Best Song Kang

Even before being cast in Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite, South Korean actor Song Kang-ho is easily one of the most recognizable faces in Korean cinema. He has worked with almost every major Korean director well-known internationally and domestically, and has consistently delivered strong performances in all of his films. Song made his acting debut in director Hong Sang-soo’s directorial debut: The Day a Pig Fell into a Well. He was 30 years old and had previously pursued a career as a theater actor. Soon after, he started appearing in more films, but found his big break when he starred in Park Chan-wook’s hit film Joint Security Area. Song and Park then collaborated on the first installment of his Vengeance trilogy: Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance.

This was just the beginning of Song’s prolific career, especially since he first collaborated with Bong Joon-ho around the same time for Memories of Murder. His career over the next 20 years would be marked by a series of impressive performances, returning to work with directors he had made films with in the past and new ones. Not only was Song an international star, in mainstream consciousness, for his film Parasite, but he recently nabbed the Best Actor award at the Cannes International Film Festival for Courtier. He will soon also star in his first television series in South Korea. Until Broker’s overseas release, these are his best films to date.

7/7 Thirst

C.J. Entertainment

Song Kang-ho and Park Chan-wook collaborated again for Thirst in 2009, which is a vampire story with a major twist. Song is Sang-hyun, a devout Catholic priest who finds himself in a sticky situation after volunteering to test for a deadly new virus. The death rate from this disease is extremely high, but when Sang-hyun survives the experience, he discovers that he has powers and weaknesses unlike anything he has seen. His church gains an influx of followers because of it, but he soon realizes he’s turned into a vampire, turning Thirst into a film not only about physical struggles, but also mental ones.

Declaration of emergency 6/7

Wooju Film Co.,Ltd

Released in 2021, after being delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Declaration of Emergency boasts a stacked cast with Song, Lee Byung-hun, Jeon Do-yeon, and Kim Nam-gil. It is currently one of the highest-grossing films in South Korea, which met with box office success when it opened. Based on a true story, Declaration of Emergency tells the story of a plane that is forced to land after declaring a state of emergency due to events on the flight, leaving its occupants scrambling to foil predictions and overcoming the situation.

5/7 The host

Magnolia Pictures

Bong Joon-ho’s monster movie The Host would be incomplete without Song Kang-ho’s performance, creating a storyline where monster movie meets dark comedy and drama. Song is Park Gang-du, a man who runs a snack bar with his father near the Han River in Seoul. He has a daughter and everything seems to be fine despite Gang-du being seen as the failure of the family, but a monster emerges from the depths of the river and kidnaps his daughter. Full of comedy, emotional moments, and its fair share of drama, The Host brings the whole family together on the hunt to retrieve Gang-du’s daughter.

4/7 Secret Sun

Pine house films

Secret Sunshine is one of director Lee Chang-dong’s finest films, and it shines with the quality of its actors. Jeon Do-yeon and Song Kang-ho star in a moving play about a mother’s struggle after moving to a new town with her son. Her husband has just died in a car accident, and she wants to start this move again. She meets a townsman (Song) who works as a mechanic, but tragedy strikes again when her son is kidnapped. Secret Sunshine is deeply moving and speaks to the strength and nature of humanity as a whole, though told through the lens of this woman’s story.

Parasite 3/7

Bong Joon-ho became one of South Korea’s best-known directors due to the success of Parasite, as did Song Kang-ho as an actor. For the first time, her brilliance was elevated to a platform in which the world could see and marvel at her talent alongside the rest of the incredible cast. Parasite is a classic Bong film, twisting on itself and blurring the conventional natures of the genre into something completely new, making it refreshing as it hurtles towards its climax. As a poor family infiltrates a wealthy family in an attempt to get more money, they literally become a parasite and a recipe for their downfall.

Broker 2/7

CJ ENM

Broker has been buzzing since making the rounds of the international film festival circuits. Renowned Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda directed this film with a South Korean cast, bringing stars like Song, Lee Ji-eun, Bae Doona, and Gang Dong-won into the film. Sang-hyeon (Song) and Dong-soo (Gang) run an illegal business together: they physically steal babies from the church’s baby box and resell them. After a mother returns to see what had happened to her baby, she decides to join them and interview the potential parents of her child.

1/7 Murder Memories

CJ Entertainment Sidus Photos

Memories of Murder shows the potential of a detective film to its fullest. Song plays the lead role of Park Doo-man, a detective tasked with uncovering the truth about a serial killer. Based on a series of real events in Korea, which have only recently been solved, the group assembled to solve the crime finds themselves wondering what to do. There is an edge in Memories of Murder, elements of satire hidden in lines of dialogue and action, and the elements of crime and comedy blend together to create a unique viewing experience that potentially makes it one of the best Korean releases of the decade.

Best Song Kang-ho Movies, Ranked | Pretty Reel