The best Korean movies to learn the language in 2021

Last Updated on September 23, 2021 by 90 Day Korean
2 man sitting on a couch with popcorn while watching a movie

Grab your popcorn and your favorite drink because we’re going to talk about the Best Korean Movies!

We’ve compiled our list of films shown in the South Korean cinema that is perfect to watch if you want to learn Korean. Of course, we’ve also included tips at the end of this article on how to do that! Exciting, right?

2 man sitting on a couch with popcorn while watching a movie

Definitely, Korean cinema has a vast lineup of choices.  If you still aren’t able to find the next film that you’re going to watch, then this is the article for you. There’s definitely something for everybody here! This way, you can have fun and learn a thing or two with your next film, so read on!

Top Korean movies for learning Korean

South Korea’s films definitely have lots to offer. The list below features movies to start with if you want to familiarize the language. We’ll be adding more to this list so stay tuned!

1. Parasite (기생충) 

Director: Bong Joon Ho

Cast: Song Kang Ho, Lee Sun Kyun, Cho Yeo Jeong

2. I Saw the Devil (악마를 보았다)

Director: Kim Jee Won

Cast: Lee Byung Hun, Choi Min sik, Jeon Gook Hwan, Kim Kap Soo

3. 3-Iron (빈집)

Director: Kim Ki Duk

Cast: Seung Yun Lee, Hee Jae, Hyuk Ho Kwon

4. Train to Busan (부산행)

Director: Yeon Sang Ho

Cast: Gong Yoo, Jung Yu Mi, Ma Dong Seok

5. Memories of Murder (살인의 추억)

Director: Bong Joon Ho

Cast: Song Kang ho , Kim Sang Kyung, Kim Roi Ha

6. Burning (버닝)

Director: Lee Chang Dong

Cast: Yoo Ah In, Steven Yeun, Jeon Jong Seo

7. The Handmaiden ( 아가씨)

Director: Park Chan Wook

Cast: Kim Min Hee, Kim Tae Ri

8. Night in Paradise (낙원의 밤)

Director: Park Hoon Jung

Cast: Uhm Tae Goo, Jeon Yeo Been, Cha Seung Won

9. Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds (신과함께)

Director: Kim Yong Hwa

Cast: Ha Jung Woo, Cha Tae Hyun, Ju Ji Hoon, Yu Jun Sang

10. Lady Vengeance (친절한 금자씨)

Director: Park Chan Wook

Cast: Lee Young Ae, Choi Min Sik

Can't read Korean yet? Click here to learn for free in about 60 minutes!

How to Watch a Korean Movie

Watching some fine South Korean films with the intent of learning or practicing Korean is different from watching a movie for leisure. You’ll still have fun doing it, of course. However, there are a couple of things you can do to set yourself up for success.

1st viewing: Skip the subtitles

Start by watching the movie without subtitles. This will let you appreciate the film for what it is before diving into the language-learning portion.

2nd viewing: Turn on the subtitles

Most learners have an easier time reading the English translation first, then match the subtitles to the Korean words, so give that a shot first.

3rd viewing: Turn on Korean subtitles

Not only are you listening to the Korean words being spoken, but you’re also matching them to how they’re written in Hangeul as well. This can be extremely helpful as not all of the Korean words you hear will be the word you expected them to be.

If you can’t read Hangeul yet, it is possible to learn Hangeul in just ninety minutes, so what are you waiting for?

4th viewing: Turn off all subtitles

After watching a South Korean film scene with English subtitles, try turning the subtitles off and watch the scene without any subtitles at all.  At this point, you should understand most (if not all) of the conversation in the film with no help from subtitles. Yay!

Keep in mind; these steps are just recommendations for getting the most out of the studying part of watching a film. Feel free to only follow these steps some of the time or only for certain scenes or phrases you want to learn. They definitely take plenty of time and energy!

Many other South Korean films can help you improve your Korean. These are just a few of our favorite picks.

If you want a list of movies based on genres like romantic-comedy, Korean war, action, or historical ones, you can also check out our separate article about Korean movies.

Let us know in the comments below which films we should add to this list and which ones you think are the best movies for studying Korean!

    26 replies to "The best Korean movies to learn the language in 2021"

    • Avatar for John John

      Another worthy film: A Single Spark (아름다운 청년 전태일). Students of Korean should know about this history.

    • Avatar for Ronald Rayner Ronald Rayner

      My favorite was 3-Iron (Empty house)

    • Avatar for Donny Donny

      great list! I will need to watching these and follow your steps!

      but no 기생충 ?!



      • Avatar for 90 Day Korean 90 Day Korean

        Thanks for your suggestion, Donny! Movies from 2019 and 2020 are not on the list yet. ^^

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