Today, the popularity of Hallyu has reached every nook and cranny of the world.
The Korean wave refers to South Korea’s pop culture, music, TV dramas, Korean movies, and other entertainment varieties.
From studying in Korea to new career options to cultural appreciation, there are many motives to pick Korean.
And if that is not enough, you have an exciting world of K-movie.
Korean films have earned a lot of love and global recognition. This has become enough of a reason for a growing number of people who want to learn Korean.
If you’re one of those looking for Korean movies to learn Korean, this article is a perfect fit for you. Let’s get the ball rolling.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- How watching films help you learn Korean?
- Where to see Korean movies?
- 20 Outstanding Movies for Learning Korean
- 1. My Little Bride (어린 신부), 2005
- 2. Call (콜), 2020
- 3. Miss Granny (수상한 그년), 2014
- 4. Scandal Makers (과속 스캔들), 2008
- 5. My Sassy Girl (엽기적인 그녀), 2001
- 6. Friend (친구), 2001
- 7. Forgotten (기억의 밤), 2017
- 8. The Dude in Me (내안의 그놈), 2019
- 9. My Annoying Brother (형), 2016
- 10. Parasite (기생충), 2019
- 11. Sunny (써니), 2011
- 12. Burning (버닝), 2018
- 13. Exit (엑시트), 2019
- 14. Hello Ghost (헬로우 고스트), 2010
- 15. Miracle in Cell No. 7 (번벙의 선물), 2013
- 16. How to Steal a Dog (개를 훔치는 완변한 방법), 2014
- 17. Old Boy (올드보이), 2003
- 18. Be With You (지금 만나러 갑니다), 2018
- 19. Gonjinam: Haunted Asylum (곤지암), 2018
- 20. Little Forest (리틀 포레스트), 2018
- Final Words
How watching films help you learn Korean?
There are several advantages of learning Korean with films.
First, there is a clear relation between culture and language.
The cinema is the best way to dive deep into it. You will acknowledge diverse cultural and traditional aspects — it’s a powerful way to immerse yourself.
Second comes the repetition of the dialogues or the scenes you like the most.
Following the shadowing technique, speaking precisely as the actors’ talk helps with memorization.
After practicing the method many times, it will fix the dialogues in your mind.
So what is output, you may ask?
Well, it’s the fluency that you are gifting yourself with. Sure, you won’t be able to say those dialogues to your Korean friends.
But now you know you have those vocabularies and sentences fixed on your tongue.
Third, you are allowing yourself to listen more. If anything, that gets stronger by watching flicks, drama, or listening to songs; It’s the listening skills you are targeting. Other things come later.
Many language-lovers totally ignore this, such a fun way of language learning prospect.
You wouldn’t realize what you are missing unless you start consuming media in your target language.
If a Korean language school promises you to teach the language in 3 years, cut that period short to 2 years if you learn Korean with films.
Where to see Korean movies?
Several websites and online streaming have an extensive collection of films, dramas, music, and video shows to get you started!
You can find these films on paid platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO and free platforms like Vimeo, Viu, and YouTube.
You can also see through Korean online streaming channels to experience Korean movies at your comfort.
There’s something for everybody thanks to easy access to the internet and plenty of OTT platforms.
20 Outstanding Movies for Learning Korean
This article presents you with 20 must-watch Korean movies for Korean learners working hard to learn the language.
You need a deserved yet entertaining break, which is another way of learning.
1. My Little Bride (어린 신부), 2005
This adorable Kim Ho-joon directed movie should be on your list of Korean watch-worthy Rom-Com movies.
Viewers will get to witness a cute arranged love story.
This is a tale of two individuals having a fair amount of age difference between them who are forced into marrying each other.
Seo Bo-eun, a 15-year-old high school girl, played by Moon Geun-young, has to marry Park Sang-min. He is a 20-year-old college-going student, played by Kim Rae-won.
This happened because Bo-Eun’s grandfather wishes to see her get married before he dies.
Bo-Eun’s and Sang-Min’s grandfathers were best friends who had promised each other to marry their children. But, both of them had sons. Hence, those “strong exchanged words” between the two grandpas passed onto the next generation.
