Studying the Korean language should be entertaining, enthralling, enriching, and engaging. One fabulous way to kick-start your practice or achieve fluency is to see Korean films. Check out the list of 12 best movies for learning Korean.
Indulge in fun activities and go effective language techniques when learning Korean! Watching some Korean cinemas will go a long way to help you improve on your intonation and hone your listening and comprehensive skills. The films you are going to see shortly will also make you feel excited about this East Asian language.
But, take this piece of advice; do not go for older Korean movies as there is a significant variance in the language used in recording them compared to the modern version of Korean.
Also, remember that the best or the most actionable flicks are not always the most suitable ones for learning the Korean language. So, you may need to drawback on your artistic preference at some point and check out more low-profile Korean movies, especially if the once you’re watching lack subtitle.
- How Can Movies Help You Master Korean?
- Smart ways to watch Korean movies
- 12 Must-watch Movies for learning Korean
- 1. The Battleship Island (2017)
- 2. Chingu (2001)
- 3. Silmido (2003)
- 4. Oldboy (R) (2003)
- 5. The Thieves (2012)
- 6. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter (2003)
- 7. My Sassy Girl (2001)
- 8. The Host (2006)
- 9. The Attorney (2013)
- 10. Joint Security Area (2000)
- 11. Memories of the murder (R) (2003)
- 12. Train to Busan (2016)
- Final Thought
How Can Movies Help You Master Korean?
There are many language benefits, and one such advantage is enjoying movies in the original language as initially intended. The film stimulates your brain functions to increase your memory capacity to boost your cognitive abilities. It is a tremendous brain-boosting activity. Since Korean is one of the most difficult languages to learn, movies can be a great value to your overall learning experience.
Korean films can help you improve your vocabulary, expressions, slang, dialects, accents, and even swear words. Besides, Movies also give the best insight into the culture where the language is useful. It provides you the way people speak, their customs, traditions, festivals, work ethics, to name a few. So, why not combine your reasons to learn Korean with your love of Films?
Smart ways to watch Korean movies
Let’s Be Clear: Learning Korean with films is an incredible way to learn a foreign language. The movies, however, alone won’t help you gain Korean language proficiency. You need a proper Korean language course along with some other essential resources like books, audio lessons, to name a few. Films are a great supplement and can undoubtedly enhance your listening, reading, and speaking skills.
The Korean cinemas have great potential as language learning tools. When you begin studying, try to keep the movie subtitles in English or your native tongue. When you read the conversations, you will have a good and clear understanding of the storyline and dialogues.
When you repeat the movie, you can see it without subtitles. You’ll focus more on the listening part with no distractions. It is because you already have the scenes, sentence patterns, expressions, and characters in mind when you saw it for the first time. Besides, you’ll enhance your Korean pronunciation and accents for the corresponding equivalent in English.
Where to watch Korean Films?
There are several websites and online streaming that has a good selection of flicks to get you started! Amazon Prime, Netflix, and other online services offer dozen of Korean cinemas. You can also view many free videos on YouTube, Vimeo, etc. The various popular platforms like Netflix also produce lots of exclusive and original content for the audience.
12 Must-watch Movies for learning Korean
South Korea is one of the fastest-growing film industries in the world. The Hallyu (Korean wave) phenomenon has swept the entire planet in the last decade, thanks to the rising popularity of K-Pop, K-Drama, and K-Movies!
With so many incredible Koran movies for your viewing pleasure, it would be better to pick one or two a month to get the real benefit slowly and effectively for full language immersion. Here is a list of 12 astonishing movies for learning Korean.
1. The Battleship Island (2017)
Song Joong-ki and So Ji-sub stars in this contemporary film that has attracted many fans of Korean movies. The film talks about the forced labor that Koreans suffered under Japanese companies. It happened at a time when Japan was occupying Korea.
In the movie, the Korean laborers were taken to an island called “Hashima.” And all of them were subjected to perform different tasks beyond their limit and without pay.
The story is a very emotional one, and it is particularly vital for understanding a great deal about Korean-Japan international relations. The language version is modern, and you will learn its verbs and vocabulary quickly. It is also one of the best Korean movies for beginners.
2. Chingu (2001)
If you are interested in becoming a pro in studying and speaking the Busa dialect of the Korean language as spoken in Seoul, consider seeing this movie. This movie is considered quite a challenge for Korean speakers, putting your Korean knowledge to the test.
The storyline revolves around the lives of four close friends who were living in the underground gangster life of Busan. The experience starts as when they were young and continues until they became adults.
3. Silmido (2003)
Silmido is one of the most compelling movies in the Korean movie industry. The film was based on an original story that talks about Unit 684, a covert special unit created to recruit assassins designed to assassinate Kim II Sung, the North Korean Leader.
Following the release of the movie, the government was forced to come forward and acknowledge the truth about Silmido, prompting the payment of compensation to the victims’ families. It is one of the good movies to learn Korean.
