Top 10 Korean War Movies

Hello everyone and welcome back to another Top Korean Movies post by EonTalk! Today, I have prepared a content on the Top Korean War Movies. 

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Before getting into today’s list, I’d just like to remind you that this list is based completely on my personal preferences, and will consist of both newer and older films. I’ve mixed the two to keep a good balance, and will be going back and forth between a newer film and a more older one. That being said, let’s get right into today’s post on Top 10 Korean War Films!


Starting off the list, the #10 film is the newest movie to release on this list <Battle of Jangsari>.

This film had two directors of Kwak Kyung-Taek and Kim Tae-Hoon. Kwak Kyung-Taek directed the likes of <Typhoon>, <Friend>, <The Classified File>, and the upcoming film <Firemen>, and Kim Tae-Hoon doesn’t have other feature film directorial works, as far as I know, but worked on visual effects for various movies. <Battle of Jangsari> had the cast lineup of Kim Myung-Min, Minho of Shinee, Kim Sung-Chul, Kim In-Kwon, Kwak Si-Yang, Megan Fox, Jang Ji-Gun, Lee Go-Hung, and Lee Jae-Wook. Yes, that’s right, Megan Fox, the Hollywood actress. The film revolves around student soldiers that gave up their lives for the country of South Korea.

The synopsis is as follows:
Captain Lee Myung-Jun is tasked with a diversionary mission on the Jangsari Beach during the Korean War. His army is composed of 772 student soldiers who have no combat experience, and are an average age of 17. The main goal of the mission is to deceive the North Korean forces so that it’ll open the path for the Incheon Landing Operation. With just two weeks of training prior to the mission, the student soldiers embark onto the battle that rains with bullets.


The #9 movie goes to the 2011-released film, <The Front Line>.

Directed by Jang Hoon, who also directed <Rough Cut>, <Secret Reunion>, and <A Taxi Driver>, <The Front Line> had a strong list of great main and supporting actors. This war film starred the likes of Shin Ha-Kyun, Go Soo, Lee Je-Hoon, Ryu Seung-Soo, Go Chang-Suk, David Lee이, Ryu Seung-Ryong, and Kim Ok-Bin.

The synopsis is as follows:
In February of 1953, as the cease-fire talks between the South and North Koreas continue, a bullet of an ally is found in the body of a commander killed in action. The upper ranks suspect that this is related to internal affairs with the enemy, and lieutenant Kang Eun-Pyo is tasked with the mission to go to the eastern front to investigate this incident. Thus, Eun-Pyo heads for the Aerok Hills, and there he meets his friend, Kim Soo-Hyuk, who he thought was dead. Soo-Hyuk, who was merely a private just two years ago, is now the leading lieutenant of the ‘Alligator’ company. However, several suspicious red flags are raised with the Alligator company. With more than a single confusing factors, Eun-Pyo faces the inevitable reality of the final battleground of Aerok Hills.


Next, the #8 film is a relatively newer film, being released in 2018, <The Great Battle>.

The Great Battle was directed by Kim Kwang-Shik, the director of other films such as <My Dear Desperado> and <Tabloid Truth>, and this is not only a war film, but also a historical drama. The timeline of the narrative is the oldest amongst the movies on this list, taking place during the Tang Dynasty, and I have a written review of the movie, so be sure to check it out for more details.

The synopsis is as follows:
With the aim of conquering and expanding his kingdom, Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty gathers thousands of soldiers to invade the Goguryeo frontier city of “Ansisung.” With over 200,000 warriors under Taizong’s control, the army of Ansisung must fight off the raiders with just 5,000 fighters. Although the Lord of Ansisung, Yang Man Chun, had to fight an army that’s 40 times larger than his, he bravely determines that it’s worth the fight.


Moving along, the #7 movie is the oldest film on this list, being released back in 2000, <Joint Security Area>.

<Joint Security Area> is a classic when it comes to Korean movies. The film was directed by one of the most well-known directors of Korean cinema, Park Chan-Wook, who has so many great movies under his name, such as <Old Boy>, <Lady Vengeance>, and <The Handmaiden>. Not only did this film have an incredible director, but it had an equally amazing cast lineup. <Joint Security Area> starred the likes of Lee Young-Ae, Lee Byung-Hun, Song Kang-Ho, Kim Tae-Woo, and Shin Ha-Kyun, and I must admit, because the movie is an older one, the style is a little outdated and the film is on the slower slide, and the movie isn’t necessarily going over “war,” but it takes place in a military background and is definitely a great, must-watch movie.