If you are an intermediate learner of Korean, this motion picture is for you.
2. Call (콜), 2020
Call is a recent 2020 release directed by Lee Chung-hyeon, starring legendary young actresses Park Shin-hye.
She portrays 28-year-old Kim Seo-yeon and Jeon Jong-seo, who plays the character of Oh Yeong-suk.
Both these women are of the same age, living in the same house. Yet, the years they exist are different.
Seo-yeon is present in the year 2019, whereas Yeong-suk in 1999. A phone links both of them.
The story revolves interestingly, which does not let you get up from your couch. The call is a worth-seeing thriller movie.
A lot of conversations over phone calls will be a help to language learners.
Some phrases after receiving the call, like Hello, Who is it? How can I help you? How to tackle the wrong numbers will be recited naturally, benefiting you in learning.
Besides that, they also show some old pop culture in the movie, exciting senior k-pop fans.
3. Miss Granny (수상한 그년), 2014
You can’t afford to miss this comedy, drama, heartfelt, and sweet movie in Miss Granny.
They remade into 6 different languages: Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Telugu, and Thai.
The story focuses on an old woman who regains her youthful beauty after visiting a photo studio. Knowing that her family doesn’t need her, she was sad about her life.
From the learners’ perspective, it is a kind of musical movie. Thus, it will have a lot of old-age songs. These songs are always healthy for learning new vocabularies and even sentence patterns.
Shim Eun-kyung plays the youth version of Grandma, who called herself Oh Doo-ri. Whereas the older version of Oh Mal-soon, Na Moon-hee portrays the grandmother.
For K-drama fans, hold on to your seats; you are going to witness a fascinating cameo.
It teaches divergent cultural points of knowledge from a South Korean view and perception about society.
4. Scandal Makers (과속 스캔들), 2008
What if you are 36 and you have a 22-year-old daughter you didn’t know exist?
And the shocking-fun doesn’t stop here. She has a 6-year-old son too?
That’s the situation of Nam Heon-soo, played by Cha Tae-hyun, who was a famous idol in his younger days. Now he is in his mid-30s, a popular Radio D.J. Hence, this film will have songs which are again suitable for learners.
One day his apartment bell rings, and a girl, Hwang Jeong Nam, played by Park Bo-young, who looks like she is in her early 20s, enters with her son.
Hwang Ki Dong, portrayed by Wang Seok Hyun, stated that she is his daughter.
He can’t reveal he has a daughter as he is a famous personality, and it would ruin his image in front of the media.
So what should he do? That’s what they base the storyline on.
It will also be a good listening practice for honorifics.
This is because the child often speaks in honorifics with his grandfather. Ki Dong steals the show with his cuteness.
5. My Sassy Girl (엽기적인 그녀), 2001
This isn’t just a regular romantic movie, but a complete entertainment-packed comedy, weirdness, and twists over twists.
Considering the movie’s literal translation to be ‘That Bizarre Girl,’ one can guess how it would be a packet full of quite unusual yet funny.
My Sassy Girl stars Jun Ji-hyun as the girl opposite Cha Tae-hyun, who portrayed Kyun-Woo’s character, a male college-going student.
Kyun-woo sees a girl in a drunk condition he saves from falling on the tracks of a metro station in Seoul.
While he keeps her safe, she ends up dragging him into hassles again and again. This fun movie is a delight to follow.
The writer of the movie, Kim Ho-sik, used to publish real-life events with his girlfriend in a series of blog posts. Later, he adapted the same into a fictional novel. Last, he converted it into a flick.
If you’re a fan of Romantic cinema or looking to use some Korean expression to impress someone, this is for you.
6. Friend (친구), 2001
This story revolves around four friends who came, regardless of coming from different backgrounds, raised in an irksome era of the 70s.
Over the years, all the friends went their separate ways in life.
Two of them, Sang-taek and Joong-ho, came back to meet Dong-Su (Jang Dong-gun) and Joon-Suk (Yoo Oh-sung) after enrolling themselves in college.
