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Top 15 Best Korean Movies Based on True Story

It is a known fact that Korean movies have great storylines, but their adaptations of real-life stories are also mention-worthy. Hence in this article, we are listing the Top 15 Best Korean Movies Based on True Story.

Here, we can see celebrated films whose storylines might seem made up to many but are, in fact, based on truth. These diverse films range from comedies to tragedies to dramas, and it’s their diversity that makes us wonder are these actually nonfictional events?

And, it’s really fascinating to see that these movies indeed came out of not the scriptwriter’s imagination but from normal people. These people, who did something so memorable, or became a part of such an event, that it had to be immortalized by a film. 

Hence, without wasting any more time, grab your popcorn and start watching the films presented on our list of Top 15 Korean Movies Based on True Story. 

Top 15 Best Korean Movies Based on True Story – 

  • 15) The Case of Itaewon Homicide – 

The Case of Itaewon Homicide -
Image Source – IMDb

IMDB ratings- 6.2

Cast- Jang Keun-suk, Jung Jin-young, Song Joong-ki

Genre- Mystery, Drama, Thriller

When- 2009

Why Watch-This film talks about the true story of a slaying that happened in the Itaewon region in 1997. In the Burger King of Itaewon, a 22-year-old university student Jung Pil was slaughtered and, 2 US teenagers became the prime suspect in the case. The movie depicts that incident.

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  • 14) Northern Limit Line –

Northern Limit Line
Image Source – IMDb

IMDB ratings- 6.6

Cast- Kim Mu Yeol, Jin Goo, Lee Hyun Woo

Genre- Drama, War

When- 2015

Why Watch- This South Korean War movie highlights the true story of the Second Battle of Yeonpyeong. In the movie, we see how young soldiers bravely fought in this battle and sacrificed to protect their country.  

This battle started when North Korean vessels boarded the Northern Limit Line and fired towards the South Korean patrol boat, slaying and injuring many.

Where to Watch- Viki

  • 13) Whistle Blower –

Whistle Blower
Image Source – IMDb

IMDB ratings- 6.6

Cast- Park Hae Il, Yoo Yeon Seok, Lee Geung Young

Genre- Drama

When- 2014

Why Watch- This Korean movie is another film that real events inspired, and it tells the story of the Korean scientist Wong Woo-Suk. He falsely claimed that he successfully cloned the embryonic stem cells of humans.

In the movie, we see how the truth about a genius scientist comes out when a former researcher at his lab called Min-ho tips a producer of MBC and uncovers his ruse.

  • 12) Cart –

Image Source – IMDb

IMDB ratings- 6.7

Cast- Yum Jung-ah, Moon Jung-hee, Kim Young-ae, Kim Kang-woo 

Genre- Drama

When- 2014

Why Watch- This film is a social critique and is based on the real story of how supermarket employees came together to support each other when the contract workers wear laid off by Homever in 2007.

In the film, we see a company wrongfully dismissing Sun-hee, a veteran cashier, with other temporary workers without any further notice. All of them had to come together and stand united to make the company give in to their demands.

Where to Watch- Netflix

  • 11) My Father –

My Father
Image Source – IMDb

IMDB ratings- 6.9

Cast- Kim Yeong-Cheol, Daniel Henney

Genre- Drama

When- 2007

Why Watch-

This heartwarming film is the tale of a son trying to find his biological parents in South Korea. Here we see James, an army captain in the United States Forces Korea, searching for his father and meeting him. 

He finds his father on his end row as an assassin. This movie, too, showcases a true story as it tells the story of Aaron Bates, who now lives in Arizona.

  • 10) As One –

As One
Image Source – IMDb

IMDB ratings- 7.0

Cast- Ha Ji-won, Bae Doona, Han Ye-ri

Genre- Sports, Drama

When- 2012

Why Watch- This real-life sports drama film tells the story of the first unified Korean sports team that secured the first position at the world table Tennis Championships of 1991.

Here we see how a team of North Koreans and South Koreans were able to move past their dislike for each other and move as one team.

Where to Watch- Netflix

  • 9) The Admiral: Roaring Currents

The Admiral: Roaring Currents
Image Source – IMDb

IMDB ratings- 7.1

Cast- Choi Min-Sik, Ryu Seung-Ryong, Cho Jin-Woong

Genre- War, Drama

When- 2014

Why WatchThis is another Korean War movie that tells the epic story of the historical Battle of Myeongnyang. It is the true story of how Admiral Yi Sun-sin was able to achieve remarkable naval victories in the Joseon era.

The movie has a star cast and, it ended up becoming the highest-grossing film of all time in South Korea.

