Bong Joon Ho’s Favorite Movies: 47 Films the Director Wants You to See

The "Parasite" filmmaker's favorite movies include works from some of the best American, Japanese, and South Korean directors who ever lived.
Bong Joon Ho Favorite Movies: "Midsommar," "Rocco and His Brothers," "The Housemaid," and "Pulp Fiction"
(Clockwise from bottom left): "Midsommar," "Rocco and His Brothers," Bong Joon Ho, "The Housemaid," and "Pulp Fiction"
Courtesy Getty Images/Everett Collection

Bong Joon Ho has long been one of South Korea’s best filmmakers thanks to acclaimed movies such as “Memories of Murder,” “Mother,” and “The Host,” but it wasn’t until 2019 that Bong become a worldwide cinema superstar. With “Parasite,” Bong vaulted himself into the topmost echelon of the world’s best directors working today.

“Parasite” premiered to the world at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, where it made history as the first South Korean film to win the prestigious Palme d’Or. The months that followed brought Bong to nearly all of awards season’s biggest festivals (Telluride, Toronto, NYFF) and ceremonies (Golden Globes, SAG Awards, DGA Awards, Critic’s Choice, etc.). Bong’s incredible journey with “Parasite” culminated in six Oscar nominations and historic wins for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best International Feature. The drama is the first foreign-language movie to win Best Picture, and Bong is the first South Korean filmmaker to win Best Director. His influence, particularly as it relates to the acceptance of subtitled films by American audiences, is as difficult to conceptualize as it is to overstate.

“Mickey 17” is Bong’s next movie: a sci-fi epic starring Robert Pattinson as an expendable human clone sent to colonize a distant planet. Although audiences have already received a small tease for the film, it’s not due out until March 29, 2024 and remains generally under wraps. Steven Yeun, Toni Collette, Mark Ruffalo, and Naomi Ackiealso star.

Bong is a great director, but he’s also an avid cinephile who loves talking about films and raising awareness for some of the best Asian filmmakers who came before him, including Kim Ki-young, Shohei Imamura, and Keisuke Kinoshita. Check out a handful of Bong’s favorite movies below, listed in no particular order. This includes a couple of new picks from his 2022 Sight & Sound Greatest Films of All Time ballot, in which Bong reiterated his established love for classics (like Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho”) but also shouted on some new favorites (namely, Kim Ki-young’s “Hanyo” and Luchino Visconti’s “Rocco and His Brothers.”

With editorial contributions by Zack Sharf.

[Editor’s note: This list was first published in February 2020, and has been updated multiple times since.]

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