Have a Netflix account?
You’re in luck! Netflix has a fantastic selection of Korean movies at the moment that will propel your online Korean studies to new heights.
Using Netflix to improve your Korean is simple, fun and, yes, very addictive.
But make no mistake, it’s also highly effective!
Here’s everything you need to know about Korean movies on Netflix.
How Watching Movies on Netflix Can Improve Your Korean
- You’ll get exposure to a variety of Korean vocabulary. That’s because Netflix welcomes movies from a variety of genres. This will allow you to learn a combination of general and technical words and expressions on the main topic of the movie you’re watching.
- You’ll hear the correct Korean pronunciation. Whether it’s words or idioms, movies on Netflix are the real thing. They provide natural immersion through authentic content and fluent dialogue. Especially if you’ve never traveled to Korea and are studying Korean on your own, it’s important to hear the actual sounds of the Korean language.
- Learn the social etiquette. Speaking Korean isn’t just a matter of learning the language. You need to be able to activate it in context. Watching Korean movies on Netflix can help you understand the nuances of the language based on a variety of situations. They’re also a helpful way to gain familiarity with the honorifics system that exists in Korean.
- Stay on track of your studies. Learning while having fun is the best way to achieve fluency. Focusing on content that best suits your taste is a smart strategy to stay engaged in your studies over a long period of time.
Expert Strategies to Learn Korean by Watching Movies on Netflix
- Choose a movie you like. That’s the key to being consistent! Netflix offers a good selection of movies and is always adding new Korean movies to their database. If you’re located in Korea, you’ll notice that Netflix Korea currently has a smaller selection of content than Netflix USA, but that it offers movie subtitles in Hangul—which is awesome.
Previously, it was pretty easy to access other countries’ Netflix from anywhere with a VPN service like HideMyAss! VPN (i.e. to access Netflix Korea if you’re located in the USA), but as of 2016 Netflix has really been cracking down on this. Be sure to check the list of Korean movies on your country’s version of Netflix periodically if you don’t find the current selection that exciting. You can also use your excitement for Korean movies and your VPN power to branch out beyond Netflix, exploring all the Korean movies that are available online.
- Keep a notepad handy. Write down all new vocabulary and expressions you’ll want to use yourself, and go over your notes regularly. Use them both verbally and in writing.
- Watch the movie again, and again, and again! It’s a good strategy to focus on the language after you’re familiar with the story, as well as to activate recently learned vocabulary. By rewatching the film, you’ll also pick up the little language nuances you may have missed.
You don’t have to replay the movie right after you’ve just watched it. Try to let it sit for a couple of days to give yourself the time to absorb new words and expressions first. But be sure that the dialogues and storyline are fresh in your mind and only replay the movies you love. It should feel like fun, not like homework!
- Read the script. Not all Netflix movies will have a script available online, but it can be helpful if you’re struggling with a complex movie. If you can find the script, it’s helpful to read the dialogues along as the movie unfolds. To find the script, simply look up the name of the movie in Korean followed by 대본 (script) on Naver or even on Google.
- Act the part. When you start to really know the movie well, pick a scene and put yourself in character. Immerse yourself fully into the role, say the lines and have fun with it! You’ll quickly realize you’ll make tremendous progress in pronunciation and speed when speaking Korean.
- Try FluentU. You may want to cut to the chase and really focus on learning the language efficiently. If you’re looking for a tool that will save you research time and effort in your studies, try FluentU along with streaming services like Netflix.
Here's a quick look at the variety of video choices available to you:
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.
Don't stop there, though. You can use FluentU’s unique quizzes to learn the vocabulary and phrases from the video through fun questions.
FluentU even tracks your progress and remembers all the words you've learned, making for a 100% personalized experience.
Review sessions use video context to help embed the words in your memory. The best part? You can access the full FluentU video library with a free trial!
Start using FluentU Korean on the website or download the app from the iTunes or Google Play store.
The 7 Best Korean Movies on Netflix to Level Up Your Korean in 2021
1. “유열의 음악앨범”—“Tune in for Love”
Literal translation of Korean title: Yoo Yeol’s Music Album & Joyful Album
Have you ever heard about the power of music and how it can draw two people together?
That’s the situation you’re in store for when you watch “Tune in for Love.”
This film is a romantic drama where its two main characters, Mi-soo and Hyun-woo, first meet while working at a bakery. After the bakery closes and their lives pull them in different directions, they always end up finding each other again through a radio show they both enjoy, “Yoo Yeol’s Music Album.” As the years go by and they get pushed farther and farther apart, their eventual love seems unlikely, but music keeps thrusting them together.
