Best South Korean Directors

by d_smojver | created - 18 Dec 2011 | updated - 02 May 2018 | Public

South Korean film industry is one of the top 5 film industries in the whole world! It is astonishing and beautiful because of great actors, great actresses and, of course, because of brilliant and visionary directors & screenwriters.

I listed 45 names here, most of them also being screenwriters. The first six listed here are among the 100 directors of all time and I think my conclusions are objective!

My basic criterion was that they must have made at least 2 great (or very good) films, and the majority of them have made even more than two.

My other lists:

Best South Korean Actors

Most Handsome South Korean Actors

Most Prettiest South Korean Actresses

Best South Korean Actresses

1. Chan-wook Park

Director | Ah-ga-ssi

Chan-wook Park was born on August 23, 1963 in Seoul, South Korea. He is a director and writer, known for The Handmaiden (2016), Thirst (2009) and Oldboy (2003).

2. Joon-ho Bong

Writer | Okja

Joon-ho Bong was born on September 14, 1969 in Daegu, South Korea. He is a writer and director, known for Okja (2017), Snowpiercer (2013) and Memories of Murder (2003).

3. Ki-duk Kim

Writer | Bin-jip

He studied fine arts in Paris in 1990-1992. In 1993 he won the award for Best Screenplay from the Educational Institute of Screenwriting with "A Painter and A Criminal Condemned to Death". After two more screenplay awards, he made his directorial debut with Crocodile (1996). Then he went on to ...

4. Jee-woon Kim

Director | Joheunnom nabbeunnom isanghannom

Jee-woon Kim was born on May 27, 1964 in Seoul, South Korea. He is a director and writer, known for The Good the Bad the Weird (2008), A Tale of Two Sisters (2003) and I Saw the Devil (2010).

5. Chang-dong Lee

Writer | Beoning

Lee Chang-Dong was born in 1954 in Daegu, which some consider the most right-wing city in South Korea. Lee is a former high-school teacher and an acclaimed novelist. He turned to cinema when he was over 40 years old. His debut film "Green Fish" (1997) brought immediate success and critical acclaim....

6. Jae-young Kwak

Writer | Yeopgijeogin geunyeo

Jae-young Kwak was born on May 22, 1959 in South Korea. He is a writer and director, known for My Sassy Girl (2001), Cyborg Girl (2008) and The Piano in a Factory (2010).

7. Hong-jin Na

Writer | Chugyeogja

Na Hong-jin born in 1974 is a South Korean film director and screenwriter. His debut film The Chaser (2008) won Best Director at the 45th Grand Bell Awards in 2008. The film also won the award for Best Film. His follow up film, The Yellow Sea, was released in South Korea on December 15, 2010. It is...

8. Kwon-taek Im

Director | Chunhyangdyun

Born in Changsong, Cheollanam-do, 2 May 1936. He grew up in the southern city Kwangju, where he completed senior high school. His family suffered considerable hardships and losses in the Korean War, so he had to move to Pusan in search of work: he was a labourer before trying to start a business ...

9. Sang-ok Shin

Producer | Sarangbang sonnimgwa eomeoni

Shin alleged that he and his wife were kidnapped from their native South Korea in the late 1970s and held for several years in North Korea to make movies for Kim Jong Il, son of the N. Korean leader. Shin Sang-ok sought asylum in the United States in 1986 shortly before the film "Pulgasary" was ...

11. Hyun-mok Yoo

Director | Ilheobeolin cheongchun

Retrospective at the Kerala International Film Festival, India.

12. Ki-young Kim

Director | Shibdaeui banhang

Died in a fire together with his wife.

14. Seung-wan Ryoo

Director | Beterang

Seung-wan Ryoo was born on December 15, 1973 in Onyang, South Korea. He is a director and writer, known for Veteran (2015), The Berlin File (2013) and Arahan (2004).

15. Sang-soo Hong

Director | Bam gua nat

Sang-soo Hong was born on October 25, 1960 in Seoul, Korea. He is a director and writer, known for Night and Day (2008), Right Now, Wrong Then (2015) and On the Beach at Night Alone (2017).

17. Dong-hyuk Hwang

Writer | Namhansanseong

Dong-hyuk Hwang is a writer and director, known for The Fortress (2017), Silenced (2011) and Miracle Mile (2004).

19. Je-kyu Kang

Writer | Taegukgi hwinalrimyeo

Director Je-Kyu Kang was born in South Korea. Before directing his hit film Shiri (1999) pronounced "Shee Rhee", Kang nearly gave up the film business. After struggling for many years, he has finally become one of the premier directors in South Korea.

