Two clowns living in Korea's Chosun Dynasty get arrested for staging a play that satirizes the king. They are dragged to the palace and threatened with execution but are given a chance to save their lives if they can make the king laugh.


Joon-ik Lee


Seok-Hwan Choi, Tae-woong Kim (play)
11 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »





Credited cast:
Woo-seong Kam ... Jang-sang
Jin-young Jung ... King Yeonsan (as Jin-yeong Jeong)
Seong-Yeon Kang Seong-Yeon Kang ... Nok-su Jang (as Sung-Yeon Kang)
Lee Joon-Gi ... Gong-gil (as Jun-ki Lee)
Hang-Seon Jang Hang-Seon Jang ... Cheo-sun
Hae-Jin Yoo ... Yuk-gab (as Hae-jin Yoo)
Seok-yong Jeong Seok-yong Jeong ... Chil-duk
Seung-Hun Lee Seung-Hun Lee ... Pal-bok
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Woo Hyeon ... Hong
Shin Jeong-geun ... Lee Geuk-kyun
Yeong-seok Lee Yeong-seok Lee ... Nobleman
Yeong-su Park Yeong-su Park ... Court Clown
Seung-won Seo Seung-won Seo ... Steward
Woon-seob Shin ... Spectator 1


Soul mate minstrels Jang-sang and Gong-gil eke out a living in 14th century Korea through bawdy stories presented in a tightrope act; however, sexual interests of the rich over Gong-gil's androgynous looks impair their basic desire to entertain once too often. A line is crossed, an authority figure dies, and the pair must flee to Seoul. They soon take up with a trio of fellow minstrels and, lead by Jang-sang, present riskier shows that prove more lucrative; but, a scathing exhibition satirizing the king and his concubine puts them under arrest with a set date for execution. Forced to present themselves to the king for final judgment, they surprisingly wind up becoming his court performers, but the tyrannical king, though sensitive and intelligent, is also excessive and psychologically scarred, with the minstrel shows putting him uncomfortably in touch with buried issues over his dead mother (long ago forced to commit suicide by the court). This makes him dangerously unstable. The ... Written by statmanjeff

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Forbidden desire, sumptuous tragedy


Drama | History


PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


This film was selected as the official Korean entry for the Best Foreign Language Film award at the 79th Academy Awards. The runners-up were Kim Ki-duk's Time, and the horror comedy The Host. See more »


In the on-screen translation, opening titles call out Korea's 500-years-plus Chosun Dynasty as being unmatched in the annals of "word" history, rather than "world" history. See more »


Yuk-gab: [From subtitles] Someone grabbed my balls, thinking I really had none. It scared the shit outta me!
See more »

User Reviews

A stunning movie...
11 October 2006 | by thebanquetSee all my reviews

When I first heard that the movie King and the Clown was being made, I thought that it wouldn't be very interesting. But it was so good. Directed by Lee Joon Ik(a quite well known director in our country,though not in overseas),King and the Clown tells about a love story between two courters and the triangular relationship between them and the king.(of course,unlike what many foreign audiences might think,although the king,his concubine and Kong Gil are real people,the story itself is 100% made up)What was most astonishing about this movie was that,it showed the passionate love between the two male jesters without showing any sexual scenes.(I liked Brokeback Mountain,but not it was too explicit)And the choreography,costumes etc were so beautifully made with a low budget(around 4.5million dollars). Finally I see a well made Korean movie that was very interesting even without any star actors.

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South Korea



Release Date:

29 December 2005 (South Korea) See more »

Also Known As:

The King and the Clown See more »

Filming Locations:

Seoul, South Korea See more »


Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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