil war.
This sci-fi narrative is set in the 21st century. It revolves around a scientist who clones her mother’s brain to prevent civil war.
The plot will amaze you with countless twists and turns. Thanks to this mind-bending Sci-fi action, you are ready to be on the edge of your seat.
23. Veteran (베테랑, 2015)
Written and directed by Ryoo Seung-wan, Veteran follows the story of a veteran detective named Seo Do-cheol, who is determined to take down a wealthy and corrupt business mogul, Jo Tae-oh is involved in illegal activities.
Despite resistance from Jo’s powerful influence, Do-cheol continues his investigation and collaborates with a young and ambitious prosecutor named Ahn Chi-won. As they delve deeper into Jo’s criminal empire, they uncover a dangerous conspiracy. They must fight to bring him to justice.
This Korean movie was a commercial success, receiving positive reviews for its thrilling action scenes, sharp humor, and social commentary on corruption and wealth inequality in South Korea.
It won several awards and is one of the highest-grossing films in the Korean film industry. If you enjoy action comedies, “Veteran” is definitely worth watching.
24. 20th Century Girl (20세기 소녀, 2022)
Kim Yoo-jung, Byeon Woo-seok, Park Jung-woo, and Roh Yoon-seo star in 20th Century Girl, a South Korean romantic drama written and directed by Bang Woo-ri. 1999 serves as a backdrop for a film depicting friendship and first love.
The year is 1999, and Na Bo-ra’s best friend, Yeon-du, is traveling to the U.S. for heart surgery, so she promises to keep tabs on Yeon-du’s crush and email everything she learns to her friend. But, unfortunately, the plan does not quite work out as expected.
This Korean movie on Netflix narrates a fascinating and entertaining story. If you are a fan of Rom-Com South Korean flicks, watch out!
25. Wish You (나의 마음속 너의 멜로디, 2020)
You won’t regret watching this sweet BL (Boys Love) rom-com if you want to get into the subgenre. The free-spirited Kang In-soo (played by the idol of the same name) is a street musician who hopes to turn his passion into a career.
Upon discovering In-soo’s busking videos on YouTube, shy keyboardist Yoon Sang-yi (Lee Sang) recommends him to his company. The two fall in love while together in the company dorm.
“Wish You” received positive reviews from audiences and critics alike for its touching story, poignant performances, and stunning cinematography. If you enjoy romantic dramas or family-oriented films, this Korean film on Netflix is worth watching.
26. The Fortress (남한산성, 2017)
“The Fortress” is a 2017 Korean historical drama film directed by Hwang Dong-hyuk and starring Lee Byung-hun, Kim Yoon-seok, and Park Hae-il. The movie is based on the historical event known as the Siege of Namhansanseong, which occurred in 1636 during the Joseon Dynasty.
The film follows the story of King Injo and his court as they seek refuge in the fortress of Namhansanseong from an invading Qing Dynasty army. As the enemy forces besiege the fort and the harsh winter takes its toll, tensions rise among the court and the soldiers. They must struggle to survive and maintain their loyalty to the king.
This flick received positive reviews from critics for its stunning visuals, powerful performances, and gripping story. It also became one of the highest-grossing Korean films in 2017.
This is a must-watch if you enjoy historical dramas or epic war films! Plus, this is one of the great dramas for learning the Korean language.
27. What Happened to Mr. Cha? (차인표, 2021)
“What Happened to Mr. Cha?” is a 2021 Korean comedy film directed by Kim Dong-kyu and starring Cha In-pyo. The movie follows Cha In-pyo, who plays a fictionalized version of himself, as he tries to stage a comeback in the entertainment industry.
The plot centers on Cha In-pyo, a former A-list actor who has fallen out of the spotlight and is struggling to make a comeback. As he prepares for his return, he reconnects with old friends and colleagues, including his former manager, played by Jo Dal-hwan.
But things take a hilarious turn when he accidentally gets drunk and causes chaos throughout the city.
