Top 10 Movies & TV Shows to Watch Before Visiting Seoul

Changdeokgung Palace, Seoul | © KoreaNet / Flickr
Changdeokgung Palace, Seoul | © KoreaNet / Flickr
Photo of Mimsie Ladner
14 June 2017

From futuristic sci-fi flicks to historical docudramas, Seoul has provided the backdrop to countless movies and television shows. Here are 10 of the best that truly capture the spirit of the city. Check them out before you visit and you’ll feel like you’ve already landed in South Korea’s dynamic capital city.

Train to Busan (2016)

While visiting Seoul, you’ll more than likely take a day trip to one of the many gorgeous destinations South Korea has to offer, and you’ll probably get there via KTX, the country’s high-speed railway system. Preview what your ride might be like (but hopefully not) by watching Train to Busan, a story of Seoulites attempting to escape a zombie attack on a train headed for the country’s southern coast. The action-packed film features several contemporary social critiques, and is the most successful Korean film outside of Korea to date.

Yang tau judulnya komen #traintobusanmovie

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Bitter Sweet Seoul (2014)

Comprised of 141 crowdsourced video clips submitted by Korean nationals, international residents and tourists, Bitter Sweet Seoul is an intimate portrait of the many sides of Seoul – the beautiful and ugly, extraordinary and mundane. Despite the lack of a consistent plot, the film flows smoothly, a result of the limitless creativity and vision of world renowned directors Park Chan-wook (The Handmaiden, Oldboy, Stoker, Thirst) and Park Chan-kyong (Manshin: Ten Thousand Spirits).

Seoul Searching (2015)

During the 1980s, the Korean government established a special summer camp for gyopo (foreign-born Korean teenagers) where they could spend their summer in Seoul exploring their cultural heritage. While the intentions of the program were honorable, the activities and behavior of the teenage participants were not. Based on a true story about one of the summer camps that took place in 1986, Seoul Searching is a heartwarming yet comical coming of age film inspired by the films of John Hughes.

Chef’s Table, Season 3, Episode 1: “Jeong Kwan” (2017)

Unlike the majority of the world’s top chefs, Korean monk Jeong Kwan focuses less on being the best and more on creating soul-nourishing dishes with ingredients plucked freshly from the earth. As this episode of the highly rated Chef’s Table Netflix exclusive follows Kwon’s daily life as she lovingly prepares temple food, viewers get a sense of the rich heritage of Korean cuisine, from age-old recipes to how the country’s history has influenced its dishes.

Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War (2004)

It’s safe to say that Seoul has experienced its fair share of historical tragedies, with the Korean War being one of the biggest. Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War provides a heart wrenching look at some of the city’s darker days. Set in the 1950s, the film focuses on the relationship between two brothers from a poor but happy family who are forced to flee their home when North Korea invades. After an unexpected series of events, the brothers end up fighting on opposite ends of the border, leading to a dramatic and tragic ending.

. . Tae Guk Gi (Day 3 : A favorite action/adventure movie) . . Film ini dimulai dengan adegan ditemukannya tulang belulang seorang tentara sisa peperangan Korea bernama Jin-Tae oleh adiknya, Jin-Seok. . Sejak kecil, Jin-Tae (Jang Dong-Gun) selalu menjaga dan melindungi adiknya, Jin-Seok (Won Bin), seorang anak laki-laki yang lemah dan sakit-sakitan. . Bersetting Perang Korea, karena suatu kesalahan Jin-Seok tercatat mengikuti wajib militer. Jin-Tae mati-matian melobi komandan untuk menyelamatkan sang adik, termasuk mengambil misi paling berbahaya. . Hingga pada akhirnya Jin-Seok dan Jin-Tae terpisah kereta dan gagal ditemukan. Jin-Tae yang sakit hati atas hilangnya sang adik pada akhirnya membelot ke Korea Utara dan menjadi pasukan andalan hingga tewas. . _______ . Sibuk recall ingatan film action non Hollywood, dan muncul film ini di kepala. Fans Endless Love pasti familiar dengan salah satu cast nya 🙈 Oya film ini release saat dunia belum terjangkit drama korea yang sarat asmara 😂😛 . Masih minim CGI, adegan perang yang ditampilkan termasuk keren di jamannya. Plot nya penuh, setiap detail dipikirkan dengan matang. Ceritanya? Sempat bikin mewek karena penceritaannya cukup emosional 🙈 penggambaran setting Perang Korea nya juga keren, tidak sekedar pelengkap kisah 😛 jadi nampaknya sangat wajar dan sepadan jika film ini pun mendapat rating 8.1 out of 10. . Iya, meskipun hobi mantengin film box office Hollywood, suatu ketika muak dengan segala animasi CGI dan kekuatan editing, bikin rindu film lawas macam film ini. Hehe. . . . #30daysmoviechallenge #moviereview #taegukgi #wonbin #koreandrama #korea #brotherhoodinwar

