Korean comedy movies manage to blend other genres into their storylines. This doesn’t just involve rom-com. It also suggests that Korea’s funniest movies often use their humor to highlight relevant social, political, and historical themes.
Want to have a good laugh? Our list of Korean comedy movies is here to help you.
Korean Comedy Movies on Amazon Prime
IMDb Rating: 6.9/10
Secretly, Greatly starts off funny, but they end on a more tragic note. That’s the general trend of Korean comedy movies. Though the film’s original humor is more lighthearted than dry, it has a very hilarious premise. North Korea sends an elite spy to live undercover in South Korea as a village idiot named Dong-gu, who poops on the street and trips downstairs. After Kim Jong-un’s death, Dong-gu and two other undercover spies (a rock musician and a student) get picked up in a power struggle with severe consequences. Secretly Greatly is not the only Korean comedy movie that talks about North Korea. There are other movies, but Secretly, Greatly gives the most modern and mainstream take on the format. It’s a helpful way to measure everyday South Korean attitudes towards North Koreans as “wayward brothers” that eventually still refer to the same metaphorical Korean family.
IMDb Rating: 7.1/10
Extreme Job captivated many viewers in Korea and beyond. In fact, it’s the highest-earning Korean comedy of all time. A combination of the buddy cop and action genres, Extreme Job highlights a group of bumbling police officers who begin a fried chicken restaurant to present the cover for an undercover anti-narcotics operation. When the restaurant grows surprisingly popular, the cops strive to balance their cover story with their true mission. Excellent cast chemistry, funny dialogue, and well-choreographed fight scenes make Extreme Job a super entertaining cinematic journey. It’s no wonder the movie performed so well at the box office.
IMDB Rating: 7.8/10
Sunny gives a wholesome reflection on friendship and nostalgia. The film focuses on a middle-aged woman named Im Na-mi. Through high school, Na-mi possessed a six-girl friend group named “Sunny.” One day, Na-mi finds one of Sunny’s members dying of cancer in a hospital and she decides to bring Sunny back together once more. Shifting between Sunny’s formation in the 1980s and the present day, Sunny will resonate with anybody who’s also seeming to relive the lighter thoughts of youth. This is the sort of movie that gets you both laugh and cry and warms your soul in the process.
IMDb Ratings: 7.2/10
Scandal Makers is a film that you could watch with your family or significant other without trouble. In Scandal Makers, Cha Tae-Hyun stars as a playboy DJ named Nam Hyeon-soo who abruptly discovers that a single teenage mother who calls into his show is really his daughter. The bachelor lifestyle-loving Nam need now contend with his newfound status as both father and grandfather. There really isn’t that much “scandal” to Scandal Makers. Rather, it’s a wholesome and chuckle-inducing journey of what family means.
IMDb Rating: 8.2/10
Miracle in Cell #7 is another one of those Korean comedies that mix laughs and tears. The movie focuses on Lee Yong-gu, a psychologically handicapped man who’s wrongly imprisoned for the murder and rape of a police commissioner’s daughter. Though originally rejected, Lee ultimately wins the admiration of fellow cellmates and the prison warden due to his simple and innocent nature. Lee’s cellmates end up supporting regularly smuggle in his daughter Ye-sung, whose precociousness adds further fun to the film. Without providing too much, Miracle in Cell #7 is one of the most wholesome and moving Korean movies that exist. Have tissues ready to wipe away the tears you’ll get from laughing and crying too much.
IMDb Rating: 6.9/10
The President’s Last Bang is not only entertaining but also proof of South Korea coming to terms with its authoritarian history. In brief, The President’s Last Bang stages the 1979 assassination of South Korean president Park Chung-hee. Though he supported South Korea’s economic growth, Park also governed with an iron fist forming a complex legacy that pits conservative supporters against liberal critics to this day. Because it focused on such a controversial figure, The President’s Last Bang created a huge buzz upon its release. Park’s only son sued the filmmakers; while he couldn’t prevent the film’s distribution, he did make the production company pay US$105,000 in compensation. It’s simple to see why Park’s son needed to sue. The President’s Last Bang describes Park Chung-hee and his allies as bumbling, Japanese-sympathizing fools who womanize and booze instead of care about Korea’s citizens. The film becomes bracingly alive with great acting and compelling narrative structure, combining more punch to its already potent message.
IMDb Ratings: 7.2/10
Miss Granny is one of South Korea’s top comedies. Miss Granny centers on an old woman named Oh Mal-soon. Strong-willed but almost lonely, Oh goes into a photo studio one day for a self-portrait. In the method, she’s magically changed into her 20-year-old self. By this new lease on youth, Oh renames herself Oh Doo-Ri after her childhood idol, Audrey Hepburn. She then seeks her passion for music, crashing into her unaware grandson in the process. Family-friendly and uplifting, Miss Granny encourages viewers to appreciate the joyful parts of life. Moreover, it highlights the value of family and being in the moment. Besides amusing musical numbers and accessible humor, Miss Granny was such a crowd-pleaser that it also sparked Filipino and Indian remakes.
IMDb Ratings: 7/10
Before directing Snowpiercer, The Host, and Memories of Murder, famous Korean director Bong Joon-ho made a dark comedy called Barking Dogs Never Bite. Barking Dogs Never Bite cores around an unemployed professor who gets irritated at constantly yapping dogs and attempts to kill them in response. While a maintenance worker catches a whiff of his actions and attempts to save the dogs from slaughter. If you’re a hardcore animal rights activist, this certainly isn’t the film for you. But, the plot plan of dog slaughter isn’t presented as brutally as you might think and works as a memorable metaphor for how we live in a “dog eat dog” world. Many of the film’s humor comes from depicting its characters’ efforts to achieve their dreams amidst a sometimes absurd, sometimes frustrating journey called life. Besides excellent cinematography, excellent acting, and sinfully witty jokes, this gives Barking Dogs Never Bite one of the most authentic, refreshing, and thought-provoking Korean comedy movies in existence.