However, to their shock, one of their friends was jailed while the other was on drugs.
These two friends become foes in the criminal world after a few events in their lives.
The movie is a saga of friendship, betrayal, and many complications as the story go by.
The “Friend” is one of the best Korean movies for advanced learners interested in taking a higher level of TOPIK (Test of Proficiency in Korean).
7. Forgotten (기억의 밤), 2017
This Jang Hang-jun-directed cinema almost covers every dark genre. From sci-fi and horror to psychological thrillers and mystery, you have everything.
The film features some very well-known actors from the drama industry, especially Kang Ha Neul. His visuals are no secret to the Korean content-consuming fans. Plus, he falters each time with his acting skills.
The plot revolves around Jin Seok, played by Kang Ha Neul. It also includes his family, including his mother, father, and older brother Yoo-seok.
After moving into the new house, he realizes some things odd with his family.
While he was in that hustling period, his brother gets abducted on a rainy night in front of his eyes.
He suddenly comes back after 19 days. However, Jin Seok feels his brother seems strange after returning, and he decided to look for the reason.
Many words are clear in context, meaning you can learn new vocabulary quicker than you imagine.
8. The Dude in Me (내안의 그놈), 2019
The film’s genre is fantasy and comedy, which shows a plump high-school reserved-scared boy, Dong-hyun. Jin-young often gets bullied by his classmates, portrays the role.
In one such episode of bullying, he falls from the rooftop.
He then crashes into Pan-soo, played by Park Sung-woong, a criminal organization leader.
Both men soon reached the hospital. Pan-soo then wakes up soon, but in Dong-Hyun’s body.
Like that, the two individuals’ bodies’ switches create confusion in the lives of the people surrounding them.
Viewers will again get to witness Jeong Jin-young, the former member of the K-pop group B1A4’s bold acting skills.
There is plenty of metaphor in “The dude in Me.” You can gain many verbs in this movie, which is suitable for someone who just started learning Korean.
9. My Annoying Brother (형), 2016
It’s a comedy genre film which revolves around two stepbrothers. The older brother Doo-sik (Cho Jung-seok) is serving in jail for a fraud he had committed.
His younger stepbrother Doo-young (Do Kyung-soo) is a hardworking judo athlete. He loses his eyesight because of an injury that happens in a match.
Taking advantage of his younger brother’s condition, Doo-sik gets his release from jail.
These two brothers, who hate each other, start living together, and that’s when things start getting interesting.
The flick is a delight for K-poppers, considering it casts Do Kyung-soo (D.O. of EXO), one of the most prominent K-pop groups.
D.O. has been showcasing his acting skills in several dramas and movies he has worked in.
The speaking and pattern of the sentence make it possible to understand the various roles portrayed to showcase Korean humor.
10. Parasite (기생충), 2019
The Parasite needs no introduction, with it becoming the first non-English film to bag several awards, including Oscar. This has put Korean movie production in the international spotlight.
Parasite focuses on the divergence between two different groups of people living in Seoul. The rich residing in a charming house in the capital, while the poor living in a semi-basement house.
Ki-Taek (Song Kang-ho) is a poor and unemployed father. He lives with his wife, Choong-Sook (Jang Hye-jin), daughter Ki-Jung (Park So-dam), and son Ki-Woo (Choi Woo-sik).
They live in a Banjiha, a dark and tiny semi-basement house.
While talking with his friend (Park Seo-joon), Ki-Woo discovers he has an English teaching job in Korea that pays a good amount of money.
Grabbing this opportunity, he tries to bring his entire family to work in the vast house.
The simple dialogues mixed with not so tricky vocabulary make this cinema suitable for all Korean students.
11. Sunny (써니), 2011
Sunny is a story of seven girls who were best friends in school. However, destiny and a life-changing incident drift them apart. This flick shows how life can take a full swing and enjoy the moments while we are at it.
Na-mi, played by Shim Eun-kyung, transfers to a school in Seoul from a small town of Jeolla Province.
Coming from a small town, she has a southern dialect when speaking. She shakes out of nervousness and gets bullied by some classmates on her first day not to let it out.
