Watching movies: It’s not just an excuse to eat popcorn anymore.
These days, viewing films is so much more than a perfect snack-ortunity.
Especially if you’re learning Korean.
After all, Korean cinema is booming.
The Busan International Film Festival is one of the largest film festivals in Asia.
Some American movies, like “The Uninvited” and “The Lake House,” are actually remakes of Korean films.
So needless to say, watching Korean movies is essential to both your language and cultural education.
There’s nothing better than having fun and feeling productive while doing so.
But if you’re ready to binge, you’ll need plenty of sources for streaming Korean movies.
After all, there are 24 hours in a day, and most movies are about two hours long. At that rate, you can knock out all the easy-to-find Korean movie options in no time.
Thankfully, there are plenty of streaming services with lots of great Korean movie options.
Here are six that can help propel you into a Korean learning binge!
Why Streaming Korean Movies Is a Dream Come True for Learners
First and foremost, Korean movies are a great learning tool for picking up the language. Not only can you get some listening practice, you get to witness real Korean in context, which will give you a better idea of how conversations sound.
Additionally, there are plenty of options out there for Korean movies, so you’ll never get bored. Unlike with some harder-to-find languages, there’s a huge abundance of Korean films available online. Since the so-called “Korean Wave” created such high demand for Korean media, subtitled Korean movies have become readily available to eager international audiences. This makes it much easier for you to find plenty of movies in whatever genres interest you.
Because of this abundance, Korean movies can offer you diverse and varied vocabulary. Many films use fairly general vocabulary, but if you want to practice more specialized vocabulary, consider finding a film with a related focus. For instance, if you want to learn business vocabulary, look for a movie about someone working in a business context.
Finally, Korean movies pair perfectly with the focused approach to shorter content you can find on FluentU. FluentU offers Korean movie trailers, mini-movies and other brief real-world videos, like K-pop videos, Korean news and more. These videos are converted into powerful learning tools—each video is captioned and the captions are annotated, putting any word’s definition, example sentences and an associated image at the tip of your fingers. Want to see how a word is used in other videos? All you have to do is click it.
Binge Learn! 6 Resources for Streaming Korean Movies
Netflix needs no introduction. It’s where you go when you’re bored. It’s what you use to pass the time. And now, it can also be how you improve your Korean skills.
That’s because Netflix offers plenty of Korean movies. Can’t resist a good zombie flick? Check out “부산행” (“Train to Busan”). If you’re a bigger fan of historical action, try “암살” (“Assassination”), set in Japanese-occupied Korea. To find other Korean movies, all you have to do is search “Korean movies.” From there, you can even select more specific categories, like “Romantic Korean Movies.”
The Korean movies on Netflix all offer English-language subtitles, but some also offer Korean subtitles, giving you the opportunity to read along with the dialogue. To change the language settings from a computer, just start the movie and adjust your subtitling by hovering over the speech bubble in the lower right-hand corner. To change settings on a Roku or other streaming device, look for “Audio and subtitles” in the program’s information screen.
Once you watch one Korean movie, Netflix will automatically recommend a bunch more, so you may sit down thinking you’ll watch one movie and then suddenly find that you haven’t gotten off the couch in 12 hours but your Korean skills are the best they’ve ever been.
In general, Hulu doesn’t seem to have quite as many foreign-language options as Netflix, but Korean learners are in luck: Hulu does have a few Korean movies, and since it’s one of the more popular and accessible options for streaming movies out there (maybe you already have an account), it’s definitely worth a look.
Do you have the learning fever? Well, DramaFever can help fan the flames of your Korean fervor.
That’s because streaming service DramaFever has no shortage of Korean options. Plus, it’s easy to browse through the dozens of movies in DramaFever’s Korean feature films category. If you can’t resist a buddy-cop comedy, try “청년경찰” (“Midnight Runners”).
While technically some of DramaFever’s content is free with ads, the Korean movies generally require a premium membership. However, membership is not without some added benefits—some levels of membership even provide downloadable content so you can watch it on the go without using data.
AsianCrush is a streaming service dedicated entirely to Asian movies and TV. You can enjoy it on your computer, Roku, AppleTV, iOS or Android device!
AsianCrush allows you to browse by region, giving you quick, easy access to over 300 Korean movies. Some material is only available to subscribers, but there are some films you can watch for free, like “눈길” (“Snowy Road”), another historical drama set in Japanese-occupied Korea.
OnDemandKorea is a streaming service dedicated exclusively to Korean content, including Korean movies.
A premium membership allows you access to dozens of films, but there are also plenty of free options available. Best of all, it’s easy to tell at a glance which movies are and aren’t free—just look for the “ODK PLUS” logo in the upper left of the associated image to see if you need a premium membership to watch that movie.
If you have subtitling preferences, pay particular attention to the “All Subtitles” bar near the top of the screen. You can use the drop-down menu to filter movies so you only see film options with your preferences.
If you prefer your Korean films short and to the point, no one offers a selection quite like FilmDoo.
In addition to full-length films, FilmDoo has an unmatched selection of short films, which are perfect for Korean learners who feel like two hours is just a little too daunting.
FilmDoo’s Korean selection is vast and varied. Pay careful attention to the filters available at the top of the page—you can browse films for rental or free options. There are plenty of paid options, but there are also some great free choices. For instance, you might enjoy “Abeoji: A Father’s Love,” which is a documentary short about a South Korean orphanage director.
With these six streaming services, you’ll never run out of great Korean movies for your learning binge.
Just don’t forget the snacks!
And One More Thing…
If you enjoyed this post, you’re already halfway to having the time of your life learning Korean with FluentU!
FluentU is an online immersion platform that takes real-world videos—like movie trailers, music videos, inspiring talks, vlogs and more—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
FluentU really takes the grunt work out of learning languages, leaving you with nothing but engaging, effective and efficient learning. It’s already hand-picked the best videos for you (which are organized by level and topic), so you simply choose any video that strikes your fancy to get started!
Each word in the interactive captions comes with a definition, audio, image, example sentences and more.
Access a complete interactive transcript of every video under the Dialogue tab, and easily review words and phrases from the video under Vocab.
You can use FluentU’s unique Quiz Mode to learn the vocabulary and phrases from the video through fun questions.
FluentU keeps track of what you’re learning, and tells you exactly when it’s time for review, giving you a 100% personalized experience.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Korean with real-world videos.