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Best Korean drama movies for the whole family





The last few years have seen a drastic growth in the Korean entertainment industry. The global audience for both K-movies and television shows continues to grow each year. Today, their viewers are not only based in Asia but also in Europe, America, Africa, and the other continents. The best Korean drama movies of all time have engaging and exciting storylines that you will enjoy.

best korean drama

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Why Korean movies are so good? Korean dramas have caught the attention of people for various reasons. The first is their cultural appeal as they educate the world about the K-culture. Most of them are also squeaky clean, meaning that a large percentage are G-rated and rarely contain any foul language or content. Besides, they show cool clothes, mouth-watering foods, and fantastic music. The best Korean drama movies of all time are proof of this.

Best Korean drama movies of all time

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Hallyu, translates to K-wave, meaning that K-movies and shows are becoming more widely accepted by other cultures. You cannot watch a top Korean drama without learning a phrase of two in the K-language.

In addition to the vocabulary stretch, they add in a fresh factor because the storylines are often not predictable. Currently, accessing the best Korean movies is easy because they are streamed in different sites, including Netflix.

What is the highest rated Kdrama? In this list, Sky Castle (2018-2019) had the highest peak ratings. At first, the show had a viewership of only 1.7%, but this increased to 23.8% over time. It was about a group of affluent families that were very competitive and desperate for their children to become medical doctors.

Which Korean movie is the best? Check out the 15 best Korean movies of all time that are dramatic;

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15. Thirst

top korean dramas

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  • Original title: Bakjwi
  • Release: 2009
  • Runtime: 134 minutes/ 148 minutes (director's cut)
  • Director: Chan-wook Park
  • Writers: Émile Zola and Chan-wook Park
  • Rating: R

Thirst is one of the best Korean movies because of its mind-boggling plot. It is about a priest who becomes a vampire, so he has to give up his ascetic lifestyle.

Sang-hyun is a priest who works at a hospital. He volunteers to participate in the development of a secret vaccine that is intended to mitigate a deadly virus that has struck the region.

Unfortunately for him, the virus attacks him so severely that he nearly dies. He then gets miraculously healed following an accidental transfusion with vampire blood.

Unlike before, his new enjoyment post-tranfusion is flesh. Some of the cast members in Thirst are Kang-ho Song, Hee-jin Choi, Dong-soo Seo, Hwa-ryong Lee, and In-hwan Park.

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14. The King and the Clown

best korean romantic drama

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  • Original title: Wang-ui namja
  • Release: 2005
  • Runtime: 119 minutes
  • Director: Joon-ik Lee
  • Writers: Seok-Hwan Choi and Tae-woong Kim
  • Rating: PG-13

The King and the Clown is arguably the funniest Korean drama of all time. Two clowns satirize the king and find themselves in trouble. They can only save their lives by making the king happy.

The setting is 14th-century Korea in the Chosun Dynasty. Clowns Jang-sang and Gong-gil earn a living by telling stories in a tightrope act.

Gong-gil has an androgynous look that the rich often admire sexually, and this sometimes demoralizes the duo.

A person in authority passes away, and they flee to Seoul. In their new location, they join other minstrels and present a riskier show that satirizes the king.

They are all arrested, and an execution date is set.However, they have the chance to escape death if they make the king laugh. Can they?

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Some of the cast members are Woo-seong Kam, Jin-young Jung, Seong-Yeon Kang, and Joon-Gi Lee.

13. Secret Sunshine

best korean romantic drama

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  • Original title: Milyang
  • Release: 2007
  • Runtime: 142 minutes
  • Director: Chang-dong Lee
  • Writer: Chang-dong Lee

In Secret Sunshine, which is one of the best Korean dramas, Shin-ae faces tragedy on top of tragedy. How does she cope?

Her beloved husband dies in a car crash, so she decides to relocate to his birth town of Miryang. She tries her best to fit in the new environment, but she is unable to.