Where to Watch- Netflix

  • 8) Han Gong Ju –

Han Gong Ju
Image Source – IMDb

IMDB ratings- 7.3

Cast- Chun Woo-hee, Jung In Sun, Kim So-young 

Genre- Drama

When- 2013

Why Watch- The disturbing Miryang case of 2004 inspired this heartbreakingly tragic movie. Here we see Gong Ju, the endurer, being humiliated by the world because of her past even though she did nothing wrong.

Then with a series of flashbacks, we see how her life turned into a mess by a bunch of male students.

Where to Watch- Amazon Prime

  • 7) 71: Into the Fire

71: Into the Fire
Image Source – IMDb

IMDB ratings- 7.3

Cast- Cha Seung-won, Kwon Sang-woo, Choi Seung-hyun, Kim Seung-woo

Genre- War, Drama, Action

When- 2010

Why Watch- This is another South Korean war film that tells the real story of brave student soldiers who fought in the Korean War. The story is set in the 1950s during the Battle of P’ohang-dong, where the students were able to protect P’ohang girls middle school for 11 hours from the North Korean forces. 

  • 6) Way Back Home –

Way Back Home
Image Source – IMDb

IMDB ratings- 7.4

Cast- Jeon Do Yeon, Go Soo, Ryu Tae-ho 

Genre- Drama

When- 2013

Why Watch- This is a heartbreaking story of an unfortunate woman who was wrongfully accused of carrying illegal things at the Paris airport. Due to this, she had to endure two years in Martinique prison.

In this film, we see how Jeong-Yeon gets framed by some shady people who put questionable objects in her bag without her knowledge.

Where to Watch- Netflix

  • 5) The Attorney –

The Attorney
Image Source – IMDb

IMDB ratings- 7.7

Cast- Song Kang-ho, Kim Young-ae, Oh Dal-Su 

Genre- Drama

When- 2013

Why Watch- This courtroom drama movie is inspired by the Burim case of 1981, where some students, teachers, and office workers were falsely accused of being North Korean sympathizers and were arrested for those charges. Moo-hyun, a tax lawyer, formed a team of allies and defended the accused against the government.

The movie showcases how Song, a former judge decides to defend some students who were wrongfully accused of sedition and of being spies by the government.

Where to Watch- Netflix

  • 4) The Chaser –

The Chaser
Image Source – IMDb

IMDB ratings- 7.8

Cast- Kim Yoon Seok, Ha Jung-woo, Seo Young-hee, Koo Bon Woong 

Genre- Thriller, Mystery, Drama

When- 2008

Why Watch- This thriller film is based on Yoo Young Chul, who eliminated several women. The film shows Joong-ho, a detective turned pimp, who is trying to uncover the mystery behind his missing girls.

After some digging, he realizes that a man abducted his girls, affecting his business badly. After finding the truth, he discovers something worse than what he had thought.

Where to Watch- Netflix

  • 3) Memories of Murder –

Memories of Murder
Image Source – IMDb

IMDB ratings- 8.1

Cast- Song Kang-ho, Kim Sang-kyung, Kim Roi-ha, Song Jae-ho

Genre- Thriller, Mystery, Drama

When- 2003

Why Watch- Memories of Murder is one of the best Korean Movies Based on True Story. In this film, we see how the detectives try to uncover several cases in a small town. As this is arguably the first case of South Korea, even the law enforcement officers are clueless as to how they should approach this kind of case.

But as bodies pile up, they must do something to catch the assailant before it is too late.

Where to Watch- Netflix

  • 2) Silenced

Image Source – IMDb

IMDB ratings- 8.1

Cast- Gong Yoo, Jung Yu-mi

Genre- Drama 

When- 2011

Why Watch- This gut-wrenchingly unfortunate true story is about the events that happened at the institution for the hearing impaired, Gwangju Inhwa School.

In this film, we see how teachers and the principal of the school regularly treated their students inhumanely and how easily they were able to escape any punishment from the South Korean government.

Where to Watch- Netflix

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  • 1) Hope –

Image Source – IMDb

IMDB ratings- 8.3

Cast- Lee Re, Sol Kyung Gu, Uhm Ji Won

Genre- Drama

When- 2013

Why Watch- Hope is the best Korean movie based on a true story. This 2013 South Korean film tells the heartbreaking true story of an eight-year-old girl. Doo Soon seizes and harms the child and then leaves her unconscious in a public bathroom.

Here she was beaten, which made her endure many injuries. In this movie, we see how So Won had to survive her gruesome situation and how the assailant got a sentence of only 12 years. 

Where to Watch- Netflix

The movies that we have discussed on this list are all worth watching and, hence we definitely recommend you to go ahead and enjoy them. Stay tuned for more recommendations on Korean movies and dramas.

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