The synopsis is as follows:
Two North Korean soldiers are killed on the border area between North and South Korea, and this prompts an investigation by a neutral body. Sergeant Lee Soo-Hyuk is the shooter, but lead investigator Major Sophie Jean, a Swiss-Korean woman, receives differing accounts from the two sides. Sergeant Lee claims he fired in self-defense, while a North Korean survivor says it was a premeditated attack. With the two sides giving two different stories, Jean finds herself in the middle, trying to figure out the truth. Why did Sergeant Lee shoot the North Korean soldiers? What are they hiding?


The #6 movie is the 2015 film, <Northern Limit Line>.

Directed by Kim Hak-Soon, <Northern Limit Line> starred the actors Kim Mu-Yeol, Jin Goo, Lee Hyun-Woo, Kim Ji-Hoon, Jang Jan-Hak, and Ju Hee-Joong, and is a really eye-opening film to the maritimes events that took place in 2002. The movie was based on the most recent event that took place on this list.

The synopsis is as follows:
June 2002. A time when the excitement of the FIFA World Cup was at its peak. Lieutenant Yoon Young-Ha, the proud son of his Navy veteran father; Staff Sergeant Han Sang-Gook, the strong husband of a loving wife; Corporal Park Dong-Hyuk, the only child of a mother; The members of Chamsuri 357 were a family, relying on each other amidst tough trainings. With the festive atmosphere of the World Cup heating up during the hot summer, a loud roar is suddenly heard in the middle of the West Sea, and everything changes.


Next, the #5 movie is the 2010 film, <71: Into the Fire>.

<71: Into the Fire> was directed by Lee Jae-Han, who’s responsible for directing other amazing movies such as <A Moment to Remember> and <Operation Chromite>, and has an incredible cast of Cha Seung-Won, Kwon Sang-Woo, Choi Seung-Hyun aka TOP from Big Bang, Kim Seung-Woo, and Kim Hye-Sung. I remember seeing this film when it first came out, and was blown away by its ability to engage the audience. Furthermore, <71: Into the Fire> was the movie that I really acknowledged TOP as an actor after watching. 

The synopsis is as follows:
On June 25th, 1950, at 4 a.m. the Korean War that nobody expected, begins. Armed with overwhelming firepower, the North Korean troops march southward, and the South Korean military’s defeats continue. As the entire world is gripped by fears of World War III breaking out, the United Nations decides to send a large number of allied forces to South Korea. The South, with no place to back down, puts all its energy on defense on the Nakdong River as they wait for the arrival of the allied forces. Kang Suk-Dae’s unit, which was defending Pohang, is also ordered to gather at the Nakdong River. However Pohang, which has become the front line, cannot be left empty. Thus, Kang Suk-Dae강 is left without a choice but to leave 71 student soldiers who have no proper training there. The 71 student soldiers, who have no idea what’s ahead of them, have no choice but to wait for the battalion’s return.


Moving onto the #4 spot, the #4 movie goes to the 2016 film, <Operation Chromite>.

This movie was directed by the previously mentioned director Lee Jae-Han, who directed the #5 film <71: Into the Fire>, and the film has an amazing line up of Lee Jung-Jae, Lee Bum-Soo, Liam Neeson, Jin Se-Yeon, Jung Jun-Ho, Park Chul-Min, and Kim Byung-Ok. This is the second film with a Hollywood star in it. I don’t think I would’ve ever mentioned Liam Neeson being in a Korean movie, but <Operation Chromite> had the man that cannot be touched.

The synopsis is as follows:
On June 25th, 1950, North Korea suddenly attacks and South Korea loses all parts of the Korean Peninsula minus the Nakdong River in just 4 days. Despite everyone’s opposition, American General Douglas MacArthur plans the Battle of Incheon, a battle that had near impossible probability of success. The only thing that could make this operation possible is to secure the path to Incheon. Captain Jang Hak-Soo is deployed on the “X-Ray” mission under MacArthur’s instruction, and infiltrates disguised as a North Korean soldier. However, Jang Hak-Soo and his troop face being discovered by Lim Kye-Jin, and have just one shot at inducing the Incheon Landing Operation.


Coming in at #3 of my list of favorite Korean war movies is one of the oldest films on this list, <R-Point>.

<R-Point> was directed by Gong Soo-Chang, who also directed <GP506> and <Coma>, and I featured this movie on my video on Best Korean Horror Movies as well. The film had the likes of Kam Woo-Sung, Son Byung-Ho, Park Won-Sang, Oh Tae-Kyung, and Lee Sun-Kyun, amongst others, and <R-Point> isn’t the typical horror or war movie, as it has a very mysterious vibe to it. The film really makes you think, and it’s ability to make you think is what makes it so much more intriguing.

