Many consider it a taboo and feel that the genre is not suitable for the average cinema-loving audience. However, a section of the audience loves watching this category – erotic movies. Fifty Shades of Grey was a huge example of it. The film broke records and made everyone notice Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson. Interestingly, many Korean erotic movies, too have had the same kind of impact on the audience and are considered the best films in this genre.
The ever-booming Korean film industry has introduced us to several great films in different genres. Erotic Korean movies are also a category that the K-industry has explored beautifully. What differentiates them from other filmmaking styles is the bold and unapologetic exploration of sexuality and desire in the film. Korean filmmakers have helmed some of the best Korean erotic movies. They often delve into taboo subjects and challenge traditional gender roles, making them a unique and thought-provoking viewing experience.
Additionally, Korean cinema has a reputation for producing high-quality films with strong narratives, well-developed characters, and stunning visuals. This combination of artistry and boldness can make Korean erotic movies particularly compelling for those interested in exploring the intersections of sexuality, culture, and art. We have curated a list of 10 Korean erotic movies that you can add to your binge list.
Top 10 Korean erotic movies to add to your watchlist
Korean erotic movies may contain explicit content and mature themes that may not be suitable for all viewers. It is advisable to approach these films with caution and discretion.
Directed by: Park Chan-wook
Cast: Kim Min-hee, Kim Tae-ri, Ha Jung-woo, Cho Jin-woong
Release date: 1 June, 2016
Synopsis: This movie is a sensual thriller based on the novel Fingersmith by Sarah Waters. It tells the story of a young Japanese heiress and her Korean handmaiden who become romantically involved in a complex and twisted plot of deceit.
More about the film: The film was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. At the 71st British Academy Film Awards, the film won the category of Best Film Not in the English Language.
Directed by: Jang Sun-woo
Cast: Lee Sang-hyun, Kim Tae-yeon
Release date: 8 January, 2000
Synopsis: One of the best Korean erotic movies that you can watch is Lies. This movie is a raw and controversial exploration of sexual desire and power dynamics. It follows the story of a 38-year-old sculptor who becomes obsessed with an 18-year-old high school student and engages in an illicit affair with her.
Directed by: Kim Dae-woo
Cast: Song Seung-heon, Lim Ji-yeon
Release date: 14 May, 2014
Synopsis: This movie is a steamy melodrama set in the 1960s. It tells the story of a high-ranking military officer who falls in love with the wife of his subordinate and engages in a passionate and dangerous affair.
More about the film: The film debuted at No. 1 at the local box office, drawing 445,490 admissions and making ₩3.7 billion (INR 370 crores approx.) in its first week.
A Good Day to Have an Affair
Directed by: Jang Mun-il
Cast: Kim Hye-soo, Yoon Jin-seo, Jung Eun-pyo, Lee Jong-hyuk, Lee Min-ki
Release date: 8 February, 2007
Synopsis: This Korean erotic movie is a humorous and lighthearted look at the complexities of modern relationships. It follows the story of two couples who are tempted to cheat on each other and embark on a series of comical misadventures.
More about the film: A Good Day to Have an Affair was the feature film debut of Lee Min-ki.
The Scarlet Letter
Directed by: Byun Hyuk
Cast: Han Suk-kyu, Lee Eun-ju, Sung Hyun-ah, Uhm Ji-won
Release date: 28 October, 2004
Synopsis: This movie is a provocative and intense exploration of female desire and sexual politics. It tells the story of a police detective who scrutinises a murder case while toiling to hang onto his relationships with his wife and mistress.
More about the film: The film debuted as the closing film of the Pusan International Film Festival in 2004. It is based on novelist Kim Young-ha’s short stories A Meditation On Mirror and Photo Shop Murder.
Directed by: Kim Dae-seung
Cast: Jo Yeo-jeong, Kim Dong-wook, Kim Min-jun
Release date: 6 June, 2012
Synopsis: The Concubine is considered to be one of the top Korean erotic movies of its time. This movie is a lush and visually stunning historical drama set in the Joseon Dynasty. It tells the story of a young woman who becomes a concubine to the king and becomes embroiled in a dangerous power struggle between the royal family and the aristocracy.
More about the film: The film was nominated for four awards at the 21st Buil Film Awards. Park Ji-young won the award for Best Supporting Actress as well.
Directed by: Park Chan-wook, Takashi Miike, and Fruit Chan
Cast: Bai Ling, Tony Leung Ka-fai, Lee Byung-hun, Im Won-hee, Kyōko Hasegawa, Atsuro Watabe
Release date: 28 October, 2005
Synopsis: This movie is an anthology of three horror-themed segments. While not strictly erotic, the Korean segment titled “Cut” explores themes of BDSM and sexual violence in a disturbing and surreal manner.
More about the film: Its three segments, Dumplings, Cut, and Box, were directed by Hong Kong director Fruit Chan, South Korean director Park Chan-wook, and Japanese director Takashi Miike, respectively. Dumplings was released as a theatrical feature film the same year, and was cut down to a shorter length for its inclusion in Three… Extremes.
Directed by: Kim Ki-Duk
Cast: Suh Jung, Kim Yu-seok
Release date: 22 April, 2000
Synopsis: One of the best Korean erotic movies you can watch is The Isle. The film revolves around a man and his unusual love story. He takes shelter in a fishing resort after being hurt. The mute keeper of the note nurses him back to health and they develop feelings for each other. But the romance starts going wrong when the man becomes obsessed with the girl, causing trouble and death for those around them.
More about the film: The film gained notoriety for gruesome scenes that caused some viewers to vomit or faint when the film premiered at the Venice Film Festival.
Tazza: The High Rollers
Directed by: Choi Dong-hoon
Cast: Cho Seung-woo, Kim Hye-soo, Yoo Hae-jin, Baek Yoon-sik
Release date: 28 September, 2006
Synopsis: Another interesting hot Korean erotic movie that you can add to your list is Tazza: The High Rollers. This movie is a stylish and thrilling crime drama that also explores themes of lust and desire. It tells the story of a young man who becomes embroiled in the world of high-stakes gambling and seduction, with dangerous consequences.
More about the film: The movie was a huge commercial and critical success, becoming one of South Korea’s highest-grossing films and winning numerous awards. It was the 2nd best-selling film of 2006 in South Korea, with 6,847,777 admissions nationwide.
Directed by: E J-yong
Cast: Youn Yuh-jung, Lee Mi-sook, Go Hyun-jung, Choi Ji-woo, Kim Min-hee, Kim Ok-bin
Release date: 10 December, 2009
Synopsis: This movie is a playful and erotic exploration of the inner lives of six actresses. It blurs the lines between reality and fiction, as the actresses play versions of themselves and reveal their deepest desires and fears in a series of dreamlike sequences.
More about the film: The film pulled in 508,243 admissions.
Hero & Feature Image: Courtesy IMDb