1. The Swindlers (2017), 2. The Last Princess (2016), 3. Assassination (2015), 4. The Attorney (2013), 5. The Thieves (2012), 6. A Taxi Driver (2017), 7. The Wailing (2016), 8. Mother (2009), 9. I Saw The Devil (2010), 10. Train to Busan (2016). With the introduction of streaming services such as Amazon Prime, it has become simpler for consumers to extend their horizons and see international movies. While Hollywood continues to grow and enhance its reach, another country has had an exponential increase in viewership in the previous several years. Korean films have piqued audiences' interest because they provide new content, a different culture to study, and new storylines to watch. Here's a roundup of the best Korean movies available on Amazon Prime right now. All of them are excellent and well worth your time.
- The Swindlers (2017)
- The Last Princess (2016)
- Assassination (2015)
- The Attorney (2013)
- The Thieves (2012)
- A Taxi Driver (2017)
- The Wailing (2016)
- Mother (2009)
- I Saw The Devil (2010)
- Train to Busan (2016)
The Swindlers (2017)
The Swindlers is a 2017 South Korean crime action film directed by Jang Chang-won. Hyun Bin, Yoo Ji-Tae, Bae Seong-woo, Park Sung-Woong, Nana, and Ahn Se-ha.
A con artist reported dead after committing a grand fraud case is rumored to be alive. Park prosecutor, who collaborated with the con man, needs to eliminate him to avoid a corruption scandal. When tracking down the con man, Park meets another fraudster named Ji-sung, after the same man for personal revenge. They realize their mutual goals, but they decide to team up with hidden motives.
It is a movie that is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat throughout its runtime. ‘The Swindlers’ showcases how a common enemy can unite even the oldest of foes under a single banner. Men on either side of the law were gravely wronged by an infamous con man everyone believed to be dead. However, when the same person is spotted living everyday life, thieves, crooks, swindlers, the police, and even hardcore criminals come together to bury the hatchet and hunt down the common enemy.
Link film: https://www.amazon.com/Swindlers-Hyun-Bin/dp/B079XW2DZL
Release date: November 22, 2017
Starring: Hyun Bin, Yoo Ji-Tae, Bae Seong-woo
The Last Princess (2016)
The Last Princess is a 2016 South Korean period drama film directed by Hur Jin-ho with a screenplay by Hur, Lee Han-Eol, and Seo Yoo-min, based on the best-selling novel by Kwon Bi-young. It stars Son Ye-jin as Princess Deokhye, the last princess of the Joseon Dynasty. The film depicts Princess Deokhye’s life in Japan after being forced to move there at age 13 by the Imperial Japanese government and her attempts to return to Korea.
In 1925, Japan ruled Korea, and 13-year-old Princess Deokhye – the last princess of the Joseon Dynasty – was forced to move to Japan to attend school there. She misses her home, and after she finishes school, she makes several attempts to return but is prevented by pro-Japanese general Han Taek-soo. One day, she is reunited with her childhood friend, Kim Jang-Han, an officer in the Japanese army who is also part of the Korean independence movement. Kim plans a secret operation to move Deokhye and her brother Yi Un to Shanghai, the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea. This attempt fails after Han Taek-soo discovers the plan, and Deokhye and Kim are separated, losing contact with each other. She is forced to marry Count Sō Takeyuki in 1931 and develops schizophrenia after giving birth to their daughter the following year. After separating, Kim becomes a newspaper reporter and eventually finds Deokhye in a Japanese mental hospital. He then persuades the South Korean government to allow her in the country, and in 1962, Deokhye is finally able to return to her homeland.
Link film: https://www.amazon.com/Last-Princess-Son-Ye-Jin/dp/B0719FPGVJ
Release date: August 3, 2016
Starring: Son Ye-jin, Park Hae-il
The Last Princess
Assassination is a 2015 South Korean espionage action film co-written and directed by Choi Dong-hoon. The film is currently the eighth-highest-grossing movie in Korean film history, with over 12.7 million admissions.
‘Assassination’ is set in a universe where Japan has complete control over the country of South Korea. Although insurgent groups still struggle against the oppressive regime, the genocidal Japanese military leader rules the region under an iron thumb. In such a setting, three different assassins get the task of killing the military leader and his associates. Although it all initially goes according to plan, all hell soon breaks loose, and the movie spins a complex narrative of betrayal, double-crossing, and counter-assassination while making one of the killers confront a shocking past.