Later, a group of girls saves her, and she slowly gets comfortable with them, hence becoming a part of them. They call the group of seven girls “Sunny.”
It casts some well-renowned faces of the Korean entertainment industry. It includes Kang So-ra, Kim Min-young, Park Jin-joo, Nam Bo-ra, Kom Bo-mi, and Min Hyo-ri.
The movie provides an ample possibility to understand everyday speech.
12. Burning (버닝), 2018
The cinema is taken from an original short story, “Barn Burning,” from “The Elephant Vanishes.” Haruki Murakami, a famous literary writer, wrote it.
We know him for some mind-blogging novels of all time, such as Kafka on the Shore, Norwegian Wood, and more.
It’s a psychological thriller mystery drama that presents the story of a girl and her childhood friend.
Jong-soo (Yoo Ah-in) aspires to become a writer. But, at present does a part-time job in a distribution company as a delivery-man.
One day while working, he runs into Hae-mi (Jeon Jang-seo), his childhood friend. They moved together, and Hae-mi asks Jon-Soo to take care of her cat while traveling to Africa.
She comes back with Ben (Steven Yeun), who she met on her trip. As the story goes on, Ben reveals a hobby of his to Jong-Soo, and the plot keeps surprising you with many twists.
It complicates the speech pattern and language. If you already have a decent command of the language, check out this movie to learn Korean and take it to the next level.
13. Exit (엑시트), 2019
Exit is the answer if a genre like a ‘disaster and action’ combined with ‘comedy’ exists. The cinema makes you laugh. And at the same time, it scares you by showcasing the city getting destroyed.
Yong-Nam, played by Cho Jung-seok, is a young and jobless who graduated from a university a few years ago. He is unemployed and looking for that “right” job.
Yong-Nam throws a party for his mother, Hyun-Ok (Ko Du-shim), 70th birthday at a convention hall. He sees his university crush Ui-Joo (Yoona), as she works there as an assistant manager.
He tries to get close to her yet again, while in the process, a lethal gas explosion takes place, completely twisting the film’s plot.
The dialogue is fast, though well-controlled. It runs at a pace that you will comprehend with some difficulty.
14. Hello Ghost (헬로우 고스트), 2010
“Hello Ghost” is yet another remarkable film for learning Korean.
Kang Sang-Man (Cha Tae-hyun) tries to commit suicide by swallowing many pills in a rented room. But he fails.
After that, he again tries to end his life by jumping into a river. This time, too, cops were on patrol duty, and they saved him.
As the story goes forward, he realizes he can see some ghosts roaming in his house.
He wants them to leave. Still, they keep a condition. They want him to fulfill their wishes.
This Kim Young-tak directed film stars an actor we can trust to make us laugh. You can see Cha Tae-hyun, the same amazing actor in “My sassy girl,” “Scandal Makers,” and many more.
The vocabulary and phrases are impressive and straightforward to grasp the Korean language flow.
15. Miracle in Cell No. 7 (번벙의 선물), 2013
Keep your tissues ready while viewing this heartfelt comedy film.
A mentally ill father is wrongly accused and hence imprisoned for murder. When he enters the jail, he befriends some real criminals.
They decided to help him see his daughter. And so make a deal to bring her to the cell and be with her father.
A real-life incident took place in Chuncheon of Korea.
The police tortured a man inside a jail under the charges of rape and murder of a 9-year-old girl. This incident took place on September 27, 1972, and they acquitted him in November 2008.
The movie offers a great way to learn colloquialism in Korean. This can encourage you to gain an upper-intermediate level of Korean.
16. How to Steal a Dog (개를 훔치는 완변한 방법), 2014
This film will indeed steal your heart with the combination of cute dogs and adorable kids as the main cast. Ji So (Lee Re), a young girl whose father goes bankrupt, now has nowhere else to go and has also lost shelter.
One day, a poster comes in front of her eyes that says the owner will reward $500 for their missing dog.
Witnessing the amount on the notice, Ji So borrows or kidnaps dogs belonging to wealthy families to earn rewards from them.
