Frontline: Season 32, Episode 2

Secret State of North Korea (2014)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Documentary
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.7/10 from 185 users  
Reviews: 2 user

Through smuggled footage and interview with defectors, the true state of North Korea under Kim Jong-Un is examined.



0Check in

Watch Now

$0.00 with Prime Instant Video


IMDb Picks: May

Visit our IMDb Picks section to see our recommendations of movies and TV shows coming out in May, sponsored by COVERGIRL.

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 48 titles
created 8 months ago
a list of 34 titles
created 4 months ago
a list of 42 titles
created 4 months ago
a list of 45 titles
created 3 months ago
a list of 24 titles
created 3 months ago

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Secret State of North Korea (2014)

Secret State of North Korea (2014) on IMDb 7.7/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Frontline.
« Previous Episode | 618 of 647 Episodes | Next Episode »


Episode credited cast:
Himself - Narrator (voice)
Jirô Ishimaru ...
Himself - Editor, Asia Press
Lee ...
Himself - North Korea Escapee
Jang Jin-Sung ...
Himself - Former Propagandist
Andrei Lankov ...
Himself - Author, The Real North Korea
Sue Mi Terry ...
Herself - Senior Analyst, CIA
Jeong Kwang-il ...
Himself - North Korea Defector
David Kang ...
Himself - Director, Korean Studies Institute, USC
Kang Sin Sam ...
Himself - Open Radio for North Korea
Chanyang ...
Herself - North Korea Defector
Sokeel Park ...
Himself - Liberty in North Korea
Yong-hee ...
Herself - North Korea Defector
Victor Cha ...
Himself - National Security Council
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Peter Berkrot ...


From PBS and Frontline: Just two years in the job and armed with nuclear weapons, North Korea's Kim Jong-Un is the world's youngest dictator, ruling one of the world's most isolated countries. Like his father and grandfather, he wants to maintain tight control over what North Koreans see of the world - and what the world sees of North Korea. But with unique access, FRONTLINE goes inside the secret state to explore life under its new ruler, and investigate the enigmatic "Morning Star King" as he tries to hold onto power. Using new footage smuggled from inside and never-before-told stories from recent defectors living in South Korea, the film offers a rare glimpse of how some North Koreans are defying authority in a country where just being caught with illegal DVDs could mean immediate imprisonment. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

2014 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
See  »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A glimmer of hope....though small.
7 January 2015 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

Over the last decade or so, there have been only a few documentaries about life within North Korea because the country is mostly closed to filmmakers. A few films have been made using smuggled video, one was made with State blessing about students preparing for a pageant to celebrate their beloved leader and another was made by folks traveling with eye surgeons doing free surgeries to various needy North Koreans. "Secret State of North Korea" uses smuggled video-- and what they smuggled out is amazing as you really wonder how the folks with video cameras were able to get so much footage out without being caught.

In many ways, this film is much like the others. However, there are a few ways it is unique and merits your time. Unlike the other films I've seen (which would include "A State of Mind", "Crossing the Line" and "Seoul Train"--among others), this one actually offers some glimmers of hope. The others describe and show a life so brainwashed and grim that any hope for change seems very remote at best. But, in this new film from "Frontline" there is a strong sense that change is coming-- slowly, perhaps, but it IS coming and is inevitable. Smuggling in western films and exposing North Koreans to life outside their country is changing society and it's surprising to see and hear a few videos smuggled out of the country that show these people actually arguing with police, questioning their leaders behind closed doors and having cell phones!

All in all a fascinating look at life within North Korea that seems quite different from others. Which view is most accurate? It's hard to say but with improved technology, it is going to be much harder for their government to completely suppress all incoming information from the people. Well worth seeing and very well made. Also a very brave film when you consider the many who risked their lives and freedom to get these images.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Favorite episode? Admirer
Frontline on DVD gatheringrosebuds
Frontline 'Snitch' lana_sims
'Frontline' LAPD Blues smitchell22
Looking for 'Divided Memories' jjohnson-79
Searching for an episode williamrex
Discuss Secret State of North Korea (2014) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page