Watch 125 Korean Feature Films Free Online, Thanks to the Korean Film Archive

If you’ve kept up even casu­al­ly inter­na­tion­al view­ing habits over the past fif­teen years, you’ve watched a Kore­an movie or two. Maybe you’ve enjoyed the unusu­al tonal mix­ture of Bong Joon-ho’s polit­i­cal satire/monster extrav­a­gan­za The Host, the elab­o­rate grotesque­ness of Park Chan-wook’s revenge thriller Old­boy, or the slick Hol­ly­wood pas­tiche of Kang Je-gyu’s North-ver­sus-South heap of spy-ver­sus-spy action Shiri. But look just beyond those high-pro­file inter­na­tion­al Kore­an block­busters and you’ll find the most vibrant, adven­tur­ous cin­e­mat­ic cul­ture active today.

Upon dis­cov­er­ing it, I per­son­al­ly got excit­ed enough to move to a Kore­an neigh­bor­hood, study the Kore­an lan­guage, and dig deep for knowl­edge about the Kore­an film­mak­ers whose names even cinephiles rarely bring up out­side Asia. You’ll find it rather eas­i­er to immerse your­self, now that the Kore­an Film Archive has come to Youtube. (NOTE: To acti­vate Eng­lish sub­ti­tles, make sure to hit the “CC” but­ton on the low­er right of the play­er.)

The Archive has uploaded many a notable film, includ­ing Im Kwon-taek’s Sopy­on­je, which sur­prised the coun­try by both rekin­dling inter­est in the tra­di­tion­al music of pan­sori and by break­ing box-office records despite play­ing on only three screens. The Kore­an Film Archive offers three more films by Im, one of Kore­an cin­e­ma’s most respect­ed elder states­men, and nine oth­er films from the nineties. You can also watch selec­tions from the eight­ies, sev­en­ties, six­ties, fifties and for­ties, as well as sev­er­al from oth­er Kore­an auteurs like the trans­gres­sive Kim Ki-young and the pro­lif­ic Shin Sang-ok. It par­tic­u­lar­ly thrilled me to find The Day the Pig Fell Into a Well, the very first pic­ture from Hong Sang­soo, a direc­tor acclaimed by crit­ics world­wide as a comedic for­mal exper­i­menter, in essence Kore­a’s Woody Allen. If you don’t know quite what to feel thrilled by here, read Kore­an film spe­cial­ist Dar­cy Paque­t’s “Short His­to­ry of Kore­an Film,” then lis­ten to my inter­view with him about his book Kore­an Cin­e­ma: Break­ing the Waves. If you love film, you’ll cer­tain­ly find films to love from Korea.

Accord­ing to Google, which helped put the col­lec­tion on YouTube, there are some oth­er high­lights you won’t want to miss. They include A Home­town in Heart, made in the ear­ly years of Kore­an Inde­pen­dence, and also A Coach­man, the first Kore­an film to win awards inter­na­tion­al­ly. Many oth­er titles like Aim­less Bul­let and The Bare­foot­ed Young are avail­able in HD.

The films men­tioned above will be list­ed in our col­lec­tion, 4,000+ Free Movies Online: Great Clas­sics, Indies, Noir, West­erns, Doc­u­men­taries & More.

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture and writes essays on lit­er­a­ture, film, cities, Asia, and aes­thet­ics. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall.

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Comments (13)
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  • louis says:

    Kore­an films, and why i find them to be a lit­tle over dra­mat­ic ? from the ear of a pass­er by you would think this man, or woman was being killed ? But when you look clos­er their are just upset about what to wear. The act­ing is a bit over­board, But this is only my opin­ion, i’m no t.v. expert. just a guy with a Kore­an girl­friend who like’s to watch the Kore­an soap’s.

  • Teleri says:

    I’ve watched about 50 Kore­an films (about the same num­ber of Japan­ese ones, plus 100 or so Hong Kong films) LOL I can find all these films where I watch KDra­mas (or Kore­an TV shows — most are NOT soaps, you know) & oth­er Asian TV. Still this is a great thing. I love Asian films, & many of the Kore­an ones are fab­u­lous. Rather than over­ly dra­mat­ic, I find AMERICAN films to be UNDER dra­mat­ic — as in, oh my broth­er died, too bad so sad, let’s move on…

  • Ken says:

    The west­ern­ers are not so hys­ter­i­cal a race

  • martin fennell says:

    except when they win on game shows:)

  • pjamese3 says:

    It’s just a cul­tur­al dif­fer­ence.

  • chin kim says:

    i only see 2

  • Tres Oro says:

    Love all Asían Movies,Doramas.It is great when they are not influ­enced by Occident.Some ir them start to look like Hol­ly­wood and it kills the fresh­ness of their authenticity.Wisdom is what’s over­flows when they are not con­t­a­m­i­nantes with oth­er cul­tures.

  • Barrie Carter says:

    I would love to watch Kore­an movies by way of your web­site.

  • husnain gujjar says:

    very good movies web­site infor­ma­tive

  • Ajesh Khadatkar says:


  • Sam Konor says:

    I love Asian cin­e­ma. Watched over 200 movies and over 700 dra­mas in about 10 years, most of which are Kore­an.

  • AJAYBALA N says:

    i will film mak­er so,i learn top kore­an movie send me please

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