Release date: July 22, 2015
Starring: Jun Ji-hyun, Lee Jung-jae, Ha Jung-woo
The Attorney (2013)
The Attorney is a 2013 South Korean courtroom drama film directed and co-written by Yang Woo-suk in his directorial debut. With 11,375,954 tickets sold and revenue of ₩82.9 billion, The Attorney became the 15th-best-selling Korean film of all time and the second-highest-grossing Korean film of 2013.
It was inspired by the real-life “Burim case” of 1981 when, during the authoritarian Chun Doo-hwan regime, 22 students, teachers, and office workers who belonged to a book club were arrested without warrants on fabricated charges North Korea sympathizers. Roh Moo-hyun, then a tax lawyer from Busan, formed a legal team with his allies, including Moon Jae-in and Kim Kwang-il, to defend the arrested individuals against the government. After the case, Roh became an influential human rights lawyer throughout the 1980s; he later entered politics and became the 16th president of South Korea. Later, Moon Jae-in also became the 19th president of South Korea.
The Attorney bearing an incredible message, ‘The Attorney’ is set in the 1980s and revolves around successful tax attorney Song Woo-Seok, who has a strong opinion on civil liberties. With South Korea being wracked by student protests at that time, student leader Park Jin-woo seems to bring a massive transformation in Woo-Seok’s views. However, the government picks up the leader and subjects him to brutal torture, which forces Woo-Seok to take the stand and defend the activist against his old ideals.
Link film: https://www.amazon.com/Attorney-Kang-ho-Song/dp/B0956Q9DYQ
Release date: December 18, 2013
Starring: Song Kang-ho, Kim Young-ae, Oh Dal-Su
The Thieves (2012)
The Thieves is a 2012 South Korean heist action comedy film directed by Choi Dong-hoon with an ensemble cast. With over 12.9 million ticket sales, the action comedy is the sixth highest-grossing film in Korean history.
A hilariously funny yet thrilling heist movie, ‘The Thieves’ follows a group of South Korean thieves as they approach a more prominent Hong-Kong gang asking for help in stealing a diamond necklace from a casino in Macau. Revolving around Popie, the muscle, Yenicall, the climber, Pepsee, the safecracker, Chewing Gum, the disguise expert, and Zampano, the strategist, the movie documents their efforts in stealing the $10 million jewelry. However, things come to a head as the police begin closing down on the perpetrators while the group is wracked from within by old rivalries, betrayals, and misconceptions.
Link film: https://www.amazon.com/Thieves-English-Subtitled-Gianna-Jun/dp/B00BGANSS4
Release date: July 25, 2012
Starring: Kim Yoon-Seok, Lee Jung-Jae, Kim Hye-soo, Jun Ji-Hyun, Kim Soo-Hyun
A Taxi Driver (2017)
A Taxi Driver is a 2017 South Korean historical action drama film directed by Jang Hoon and written by Eom Yu-na, with Song Kang-ho starring in the title role, alongside Thomas Kretschmann.
Based on a real-life story, the film centers on a taxi driver from Seoul who unintentionally became involved in the events of the Gwangju Uprising in 1980. It is based on German journalist Jürgen Hinzpeter’s interactions with driver Kim Sa-bok. However, as Kim’s identity and real name were unknown when they made A Taxi Driver, most elements regarding his life and the events that happened to him outside of Gwangju are fictional.
A Taxi Driver was released in South Korea on August 2, 2017. Critics lauded its unusual method to present the Gwangju Uprising events, emotional weight, the main character, and his bond with Hinzpeter. It was chosen as South Korea’s nominee for Best Foreign Language Film at the 90th Academy Awards. The film was a commercial success, being the second highest-grossing picture in South Korea in 2017 and the eleventh highest-grossing South Korean film in history.
Link film: https://www.amazon.com/Taxi-Driver-Kang-ho-Song/dp/B076DF3JT9
Release date: August 2, 2017
Starring: Song Kang-ho, Thomas Kretschmann
A Taxi Driver
The Wailing (2016)
The Wailing is a 2016 South Korean horror film directed by Na Hong-jin and starring Kwak Do-won, Hwang Jung-min, Chun Woo-hee.
