10 Best Korean Gangster Movies

Tuesday, February 1 by Annette Smith

If you love gangster films, check out these 10 best Korean gangster movies. They are some of the best gangster films ever produced in South Korea. The gangster genre is immensely popular in Asia, evident by a number of successful releases, particularly during the last decade. For your convenience, the list is arranged chronologically by film date.

  1. “Gang Justice.” The oldest film on the “ten best” list is “Gang Justice,” originally titled “Noleul bola america.” This 1991 South Korean action drama features Erik Estrada, Johnathan Gorman, and Joon Kim. The story focuses on an immigrant family that falls apart through divorce, when the mother marries the father of her son’s bigoted classmate.
  2. “Friend.” Another best-selling Korean gangster movie is “Friend,” is a 2001 film about four childhood friends who grow up to become rivals in the crime world. Originally titled “Chingoo,” the film stars Oh-Seong Yu, Dong-gun Jang, and Tae-hwa Seo.
  3. “Hi! Dharma!” “Hi! Dharma!” is a 2001 Korean gangster comedy starring Shin-yang Park, Jin-yeong Jeong, and Sang-Myeon Park. Originally titled “Dalmaya nolja,” the film revolves around five gangsters who take refuge in a Buddhist monastery to hide from the police.
  4. “My Wife Is A Gangster.” “My Wife Is A Gangster” is a 2001 action comedy film originally called “Jopog manura.” The story centers on a female gang boss who became a legend in the South Korean underworld. The movie stars Eun-Kyung Shin, Sang-Myeon Park, and Jae-mo Ahn.
  5. “Marrying The Mafia.” “Marrying The Mafia” is a 2002 Korean movie originally titled “Gamunui yeonggwang.” This gangster comedy centers on a businessman who becomes involved with the gangster underworld through his relationship with the daughter of a crime boss. The movie stars Dong-geun Yun, Jun-ho Jeong, and Jeong-eun Kim.
  6. “No Blood For Tears.” “No Blood For Tears” is a 2002 Korean crime drama starring Do-yeon Jeon, Hye-yeong Lee, and Jae-yeong Jeong. Originally titled “Pido nunmuldo eobshi,” the film centers on an aspiring singer whose boyfriend manages an illegal dog-fighting ring. When her path crosses with a female cabdriver, the two devise a plan to steal money.
  7. “A Bittersweet Life.” “A Bittersweet Life” is a 2005 South Korean crime drama, originally titled “Dalkomhan insaeng.” Starring Jeong-min Hwang, Yu-mi Jeong, and Ku Jin, the violent film portrays the Korean mob’s code of ethics and its clash with personal morality.
  8. “The City Of Violence.” “The City Of Violence,” or “Jjakpae,” is 2006 Korean crime drama starring Jae-mo Ahn, Kil-Kang Ahn, and Seok-yong Jeong. After an ex-gangster is killed in gang violence, his old friends return home for his funeral–including a detective who fights organized crime.
  9. “A Dirty Carnival.” “A Dirty Carnival” is a South Korean crime thriller about a small-town gangster who takes a job as a hit man to protect his siblings and terminally ill mother. Originally titled “Biyeolhan geori,” the 2006 movie stars Ho-Jin Chun, In-jae Heo, and Ku Jin.
  10. “Gangster High.” Originally titled “Pongryeok-shekel,” “Gangster High” is a 2006 South Korean film about teenage violence. Starring Hie-jin Jang, Kyeong-ho Jeong, and Jin-woong Jo, the movie focuses on two gangs embroiled in an intense and violent conflict.
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