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Masquerade (2012)

Amid national chaos and fear for his life, tyrannical King Gwanghae orders his trusted councillor to find a royal body double. He hires Ha-seon, a peasant mimic who bears a perfect resemblance to the king. But when King Gwanghae collapses from a mysterious poison, Ha-seon is forced to save his country from collapse, avoid assassination and pull off the biggest masquerade in history. The film entertainingly showcases life during the Joseon Dynasty, which can be further explored at Seoul’s palaces such as Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung.

오늘 본 영화는 광해, 왕이 된 남자 이 영화는 2012년도 작품이며 당시 이영화가 이렇게 흥행된지도 몰랐고 관심도 없었다. 어렴풋이 스쳐 지나가는 말에 광해가 재밋다 7번가의 선물이 재밋다로 다투던 사람들을 봤던 기억은 난다. 이 영화를 작년쯤 보게 됐는데 1년 사이에 한 4번은 본거같다. 정말 미친 영화고 보는 내내 소름이 돋았다. 역사에는 관심이 별로 없던터라 사극은 잘 언보는 편이지만 어쩌다 뒤늦게 접한 이영화가 역사에 대한 나의 상식을 바꿔 놓은거같다. 영화의 내용은 물론, 평소에도 정말 너무좋아하는 병헌이형님의 연기는 정말 명품이다. 거기에 류승룡님과의 캐미는 정말,, +@ 로 도부장 김인권님과 조내관 장광님과의 웃음포인트들은 정말 한시도 눈을 뗄수가 없었다. 혹여나 아직도 이영화를 보지 못한 사람이 있다면 정말 꼭 추천하고 봤던 사람도 내용이 가물가물 하다면 다시 한번 꼭 보시길.. 너무 꿀잼임😍 명대사가 너무 많지만 꼭 하나만 고르라면 " 그깟 사대의 명분이 뭐요, 도대체 뭐길래 2만의 백성을 사지로 내몰라는 것이요? 임금이라면, 백성이 지아비라 부르는 왕이라면 빼앗고 훔치고 빌어먹을 지언정 내 그들을 살려야겠소. 그대들이 죽고 못사는 사대의 예보다 내나라 내 백성이! 열갑절 백갑절을 소중하오 (눈물주룩😢) #한국영화 #사극 #광해왕이된남자 #역사 #이병헌 #이병헌연기짱 #류승룡 #한효주 #전인권 말고 #김인권 #장광 #추천영화

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The Host (2006)

There’s no better way to spend a sunny afternoon in Seoul than on the Han River, a site that is home to a number of recreational facilities, sprawling green spaces and riverside cafes. That is, unless a giant man-eating monster emerges from the depths of the river, which is exactly what happens in The Host. In the midst of the chaos, a slow-witted man and his family must protect their daughter.

Looks like the Prequel 🎬 to 📽Life to me 👍 #iwatchmovies #thehostmovie #lifemovie #UrbanHuman

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Sense 8 (2015 – 2017)

Netflix’s wildly popular sci-fi drama follows a group of people across the globe who are mentally linked as they try to find a way to survive being hunted by those who see them as a threat to the world’s order. Filmed in multiple cities, Sense 8 features many spots in Seoul, the home of martial arts expert Sun (played by Korean actress Doona Bae). Get a sneak peek at the city’s most beloved attractions, including the Cheonggyechon, Dongdaemun Design Plaza and Bukchon Hanok Village.

4 weeks to freedom. May 5 on @netflix.

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9 Muses of Star Empire (2012)

It’s impossible to visit Seoul and not be bombarded with K-pop, a genre of catchy music that has become the latest pop cultural phenomenon to take the world by storm. A year-long chronicle that follows the journey of an emerging female K-pop sensation, 9 Muses of Star Empire illustrates the everyday life of nine girls pursuing their dreams in a world of jealousy, betrayal and scandal.

My Sassy Girl (2001)

It’s always helpful to have a good understanding of a city’s culture before visiting, and My Sassy Girl, a wildly popular romantic comedy that tells the story of an accidental couple, is a great way to pick up some cultural tips. For example, respect for one’s elders is highly important, which is clearly evident in the subway scene, while punishments aren’t only given by one’s parents, but also by friends during innocent games.

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