Kim Jong-chan, a bachelor with good intentions, tries to assist her in coping with her situation. He runs a car repair shop.

Unfortunately for Shin-ae, she also loses her son in an unimaginable way, leaving her heart in shatters. She seeks solace in God, but when the pain and bitterness do not go away as expected, she decides to fight God.

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Do-yeon Jeon, Kang-ho Song, Hye-jin Jang, Seo-hie Ko, Yeong-jin Jo, Sung-min Lee, and Myung-shin Park are some of the actors and actresses in this movie.

12. Marathon

best korean movies of all time

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  • Original title: Maraton
  • Release: 2005
  • Runtime: 117 minutes
  • Director: Yoon-Chul Jung
  • Writer: Yoon-Chul Jung

Marathon is one of the top Korean dramas because it is very inspirational. It features an autistic boy, who is not very well-understood in his community.

He finds solace in running and soon discovers that it is his God-given talent. His mother decides to support him and to never give up on him.

The loving mother and son do not have a quiet life. They have a multitude of financial and family challenges.

Nonetheless, they find a retired marathon champion who agrees to coach the boy to participate in an upcoming marathon.

The cast members in this movie include Seung-woo Cho, Mi-suk Kim, Gi-yeong Lee, Sung-Hyun Baek, Nae-sang Ahn, Sun-Jae Kim, Sung-min Lee, and others.

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11. Peppermint Candy

best korean movies of all time

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  • Original title: Bakha satang
  • Release: 1999
  • Runtime: 129 minutes
  • Director: Chang-dong Lee
  • Writer: Chang-dong Lee

Peppermint Candy features in the best Korean drama list because it addresses suicide, which is one of the pressing challenges in today's world. It explores the reasons why a man committed suicide.

Yong Ho is a problematic person who is walking alone at the riverside. He suddenly bumps into a reunion held by his friends. He joins them before leaving for the railway to kill himself.

The train reverses back to show a retrospective analysis of his life and why he decided to take his life. Five areas of his life are analyzed.

Some of the actors and actresses in this movie are Kyung-gu Sol, So-Ri Moon, Yeo-jin Kim, Se-beom Park, Jung Suh, Seo-hie Ko, Ji-Yeon Park, Dae-yeon Lee, Kyeong-ik Kim, and Woo-hyeok Jeong.

10. Silenced

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best k drama

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  • Original title: Do-ga-ni
  • Release: 2011
  • Runtime: 125 minutes
  • Director: Dong-hyuk Hwang
  • Writer: Ji-young Gong

This movie, which features in the best K drama list, is based on real-life events. It is about a school for the deaf, where the young students are sexually assaulted by the members of staff.

Gang In-ho is deployed to a school for the deaf in Gwangju. He is in a financial crisis because he needs money for his daughter's surgery.

When he reports at work, he discovers the unsettling truth. The children undergo sexual and physical abuse from their teachers.

He decides to fight for the rights of the children and to expose the rot in the school system. To do this, he teams up with Seo Yu-jin, a human rights activist.

Soon, the two discover that the school's principal, teachers, community, church, and the police are trying to conceal the truth.

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Some of the cast members in this film are Yoo Gong, Yu-mi Jung, Hyeon-soo Kim, Jee-Young Kim, In-seo Jeong, Seung-hwan Baek, Gwang Jang, and Hye-jin Park.

9. Castaway on the Moon

best k drama

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  • Original title: Kimssi pyoryugi
  • Release: 2009
  • Runtime: 116 minutes
  • Director: Hae-jun Lee
  • Writer: Hae-jun Lee
  • Rating: PG-13

Castaway on the Moon is one of the top Korean movies that slightly touches on the theme of suicide. A man ends up living a very sad and lonely life after he survives a suicide attempt.

He tries to kill himself by jumping off a bridge. Instead of dying, the waters wash him up on a deserted island. From his new location, he can see the high rises in the city.

He tries to escape from the island but soon realizes that it is impossible. He accepts his fate and deals with the day to day challenges of living on an island.