This movie is great for learning vocabulary related to daily life, love and even baking. Further, this movie takes place during the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis and its fallout, so it’s also a great way to learn a bit about Korean history that has taken place after the Korean War.
2. “반드시 잡는다”—“The Chase”
Literal translation of Korean title: Catch By All Means!
Who doesn’t love settling onto the couch after a long day and watching a film about crime and serial murders?
Did I mention that “The Chase” is also quite funny?
This crime thriller is about a grumpy old landlord who knows everything about everyone’s business.
I mean, how could you be a grumpy old man without being ridiculously nosy? In short, after harassing his tenants to pay the rent that they’re behind on, Sim Duk-Soo realizes there’s something awry in his town when people begin to go missing. After the authorities turn up no leads, he teams up with Park Pyung-Dal, a retired detective who’s still haunted by an unsolved murder case that’s 30 years old.
This movie is the perfect combination of action and humor, and viewers can learn vocabulary related to crime, everyday life and property rental.
3. “상류사회”—“High Society”
Literal translation of Korean title: Upper Class Society
Fancy houses, fast cars and expensive jewelry, oh my!
“High Society” is a movie that’s true to its title. This story follows a political hopeful and professor at Seoul National University and his wife, the director of an art gallery. They crave power and wealth, and while they’re well off already, they yearn for more. In fact, there’s no limit to the things they’ll do to get to the top: money laundering, negotiations with thugs and even betraying one another with love affairs.
In a world that’s reeling from the Korean cinematic hit, “Parasite,” this film also touches on the subjects of class in Korea and the ambitious upper class who will stop at nothing to expand their influence and wealth. All in all, this film is an entertaining way to practice formal Korean.
4. “기억의 밤”—“Forgotten”
Literal translation of Korean title: Night of Remembrance
Jin-seok watches his brother being kidnapped one night, and after missing for 19 days, his brother returns and has no memory of his past life.
“Forgotten” is a psychological thriller and science fiction film that’s fast on the punches and leaves viewers glued to the screen as Jin-seok seeks to find the truth to his brother’s abduction. Also, did I mention that Jin-seok’s brother’s missing memory might have something to do with time travel?
Lovers of Netflix’s series “Stranger Things” and “Dark” will love this film, and Korean learners will find ample opportunities for learning colloquial Korean and Korean slang.
5. “부라더”—“The Bros”
Literal translation of Korean title: Brother
Speaking of brothers who have to re-evaluate their lives…
“The Bros” is a film that also follows two brothers. In this case, Seok-bong is a history teacher down on his luck and Joo-bong is a promising executive at an architecture company, and they constantly butt heads when it comes to philosophies on life. Forced together after their father’s death, they accidentally hit a woman with their car!
Luckily for them (or perhaps unluckily for them), the woman, Aurora, suffers memory loss. What she does remember, however, leads to secrets about their late father and their family that they would rather not know.
This film is a combination of lighthearted humor and family drama, and it’s a great way to learn Korean vocabulary related to family, jobs and friendship.
6. “사바하”—“Svaha: The Sixth Finger”
Literal translation of Korean title: Sabaha
“Svaha: The Sixth Finger” is an odd film, but I mean that in the best way possible.
Korean cinema is known for its unique and sometimes unsettling take on horror films, and this movie is no different. This creepy thriller follows a man named Pastor Park who attempts to unravel the mystery of an isolated religious cult called “Deer Mount.” At the same time, this film also follows a young woman named Geumhwa and her deformed twin sister, “It.” As the two stories intertwine, Pastor Park uncovers more and more strange revelations.
Throw in some demons, immortality and tough questions about God, and this movie is quite the roller coaster!
Literal translation of Korean title: Revenger
What would a list about the best Korean movies on Netflix be without a martial arts film?
Nowhere, that’s where!
In this action film, former detective Yool goes to a remote island called Soorado to avenge his murdered family. The only catch is that the island is a prison for violent criminals. As you can imagine, this leads to endless fight sequences and some fantastic special effects. Not to mention, well-known Korean actor Park Hee-Soon plays Carlos Kun, the evil antagonist of the film who will stop at nothing to kill Yool.
These Netflix movies will help you acquire the tools you need to take your Korean studies a step further.
The best part of it?
You’ll learn the language while also having fun and increasing your understanding of Korean culture!
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Korean with real-world videos.