Revolving around the mountain village of Goksung, the narrative portrays how a sudden outbreak of horrifying murders and an unexplainable viral disease completely wrecks the once peaceful region. With the state of affairs seeming more like a demonic curse, even the police sergeant’s daughter, Hyo-jin, falls ill with the deadly disease.
However, the village people soon realize that the destruction started after a mysterious, reclusive stranger arrived to live high in the mountains. Even with the community hell-bent on having their way with the stranger, police sergeant Jong-goo shoulders the responsibility of clearing out the fog and revealing the truth in a thrilling narrative that grips the audience until the last scene.
Link film: https://www.amazon.com/Wailing-Jeong-min-Hwang/dp/B01LQQ9AZW
Release date: May 27, 2016
Starring: Kwak Do-won, Hwang Jung-min, Chun Woo-hee
Mother is a 2009 South Korean thriller film directed by Bong Joon-ho, starring Kim Hye-Ja and Won Bin. The plot follows a mother who, after her intellectually disabled son, is accused of murdering a young girl and attempts to find the true killer to get her son freed.
Mother premiered on 16 May 2009 at the Cannes Film Festival in the Un Certain Regard section and was released in South Korea on 28 May 2009. It received critical acclaim from critics, who praised Kim’s performance, the direction and screenplay, and the film’s uniqueness.
Link film: https://www.amazon.com/Mother-Bong-Joon-Ho/dp/B003WKT27C
Release date: 28 May 2009
Starring: Kim Hye-Ja, Won Bin
I Saw The Devil (2010)
I Saw the Devil is a 2010 South Korean action thriller film directed by Kim Jee-Woon and written by Park Hoon-Jung. Starring Lee Byung-hun and Choi Min-Sik, the film follows NIS agent Kim Soo-Hyun, who embarks on a quest for revenge when his fiancée is brutally murdered by a psychopathic serial killer Jang Kyung-Chul. I Saw the Devil made its premiere in the United States at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and had a limited U.S theatrical release.
‘I Saw The Devil’ opens with a chilling scene as Joo-Yeon, the daughter of a retired police chief, has a flat tire while driving on the snow. Although she calls her fiance, secret-agent Soo-Hyun, for assistance, a mysterious man offers a helping hand before abducting and horrifyingly mutilating her body. Soo-Hyun takes up the matter as a personal vendetta and then begins an extremely dangerous cat and mouse game, using all his special agent skills to capture and torture the ruthless killer. However, the killer, Kyung-Chul, refuses to give up, which sets the stage for a devastating climax blurring the line between good and evil.
Link film: https://www.amazon.com/I-Saw-Devil-English-Subtitled/dp/B00503BENE
Release date: 12 August 2010
Starring: Lee Byung-hun, Choi Min-sik
I Saw The Devil
Train to Busan (2016)
Train to Busan is a 2016 South Korean action horror film directed by Yeon Sang-ho and starring Gong Yoo, Jung Yu-mi, Ma Dong-Seok, Kim Su-an, Choi Woo-Shik, Ahn So-hee, and Kim Eui-sung. The film mainly takes place on a high-speed train from Seoul to Busan as a zombie apocalypse suddenly breaks out in the country and threatens the safety of the passengers.
‘Train to Busan,’ set in South Korea during a terrible zombie epidemic, follows hedge fund manager Seok-woo and his daughter Soo-an as they journey from Seoul to the seaside city of Busan. Meanwhile, a chemical accident in another municipality area sparks a terrifying zombie epidemic, sending residents scrambling to find a way out of the carnage. When an infected individual gets on the train, Seok-woo and Soo-an are on. Every passenger is forced to battle for survival against the virus spreading like wildfire.
Train to Busan premiered in the Midnight Screenings section of the 2016 Cannes Film Festival on May 13. On August 7, the movie set a record as the first Korean film of 2016 to break the audience record of over 10 million theatergoers. The film serves as a reunion for Gong Yoo and Jung Yu-mi, who both starred in the 2011 film The Crucible. A standalone sequel, Peninsula, was released in South Korea on July 15, 2020.
Link film: https://www.amazon.com/Train-Busan-Gong-Yoo/dp/B0861KTPPS
Release date: July 20, 2016
Starring: Gong Yoo, Ma Dong-Seok, Jung Yu-mi, Kim Su-an
Train to Busan