10 Best Korean Movies to Watch and Learn Korean in 2023
If you’re looking for a fun and immersive way to learn Korean, watching Korean movies (or dramas!) might just be the answer you’ve been searching for!
How Watching Korean Movies Help you Learn Korean
It improves your Korean pronunciation and intonation
One of the biggest benefits of watching Korean movies is the opportunity to improve your pronunciation, intonation, and understanding of natural speech.
As you input speech from native speakers, you’ll naturally start to pick up on the nuances of pronunciation and intonation. You’ll also become more familiar with the rhythm and flow of natural Korean speech, which can help you understand and communicate more effectively.
It helps you expand your vocabulary and pick up expressions
As you watch Korean movies, you’re going to pick up on some new words and phrases that you might not have learned in a typical language class. This exposure can be a great way to expand your vocabulary and deepen your understanding of different aspects of Korean culture.
Watching movies also gives you a chance to hear how people talk in real life – even the not-so-polite stuff like slang and swear words. Of course, you don’t want to go using these words in formal situations, but it’s good to be aware of them so you can understand what people are saying in everyday conversation.
Gain insights into Korean culture, customs, and traditions
Korean movies offer a unique window into Korean culture, customs, and traditions that can be difficult to find elsewhere.
As you watch, you’ll learn a lot of cultural nuances, including values and beliefs, family dynamics, social norms, and much more that can help you gain a deeper understanding of Korean society. This knowledge will come in handy when interacting with native speakers in Korea. So, if you want to communicate effectively in Korean like a local, watching Korean movies is definitely worth it.
10 best Korean movies to learn Korean in 2023
- IMDb rating: 8.6/10
- Genre: Comedy, Drama, Thriller
Parasite is a satirical thriller directed by Bong Joon-ho. It is also the first South Korean film to win the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. The film follows the members of a poor family as they infiltrate a wealthy household to secure their financial future. The thought provoking movie also reflects the different levels of Korean society’s hierarchy.
Train to Busan (2016)
- IMDb rating: 7.5/10
- Genre: Action, Horror, Thriller
Directed by Yeon Sang-ho, Train to Busan is a thrilling zombie apocalypse movie that takes place on a train ride from Seoul to Busan. The film follows the passengers’ struggle for survival as the undead taking over the train. It is considered one of the best Korean movies in recent years.
- IMDb rating: 8.4/10
- Genre: Action, Drama, Mystery
Directed by Park Chan-wook, Oldboy is a psychological thriller about a man who is imprisoned for fifteen years without knowing the reason. Upon his release, he sets out to find his captor and seek revenge. The easy grammar and clear tone in the movie makes it suitable for Korean learners. However, it’s R-rated.
Memories of Murder (2003)
- IMDb rating: 8.1/10
- Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery
Directed by Bong Joon-ho, this crime drama is based on the true story of a serial killer who terrorized a rural town in the 1980s. The film follows the police detectives’ investigation as they try to catch the elusive killer. This R-rated movie has an engaging plot despite many violent and bloody scenes
- IMDb rating: 7.5/10
- Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Directed by Lee Chang-dong, Burning is a slow-burning mystery drama about a young man who reconnects with a childhood friend and becomes embroiled in a strange love triangle with her and a mysterious man she meets in Africa.
A Taxi Driver (2017)
- IMDb rating: 8.0/10
- Genre: Drama, History, Action
Directed by Jang Hoon, A Taxi Driver is a historical drama based on the true story of a taxi driver who takes a German journalist to cover the Gwangju Uprising in 1980. The film depicts the brutal suppression of the uprising by the military regime.
My Sassy Girl (2001)
- IMDb rating: 8.0/10
- Genre: Romantic Comedy
Directed by Kwak Jae-yong, My Sassy Girl is a romantic comedy about a college student who falls in love with a quirky girl who turns his life upside down. It’s a true classic with charming characters and hilarious scenes.
The Handmaiden (2016)
- IMDb rating: 8.1/10
- Genre: Psychological Thriller, Drama
Directed by Park Chan-wook, The Handmaiden is a psychological thriller set in Japanese-occupied Korea. The movie follows a young woman who is hired as a handmaiden to a wealthy heiress but soon becomes embroiled in a plot to steal her fortune.
The Host (2006)
- IMDb rating: 7.1
- Genre: action, horror, drama
Directed by Bong Joon-ho, The Host is a monster movie about a family’s quest to rescue their daughter from a mutated creature that emerges from Seoul’s Han River. The film blends horror, comedy, and social commentary to great effect.
Miracle in Cell No. 7 (2013)
- IMDb rating: 8.2/10
- Genre: Drama, Comedy
Directed by Lee Hwan-kyung, Miracle in Cell No. 7 is a heartwarming drama about a mentally challenged man who is wrongfully convicted of murder and forms an unlikely bond with his fellow inmates. The film portrays the power of human connection and the importance of empathy and kindness.
How to Learn Korean by watching Korean movies
Then, how to maximize your Korean learning when watching movies?
To get started, do a bit of background research on the movie you want to watch. Look up keywords related to the plot, setting, and characters. This will help you familiarize yourself with the vocabulary and phrases that may come up in the film. So when watching the movie, you have a better chance of understanding without subtitles.
Remember to enjoy the movie without any language learning goals at first. Simply immerse yourself in the story and forget about subtitles or learning new vocab. It’s important to first understand and enjoy the movie as a whole.
If you like the movie, you can watch it a second time and watch with language learning goals. Pay attention to both English and Korean subtitles. Pause for a bit if needed. This will give you a chance to read along and compare the differences between the two languages. Try to read Korean subtitles if you can.
As you watch the movie, try reading aloud along or even dubbing over the dialogue to practice your pronunciation. Mimic the intonation and rhythm of the lines spoken by the actors. This will not only improve your speaking skills but also help you sound more natural when conversing with native speakers.
Where to watch Korean movies
Finally, if you don’t know where to start, there are several popular websites and platforms online with a good selection of Korean movies.
Netflix: This streaming giant has an extensive collection of Korean dramas and movies, making it one of the best places to start. It also produce lots of exclusive and original content, for example, Squid Game.
Viki Rakuten: A popular streaming platform with a focus on Asian content. You can find a lot of Korean dramas and movies here with subtitles in many languages. You can also use its learn mode designed specially for language learners.
Hulu: A streaming service that offers a variety of TV shows and movies, including some Korean dramas and movies.
Kocowa: If you’re looking for a more authentic Korean experience, then Kocowa is a great choice. It’s a subscription-based streaming service that offers access to high-quality Korean dramas and variety shows.
OnDemandKorea: This website offers a mix of free and paid content, with a focus on Korean dramas and variety shows.
There are also many free videos on YouTube, Vimeo, etc. If you are determined to improve your Korean, movies can help you a lot whatever method you use. Good luck improving your Korean language skills while enjoying these great films!