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A Bittersweet Life (2005)

Dalkomhan insaeng (original title)
Not Rated | | Action, Crime, Drama | 1 April 2005 (South Korea)
Things go wrong for a high ranking mobster when he doesn't proceed by his boss's orders.


Jee-woon Kim (as Kim Jee-woon)


Dong-Cheol Kim (character created by: A Bittersweet Life), Jee-woon Kim (as Kim Jee-woon)
7 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »




Credited cast:
Lee Byung-Hun ... Sun-woo
Shin Min-a ... Hee-soo
Yeong-cheol Kim ... Mr. Kang (as Kim Young-Chul)
Jung-min Hwang ... President Baek (as Jeong-min Hwang)
Roe-ha Kim ... Mun-suk
Hae-gon Kim Hae-gon Kim ... Weapon smuggler
Eric Moon ... Gun Dealer's Brother (as Eric)
Dal-su Oh ... Myung-gu
Lee Gi-yeong ... Mu-sung
Jin Goo ... Min-gi
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Yu-mi Jung ... Mi-Ae
Seong-oh Kim ... Oh Mu-sung's Subordinate
Tae-hee Kim Tae-hee Kim
Oh Kwang-rok
Mu-yeong Lee Mu-yeong Lee


Things go wrong for a high ranking mobster when he doesn't proceed by his boss's orders. Written by marinanic

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


When doing right goes very, very wrong.


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Byung-Hun Lee and Ku Jin previously starred together in a show All In (2003). Ku Jin played the younger version of Byung-Hun's character. See more »


Toward the end of the film, when Kim Sun-woo is walking down the corridor searching for his former boss, a guard sitting and reading a newspaper gets up to stop him. Kim Sun-woo shoots him but his gun is not pointed at the guard. Rather, it is clearly pointed at the wall where fake blood appears after the shot like a paint gun. See more »


Mr. Kang: What has gotten into you? Don't do this, Sun-woo.
Sun-woo: [shoots Mr. Kang through the heart] "We can't turn back time can we?"
See more »

Alternate Versions

Two versions of the film exist, the original theatrical version and the director's cut. The director's cut's edits include slight cutting and re-arrangement of scenes, swapping music placement and some additional scenes that do not appear in the original version of the film. See more »


References Once Upon a Time in America (1984) See more »

User Reviews

A film of two halves but ultimately fails when it shouldn't have
14 December 2010 | by redrummySee all my reviews

Overall a good film and while it plays with the action and drama, the film has massive potential to be so much more. As my title suggests the film is essentially two different films, which begins brightly before fading fast. The first half effortlessly introduces our protagonist and the majority of the cast effortlessly. While stereotypes are put into play they all show something a little different and the plot at it's quietest plays out quite well and to a high standard expected of korean cinema. Yet as Sun Woo's life begins to break down after a costly mistake, the quality and drama quickly takes a backseat to the all too familiar genre of action and revenge. Yet it is disappointing how a country full of great examples and almost infamously associated with the revenge genre can fail so easily. As with many action films it weaves a lot of style at the expense of logic and only gets worse exponentially as guns are introduced and you have a stylish action film which could've been born out of western cinema that lacks the story telling quality it started with. Muddled with a untidy conclusion the film would've been better if the last hour was taken out and the last few minutes kept in

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Frequently Asked Questions

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South Korea


Korean | Russian

Release Date:

1 April 2005 (South Korea) See more »

Also Known As:

A Bittersweet Life See more »

Filming Locations:

South Korea


Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital EX



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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