4. Oldboy (R) (2003)
Oldboy is one of the most exciting movies to have ever come from Korea. Most Korean movie themes center on revenge, and this one is a classic vengeance genre movies.
The story of Oldboy talks about a man who was released from prison after serving 15 years. He is out looking for answers regarding why he was imprisoned. He has just five days to find out the answers. The grammar and tone clarity makes this a must-watch movie for Korean language learners. Do remember, it is an R rated flick.
5. The Thieves (2012)
If you have watched “Ocean’s Eleven,” you will understand and appreciate the “Thieves” as a classic heist movie. Both movies share a similar plot, and the language is straightforward to follow. You can conveniently focus on the sound and grammar direction of the language.
The film set was based in Macau and talked about a gang of thieves who are obligated to steal a huge diamond. Unfortunately, things didn’t go according to what they have planned.
6. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter (2003)
Here is one of the best Korean movies for people who, for the first time, are set to view Korean flicks without subtitles. It is a perfect mixture of superb drama and a timeless romance.
The movie has very little dialogue, which allows you to understand and learn more about what is happening in most Korean films. It is a perfect movie that you can use as a reference source and motivation for mastering how to watch Korean films without subtitles.
7. My Sassy Girl (2001)
This movie is a great romantic comedy that busted the Asian movie charts the year it was released. It was so cool that it inspires a Hollywood remake, a Japanese drama, and a prequel. The movie talks about a romantic meeting between a young man and a woman who came to know each other at a train station.
While viewing this movie, pay close attention to the way the girl and the boy talk. The version of the Korean language used in this movie is susceptible to the dynamic role played by the girl (always acting bossy and appearing to be the senior, whereas, the boy is her junior and usually docile.)
My sassy girl will encourage you to understand the age dynamism and rules of hierarchy governing Koreans. It is useful for gaining a beginner’s level of knowledge.
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8. The Host (2006)
The Host is a sci-fi thriller that smashed the records on the South Korean box office in the year it was released. It won many awards, including the title for the 2007 Best Asian Film.
The story talks about the dropping of over two hundred bottles of formaldehyde dropped maliciously into the Han River in Seoul. Fishes aren’t the only things that die, but a terrible monster was created out of the waters.
Alright, so what is in it for language learners? Well, If you’re looking for a movie that colorful project adjectives, The Host is a must-watch. The descriptive throughout the scripts are fantastic. You will get vocabulary that adds vividness and nuance to your Korean.
9. The Attorney (2013)
Watch the thrilling story of a tax lawyer who took up a seditious case on behalf of his friend’s son and other students that were picked up by law enforcement agents. The lawyer believed the acclaimed confession by the students was derived through torture, and he is set to reveal the truth.
The movie contains much social, political, and legal vocabulary that is good for language learners, as you will come across a lot of them once you are reading newspapers and news online. Getting to know more about political and legal terminologies will help you to get more insight into language textbooks.
10. Joint Security Area (2000)
The movie is based on a novel that talks about the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), highlighting the fragile peace that is in place between the two neighboring Korean countries.
Two North Korean soldiers turned up dead with bullets riddling their entire body, while South Korean soldier turns up severely injured. The incident led to the possibility of a full-blown war and possible nuclear annihilation. An officer from one of the neutral stations was called in to investigate.
There are so many verbs in this movie, which is suitable for beginners in language learning. Again, much of the vocabulary is clear in context, meaning you can learn new words quicker than you think.
11. Memories of the murder (R) (2003)
While every South Korean movie I’d ever seen was impressive, Memories of the murder is my all-time favorite Korean movie. It is an enduring Korean crime drama that stars Song Kang-ho and directed by Bong Joon-ho. This thriller is sure to keep viewers engaged.
The cinematography and performance are outstanding. There is a lot of metaphor in this movie, so if you’re looking for a light, funny, and yet an action-packed, nail-biting cinema to keep you an edge, check Memories of the murder. A warning: If you feel uncomfortable with gore, blood, and violence, then this you should avoid it.
12. Train to Busan (2016)
If you like zombie movies that scare the life out of you, then you should consider Train to Busan. It is a zombie apocalypse action-packed movie released in 2016. It is one of the most-watched, set the record at the box office, and considered one of the best Korean flicks in recent years.
Seok-woo and his daughter are on a train to Busan to meet his wife. The film mostly takes place on a train to Busan when a zombie outbreak across South Korea. It is thoroughly enjoyable though full of horror scenes. This flick challenges your Korean skills while leaving you in constant entertaining.
I have not mentioned many famous names like The wailing, The chaser, I saw the Devil, The chaser, The handmaiden, Mother, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, The man from Nowhere, A Tale of Two Sisters, Lady Vengeance, A Bittersweet Life, to name a few. That is because most of these movies are R-rated or not suitable for improving Korean, even though entertaining.
These twelve movies for learning Korean will set up your Korean skills for greatness. Your vocabulary will increase, and your listening and comprehension skills will grow with you as you march on to the Canaan land of mastering Korean as a foreign language.