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After being kidnapped and imprisoned for fifteen years, Oh Dae-Su is released, only to find that he must find his captor in five days.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dae-han Ji ...
No Joo-hwan
Yoo Hyung-ja (as Seung-Shin Lee)
Lee Soo-ah
Dae-yeon Lee ...
Kwang-rok Oh ...
Suicidal Man
Tae-kyung Oh ...
Young Dae-su
Yeon-Seok Yoo ...
Young Woo-jin (as Yeon-suk Ahn)
Il-han Oo ...
Young Joo-hwan
Su-hyeon Kim
Seung-jin Lee


Abducted on a rainy night in 1988, the obnoxious drunk, Oh Dae-Su, much to his surprise, wakes up locked in a windowless and dilapidated hotel room, for an unknown reason. There, his invisible and pitiless captors will feed him, clothe him and sedate him to avoid committing suicide, and as his only companion and a window to the world is the TV in his stark cell, the only thing that helps Oh Dae-Su keep going is his daily journal. But then, unexpectedly, after fifteen long years in captivity, the perplexed prisoner is deliberately released, encouraged to track down his tormentor to finally get his retribution. Nevertheless, who would hate Oh Dae-Su so much he would deny him of a quick and clean death? Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


End of confrontation, one must die. See more »


Mystery | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence including scenes of torture, sexuality and pervasive language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

21 November 2003 (South Korea)  »

Also Known As:

Oldboy  »


Box Office


$3,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$68,957, 25 March 2005, Limited Release

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Dae-su Oh bangs his head right after stopping Mi-do from reading his diary. This "head banging" was not a scripted action. However Hye-jeong Kang (Mi-do) kept her cool and continued on with her lines. The director, in an interview, said that he kept and used this supposedly NG scene for its comical and emotional value. See more »


When Lee Woo-jin recalls watching his sister fall from the bridge, there's a cutaway in which his hand is shown with half a pinkie missing, and in the next sequence, his hand is shown with all fingers intact. See more »


Woo-jin Lee: Your gravest mistake wasn't failing to find the answer. You can't find the right answer if you ask the wrong questions.
See more »


Referenced in Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #1.9 (2011) See more »


from "The Four Seasons"
Written by Antonio Vivaldi
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

One step ahead of America
7 March 2007 | by See all my reviews

Oldboy takes a hammer and "batters" its American equivalents, leaving them as pulped as a chewed up squid. Park Chan Wook displays what America misses with his ultra-stylish, ultra-violent thriller. Why watch Ben Affleck fail spectacularly to summon any displayable talent, when Min sik Choi serves up a memorable role as the disturbed, vengeful Dae Su Oh, in the second of the Vengeance trilogy. Park skillfully creates a compelling plot that will have you guessing through the entire film, up until the final shocking revelation. The Cinematography expertly done by Jeong-hun Jeong, who also worked on the follow up to this film, Chinjeolhan geumjassi. Everything about this film is done in style and panache and creates a memorable experience, and has many memorable scenes.

Many people accuse this film of being "unrealistic". These people forget that this a film, not a documentary. No one complains About Star Wars being unrealistic, and rightly so. Films have a right to stretch out reality, don't forget the reason it does this is to be entertaining.

Although the film has strong violence of a graphic nature, I advise you to watch it, if only to broaden your perspectives of world and Asian cinema.

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