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Ode to My Father (2014)

Gukjesijang (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, War | 17 December 2014 (South Korea)
1:14 | Trailer
Amid the time of Korean War, a young boy's vow to take care of his family marked the beginning of a lifelong promise spanning 60 years.


JK Youn


Su-jin Park (as Soo-jin Park)
2,174 ( 6,284)
17 wins & 20 nominations. See more awards »



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Credited cast:
Jung-min Hwang ... Yoon, Duk-soo
Yunjin Kim ... Youngja
Dal-su Oh ... Dal-gu
Jin-young Jung ... Yoon, Jin-gyu
Young-nam Jang Young-nam Jang ... Mother
Mi-ran Ra Mi-ran Ra ... Aunt Kkotbun
Seul-gi Kim ... Kketsun (as Seul-ki Kim)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Stella Choe Stella Choe ... Maksoon
Jesse Day Jesse Day ... American Soldier
Yunho Jung Yunho Jung ... Nam Jin
Min-jae Kim ... Yoon, Dojoo
István Medvigy István Medvigy ... Maksoon's Husband
Inho Tae Inho Tae ... Yoon, Kijoo
Teresa Trnková Teresa Trnková ... German Nurse


Amid the chaos of refugees fleeing the Korean War in December 1950, a young boy, Duk-soo, sees his fate change in the blink of an eye when he loses track of his younger sister and he leaves his father behind to find her. Settling in Busan, Duk-soo devotes himself to his remaining family, working all manner of odd jobs to support them in place of his father. His dedication leads him first to the deadly coal mines of Germany, where he meets his first love, Youngja, and then to war-torn Vietnam in this generational epic about one man's personal sacrifices. Written by CJ Entertainment

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | War


Not Rated | See all certifications »


Official Sites:

Official site [Japan]


South Korea


Korean | English | German

Release Date:

17 December 2014 (South Korea) See more »

Also Known As:

The International Market See more »

Filming Locations:

Busan, South Korea See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$46,320, 2 January 2015, Limited Release

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

JK FILMS See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Four VFX company is involved with the film's VFX. See more »


Remade as Bharat (2019) See more »

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User Reviews

Bypass the PTSD
6 June 2015 | by myalbumSee all my reviews

Ode to My Father is a story for most Korean-Americans who came to the US as children with their parents. I always thought my Uncle Thomas was such a brave and entrepreneurial individual for going to Saigon during the war to sell pizza to the US soldiers but after watching the film, I realized these opportunities were presented to the masses after the Korean War. I never knew about the German coal mines recruiting laborers from Korea and that definitely gave me pause to reflect upon the scene where the Korean high schoolers were discriminating against the Pakistani couple at Starbucks. South Korea was once 3rd world too.

My dad always lamented on why the conflict between super powers was fought on Korean land instead of Japan. And why Korea was divided and not Japan. Germany was divided after WWI, why wasn't Japan? Japan shared all its medical learnings from the wartime POW science experiments and gave unconditional surrender to the US to do its will and was spared. He resigned that the 2 atomic bombs were punishment enough.

Ode to My Father is an attempt at epic film-making spanning 4 decades like Forrest Gump. The biggest issue I have with this film in attempting depiction of such a span of time is the lack of period transport for the film watcher. The film Taegukki was much better at cinematography showing life after the liberation from Japanese colonialism. You feel like you are there with the brothers. In Ode to My Father, the breathtaking scene of the refugees amassed at the port was eye-opening to say the least but the rest of the film showed contemporary thoughts and actions from its main characters rather than the unworldly views possessed by most Koreans living at the time.

Duk-soo and Dal-gu's friendship is exemplary of the many friendships forged during that time. My father is still good friends with his buddies from middle school and high school. They never share stories or reminisce about the past because it is just too painful. But if my father saw this film, he would definitely be in tears at his ripe old age of 82.

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