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Oldboy (2003)
"Oldeuboi" (original title)

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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 326,042 users   Metascore: 74/100
Reviews: 795 user | 300 critic | 31 from Metacritic.com

After being kidnapped and imprisoned for 15 years, Oh Dae-Su is released, only to find that he must find his captor in 5 days.



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Top Rated Movies #67 | 24 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dae-han Ji ...
Dal-su Oh ...
Byeong-ok Kim ...
Seung-shin Lee ...
Yoo Hyung-ja (as Seung-Shin Lee)
Dae-yeon Lee ...
Kwang-rok Oh ...
Tae-kyung Oh ...
Yeon-suk Ahn ...
Il-han Oo ...
Su-hyeon Kim
Seung-jin Lee


An average man is kidnapped and imprisoned in a shabby cell for 15 years without explanation. He then is released, equipped with money, a cellphone and expensive clothes. As he strives to explain his imprisonment and get his revenge, Oh Dae-Su soon finds out that his kidnapper has a greater plan for him and is set onto a path of pain and suffering in an attempt to uncover the motive of his mysterious tormentor. Written by Jacksrevenge

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


15 years of imprisonment, five days of vengeance See more »

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:

$44,465 (Hong Kong) (15 October 2004)


$2,181,290 (USA) (20 December 2013)

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


According to the cast commentary, Min-sik Choi wanted the cameraman to follow his legs when playing with the toy wings. He was trying to do a "moonwalk" originally done by Michael Jackson. See more »


The last scene at Woo-jin's penthouse, while he is getting dressed, his shirt cuffs already have cufflinks in them; in the next shot, they are missing, and he is putting them on. See more »


Dae-su Oh: Please. Don't tell Mido. What has she done wrong? You know it was all my fault... I have committed an unforgivable sin, against your sister. And I also... Did you wrong. But, please leave Mido alone... If by any chance Mido finds out the truth, you son of a bitch, I'll tear you limb from limb. And your remains will never be found. Why? Because I'm going to swallow every last bit.
See more »


References Being John Malkovich (1999) See more »


from "The Four Seasons"
Written by Antonio Vivaldi
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

If only we were all living in Asia....
19 December 2007 | by (Netherlands) – See all my reviews

To start off; This is the one and only film that kept me quiet for a whole 5 mins after seeing it. I literally couldn't close my mouth, and yet there wasn't any sound coming out of it. Oldboy had such an impact on me that words are too little to describe that impact. Therefore this film is definitely in my top 3 films ever made. It belongs there because it has a massive ingredient that a lot of films seem to miss out on; a divine plot. Even though the acting and screenplay are world class, the plot is really the cherry on the cake.

When it comes to screenplay Park Chan-Wook is unique (at least for western standards) in his way of filming. The colours are so vivid and it seems like he wanted every shot to be a piece of art. One tip: If you like the shooting in 'Oldboy', have a look at 'Sympathy for Lady Vengeance', the third part in Park's revenge-trilogy. It's even superior to the camera-work in 'Oldboy'. Don't, however, expect a story like Oldboy's, because you would be very disappointed.

When it comes to acting and the music, this film is also one of the better films ever made. The music sticks in your head and every time I put in my Oldboy-DVD and the theme-song comes up, I'm just flooded with good memories (even though the plot doesn't have a single reason to be happy about). The characters are also presented very well by the outstanding cast. Especially Choi Min-Sik and Yu Ji-Tae set a very convincing performance.

I really appreciate this film being respected as it should be, by having a place in the top 250. If, however, it was up to me it would be even higher in the ranking. I don't see why films like 'The Usual Suspects' or 'Memento', which are fantastic pieces of film-making and which without a doubt deserve a place in the top 250, are higher in the top 250 than 'Oldboy'. They serve the same cause; a fantastic plot. But those plots can't stand in the shadow or even come close to the plot of 'Oldboy'. The one and only reason is that those two films are better known and from a western production company. If we were all living in Asia, no doubt 'Oldboy' would be in the top 20 of all time.

My advice to people who haven't watched this film yet: Go see it! This is definitely a must- see. If you have a weak stomach, pull yourself together and still watch it. Don't be as shallow as a lot of people here tend to be. Look beyond the violence and see the things I mentioned before: world class acting, cinematography, music and last but certainly not least the plot. Once you've opened yourself up you'll find a whole new world of cinema. Enjoy!

485 of 667 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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