Best South Korean Directors

by d_smojver | created - 18 Dec 2011 | updated - 2 months ago | 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 Ah-ga-ssi (2016), Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002) and Thirst (2009).

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), Mother (2009) and Snowpiercer (2013).

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 Ag-o (1996). Then he went on to direct ...

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 Joheunnom nabbeunnom isanghannom (2008), A Tale of Two Sisters (2003) and I Saw the Devil (2010).

5. Chang-dong Lee

Writer | Oasiseu

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), Boku no kanojo wa saibôgu (2008) and Keulraesik (2003).

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. Je-kyu Kang

Writer | Taegukgi hwinalrimyeo

Director Je-Kyu Kang was born in South Korea. Before directing his hit film Swiri (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.

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), Ji-geum-eun-mat-go-geu-ddae-neun-teul-li-da (2015) and Bamui haebyun-eoseo honja (2017).

18. 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 Beterang (2015), Bereullin (2013) and Arahan jangpung daejakjeon (2004).

19. 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), So-poong (2001) and Geomi sup (2004).

20. 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 ...

24. Jin-ho Hur

Director | Palwolui Keuriseumaseu

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 ...

29. Joon-ik Lee

Director | Sado

Joon-ik Lee was born on September 21, 1959 in Seoul, Korea. He is a director and producer, known for Sado (2015), Wang-ui namja (2005) and Dongju (2016).

30. 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 Hanyo (2010), Orae-doen jeongwon (2006) and Nunmul (2000).

32. 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 Baramui paiteo (2004), Yuri (1996) and Ga-myeon (2007).

35. So Yong Kim

Director | Na-moo-eobs-neun san

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

36. Dong-hoon Choi

Director | Amsal

Dong-hoon Choi was born in 1971 in Jeonju, North Jeolla Province, South Korea. He is a director and writer, known for Amsal (2015), The Thieves (2012) and Beomjweui jaeguseong (2004).

37. 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 Orora gongju (2005), 301, 302 (1995) and Suchwiin bulmyeong (2001).

38. 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).

39. Han-min Kim

Director | Myeong-ryang

Han-min Kim is a director and writer, known for The Admiral (2014), War of the Arrows (2011) and Geuk-rak-do sal-in-sa-geon (2007).

41. 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), Ak-Nyeo (2017) and Woo-ri aek-syeon-bae-woo-da (2008).

42. Pil-sung Yim

Director | Henjel gwa Geuretel

Pil-sung Yim is a director and writer, known for Hansel and Gretel (2007), In-lyu-myeol-mang-bo-go-seo (2012) and Namgeuk-ilgi (2005).

43. 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.

44. 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 Gajokeui tansaeng (2006), Late Autumn (2010) and Yeogo goedam II (1999). He has been married to Wei Tang since July 12, 2014.

45. 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), Welkkeom tu Dongmakgol (2005) and Gutmoning peurejideonteu (2009).