IMDb Rating: 7.7/10
Welcome to Dongmakgol combines humor and history to tell one of Korean cinema’s most meaningful and enjoyable tales. Welcome to Dongmakgol happens in a mythical village named Dongmakgol, amidst the Korean War. What’s unique about this village is that nobody really knows the Korean War is happening. But, that honesty becomes threatened when both North and South Korean troops, as well as a lone American pilot, grow stranded there. What follows is a hilarious commentary about the stupidity of war and “us versus them” mentalities. The villagers find it absurd that all these outsiders want to kill each other and poke fun at all the stranded soldiers’ attacks. Ultimately, all of the film’s characters meet around a common cause leading the story in a beautiful and uplifting direction. Jolly, soul-warming, and historically relevant, Welcome to Dongmakgol is our top choice for Korean comedies.
Korean Comedy Movies on Netflix
IMDb Rating: 6.2/10
The Bros shows the story of two brothers living totally separate lives who are reunited at their father’s funeral. Their funny sibling competition, a strange young lady, and recently discovered family secrets come together to perform a quirky but fun slapstick comedy.
IMDb Rating: 7/10
Seoul Searching is the perfect comedic drama for you. The flick tracks a group of Korean-American teens who travel to a Korean summer camp in 1986 to study more about their heritage but rather get tangled up in parties, drinking games, and budding love. The thick ’80s nostalgia and timeless coming-of-age plot ensure a lighthearted movie night.
Korean Comedy Movies on YouTube
IMDb Rating: 6.4/10
In the Wedding Campaign, two middle-aged Korean men go to Uzbekistan to find wives from the local ethnic Korean community. Collectively with their matchmaker-cum-translator Lara, the two men deal with amusing cultural and lingual barriers in their quest for romance. Wedding Campaign truly highlights two intriguing phenomena from Korean history and culture. First is the presence of Koryo-saram, or the ~500,000 ethnic Koreans who reside in post-Soviet countries. In the late 1800s when Korea was on a slump, many Koreans moved to the Russian Far East in search of economic possibilities. But, when Stalin ascended to power, he violently relocated 172,000 of those Koreans to Central Asian countries like Uzbekistan. 176,000 ethnic Koreans live in Uzbekistan to this day, talking a distinct language and creating Soviet-altered culinary traditions. Second is the fact that many rural Korean men, incapable to win over local women, bring foreign brides.
My Sassy Girl (2001)
IMDb Rating: 8/10
My Sassy Girl is the highest-grossing comedy movie of all time in Korea. The movie has been recognized for sparking global interest in South Korean mainstream cinema and spreading Hallyu, the Korean wave, across the world. The plot of the film revolves around Gyun-woo, a college student who can’t appear to catch a break. When a set of unfortunate circumstances, including a subway ride and a misplaced nice gesture, drives him to meet The Girl, his life becomes upside down.
My Wife is a Gangster (2001)
IMDb Rating: 6.4/10
My Wife is a Gangster features the story of Eun-jin, a high-ranking member of a strong Korean mafia family. She has to get married soon, after promising her terminally ill sister that she’ll do so before she passes away. On her journey to find a guy who would wed her, Eun-jin unexpectedly meets Kang Soo-il, a passive office worker who is the total opposite of her. The two choose to get married but complications arise when a rival gang decides to come for Eun-jin, warning her to reveal her real identity to her unassuming husband.
Baby and I (2008)
IMDb Rating: 6.6/10
Baby and I center around Joon-soo, a rebel high school student popular with the girls. A fateful trip to the supermarket grounds him with more than what he could’ve bargained for, a baby. To get matters worse, the baby is followed by a note saying that he is the father. The movie reflects the protagonist’s hilarious attempts to, first, leave the baby, and then gradually becoming used to being a responsible father.
Speedy Scandal (2008)
IMDb Rating: 7.2/10
Also known as Scandal Makers, this movie is about a former teen idol and now a 30-year-old radio DJ, Nam Hyun-soo whose world is twisted upside down when a woman shows up at his doorstep with a young boy, declaring to be his daughter and the kid his grandchild. Fun ensues as Hyun-soo attempts to adjust to this new revelation and has to protect it from reporters regularly on the hunt for scandals. The movie was the highest-grossing Korean film in the year that it was released.
IMDb Rating: 7/10
The Veteran has won several awards. The story highlights a tough and merciless cop Detective Seo Do-Cheol who finds a connection between a high-profile case he is investigating and Jo Tae-oh, an overbearing, young millionaire, who is also the successor to a powerful crime syndicate. The film continues to follow Do-Cheol’s chase of Tae-oh, who is essentially forbidden because of his connections and wealth.
IMDb Rating: 6.8/10
Twenty is a coming-of-age comedy about three 20-year-olds and their misadventures in love and life. There’s Chi Ho, a jobless player who is only interested in living life in the moment and girls, Kyung-Jae, a goody-two-shoes university student whose single purpose is to score a high paying job in a multinational company, and Dong-woo, who needs to become a cartoonist but has to leave that dream when his family goes bankrupt and he has to take up several odd jobs to survive.
In case you have been wanting to experience the brilliant storytelling and techniques of Korean cinema yourself, watch all of these Korean comedy movies.