November 21st, 2003

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OldboyOldboyStill of Min-sik Choi in OldboyStill of Min-sik Choi in OldboyStill of Min-sik Choi in OldboyStill of Min-sik Choi in Oldboy

After being kidnapped and imprisoned for 15 years, Oh Dae-Su is released, only to find that he must find his captor in 5 days.

Release Year: 2003

Rating: 8.4/10 (143,633 voted)

Critic's Score: 74/100

Director: Chan-wook Park

Stars: Min-sik Choi, Ji-tae Yu, Hye-jeong Kang

An average man is kidnapped and imprisoned in a shabby cell for 15 years without explanation. He then is released, equipped with money, a cellphone and expensive clothes. As he strives to explain his imprisonment and get his revenge, Oh Dae-Su soon finds out that his kidnapper has a greater plan for him and is set onto a path of pain and suffering in an attempt to uncover the motive of his mysterious tormentor.

Writers: Garon Tsuchiya, Nobuaki Minegishi

Min-sik Choi - Dae-su Oh
Ji-tae Yu - Woo-jin Lee
Hye-jeong Kang - Mi-do
Dae-han Ji - No Joo-hwan
Dal-su Oh - Park Cheol-woong
Byeong-ok Kim - Mr. Han
Seung-Shin Lee - Yoo Hyung-ja
Jin-seo Yun - Lee Soo-ah
Dae-yeon Lee - Beggar
Kwang-rok Oh - Suicidal Man
Tae-kyung Oh - Young Dae-su
Yeon-suk Ahn - Young Woo-jin
Il-han Oo - Young Joo-hwan
Su-hyeon Kim -
Seung-jin Lee -

Taglines: End of confrontation, one must die.


Official Website: Official site [Russia] | Tartan Films [United States] |

Release Date: 21 November 2003

Filming Locations: Busan, South Korea

Box Office Details

Budget: $3,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $68,957 (USA) (25 March 2005) (5 Screens)

Gross: $14,980,005 (Worldwide) (8 December 2005)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

The line on the painting of Dae Su's cell reads "Laugh and the world laughs with you. Weep and you weep alone." These are the first lines of Ella Wheeler Wilcox's famous poem, "Solitude".

Factual errors: Oh Dae-Su states that the maxim, "Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the snare of the fowler," is from Proverbs 6:4; these numbers are emphasized shortly afterwards. The saying is actually from Proverbs 6:5.

Dae-su Oh: Laugh and the world laughs with you. Weep and you weep alone.

User Review

If only we were all living in Asia....

Rating: 10/10

Too start off; This is the one and only film that kept me quiet for a whole 5 mins after seeing it. I literally couldn't close my mouth, and yet there wasn't any sound coming out of it. Oldboy had such an impact on me that words are too little to describe that impact. Therefore this film is definitely in my top 3 film ever made. It belongs there because it has a massive ingredient that a lot of films seem to miss out on; a divine plot. Even though the acting and screenplay are world class, the plot is really the cherry on the cake.

When it comes to screenplay Park Chan-Wook is unique (at least for western standards) in his way of filming. The colours are so vivid and it seems like he wanted every shot to be a piece of art. One tip: If you like the shooting in 'Oldboy', have a look at 'Sympathy for Lady Vengeance', the third part in Park's revenge-trilogy. It's even superior to the camera-work in 'Oldboy'. Don't, however, expect a story like Oldboy's, because you would be very disappointed.

When it comes to acting and the music, this film is also one of the better films ever made. The music sticks in your head and every time I put in my Oldboy-DVD and the theme-song comes up, I'm just flooded with good memories (eventhough the plot doesn't have a single reason to be happy about). The characters are also presented very well by the outstanding cast. Especially Choi Min-Sik and Yu Ji-Tae set a very convincing performance.

I really appreciate this film being respected as it should be, by having a place in the top 250. If, however, it was up to me it would be even higher in the ranking. I don't see why films like 'The Usual Suspects' or 'Memento', which are fantastic pieces of film-making and which without a doubt deserve a place in the top 250, are higher in the top 250 than 'Oldboy'. They serve the same cause; a fantastic plot. But those plots can't stand in the shadow or even come close to the plot of 'Oldboy'. The one and only reason is that those two films are better known and from a western production company. If we were all living in Asia, no doubt 'Oldboy' would be in the top 20 of all time.

My advice to people who haven't watched this film yet: Go see it! This is definitely a must- see. If you have a weak stomach, pull yourself together and still watch it. Don't be as shallow as a lot of people here tend to be. Look beyond the violence and see the things I mentioned before: world class acting, cinematography, music and last but certainly not least the plot. Once you've opened yourself up you'll find a whole new world of cinema. Enjoy!

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