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A lonely young lady in the city decides to take close-up pictures of the moon. She has not been out of her apartment for a very long time.

She spies on the man on the island, and instead of seeking help, she thinks that he is an alien-like she is.

The cast members include Jae-yeong Jeong, Ryeowon Jung, Yeong-seo Park, and Mi-kyeong Yang.

8. Miracle in Cell No. 7

best k drama

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  • Original title: 7-beon-bang-ui seon-mul
  • Release: 2013
  • Runtime: 127 minutes
  • Director: Hwan-kyung Lee
  • Writers: Hwan-kyung Lee and Yeong-ah Yoo

This is arguably the best Korean drama of all time because it portrays the deep love that a father has for his child. A mentally-ill father loves his adorable daughter to the moon and back.

Unfortunately, he is falsely accused of rape and murder and sent to jail. In prison, he interacts and learns from hardened criminals. They become his close friends.

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They assist him in seeing his daughter again by smuggling her into the prison cell.

The cast members in this film include Seung-ryong Ryu, So Won Kal, Dal-su Oh, Man-sik Jeong, Won-Sang Park, Jeong-tae Kim and Shin-Hye Park.

7. Burning

best korean drama of all time

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  • Original title: Beoning
  • Release: 2018
  • Runtime: 148 minutes
  • Director: Chang-dong Lee
  • Writers: Jungmi Oh and Chang-dong Lee

Burning is in the top Korean drama list because, in the beginning, it almost looks like a romantic Korean drama, but things change along the way. One day Jong-su meets a girl who used to live in his neighborhood.

The girl asks him to take care of her cat while she is on a trip to Africa. He agrees, and she leaves for the continent.

She comes back with a man whose name is Ben and reports that she met him in Africa. Ben ends up confessing his secret hobby.

Ah-In Yoo, Steven Yeun, Jong-seo Jun, Soo-Kyung Kim, Seung-ho Choi, Seong-kun Mun, Bok-gi Min, Soo-Jeong Lee, and Bong-ryeon Lee are some of the actresses and actors who star in this film.

6. Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance

top korean movies

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  • Original title: Boksuneun naui geot
  • Release: 2002
  • Runtime: 129 minutes
  • Director: Chan-wook Park
  • Comic writer: Myeong-chan Park
  • Screenplay writer: Mu-yeong Lee
  • Rating: R

The plot of this film is set in Seoul, where there is a deaf worker whose sister needs a kidney transplant. The man, who was recently laid off, kidnaps the daughter of his former boss' close friend.

In doing so, he hopes to get money to pay for his sister's medical needs. Before taking this bold step, he tries to donate his kidney to her, but his blood group is not compatible with that of his sister.

After getting fired, he meets people who deal with organs illegally, and they propose that he should offer them one of his kidneys and 10 million won in exchange for his sister's surgery. He agrees to the deal.

He kidnaps a young woman named Yossun to get the 10 million won. Unfortunately for him, it does not go as planned.

Kang-ho Song, Ha-kyun Shin, Doona Bae, Ji-Eun Lim, Bo-bae Han, Dae-yeon Lee, and Seung-bum Ryoo are some of the cast members.

5. Poetry

korean dramas

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  • Original title: Shi
  • Release: 2010
  • Runtime: 2 hours 19 minutes
  • Director: Chang-dong Lee
  • Writer: Chang-dong Lee
  • Rating: TV-PG

Although Poetry is not a Korean romantic drama, its plot is something that many people can relate to in modern times. The story is of a woman in her sixties who is in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease.

The poor lady carries the heavyweight of knowing a horrid crime that happened in her family. The stress that comes with having this information weighs her down.

To cope with her situation, she enrolls in a poetry class, which gives her purpose and strength.

Jeong-hie Yun, Da-wit Lee, Myung-shin Park, Nae-sang Ahn, Hye-jin Jang, and Jong-goo Kim are some of the cast members in this movie.