The filmmaker took the story from a novel of the same name by Barbara O’Connor. The cast includes many more child actors, which makes it even more endearing to watch.
The words and syntax are easy to grasp and suit the comprehensive skills of elementary students.
17. Old Boy (올드보이), 2003
Old Boy is an epic film that has come forward from the Korean film industry. Even after 17 years after the release, people still talk about this masterpiece.
It’s beyond an action thriller film. It revolves around a man, Oh Dae-su (Choi Min-sik), held captive in a cell for 15 long years for no known reasons.
Now he has been released. However, he has five days to take his revenge. But he finds himself trapped in a different conspiracy after coming out. He also falls in love with a young Sushi chef, Mi-do.
The film has some scenes for which you need to have a strong stomach. It is based on Garon Tsuchiya’s Japanese manga of the same name.
This is one favorite and one of the best Korean movies for learning Korean.
18. Be With You (지금 만나러 갑니다), 2018
This romantic film featuring Son Ye-jin, the “Crash Landing On You actress,” who kept you hooked to the screens with her visual and fabulous acting.
So Ji-sub, a prominent Korean name entertainment industry, has come together to make this beautiful film into happening.
Soo-ah (Son Ye-jin) promises her husband, Woo-Jin (So Ji-sub), to return to him one year later on the first rainy day before she dies.
The promise seems unbelievable to her husband. When she makes it happen for real, it left him shocked.
She doesn’t have any memories of her life with Woo-jin, and he tries to bring it back.
It’s a remake of a Japanese film of the same name which came in 2004. The movie was also an adaptation of a novel by Takuji Ichikawa by the same name.
This will also help you develop your Korean sounds, accents, rhythm, and pronunciation.
19. Gonjinam: Haunted Asylum (곤지암), 2018
This Jung Bum-shik-directed found-footage horror film is based on an actual event in a psychiatric hospital of the same name.
The story showcases a web series crew who entered an abandoned asylum for a live broadcast only because they wanted more views. But things started turning fishy and scarier as they kept entering the horrified old building more and more.
As AsianWiki states, Gonjiam Psychiatric Hospital was one of the 7 freakiest places globally by CNN.
The alleged incident took place in 1972. 42 patients killed themselves in the hospital while the hospital director went missing.
And in all that, the broadcasters entered the hospital and began a live stream.
Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum will challenge your Korean abilities while leaving you on the constant edge of the seat.
20. Little Forest (리틀 포레스트), 2018
The filmmaker bases the movie on a manga series written by Daisuke Igarashi by the same name in 2002.
This Yim Soon-rye-directed film is a story you’d want to bless your minds. When you feel your life is overwhelming and sometimes look back and go back to your roots helps, well, watch this film.
The Big city’s hustle seems never-ending and especially to the ones who belong to the small towns.
Tackling with living issues and struggling with work is already intimidating.
How can one handle not passing the national qualification exam to become a teacher?
That’s the story of Hye-won (Kim Tae-ri), who fails to pass the exam she was working hard for.
Being frustrated, she dumps her part-time job in Seoul, goes back to her hometown, and reconnects with her people.
If you’re at an advanced level, you can understand it better. This movie will help you prepare for the higher level of the Korean language exam, i.e., the TOPIK, EPS-TOPIK, or KLAT exam.
For making this article one of its kind, we (me and Vikash Gupta) tried to keep our horizons open to compile the varieties of movies’ genres.
We did this to bring in front of you as viewers and learners, such as comedy, romance, thriller, action, horror, drama, and many more altogether.
You get to watch your favorite Korean movies, dramas, documentaries, and many more, and, with the icing on the cake, you get to learn an awful lot from them.
These movies will entertain you if it matches your taste. Along with that, you will also learn a lot of new things, culture, reality, vocabularies, sentence drills if you listen effectively.
Some of these methods will work if you wish to practice speaking Korean through these films.
It’s no secret that your listening skills will grow the most if you watched them without subtitles. You can start with small-length movies, easier, and watch in small clips.
So, don’t forget to take benefit of it and tell us in the comments which film you liked the most or any recommendations you may have for us!