20. Han-min Kim

Director | Choi-jong-byeong-gi hwal

Han-min Kim is a director and writer, known for War of the Arrows (2011), The Admiral (2014) and Paradise Murdered (2007).

21. John H. Lee

Director | Nae meorisokui jiwoogae

John H. Lee's films are imbued with top-notch cosmopolitan sensibilities. He has become one of the most sought after directors in all of East Asia and is a member of the rising generation of international directors from the region, having both a distinct voice as an auteur and wide commercial ...

23. Il-gon Song

Director | Ggot seom

Il-gon Song was born on January 1, 1971 in Seoul, South Korea. He is a director and writer, known for Ggot seom (2001), The Picnic (2001) and Spider Forest (2004).

24. Jin-ho Hur

Director | Bomnaleun ganda

Born in 1963 in Jeonju, South Korea, Jin-ho Hur graduated from the Korean Academy of Film Arts. His first steps as a film director did not go unnoticed as his first short, 'For Kochal", was selected for The Vancouver International Film Festival. He later co-wrote the script of "A Single Spark" and ...

26. Sang-ho Yeon

Director | Busanhaeng

Yeon Sang-Ho is a South Korean director, and a screen writer, he was born in Seoul in 1978. He is graduated from Sangmyung University with a degree of Western Painting. He directed few short films as well Megalomania of D in 1997, followed by D-Day in 2000 and The Hell in 2003, then set up his own ...

30. Joon-ik Lee

Director | Sado

Joon-ik Lee was born on September 21, 1959 in Seoul, Korea. He is a director and actor, known for The Throne (2015), The King and the Clown (2005) and Dongju (2016).

35. Yun-ho Yang

Director | Baramui paiteo

Yun-ho Yang was born on November 11, 1966 in South Korea. He is a director and writer, known for Fighter in the Wind (2004), Yuri (1996) and Rainbow Eyes (2007).

37. Sang-soo Im

Director | Hanyo

Sang-soo Im was born on April 27, 1962 in Seoul, South Korea. He is a director and writer, known for The Housemaid (2010), The Old Garden (2006) and Tears (2000).

39. Dong-hoon Choi

Producer | Amsal

Dong-hoon Choi was born in 1971 in Jeonju, North Jeolla Province, South Korea. He is a producer and director, known for Assassination (2015), The Big Swindle (2004) and The Thieves (2012).

40. Eun-jin Pang

Director | Orora gongju

Eun-jin Pang was born on August 5, 1965 in Seoul, Korea. She is an actress and director, known for Princess Aurora (2005), 301/302 (1995) and Address Unknown (2001).

41. Sun-Woo Jang

Director | Hwaomkyung

Sun-Woo Jang was born on March 20, 1952 in Seoul, South Korea as Man-cheoul Jang. He is a director and writer, known for Hwaomkyung (1993).

42. Soo-il Jeon

Writer | Geomen tangyi sonyeo oi

Soo-il Jeon was born on July 20, 1959 in Sokcho, Kang-won-do, South Korea. He is a writer and director, known for With the Girl of Black Soil (2007), The Bird Who Stops in the Air (1999) and With a Girl of Himalaya (2008).

44. Byung-gil Jung

Director | Nae-ga sal-in-beom-i-da

Byung-gil Jung was born on August 7, 1980 in South Korea. He is a director and writer, known for Confession of Murder (2012), Action Boys (2008) and The Villainess (2017).

45. Pil-sung Yim

Director | Henjel gwa Geuretel

Pil-sung Yim is a director and writer, known for Hansel and Gretel (2007), Doomsday Book (2012) and Antarctic Journal (2005).

46. Jang-ho Lee

Director | Nageuneneun kileseodo swiji anhneunda

Did work 8 years with director Shin Sang-Ok. Founded his own production company PAN film in 1986.

47. Soon-rye Yim

Director | Uri saengae choego-ui sungan

Soon-rye Yim was born in 1960 in Inchon, South Korea. She is a director and writer, known for Forever the Moment (2008), Waikiki Brothers (2001) and Three Friends (1996).

48. So Yong Kim

Director | Na-moo-eobs-neun san

She originally comes from Korea but also grew up in Los Angeles, USA.

50. Jin Jang

Writer | Aneun yeoja

Jin Jang was born in 1971 in Seoul, Korea. He is a writer and director, known for Someone Special (2004), Good Morning President (2009) and Battle Ground 625 (2005).

53. Tae-yong Kim

Director | Gajokeui tansaeng

Tae-yong Kim was born on December 9, 1969 in Seoul, South Korea. He is a director and actor, known for Family Ties (2006), Late Autumn (2010) and Mad Sad Bad (2014). He has been married to Wei Tang since July 12, 2014.

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