Without giving away too many spoilers, this is a light-hearted comedy that pokes fun at the entertainment industry in South Korea. But it has a heartwarming story about friendship and second chances.
28. Illang: The Wolf Brigade (인랑, 2018)
“Illang: The Wolf Brigade” is a 2018 South Korean science-fiction action film directed by Kim Jee-woon and starring Gang Dong-won and Han Hyo-joo. The movie is a live-action adaptation of the Japanese anime “Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade.”
The film is set in an alternate universe where Korea is divided into two countries, the North and the South. It follows a special police force called “The Wolf Brigade” tasked with maintaining order and preventing terrorist attacks.
The main character, played by Gang Dong-won, is a Wolf Brigade member who begins questioning his loyalty to the government when he falls in love with a woman, played by Han Hyo-joo, who is involved with a rebel group.
As tensions rise between the government and the rebels, the Wolf Brigade is ordered to take harsher measures to quell the rebellion. The main character must decide where his loyalties lie. The movie has intense action sequences and explores duty, commitment, and personal sacrifice.
29. The Drug King (마약왕, 2018)
“The Drug King” is a 2018 South Korean crime drama film directed by Woo Min-ho and starring Song Kang-ho and Jo Jung-suk. The movie is based on the true story of Lee Doo-sam, a drug lord who rose to power in the 1970s and 1980s.
The movie follows Lee Doo-sam, played by Song Kang-ho, as he starts as a small-time drug smuggler and gradually becomes one of Korea’s most powerful drug lords. He faces challenges and rivalries from other drug lords and law enforcement agencies along the way.
Jo Jung-suk plays a junior detective tasked with bringing down Lee Doo-sam’s drug empire. But as the two men play a dangerous cat-and-mouse game, they develop mutual respect and understanding.
30. Psychokinesis (염력, 2018)
“Psychokinesis” is a 2018 Korean superhero film written and directed by Yeon Sang-ho, known for his work on the critically acclaimed film “Train to Busan.” The movie stars Ryu Seung-ryong as a father who gains superpowers and uses them to help his daughter and her community.
The movie follows the story of Seok-heon, a down-on-his-luck man who gains telekinetic powers after drinking water from a mountain spring. With his newfound abilities, he sets out to protect his estranged daughter, Roo-mi, and her neighbors from a corrupt company that is trying to evict them from their homes.
As Seok-heon becomes more confident in his powers, he learns to use them for the greater good and becomes a superhero. This Korean movie for learners on Netflix blends comedy, action, and drama and explores family, justice, and power themes.
31. Night in Paradise (낙원의 밤, 2020)
“Night in Paradise” is a 2020 South Korean crime drama film directed by Park Hoon-jung and starring Um Tae-goo and Jeon Yeo-been. The movie follows the story of Tae-gu, a member of a Korean crime syndicate, who is on the run after his sister and niece are killed in a gang-related incident.
Tae-gu travels to Jeju Island to lay low, where he meets a terminally ill woman named Jae-yeon, played by Jeon Yeo-been. The two bonds unexpectedly as they navigate their dangerous surroundings and contemplate their fates.
As Tae-gu tries to protect himself and his fellow gang members, he must also confront the demons of his past and come to terms with his own mortality. The Netflix Korean movie features stunning cinematography, intense action sequences, and powerful performances from the lead actors.
Wrapping Up on Netflix’s Korean movies
These Korean movies on Netflix are just a few examples of the rich and diverse cinema that South Korea offers.
It’s important to note that the authenticity of language in movies can differ depending on the production. Some strive to depict the language and dialects spoken by the characters accurately. In contrast, others may take more artistic liberties.
Watch movies accurate to the culture and language you are trying to learn. This will give you a better understanding of how the language is used in real-life situations. Besides movies, you can also use Korean learning apps and Podcasts to learn Korean to enhance your language skills.
I hope this list of the best Korean films on Netflix streaming today can provide you with a crucial starting point. You can then dive deep into the extraordinary world of Korean cinema!
Do you have recommended Korean flicks on Netflix that should be added to the list? Share your thoughts in the comment below.