4. Mother

top korean drama

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  • Original title: Madeo
  • Release: 2009
  • Runtime: 129 minutes
  • Director: Bong Joon Ho
  • Writers: Bong Joon Ho and Eun-kyo Park

Do-joon lives quietly with his mother, who sells herbs and provides acupuncture services to the neighbors. One random day, a woman is brutally murdered.

Do-joon is charged with her murder. His mother has two choices; to either let him rot in jail or to prove that her son is innocent.

She is on a desperate hunt to identify whoever incriminated her son.

Hye-ja Kim portrays the role of the mother while Won Bin acts as Yoon Do-joon. Some of the other cast members are Goo Jin, Je-mun Yun, Mi-seon Jeon, Sae-byeok Song and Byoung-Soon Kim.

3. The Handmaiden

top korean drama

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  • Original title: Ah-ga-ssi
  • Release: 2016
  • Runtime: 145 minutes
  • Director: Chan-wook Park
  • Writers: Sarah Waters and Seo-kyeong Jeong

The Handmaiden is one of the best Korean romantic drama stories but with a twist. One moment there is a lot of love, but the next is dramatic chaos.

The story is set in 1930 in the era of the Japanese occupation of Korea. Sookee, a new girl, is hired as handmaiden at a countryside estate owned by an heiress names Hideko. She has a domineering uncle on the same estate.

She has a secret that is tucked deep inside her. She is a pickpocket hired by a swindler pretending to be a Japanese Count.

Her role is to help him to seduce the last of the estate. After he wins her heart, he intends to elope with her and then rob her off everything she owns before locking her up in a madhouse.

The plan goes on well until Sookee and the heiress unearth some unexpected emotions.

Some of the stars in this movie are Min-hee Kim, Tae-ri Kim, Jung-woo Ha, Jin-woong Cho, Hae-sook Kim, and So-Ri Moon.

2. Parasite

best korean drama of all time

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  • Original title: Gisaengchung
  • Release: 2019
  • Runtime: 2 hours 12 minutes
  • Director: Bong Joon Ho
  • Writer: Bong Joon Ho
  • Rating: R

The Kims are a family consisting of a father, mother, an adult son, and a daughter. They are a low-income family that resides in the lower-class region of Seoul. Their financial situation is wanting.

As Mr. and Mrs. Kim try to struggle out of poverty, they engage in minor scams. Their son hopes to save himself from poverty by going to the university.

Although the son is not educated up to the university level, he gets a chance to work as Park Da-hye's tutor.

As the story unravels, the Kims meet the Parks, and they con their way into being employed as the servants in the Parks family. The plot thickens when the Kims truth almost gets exposed.

Kang-ho Song, Sun-kyun Lee, Yeo-jeong Jo, Woo-sik Choi, and So-dam Park are some of the stars in this movie.

1. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring

top korean drama

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  • Original title: Bom yeoreum gaeul gyeoul geurigo bom
  • Release: 2003
  • Runtime: 103 minutes
  • Director: Ki-duk Kim
  • Writer: Ki-duk Kim
  • Rating: R

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring is arguably the best romantic Korean drama with a special twist. Deep in the Korean wilderness, a young boy is raised by a Buddhist master.

He is brought up to be a wise and compassionate human. However, the young man soon discovers his sexual lust and decides to follow his first love.

Although he is seeking for a romantic life, he is unable to cope with the modern world. He is soon sent to jail for committing a crime of passion.

Which are the best Korean drama movies to binge on a long weekend? The above list gives you the must-watch films for you and your loved ones. Feel free to share your feelings about each of them with us.

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka
Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

Chuka is an experienced certified web developer with an extensive background in computer science and 18+ years in web design &development. His previous experience ranges from redesigning existing website to solving complex technical problems with object-oriented programming. Very experienced with Microsoft SQL Server, PHP and advanced JavaScript. He loves to travel and watch movies.

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