The synopsis is as follows:
In 1972, as the end of the Vietnam War nears, Lt. Choi Tae-in suffers from nightmares as he’s the lone survivor of the Battle of Honbau. His request to return is withdrawn, and the CID commander gives him a secret mission. On the night of February 2, 1972, the radio of the communications unit of the division’s headquarters receives mysterious messages. The calls were from the 18 soldiers that were on the ‘Romeo Point’ mission from 6 months ago, who all died during the operation. The mission of Lt. Choi is to secure evidence that confirms the death of the 18 soldiers.


And now, just two movies left. First, the newer film released last year, <The Battle: Roar to Victory>.

Directed by Won Shin-Yeon, who also directed <Seven Days>, <The Suspect>, and <Memoir of a Murderer>,< The Battle: Roar to Victory> had stars such as Yoo Hae-Jin, Ryu Jun-Yeol, Cho Woo-Jin, Park Ji-Hwan, Choi Yoo-Hwa, Sung Yoo-Bin, Lee Jae-In and more. The movie gets really suspenseful and emotional as well, and I remember people around me in the theater crying when I watched the film. I’ve got a video review of the film, so you can get more details of the movie through the review.

The synopsis is as follows:
After the March 1st movement of 1919, the armed resistance of the Korean Independent Forces becomes active. As the Japanese military with their newly armed weapons begin their attack on the Korean Independent Forces, the Korean Independent Forces decides to use the mountainous terrains of Bongodong to their advantage. The extraordinarily skilled sword-wielder ‘HaeChul,’ the extremely quick squad leader of the Independent Forces ‘Jang-Ha,’ and the sniper ‘Byung-Goo’ take on showers of bullet fire at the Valley of Death to lure the Japanese military.


And finally, the #1 Korean war film of my choice. The #1 spot of EonTalk’s list of favorite Korean war movies goes to one of the oldest film on this list, <TaeGukGi: Brotherhood Of War>.

This by far, hands down the best war movie out of Korean cinema. <TaeGukGi> was directed by Kang Je-Kyu, the director of <My Way>, <Shiri>, and <Awaiting>, and although this movie was released nearly 17 years ago, it still holds the spot for the best Korean war movie. <TaekGukGi> starred the incredible duo of Jang Dong-Gun and Won Bin as the main cast, as well as Lee Eun-Ju, Gong Hyung-Jin, Jang Min-Ho, and Lee Young-Ran as the supporting cast members. This film is one of the most emotional movies, and a totally different side to Won Bin from <The Man From Nowhere> and <Mother>.

The synopsis is as follows:
Jin-Tae has always looked out for his little brother, Jin-Suk. The older brother would do everything and anything to provide for his younger brother. Once the Korean War began, both Jin-Tae and Jin-Suk were drafted. In order to protect his little brother, Jin-Tae makes a deal with his commander to take the riskiest missions if it means it’ll keeping Jin-Suk safe. In time, Jin-Tae becomes a war hero, but at the cost of becoming a blood-thirsty soldier. Once the two brothers meet after times pass, Jin-Tae is near unrecognizable as he’s changed so much since Jin-Suk last saw him.



And that’s it for today’s list of best Korean war movies. Some films that you believe should have made it on this list may not have been included, but please remember that this top 10 list was based on my personal tastes. Nonetheless, I’d love to hear which movies you believe are deserving to be on the list, and/or movies that were included on this list that you’ve seen and enjoyed, so please leave a comment or join the EonTalk Telegram group, where you can discuss with other K-film enthusiasts as well as myself on Korean movies. Also, join the EonTalk Patreon if you would like to go the extra step to show your support!

Check out the Video Version:

Please keep in mind this review is composed of solely my own opinions, and should be taken with a grain of salt. I am in no way a professional writer, nor have I majored or studied journalism. This is for informative entertainment purpose only, representing my personal views. I do not own the images and/or videos used in the review. No copyright infringement intended.

2 thoughts on “Top 10 Korean War Movies”

  1. I love Korean movies all types
    And Saturday or Sunday I’m
    Watching only Korean movies
    That’s day’s my holidays
    And I’m waiting for new coming films
    Actually my favourite Actor’s Name’s : Lee byung hun,
    so hi sub,MD dung seok,Yang ok June
    Gong Yoo,Jung woo sung,hang song gun,
    Ha jung woo,won bin,kwak do won,choi min sik,Lee jung jar, and, Hwang jung – min . And my favourite Actress Name’s : Jun ji Jun,son ye Jin, Kim sae ron, shin min ah,nam no ra,Han hyo joo,Kim kkot – Bi Regards : Pema Dorjee Bhutia new Delhi India.

    1. Hello Pema!
      Watching K-movies is one of our weekend past-times also! We also watch a lot of K-series. We started Voice yesterday. Its great!

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